Anyone who has been to Thailand has most definitely heard Thai people use Krap and Ka (ครับ and คะ or ค่ะ) since Thais say them all the time.
Men say ครับ (kráp) and women say คะ or ค่ะ (ká or kâ). There are 2 versions of ka which I will explain shortly.
❗️Please note: Guys will ALWAYS say Krap and girls will ALWAYS say Ka.
I noticed a lot of beginner Thai learners think if they talk to a guy you say krap and if talking to a female you say ka. That is wrong!
It doesn’t matter if you are a guy talking to a girl or a guy, a guy will always say Krap and a girl will always say ka.
When to use krap and ka
As mentioned previously, krap and ka are used all the time, so let’s learn when to use them.
Krap and Ka are used at the end of sentences to sound polite and show respect, to acknowledge someone or something, to keep a conversation flowing, to say yes, etc. Let’s see some examples.
To sound Polite
For example, normally when a guy says “hi” to you he will say สวัสดีครับ (sà-wàt-dee kráp) instead of just สวัสดี (sà-wàt-dee). If a lady says thanks to you she will usually say ขอบคุณค่ะ (kòp kun kâ) instead of just ขอบคุณ (kòp kun). They do this to sound polite.
To keep a conversation flowing
Krap and ka can be used to keep the conversation flowing. For example, if someone is talking and you just want to acknowledge you are still paying attention you can just say krap or ka (depending on your gender) every couple of seconds.
For example, when listening to the radio or a talk show, you will always hear the hosts constantly saying krap or ka. This is just to acknowledge that they are paying attention.
To say yes
You can use these words to simply say ‘yes’ or ‘understood’. For example, if someone asks you if you understood? You can reply by nodding your head and saying krap or ka.
For no reason whatsoever 😀
You can finish any and all sentences with krap or ka. You don’t need a reason to use it.
Guys always use ครับ pronounced with a high tone (kráp). There are no rules for using kráp. You just use it in any of the situations explained above (so pretty much whenever).
Please note that a lot of the times, Thai people skip the “r” sound and just say คับ káp.
Ka (คะ or ค่ะ)
If you are a woman and you are asking a question you say คะ (ká) with a high tone.
For other sentences, you just use ค่ะ (kâ) with a falling tone.
- are you fine? -> Since this is a question you use คะ
kun sà-baai dee măi ká
- I can hear you -> Since this is a simple statement you use ค่ะ
chăn dâai yin kun kâ
👉 Please see our article on “ka” and “na ka” for more information.
I hope this helps you understand what krap and ka is in Thai and why Thais are always saying it.