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"How" and "When" Parts of Action Words - Burmese Adverbs

Imagine yourself driving a red Ferrari down the long and winding mountain road. Suddenly, at the steep corner turn, you lost control, and you find yourself in the clouds. You quickly press the emergency button with your shaken hand, and the parachute opens. As you take a deep breath, you see the blue mountain behind the clouds in your rear-view mirror. You will now never forget the meaning of MOUN3, (to drive) on the MOUNtain road.

That's a memory technique where you are learning to associate the word MOUN3 with MOUNtain. Here is a video clip with less power than a red Ferrari.


Imagine yourself driving a red Ferrari down the long and winding mountain road. Suddenly, at the steep corner turn, you lost control, and you find yourself in the clouds. You quickly press the emergency button with your shaken hand, and the parachute opens. As you take a deep breath, you see the blue mountain behind the clouds in your rear-view mirror. You will now never forget the meaning of MOUN3, (to drive) on the MOUNtain road. That's a memory technique where you are learning to associate the word MOUN3 with MOUNtain. Here is a video clip with less power than a red Ferrari. [28 seconds]

Posted by Naing Tinnyuntpu on Monday, May 16, 2016
နီနီခင်ဇော် | Ni Ni Khin Zaw & Famouz Dance Group

Verbs in the previous lesson are quite useful in telling others what you want to do. But, sooner or later you discover that you still cannot communicate what you really want to say. Something seems to be missing. For example, you need to go to the embassy in a hurry. You know the words

thwa3 MP3 Audio Filego, and

moun3 MP3 Audio Filedrive.

You have memorized some useful nouns such as

thun2-yone3 MP3 Audio Fileembassy.

In addition, you know the general formula for constructing a sentence which says you want to do something:

xxxx chin2 deare2I want to xxxx.

So, you can tell the driver:

thun2-yone3 thwa3 chin2 deare2

I want to go to the embassy.

You can follow up with the order:


or using the softer tone:

moun3 ba2Please drive!

You still find the sentence unsatisfactory because you have expressed only half of what you really want to say: You are in a hurry. You want him to drive fast.

thun2-yone3 a-myan2 thwa3 chin2 deare2

I want to go to the embassy fast.

(embassy + quickly + go + want + affirmative)

learn to say 'drive fast' in Burmese

myan2-myan2 moun3 ba2Please drive fast!

The five types of Burmese Adverbs

The Adverb in the Burmese grammar has a Pali origin, and is known as

ka1-ri1-ya2 we1-thay2-tha1-na1. MP3 Audio File

The word


refers to the action words (verbs), and


means to modify or to qualify. Burmese adverbs qualify the verbs similar to English. There are five types of Burmese Adverbs:

  1. Words that describe "how" part of the action words known as a-mu2-a-ya2 pya1 ka1-ri1-ya2 we1-thay2-tha1-na1 belong to a type of Myanmar adverbs that show gestures, manner, facial expressions, and behavior of human and other living beings.


    yo2-yo2 thay2-dthay2 kine2 ba2 — Please handle with care.

    hnay3-hnay3 kway3-kway3 - sluggishly.

    wone3-wone3 dine3-dine3 - noisily.

  2. Myanmar grammar put the conditions of things such as road conditions affected by the heavy storm in a different classification of adverbs. It is called a-chay2-a-nay2 pya1 ka1-ri1-ya2 we1-thay2-tha1-na1.


    thut-thut-yut-yut MP3 Audio Fileneatly

    pfa1-yo2 pfa1-yeare3 MP3 Audio Filein disarray; in disorder

    Examples in complete sentences:

    mo3 a-kji3 a-kjeare2 ywa2 nay2 deare2

    Rain is pouring down heavily.

    teare3-boat dway2 pfa1-yo2 pfa1-yeare3 pfyit kone2 byi2

    Huts are in disarray.

  3. Another type of Burmese adverb known as a-chain2 pya1 ka1-ri1-ya2 we1-thay2-tha1-na1 shows time or "when" part of action words:

    a-khu1 thwa3 MP3 Audio FileGo now!

    Note that this adverb time word a-khu1 can also be a noun a-khu1 to say "just now".

    More examples of adverbs that show time in relation to the action words (verb):

    a-khu1 thwa3 dau1 meare2 — I am about to go now.

    kha1-na1 nay2 sa3 ja1 meare2 — We shall eat in a while.

