Learn Thai – Present Continuous (What are you doing?)

Sawatdee ka,

I have got few questions regarding ‘present continuous’ or verb with “-ing” expressing action that is happening at the moment speaking such as ‘I am eating’, ‘she is cooking etc.

The full pattern in Thai is:

gam-lang + verb/verb phrase + yùu

In spoken Thai we often drop either the word ‘gamlang’ or ‘yùu’.

For example: ‘I am eating’ in Thai can be phrased in three different ways.

1. ผม/ชั้นกำลังกินข้าวอยู่ [pŏm/chán gam-lang gin kâao yùu]

2. ผม/ชั้นกำลังกินข้าว [pŏm/chán gam-lang gin kâao]

3. ผม/ชั้นกินข้าวอยู่ [pŏm/chán gin kâao yùu]

Let’s understand the example given in my video.

1. คุยโทรศัพท์กับแม่อยู่ [kui toe-rá-sàp gàp mâe yùu]

I am talking on the phone with mom.

– คุย[kui] means to talk, to have conversation

– โทรศัพท์ [toe-rá-sàp] means telephone

– กับ [gàp] means with

– แม่ [mâe] means mother

2. ดูทีวีอยู่  [duu tii-wii yùu]

I’m watching TV.

- ดู [duu] means to watch, to look at

- ทีวี [tii-wii] means television

3. เล่นเฟซบุคอยู่ [lên Facebook yùu]

I am playing Facebook. (We use verb ‘to play’ when doing something entertaining)

– เล่น [lên] means to play

4. ออกกำลังกายอยู่ [òrk-gam-lang-gaai yùu]

I am exercising.

ออกกำลังกาย [òrk-gam-lang-gaai] means to exercise.

And of course, the above sentences can also be phrased with กำลัง [gam-lang].

To form the Present Continuous question such as ‘what are you doing?’, the same pattern is applied.

The question structure in Thai is “Subject + Verb+ Question word”. In present continuous tense, the same pattern is apllied as following:

subject + gam-lang verb + question word + yùu?

Verb to do in Thai is ทำ [tam], and ‘What question word’ is อะไร [à-rai].

The question ‘what are you doing can be phrased in three different ways:

1. คุณกำลังทำอะไรอยู่ [kun gam-lang tam à-rai yùu?]

2.คุณกำลังทำอะไร [kun gam-lang tam à-rai?]

*3. คุณทำอะไรอยู่ [kun tam à-rai yùu?]

* The third sentence is commonly used.

I hope you enjoyed this lesson, and have learned something new:)

Kop Kun Ka,


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20 Responses to Learn Thai – Present Continuous (What are you doing?)

  1. Jon 20/05/2012 at 09:34 #

    Kun Mod, I especially like that you pointed out the structure that is most commonly used to ask “what are you doing?”. I’ve been studying your youtube lessons for quite a while now and they are all outstanding.

    • Mod 20/05/2012 at 10:58 #

      Thank you for your kind words. I am happy to hear that:)

  2. Brian 17/07/2012 at 06:42 #

    Great lesson, thanks. What is the significance of the “Leoi” at the end of some of your sentences? I assume it’s a way to ‘soften’ the end of the sentence?

  3. Ado 19/09/2012 at 13:37 #

    555, Very funny song choice for a video on “what you’re doing”.

  4. Tony Fish 19/09/2012 at 17:29 #

    ออกกำลังกาย [òrk-gam-lang-gaai] means to exercise.
    That means it is a “VERB”. right?
    ออก = exit;
    กำลัง = at present
    กาย = body
    These three words turn out to be “to exercise”, it is very interesting.
    How to express the woid “exercise or sports” as a “noun” in Thai?

  5. Mod 19/09/2012 at 20:30 #

    Yes, it is a verb. กำลัง also means ‘power’ :) การออกกำลังกาย is a noun, and กีฬา is sports.

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