You"ve no doubt heard Thais making use of kráp (for male speakers) and kâ (for mrs speakers) in day-to-day conversation.

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Yet despite their evident simplicity, understanding these words and also when you must use lock isn"t completely straightforward.

Most civilization don"t understand that kráp and kâ carry out not directly translate to any type of word in the English language.

They space politeness particles, added to the end of sentences because that courtesy and to soften the affect of the sentence.

For example, if ns pass through the reception in mine hotel, it would be thought about a little impolite to simply say sawat-dee (hello/hi). So ns would include kráp to the end of the sentence to be polite.

The same goes because that bumping into someone accidentally. Ns wouldn"t just say kor toht (sorry/excuse me). It sounds fairly abrupt. Kráp/kâ not only adds politeness in this situation, but also adds some sincerity to the apology.

Let"s dig a little deeper in the situational usage of these words.


Image by Mathias Huysmans.

How to recognize When to use Kráp and also Kâ

If you want to understand when to use kráp/kâ, just ask you yourself whether the the same situation back home would need you to display politeness.

For example, let"s to speak you desire to recognize the price of other in a shop. Earlier home you"d most likely say something like; “Excuse me, just how much is this please?”.

In this situation, friend would add kráp/kâ to the end of her sentence.

Generally speaking, daily questions in Thai are frequently short and direct.

For example, in English you would ask; “Where are you going?”

In Thai, most civilization would informally speak “Pai nai”? (go where). Adding the particle at the end softens and also sweetens a short, reasonably abrupt question.

Consider who you room talking to, too.

If you"re speaking to one immigration main or the police, staff at a restaurant or shop, or who older 보다 you, always use kráp/kâ.

You can likewise take a cue native the human being you space speaking with. If they space using it, you deserve to follow along too.

As a final fallback, if you don"t understand whether to use it, then say it. It never harms to be polite.

Note that you can additionally translate kráp in English through an h, prefer khráp. But for the objective of this short article I am making use of kráp because it"s a common transliteration.

When to avoid Saying Kráp and also Kâ

When conference a friend for dinner, as soon as you have actually said hello, how are you, and also are you hungry? you don"t need to bring on saying kráp/kâ after ~ every sentence transparent the meal.

It"s true that some Thai world do this, specifically some women. Yet you uncover this more so in Bangkok than elsewhere and, when supplied excessively, even Thais will note it sound a tad false and pretentious.

However, in the exact same setting, if you were to gesture come the waitress and also ask her whereby the restroom is, girlfriend would definitely use the kráp/kâ particle.

When Speaking with Your Partner

You may be reasoning that there space times girlfriend hear your partner speak through a girlfriend or acquaintance, or even with you, and also he/she doesn"t usage this particle.

This is periodically the case.

Thais know other ways of displaying politeness without needing to use kráp/kâ.

For example, your girlfriend could see a friend and also say Pai nai (iiii). She can sustain the last syllables of words to add cuteness to the question. This negates the require for she to to speak kâ, since the human being knows she is being playful.

Similarly, you could come v the door ~ work and also she greets you v sawat-dee (eee), holding the e in the very same way.

In one more situation she might use a higher pitch that voice – accompanied by a funny confront – to suggest playfulness, and also as such drop the kráp/kâ.

The longer you hang roughly with Thais, the more you will witness this nuances.

Why Does mine Girlfriend to speak ‘Kráp" Sometimes?

You will come throughout this too. My wife does the often, specifically when I"m moaning in ~ her.

She"ll acknowledge what I"m saying by replying kráp, kráp, kráp…It"s practically like she is saying yes, yes, yes – which, in a way, she is. See the following section.

Similarly, when speaking come male children in a playful way, you"ll frequently hear adult females utilizing kráp rather of kâ.

Using Kráp/Kâ rather of “Yes” / “I Understand”

As listed above, you have the right to use kráp/kâ to identify you know someone in a similar way to exactly how we might use ah-hah/mmm/yes in English; despite this is an ext polite.

It could be the you"re in a service meeting explaining something, and the Thai you"re speaking through is nodding follow me saying kráp, kráp, kráp.

You might be complain to the receptionist in ~ the hotel, and she sometimes interjects through to suggest that she understands your situation.

Why Kráp Sounds prefer Kup!

Strangely, Kráp frequently sounds favor krup, and also then krup frequently sounds choose kup. Confused?

It"s nice simple: Thai guys drop the ‘r" in daily informal conversations, and the a is regularly pronounced prefer a u.

You can just roll through Kop khun kup, though finding out to roll that r will certainly come in comfortable for her Thai later on down the line.

Furthermore, the joint of is classic quite blunt. However in the modern-day day it is frequently exaggerated through an ah sound – kââh!

How to create Kráp and

Kráp is supplied by men and is written in Thai favor this: ครับ

is used by women and also written in Thai like this: ค่ะ

The Complexities the Thai Politeness

Being polite in Thai is in reality pretty complex.

There space levels of speech for different occasions and also persons of various status.

These generally loss into 3 categories: not blocked formal, very formal.

For example, you use various language to attend to monks and the imperial family.

Let"s take the word eat, because that example:

gin (everyday informal)tahn (slightly formal)rap-bpra-tahn (very formal)dairk (very informal, frequently offensive)chan (when talk to/about monks)savoey (when talking to/about the imperial family)

Don"t concern too much around this because that now, however it"s good to be aware of these different words for different situation as you proceed learning Thai.

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I hope you uncovered this helpful. If girlfriend have any type of questions, please leave them in the comments section.