  4. a-may3 ka1-ri1-ya2 we1-thay2-tha1-na1 are interrogative adverbs such as "when" and "how" questions in relation to the verbs.


    beare2-lo2 thwa3 ma1-leare3 MP3 Audio FileHow will you go?

    beare2-dau1 thwa3 ma1-leare3 MP3 Audio FileWhen will you go?

  5. The fifth type of Burmese adverbs known as pa1-ma2-na1-pya1 ka1-ri1-ya2 we1-thay2-tha1-na1 shows the magnitude or size.


    a-loon2 MP3 Audio Fileextremely, very

    mya3-mya3 MP3 Audio Fileabundantly

    neare3-neare3 MP3 Audio Filejust a little

    a-kone2 MP3 Audio Fileall

    lone3-wa1 MP3 Audio Filenone

    Examples in complete sentences:

    lone3-wa1 dtha1-bau3-ma1-tu2 bu3 — I absolutely disagree.

    a-neare3-ngeare2 dtha2 hteare1 — Just put a little.

Adverb example in a song

The song in the video clip below used the adverb da1-jain2-ta1-kha2 meaning once in a while.

da1-jain2 ta1-kha2 — once in a while (adverb)

dtha2 — only (particle)

ya1 — have (verb)

dthau3 — (particle) convert the clause into adjective to mean "rare"

pweare3 dau2 — festive occasion (noun)

a-tu2-du2 — together (adverb)

pyau2 — be happy (verb)

da1-jain2 ta1-kha2 dtha2 ya1 dthau3 pweare3 dau2 a-tu2-du2 pyau2

We have this festival only once in a while. Let's be happy together.

Once in a while only

We have this festival only once in a while. Let's be happy together. [29 seconds] da1-jain2 ta1-kha2 - once in a while (adverb) dtha2 - only (particle) ya1 - have (verb) dthau3 - (particle) convert the clause into adjective to mean "rare" pweare3-dau2 - festive occasion (noun) a-tu2-du2 - together (adverb) pyau2 - be happy (verb)

Posted by Naing Tinnyuntpu on Saturday, May 14, 2016
အိမ့်ချစ် | Eint Chit | ain1 chit and Jade Dragon Dancer Group

More Burmese Adverb Examples

Now, we will add adverbs to the verbs we have met in the previous lesson. The following are mixtures of complete sentences, verbal commands, suggestions and phrases. They are organized in the same sequence as in lesson 7.

a-mya3-ji3 sa3Have your fill of the stomach!; eat a lot. (a lot + eat)

chet-chin3 thwa3Go immediately! (immediately + go)

koun3-koun3 loatDo it nicely! (good + good + do)

myan2-myan2 pyay3Run quickly! (quick + quick + run)

a-thay2 cha1 — Attack!; Charge!; fight till the death! (deadly + fight)

hmun2-hmun2 la2 ba2Please come regularly. (regularly + come + suggestion)

You will note that many of those Burmese adverbs are formed by doubling of words. For example, koun3 means good (adjective), and koun3-koun3 means nicely (adverb), or in a good manner.

Those double-word adverbs are frequently used in spoken form and they are further classified as hna1-kjain2-htut ka1-ri1-ya2 we1-thay2-tha1-na1 in Burmese grammar, which means "two-times-repeat adverbs".

Busy Street Activities

thate — so much (adverb)

ku2 — help (verb)

chin2 — want to (particle used as verb suffix to mean "ku2-chin2" - want to help)

da2 — modifies "want to help"(verb) to "the thought that wants to help" (noun)

beare3 — emphasis ending word: "exactly! (particle)

thate ku2 chin2 da2 beare3

I want to help so much.

ko3-lo3 kun1-lun1 ma1-yut neare1

Don't park obstructively; Don't obstruct the traffic.

(obstructively + negative prefix particle + stop or park + negative imperative)

Adverb 'too much' in Burmese

lu2-dway2 — people (human + plural)

a-yan3 — too much (adverb)

toe3 — push and shove (verb)

nay2 — particle equivalent to present participle "ing"

ja1 — particle that modifies the verb "to push" to plural

deare2 — affirmation ending word (postpositional marker)

lu2-dway2 a-yan3 toe3 nay2 ja1 deare2

There's too much shoving and pushing going on.

pfyay3-byay3 hsoatBack up slowly.

