Wanting and needing

The Nation, Published on Dec 20, 2002

There are several words in Thai to express “want”, but the easiest is ao. Like all Thai verbs, it’s uninflected, so once you’ve learnt it you can use it any circumstance. Here are some examples.

Khun ao arai? – “What do you want?”

Khao ao arai - “What does he/she want?”

Pom ao an ni - “I want this one.”

The other word you’ll hear regularly, is yaak.

Khun yaak pai nai? – “Where do you want to go?”

Pom yaak pai wai naam – “I want to go swimming.”

Yaak together with dai is also used in the sense of wanting to have something:

Pom yaak dai naliga – I want to get a watch

To express need in Thai, dong gaan is used:

“Pom dong gaan pai tam ngaan” – “I have to go to work.”

Bear in mind that often the second part is dropped in colloquial Thai, as in the useful:

Mai dong – “No need.”