Using Classifier When Counting in Thai Language

Thai Classifier

Classifier is a topic that many learners avoid to learn or consider it as one of the most difficult structure to learn and to use, especially for whose languages do not have a similar structure. However, do not feel stressed about it. In this lesson, you will learn how to use classifier when counting in Thai language.


I can confidently mention here that as a native speaker myself, I do not know and use every classifier existing in Thai language. I only use classifiers of the things I talk about.

For example, if you are not a musician, and you have no interest in music instruments, you may not be in a hurry to learn the classifier ‘law (เลา)’ which is used as a classifier of ‘khlùy (ขลุ่ย)’ = a flute. Perhaps, you may not need to know it at all.

What is a classifier?

A classifier is a word which is used with a noun. Some nouns can share the same classifier. Most of the time you use classifier when you are counting the nouns. However, you also use a classifier with some certain words which accompany the nouns even when you are not counting that noun.

This lesson focuses only the first function of the classifier mentioned above which is using a classifier when counting a noun. We will only use SIX classifiers in all examples and exercises so it is not going to be too much for you.

TWO groups of classifier

There are two groups of classifier. The first one is a noun which its classifier is different from its own, and the second group is a noun which its classifier is same as its own. Check the table below.


noun > classifier

1. animals > tua (ตัว)

2. cars > khan (คัน)

3. books > lêm (เล่ม)


noun > classifier

1. room / hɔ̂ŋ (ห้อง) > hɔ̂ŋ (ห้อง)

2. color / sǐi (สี) > sǐi (สี)

3. minute / naathii (นาที) > naathii (นาที)

The only difference of using between these two groups is that when the noun is the same as its own classifier, you can omit the noun from the structure. You will see through the following examples.

Using classifier when counting

As mentioned earlier that we will focus only on using a classifier when counting the noun in Thai language. You can see the structure below.

– noun + amount + classifier

– คำนาม + จำนวน + ลักษณนาม

For example:


– chán mii mææw 6 tua

– ฉัน มี แมว 6 ตัว

– I have 6 cats.


– phǒm mii (naathii) 3 naathii

– ผม มี (นาที) 3 นาที

– I have 3 minutes.

The noun and its classifier of the first example belongs to the first group, while the second example belongs to the second group. Therefore, the word in the bracket of the example 2 can be omitted, because it is a noun. Let’s see more examples.


– kháw ca khǎay rót 2 khan

– เขา จะ ขาย รถ 2 คัน

– He will sell 2 cars.


– mǎa kháw mii (sǐi) 2 sǐi

– หมา เขา มี (สี) 2 สี

– His dog has 2 colors.


– chán ca sɨ́ɨ nǎŋsɨ̌ɨ 2 lêm

– ฉัน จะ ซื้อ หนังสือ 2 เล่ม

– I will buy 2 books.


– bâan chán mii (hɔ̂ŋ) 3 hɔ̂ŋ

– บ้าน ฉัน มี (ห้อง) 3 ห้อง

– There are 3 rooms in my house.


Now that you see the structure of classifier when you count the noun. In the future, when you learn more classifiers, you can use them with this structure.

Let’s check your understanding on using classifier when counting in Thai language


1. My friend has 7 dogs.

– chán mii tua mǎa phɨ̂an 7

– ฉัน มี ตัว หมา เพื่อน 7

– phɨ̂an chán mii mǎa 7 tua

– เพื่อน ฉัน มี หมา 7 ตัว

2. My father has 1 motorcycle.

– mɔɔtəəsay phɔ̂ɔ mii 1 chán khan

– มอเตอร์ไซค์ พ่อ มี 1 ฉัน คัน

– phɔ̂ɔ chán mii mɔɔtəəsay 1 khan

– พ่อ ฉัน มี มอเตอร์ไซค์ 1 คัน

3. This hotel has 50 rooms.

hɔ̂ŋ rooŋ-rææm níi mii 50

ห้อง โรงแรม นี้ มี 50 

– rooŋ-rææm níi mii 50 hɔ̂ŋ

– โรงแรม นี้ มี 50 ห้อง

4. Can I have 20 minutes?

– khɔ̌ɔ máy naathii phǒm 20 dâay

– ขอ ไหม นาที ผม 20 ได้

– phǒm khɔ̌ɔ 20 naathii dâay máy

– ผม ขอ 20 นาที ได้ไหม


5. I have 3 Thai Language Books

– phaasǎa Thai 3 lêm chán mii nǎŋ-sɨ̌ɨ

– ภาษา ไทย 3 เล่ม ฉัน มี หนังสือ

– chán mii nǎŋ-sɨ̌ɨ phaasǎa Thai 3 lêm

– ฉัน มี หนังสือ ภาษา ไทย 3 เล่ม

6. A rainbow has 7 colors.

– mii rúŋ sǐi

– รุ้ง มี สี 7

– rúŋ mii 7 sǐi

– รุ้ง มี 7 สี

Did you get them right? I hope this lesson helps you to understand how to use classifier when counting in Thai. Shall you have any questions, feel free to drop it in the comment box.

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