I am always looking for new and useful skills that will help improve vocabulary and everyday conversation. Why? Because they are some of the most important parts of learning a new language. That is how I came across the topic of making comparisons in Thai. There are many situations that people make comparisons, either to give people an idea about something they are unfamiliar with or as a way to compliment. Whichever you are looking to learn, we will be covering it in today’s article so you will be able to say if something is good, better, or the best.
In English, when it comes to making comparisons, you would use a phrase like ‘Thai food is the spiciest’. The idea is mostly similar when speaking in Thai. To start off, you need to know the verb for what you want to compare. Is it taste, scariness, or spiciest compared to the rest? By saying the verb by itself, you are simply describing the thing being talked about. Think of this as the base level on which you will build your statements.
Unlike in English where a suffix is added to the end of a word, in Thai an additional word is added instead. While you would say ‘bigger’ in English, where the ‘er’ part shows that it is being compared to something else, in Thai, you would say ‘yai gwaa’ (ใหญ่กว่า). The word ‘gwaa’ (กว่า) can loosely be translated as meaning ‘than’ or ‘more’, thus turning it in to a comparative word.
As an example, the phrase ‘the moon is smaller than the Earth’ would be translated as ‘duang-jan lek-gwaa lok’ (ดวงจันทร์ เล็กกว่าโลก).
When it comes to saying something is the best and better than all the rest, you would add the phrase ‘tii sut’ (ที่สุด) after the verb. This will then change it to meaning and allow you to make a comparison by highlighting it as the most superior. For example, if it is the tastiest meal you have eaten, then you would say ‘aroy tii sut’ (ที่สุด). This is an example of a somewhat indirect comparison.
For a more detailed comparison, you can compare it directly to another object. If you were discussing planets, you may say ‘Jupiter is the biggest one. It is much bigger than Earth.’ In Thai this would be ‘juu-bpi-dtə yai tii-sut yài-gwaa lok mak-mak’ (จูปิเตอร์ ใหญ่ ที่สุด ใหญ่กว่า โลก มากๆ).
If you are looking to compare something to how it was in the past, there are phrase you will need to learn for that. Interestingly, they use the words for up and down. These are ‘keun’ (ขึ้น) and 'long' (ลง) respectively.
If something has stayed the same, then you would use ‘muan gan’ (เหมือนกัน) or ‘muan gap’ (เหมือนกับ). These words would go at the end of the phrase.
As was said before, comparisons are used often in everyday speech. Whether you are saying something is better than something else or saying it is the best, it can be a great way to get to know other people. Of course, when it comes to complimenting people, you will be sure to get some smiles. Let the chef know that their noodles were the tastiest. Give it a try.
If you want to learn more new skills in a variety of topics, try the Ling Thai app. It makes language learning more interesting and engaging to keep you on track and improve.