VIDEO: Commonly Confused Words EP.1

This lesson we will talk about Thai words that are used for ‘when’. We have three different words for ‘when’. It sounds like why we need to complicate things, right? Don’t worry it is simpler than you think. Just watch this video to the end and you will understand it clearly.


  1. เมื่อไหร่ /mûea-rài/ is a question word used to form any ‘when’ questions.

For example;

When will you come to Thailand?

คุณจะมาประเทศไทยเมื่อไหร่ /kun jà maa bprà-têed tai mûea-rài/

When did you start learning Thai?

คุณเริ่มเรียนภาษาไทยเมื่อไหร่ /kun rêrm rain paa-săa tai mûea-rài/

**NOTE: The question word เมื่อไหร่ /mûea-rài/ can also be put in the beginning of the sentence.

When will you come to Thailand again?

เมื่อไหร่คุณจะมาประเทศไทย /mûea-rài kun jà maa bprà-têed tai /

When are you coming back home?

เมื่อไหร่คุณจะกลับบ้าน /mûea-rài kun jà glàp bâan/


  1. เวลา /way-laa/ is used to talk about something that is always true or habits. Similar to ‘whenever’ in English.

For example;

When she is angry, she doesn’t like to talk.

เวลาเค้าโกรธ เค้าไม่ชอบพูด /way-laa káo gròot, káo mâi châwp pûut/

(โกรธ /gròot/ = angry, พูด /pûut/ = talk, speak)

When it rains the traffic always bad.

เวลาฝนตก รถติดตลอด /way-laa fŏn dtòk, rót dtìt dtà-làwd/

(ฝนตก fŏn dtòk = rain (v.) ,

รถติด /rót/ = car , ติด /dtìt/ = stuck , รถติด /rót dtìt = traffic is bad)

  1. ตอน/dtawn/ is used to talk about one period of time or one specific event.

When she was a kid, she didn’t like to eat vegetable.

ตอนเค้าเป็นเด็ก เค้าไม่ชอบกินผัก /dtawn káo bpen dèk, káo mâi châwp gin pàk/

When we were in Thailand last year, we learned to cook Thai food.

(เด็ก /dèk/ = kid, ผัก  /pàk/ = vegetable)

ตอนเราอยู่ที่ประเทศไทยปีที่แล้ว เราเรียนทำอาหารไทย

/dtawn rao yùu tîi bprà-têet tai bpii tîi-láew, rao rain tam aa-hăan tai/

(เรียน /rian/ = study, learn, ทำอาหาร /tam aa-hăan = to cook, make food/

  1. พอ /paw/ is used to talk about ‘when’ when there is one event happens right after another event. It is similar to ‘as soon as’ in English.

SENTENCE STRUCTURE: พอ /paw/ + first event , second event

When you arrive the intersection, turn right.

พอถึงสี่แยก เลี้ยวขวา /paw tŭeng sìi-yâek , líao kwăa/

(ถึง /tŭeng = arrive, สี่แยก /sìi-yâek/ = intersection, เลี้ยว /líao/ = to turn , ขวา /kwăa/ = right)

Call me when you get on the sky train.

พอคุณขึ้นรถไฟฟ้า โทรหาชั้นนะ /paw kun kûen rót-fai-fáa, toe-hăa chán ná/

(ขึ้น /kûen/ = to go up, to get on, รถไฟฟ้า/rót-fai-fáa/ = skytrain , โทรหา /toe-hăa/ = to call someone)


  1. The last word is ‘เมื่อ /mûea/’ this word is FORMAL. We don’t need to talk about it much because we don’t use in spoken Thai. It is used to convey the same meaning as ตอน/dtaw/ and เวลา/way-laa/.


That’s it! Now you can choose the right word for ‘when’. Take your time to review this lesson and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

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15 Responses to VIDEO: Commonly Confused Words EP.1

  1. willy 25/08/2017 at 15:00 #

    For those folks that can’t read the Thai but will read the “phonetic English” you provide, you may want to correct “rain” to “rian”! 😉

    /dtawn rao yùu tîi bprà-têet tai bpii tîi-láew, rao rain tam aa-hăan tai/

    • Mod 30/09/2017 at 15:41 #

      Oh! that was a typo. Thank you for your correction.

  2. Kosol 10/08/2017 at 04:06 #

    Good explanation ! Good teachers!

    • Mod 30/09/2017 at 15:45 #

      Kop kun ka Kosol. 🙂

  3. maung maung si 08/08/2017 at 10:22 #

    very good explanation.

  4. Tin 15/07/2017 at 15:50 #

    Hi Teacher Mod & Pear,

    Originally I just wanted to pick up a few phases for my trip to Bangkok but your lessons inspire me more than I expected. I have learn so much from those role plays and clear explanation and also found that Thai language is very charming!!

    I really want to say thank you and really appreciate for your hard effort. 🙂


    • Mod 18/07/2017 at 10:57 #

      Sawatdii ka Tin, thank you for your kind comments. We are happy to hear that you enjoyed our lessons and found them inspiring. Please keep learning and come back to Bangkok to practice your Thai with the locals.

      Kop kun ka!
      Mod & Pear 🙂

      • kurt 08/08/2017 at 12:11 #

        Hi Mod,

        In these following examples of yours:

        When will you come to Thailand again?

        เมื่อไหร่คุณจะมาประเทศไทย /mûea-rài kun jà maa bprà-têed tai /

        Does the Thai imply “again”? Does it require an “ik” (sorry, no Thai keyboard)?

        • Mod 30/09/2017 at 16:02 #

          That’s right. The word อีก/ìik/ should be added for the word “again”. I am sorry for my mistake when writing the post.

      • kurt 08/08/2017 at 12:17 #

        Sorry if this is nit-picky, in the example “rót dtìt = traffic is bad”, I think rot dtit is only trafficbut what is the actual translation for dta lawd?

        • Mod 30/09/2017 at 15:59 #

          รถ /rót/ means ‘car’ and ติด /dtìt/ means ‘to be stuck’. When joing both words together you will get a sentence รถติด /rót-dtìat’ which means “the cars are jammed”. The negative sentence would be รถไม่ติด /rót mâi dtìt/ which means traffic is good.

          ตลอด /dtà-làwd’ means always. It is always put at the end of a sentence.

  5. SYLVAIN 14/07/2017 at 13:38 #

    thank you for this very helpful lesson. Until now I knew only Mua rai and people would tell me wella and I thought they would talk about the time!!! very confusing situations.
    Thank you for your help and for sure I will keep-on watching 1 of your videos everyday. And re-watching them as long as I can speak thai OK
    By the way “vegetables” in most of the time a plural and a verb is missing in this sentence “When it rains the traffic always bad” 😉 .

    • Mod 14/07/2017 at 15:55 #

      Thank you for your kind comment. I am happy to hear that you found our lessons useful in your Thai learning and that this lesson helps clearing the confusion. 🙂

      Also thank you for correcting our broken English.

  6. Brian 28/06/2017 at 21:19 #

    Hi, Another good post and well explained.
    You must be very busy as the gaps between your posts are getting longer and longer.
    I would like a post covering driving in Thailand, filling up with petrol,flat tyre,breaking down,dealing with the police at road blocks.
    Brian. UK

    • Mod 10/07/2017 at 10:09 #

      Thank you for watching our lesson. We are happy to hear that you found this one useful.

      We would like to be able to upload lessons more frequently. Also thank you for the video suggestion. It is a good idea!

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