How Do You Say...? (Questions of Manner in Thai)
Thai has multiple words for "How?" We compiled examples of questions and answers, and extracted the grammar rules.
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Lingo Ninja Research Team
2 min read · published May 16, 2021 · last update June 16, 2021

Different words for "How?" in the Thai language?

There are multiple words for "How?" in Thai. Click on the yellow words to hear the sounds:
  • ... อย่างไร? อย่างไร How ?
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    (the formal way)
  • ... ยังไง? ยังไง how
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    (informal / spoken Thai)
  • ... ไง? ไง how; as a response, when the responder thinks the statement is obvious/self-evident
    See in Dictionary
    (informal / abbreviated)
Note: The above questions are called "Questions of Manner". They ask how something is done. There is a second type of "how"-questions, called "Questions of Degree", which usually start like "How long... ?", "How short...?", "How much...?", "How many...?", etc.
Questions of Degree are covered in the article How Much Do You Love Me? (Questions of Degree in Thai).

Let's look at the different forms of "How...?" in Thai more in detail:

... อย่างไร? (the formal way)

The official way to ask "How...?" is to use อย่างไร How ?
See in Dictionary
at the end of the question. See the examples at the end of this article. This is mainly used in formal or written language. Thai speakers will not use this form in most conversations, they will use a more informal question instead. 

... ยังไง? (informal / spoken Thai)

This is the most common way to ask "How...?" in the Thai language, mainly used in colloquial or everyday spoken Thai. To form this question, simply put the word อย่างไร How ?
See in Dictionary
at the end of the question. You can find examples below.

... ไง? (informal / abbreviated)

This is an extreme abbreviation of อย่างไร How ?
See in Dictionary
. Similar to the other forms, the question word ไง how; as a response, when the responder thinks the statement is obvious/self-evident
See in Dictionary
is put at the end of the question. This extreme abbreviation is easy to confuse and usually only appears in certain phrases (see examples below).

Notes:
  1. ไง how; as a response, when the responder thinks the statement is obvious/self-evident
    See in Dictionary
    sounds very similar to ไหน where; which
    See in Dictionary
    , which means "Where?". Make sure you listen carefully, so you don't make a mistake. You can learn about "Where?" questions in this article: How to ask "Where" in Thai
  2.  ไง how; as a response, when the responder thinks the statement is obvious/self-evident
    See in Dictionary
    can also mean "What?".

Example Questions & Answers

Polite Particles

The Thai language uses special words, so-called polite particles, to convey politeness. For the sake of brevity, the examples below drop the polite particles - but you should NOT do that. Please always append ค่ะ polite word for women
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(if you are female) or ครับ polite word for men
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(if you are male) to all the questions and answers below.

To learn more, please read this article on Thai polite particles.

Examples for ... อย่างไร? and ... ยังไง?

In all the following examples you can swap the words อย่างไร How ?
See in Dictionary
and ยังไง how
See in Dictionary
- the meaning will not change.

Q: How to say (it)?
     พูด speak, talk
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อย่างไร How ?
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     Literally: say - how

Q: How do you say this in Thai?
     อัน general quantifier for small objects
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นี้ this
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ภาษา language
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ไทย Thai; Thailand
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พูด speak, talk
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ว่า that
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อย่างไร How ?
See in Dictionary

     Literally: thing - this - language - Thai - speak - how

Q: How to do (it)?
     ทำ do, make, cook
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อย่างไร How ?
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     Literally: do - how

Q: How to go (there)?
     ไป go; too
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อย่างไร How ?
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     Literally: go - how

Q: How did (you) come (here)?
     มา come, arrive
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อย่างไร How ?
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     Literally: come - how

Q: How to open (it)?
     เปิด open
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อย่างไร How ?
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     Literally: open - how

Q: How to write (it)?
     เขียน write
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อย่างไร How ?
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     Literally: write - how

Q: How are (you/things)?
     เป็น be, is, am, are
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อย่างไร How ?
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     Literally: be - how

Examples for ... ไง?

Q: How are you? (informal, for friends)
     เป็น be, is, am, are
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ไง how; as a response, when the responder thinks the statement is obvious/self-evident
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บ้าง (to some extend) (in questions: the speaker would like to know more than one things that happened)
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?
     Please read "How are you?" in Thai, to learn more about this question
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