(slow + slow + back up or reverse the car)

khut myan2-myan2 kway1Turn quickly

(rather + quick + quick + turn)

thay2-dthay2 cha2-ja2 kji1Look carefully!

(surely + look or watch)

neare3-neare3 beare3 weare2Buy a little only.

(a little + only + buy)

Burmese adverb: patiently

sate-shay2 let-shay2 kji1 pyi3 ku3

- Cross the road patiently with caution.

(patiently + look + afterwards + cross the road)

Cleaning up

a-woot myan2-myan2 shau2

Wash your clothes quickly! (clothes + quickly + to wash)

yay2 ga1-bya2 ga1-ya2 cho3

take a shower in a hurry. (water + in a hurry + bathe)

a-khan3 thwet-thwet let-let shin3

Clean up the room briskly! (room + briskly + to tidy-up)

When you are sick

hsay3 hmun2-hmun2 thout ba2

Please take your medicine regularly.

(medicine + regularly or correctly without fault + to drink + suggestion)

In Burmese, the word thout (to drink) is used for "taking" medicine in both liquid and tablet forms.

hsa1-ya2-woon2 ta1-kha2 deare3 khau2 lite

Call the doctor at once!

(doctor + at once; immediately + call + emphatic suggestion)

Waking up in the morning

ate-ya2 sau3-zau3 hta1 ba2

Please wake up early!

(bed + early + wake up (or) stand upright + suggestion)

Preparing to go to work

mate-kut hla1-hla1 pa1 pa1 lain3

Put on the make-up (beautifully); put on cosmetics to make oneself attractive and beautiful.

(cosmetic + beautifully + rub)

Morning Rush Hour

ma1-net tine3 — every morning (morning [noun] + every [particle])

a-loat — work (noun)

sau3-zau3 — early (adverb)

thwa3 — go (verb)

deare2 — affirmation ending word (postpositional marker)

ma1-net tine3 a-loat sau3-zau3 thwa3 deare2

[he, she, I] go(es) to work early every morning.

but-sa1-ka3 — bus (noun)

a-kja2-ji3 — for a long time (adverb)

soun1 — wait (verb)

nay2 ya1 — had to (particle)

deare2 — affirmation ending word. (postpositional marker)

but-sa1-ka3 a-kja2-ji3 soun1 nay2 ya1 deare2

I had to wait for the bus for a long time.

At Work

a-loat kjo3-jo3 za3-za3 loat ba2

Work diligently.

(work [noun] + diligently + work [verb] + polite suggestion)

za1-ga3 cho2-cho2 tha2-dtha2 pyau3 tut deare2

(She) can speak pleasantly; Her speech is pleasant to hear.

(speech + pleasantly + speak + able to + ending affirmation)

a-loat ma1-pyet ma1-kwet tet ba2

Please show up for work without fail.

(work + without fail + attend + polite suggestion)

kjeare2-jeare2 pyau3 ba2

Please speak louder!

(loudly or louder + speak + suggestion)

a-chain2 — time (noun)

thate — too much (adverb)

ma1 — not (particle)

pfyone3 — to waste (verb)

ba2 — polite emphasis (particle)

neare1 — negative imperative (particle)

a-chain2 thate ma1-pfyone3 ba2 neare1

Don't waste too much time!

Lunch Hour

let kja1 kja1 na1 na1 hsay3

Wash your hands properly!

(hand + good + properly + to wash)

Although let is a singular form meaning hand, it is understood to refer to both hands of a single person. The plural let dway2 refers to hands of many people. (See lesson 32 for singular and plural terms.)

kha1-na1 ta1-pfyoat a-na3 yu2 meare2

I am going to take a short rest!

(momentarily + a rest [noun] + to take + going to)

Near the end of Shift

na2-yi2 ma1-kja2 kha1-na1 kji1

Watch the clock every now and then.

(clock or watch + not + take a long time + again and again + to look or to glance)

This word is interesting. ma1-kja2 kha1-na1 is a coined word using


which means not + take a long time, and

kha1-na1 kha1-na1

which means again and again. So,

ma1-kja2 kha1-na1 means you do something again and again before a long time. The appropriate English translation is every now and then.

End of Shift

a-khu1 beare3 a-loat hsin3 deare2

I just finished work, as in "the shift is just over."

