Plural form in Thai

by | Oct 10, 2020 | Thai

When you want to change a word from singular to plural in English, most of the time you just add an s at the end (kid => kids, horse => horses, laptop => laptops). There are exceptions such as child =>children, woman => women).

Thai language does not have a different word between the singular and plural form. The thing that makes a word into plural is using a classifier.

Let’s take the word pencil. Pencil in Thai is ดินสอ (din-sŏr). Pencils in Thai would require a classifier. The classifier for pencil in Thai is แท่ง tâeng.
So, to say 2 pencils it would be ดินสอสองแท่ง (din-sŏr-sŏng-tâeng), literally: ดินสอ = pencil, สอง = 2, แท่ง = classifier for pencil.
Think of this like in English how you would say 2 pairs of socks. The “classifier” in Thai serves the same purpose “pairs” does in English.

The majority of the time, it doesn’t matter if you are using the plural or singular version unless you are translating to English or have to be really specific. For example, if I want to say “my pencils”, I would just say ดินสอของฉัน (din-sŏr kŏng chăn) which can also just mean “my pencil”.

💡 Read our post on Thai classifiers to get a clear understanding of what classifiers are.

If you literally just want to say “Pencils” in Thai, it would like saying “more than 1 pencil” or ดินสอมากกว่าหนึ่งแท่ง (din-sŏr mâak gwàa nèung tâeng). Literally: ดินสอ = pencil, มากกว่า = more than, หนึ่ง = 1, แท่ง = classifier for pencil.

You can also use words like many (หลาย lăai) = ดินสอหลายแท่ง (din-sŏr lăai tâeng), some (บาง baang) ดินสอบางแท่ง (din-sŏr baang tâeng), etc, to specify that its plural.

Pencils - Plural in Thai

Let me give you more examples:

  • 2 apples
    àep-bpêrn sŏng lôok

  • many books
    năng-sĕu lăai-lâym

  • some houses
    bâan baang lăng

I hope you now understand how the plural form works in the Thai language. You don’t have to learn new words for the word itself but you will have to learn a bit about classifiers. Study the classifiers in our Thai classifier article to learn about the most common ones you should know.

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