One area of confusion when learning Thai language is to know which form of the word “know” to use. The word know in English translates to three different words in Thai that have a similar meaning but are used differently.

Let’s start with the difference between the words “rúu (รู้)” and “rúu-jàk (รู้จัก)”. Simply put, the word “rúu (รู้)” refers to something that is knowledge. For instance, you know how to speak Thai. The word “rúu-jàk (รู้จัก)” refers to knowing the “existence” of something. For instance, you know of the existence of the Thai language. So basically you could say you “rúu-jàk (รู้จัก)” the Thai language but you don’t “rúu (รู้)” the Thai Language. In English doesn’t have this differentiation as English always use the word know and can infer it’s meaning from the context of the sentence only. Here are some examples:

  1. รู้ rúu

The meaning of the word: to know, to understand, to realize.
How to use the word: รู้ rúu + information
Sentence structure: รู้ rúu + ว่า wâa (that) + information (a sentence)

Example sentence 1:
chǎn rúu wâa khǎw mâi chɔ̂ɔp tham gaan-bâan
ฉันรู้ว่าเขาไม่ชอบทำการบ้าน
I know that he doesn’t like to do homework.

Example sentence 2:
phǒm rúu wâa thəə chɔ̂ɔp gin aa-hǎan thá-lee
ผมรู้ว่าเธอชอบกินอาหารทะเล
I know that she likes to eat sea-food.

  1. รู้จัก rúu-jàk

The meaning of the word: to know, to recognize, to be acquainted with someone.
How to use the word: รู้จัก rúu-jàk + people/place/things
Sentence structure: รู้จัก rúu-jàk + noun

Example sentence 1:
phǒm rúu-jàk khruu Tangkwa
ผมรู้จักครูแตงกวา
I know teacher Tangkwa.

Example sentence 2:
hun rúu-jàk khâaw-nǐaw-má-mûaŋ mái?
คุณรู้จักข้าวเหนียวมะม่วงไหม
Do you know the Thai sweet sticky rice with mango? (Thai dessert)

SO, these words of mine are something you should try to remember. ^_^