(now + just + work + go down + affirmation)

Back home

ain2 — house or home (noun)

chau3-chau3 moon2 moon2 — smoothly; smooth-sailing without obstacles on the way (adverb)

pyan2 yout la2 — return (verb) (return + arrive + suffix "come")

byi2 — ending word "has/have" (postpositional marker)

ain2 chau3-chau3 moon2 moon2 pyan2 yout la2 byi2

[He, she, I] has/have come back home safely!

pfa1-nut — shoes, slippers, footwear (noun)

go2 — to (postpositional marker that makes slipper the "object" of the sentence.)

de2 hma2 — here (pronoun + postpositional marker)

thut-thut yut-yut — neatly (adverb)

choot — remove from body; take off (verb)

ba2 — polite ending word (particle)

pfa1-nut go2 de2 hma2 thut-thut yut-yut choot ba2

Please remove your shoes neatly here.

Time to cook

hta1-min3 ga1-mun3 ga1-dun3 chet

Cook rice in a rush.

(rice + in a rush + to cook)

hin3 — dishes such as fish, meat, chicken, and vegetable to be eaten with rice (noun)

dway2 — (particle that makes the noun plural)

pfyit ga1-dut-hsun3 — carelessly; not properly done (adverb)

ma1 — negative (particle)

chet — cook (verb)

ba2 — polite word (particle)

neare1 — negative imperative telling not to (particle)

hin3 dway2 pfyit ga1-dut-hsun3 ma1-chet ba2 neare1

Please don't anyhow cook the dishes.

Taking a bath

ay3-ay3 hsay3-zay3 goun3 shau2

unhurriedly shampoo the hair.

(unhurriedly + head + wash hair or clothes)

sain2-byay2 na1-byay2 yay2-cho3

leisurely take a bath. (leisurely + bathe)

Washing dishes

ba1-gun2 — plates (noun)

sin2 — be clean; be free from impurities(verb)

oun2 — in order to (conjunction)

thay2-dthay2 cha2-ja2 — thoroughly (adverb)

hsay3 — wash (verb)

ba1-gun2 sin2 oun2 thay2-dthay2 cha2-ja2 hsay3

Thoroughly wash the dishes.

yay2 — water (noun)

lone2 — keep something tight (verb)

oun2 — in order to (conjunction)

beare2-lo2 — how (adverb)

pate — close (verb)

ma1-leare3 — ending question word.

yay2 lone2 oun2 beare2-lo2 pate ma1-leare3

How do I shut the faucet tight so that water will not be dripping?

The word oun2 is a positive word which means "to pass", such as in "to pass the exam" (verb). It can be appended to several other words as conjunction to mean "in order to make it happen". For example, sin2 oun2 means "in order to make it clean", where sin2 means "be spotlessly clean".

Family time

ray2-de2-yo2 — radio

a-kjeare2 ji3 — loudly

na3 htoun2 — listen

ray2-de2-yo2 a-kjeare2 ji3 na3 htoun2

listen to the radio so loudly.


toe3-doe3 — opposite of "loudly"; in low volume

beare3 — only

pfwin1 — open

TV toe3-doe3 beare3 pfwin1

Don't turn on the TV volume so loud; watch TV with low volume

Note that in Burmese, the above sentence is not a negative imperative, but a positive suggestion.

Say your prayers

hsu1 a-myeare3 toun3

Always say your Grace [Christian rituals]

(wish or trophy + always + to ask for)

nya1-dine3 pfa1-ya3 hmun2-hmun2 shit-kho3

Say prayers regularly every night.

(night + every + God or the Buddha or a symbol representing the Buddha + regularly + to pay respect)

Time to sleep

kha1-na1-nay2 ate-chin2 mu3-du3 neare1 mi3 pate meare2

Later on, [I will be] sleepily switching off the light.

(later on + sleepily + with + light or fire + to close + going to)

Take note of the omission of "you" and "I" in the above Burmese phrases. They are implicitly implied and unnecessary in such phrases.

Buying things

pike-hsun2 a-khu1 pay3

Pay me money now! (money + now + to pay)

a-pup-tine3 — every week (week + every)

hmun2-hmun2 — regularly (adverb)

zay3 — market (noun)

weare2 — buy (verb)

deare2 — affirmation (postpositional marker)

a-pup-tine3 hmun2-hmun2 zay3 weare2 deare2

I shop regularly every week.

