How to ask how questions in Thai

by | Jul 25, 2020 | Vocabulary

Asking how questions in Thai comes in many different forms. How many, How much, how long all use different words in Thai.

In this article, I will explain how to use แค่ไหน, เท่าไหร่, กี่, อย่างไร, เป็นยังไง, เป็นยังไงบ้าง (kâe năi, tâo rài, gèe, yàang rai, bpen yang ngai, bpen yang ngai bâang).

Regular How : อย่างไร

อย่างไร (yàang rai) or you might see it spoken as ยังไง (yang ngai) is used to ask simple how questions.

For example: how can this happen?, how do you do this?, how am I alive?. In other words, you are not asking how long, how distant, or how much, etc. You are simply asking how something happened or is possible.

A lot of the times you will see ได้อย่างไร which translates literally to “can how”. You use it to ask how can or how could type questions.

The following examples should clear it up.


  • How did he eat that cake by himself?
    kăo gin káyk táng mòt kon dieow dâai yàang rai

  • I don’t know how to say it
    chăn mâi róo jà pôot yang ngai

  • How is this possible?
    bpen bpai dâai yàang rai

  • How did that happen?
    man gèrt kêun dâai yàang rai

  • How did you find me?
    kun hăa chăn jer dâai yàang rai

Description how

If you want to ask “how was … ” or “how is … ” – in order to ask someone to describe something or some situation, you use เป็นยังไง or เป็นยังไงบ้าง (bpen yang ngai or bpen yang ngai bâang).

เป็นยังไงบ้าง is used when you are expecting more than 1 answer. For example, asking something about their day. Because you are expecting they did a bunch of things during the day.

Let’s take a look at some examples to make this clearer.


  • How was the movie?
    năng bpen yang ngai

  • How was your trip to Bangkok? (You are expecting they did multiple things)
    tîeow grung tâyp bpen yang ngai bâang

  • How is the family gathering?
    jer krôp krua bpen yang ngai bâang

  • How is everything? (you expect multiple things)
    bpen yang ngai bâang

As you can see in the examples, I am asking how is something or how was something.

How many

To ask how many you would say กี่ (gèe). If you want more information on how to use กี่ please see my detailed article regarding กี่ here. Let’s see some examples:


  • How many computers did you buy?
    kun séu kom-piw-dtêr-gèe-krêuang

  • How many pigs are there?
    mee mŏo-gèe-dtua

How much

To ask “how much?” you should use เท่าไหร่ (tâo rài).


  • How much does it cost?
    raa-kaa tâo rài

Also if you want a more detailed explanation on เท่าไหร่ please see my article here.

How long

To ask how long something is depends on whether you are asking about time or not.

To ask how long something is in terms of time, you would use นานแค่ไหน (naan kâe năi) or นานเท่าไหร่ (naan tâo rài). These are interchangeable.

To ask how long something is, NOT in terms of time (for example the length of a sweater), you would use ยาวแค่ไหน (yaao kâe năi) or ยาวเท่าไหร่ (yaao tâo rài)


  • How long is the movie? (in terms of time)
    หนังยาวแค่ไหน or หนังยาวเท่าไหร่
    năng-yaao kâe năi or năng-yaao tâo rài

  • How long is the pole?
    เสายาวเท่าไหร่ or เสายาวแค่ไหน
    săo-yaao tâo rài or săo-yaao kâe năi

How far

To ask how far something is then you would use either ไกลแค่ไหน or ไกลเท่าไหร่ (glai kâe năi or glai tâo rài). Similarly to “how long” both ไกลแค่ไหน and ไกลเท่าไหร่ are interchangeable. ไกล (glai) by itself means far.


  • How far is your house from here?
    บ้านของคุณไกลแค่ไหน or บ้านของคุณไกลเท่าไหร่
    bâan kŏng kun glai kâe năi or bâan kŏng kun glai tâo rài

  • How far did he go?
    เขาไปไกลแค่ไหน or เขาไปไกลเท่าไหร่
    kăo bpai glai kâe năi or kăo bpai glai tâo rài

How big, How small, how dark, etc..

For everything else, the trick is to remember this formula: adjective + แค่ไหน or เท่าไหร่ (kâe năi or tâo rài). Exactly like how it is in “how long” or “how far”.


  • How big is the box?
    กล่องใหญ่แค่ไหน or กล่องใหญ่เท่าไหร่
    glòng-yài kâe năi or glòng-yài tâo rài

  • How short is your brother?
    น้องชายของคุณเตี้ยแค่ไหน or น้องชายของคุณเตี้ยเท่าไหร่
    nóng chaai kŏng kun dtîa kâe năi or nóng chaai kŏng kun dtîa tâo rài

  • How dark is the room at night?
    ห้องตอนกลางคืนมืดแค่ไหน or ห้องตอนกลางคืนมืดเท่าไหร่
    hông dton-glaang-keun-mêut kâe năi or hông dton-glaang-keun-mêut tâo rài

  • How angry is that teacher?
    อาจารย์คนนั้นโกรธแค่ไหน or อาจารย์คนนั้นโกรธเท่าไหร่
    aa-jaan-kon-nán-gròht kâe năi or aa-jaan-kon-nán-gròht tâo rài

I hope you now know all the ways to ask “how questions” in Thai and understand the differences between all the ways to ask the questions.


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