Myanmar housewives probably shop for dry goods every week. Majority of households in Myanmar buy fresh vegetables and small portions of meat, fish, or chicken almost every day in the neighborhood market. There are also sellers — usually women — going around some neighborhood every morning, each carrying a big basket of grocery items on their heads and crying out the melody of their signature voices.

Adverbs should be studied after the verbs. In Burmese language grammar, particles and postpositional markers are also important because verbs or adverbs alone will not work. Those parts of speech will be discussed later in detail.

Color Codes: nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, conjunctions, particles, postpositional markers, interjections.

Read this page with Myanmar Script

What's the Opposite of Loudly?

myan2-myan2 thwa3 MP3 Audio File

means "go fast".

pfyay3-byay3 thwa3 means

"go slow".

kjeare2-jeare2 MP3 Audio File

means loudly.

And the opposite of kjeare2-jeare2 is toe3-doe3. MP3 Audio File

I am lost for word as to how to say the opposite of "loudly" in English. Is there an English adverb which means "in low volume"? "Quietly" or "Silently" means no volume at all. You can say "whisper", "hush..hush" or speak "softly", but how do I tell someone to listen to the radio in low volume using the opposite of "loudly"?

In Burmese you don't indirectly say: "Please turn down the volume" because you can directly say: "Please listen unloudly." I have never heard of the word "unloudly" in English before. Have you? And I have never heard of anyone saying "Please listen softly or faintly" either.

Could it be that there is no English word for toe3-doe3 because English speakers always turn up the speakers and never play their music toe3-doe3?

By the way, the Burmese phrase is

toe3-doe3 pfwin1 MP3 Audio File

(in low volume + open) to tell the teenager to turn on the latest electronic gadget in low volume.

Added Note (2022): The closest word I am looking for is lowly I finally found it in Merriam-Webster dictionary. But, I am not so sure if anyone has used it in the daily conversation: "Please speak lowly."


Common Burmese Adverbs (Sortable)
a-khu1 now
a-kja2 ji3 for a long time
a-kjeare2 ji3 loudly
a-kji3 a-kjeare2 heavily; violently
a-neare3-ngeare2 just a little
a-myeare3 always
a-mya3 ji3 a lot
a-myan2 fast
a-thay2-a-kjay2 deadly; fiercely
a-yan3 too much
ate-chin2 mu3-du3 sleepily; drowsily
chet-chin3 immediately
chau3-chau3 moon2-moon2 safely; smooth sailing
cho2-cho2 tha2-dtha2 pleasantly (manner of speech)
da1-gu3 da1-ga1 do something out of one's way
da1-yain3 da1-yine2 (walk) unsteadily
da1-zay1 da1-zoun3 casually observe (characters and actions)
ga1-bya2 ga1-ya2 in a hurry
ga1-dome2 ga1-yin2 shaking with fear
ga1-mun3 ga1-dun3 in a rush
ga1-youn2 chout-cha3 fearfully and incoherently with phobia
hla1-hla1 pa1 pa1 beautifully
hmun2-hmun2 regularly
hmun2-hmun2 kun2-kun2 truthfully
hnay3-hnay3 kway3-kway3 sluggishly
hsite-hsite myite-myite as scheduled; without a hitch
hsoun1-jwa3 hsoun1-jwa3 arrogantly
htut ta1-leare3-leare3 repeatedly (say, complain)
ka1-mout ka1-ma1 in disorder
kha1-na1 ta1-pfyoat momentarily
kha1-nau2 kha1-neare1 flimsily built (with shaky structure)
khut myan2-myan2 rather quickly
kja1 ja1-na1 na1 properly
kjeare2-jeare2 loudly; louder
kjo3-jo3 za3-za3 diligently
ko3-lo3 kun1-lun1 obstructively
koun3-koun3 nicely
kut-thi3 kut-thut in inconsiderate manner that makes things difficult for others
let-pu3 let-kjut caught in the act red-handed
lo2-lo2 meare2-meare2 just in case
lone3-wa1 absolutely none
ma1-kja2 kha1-na1 every now and then
ma1-hti2-lay3-za3 disrespectfully
ma1-myin2 ma1-kun3 gropingly (in the dark)
ma1-pyet ma1-kwet without fail
ma1-shu1 ma1-hla1 in an awful and shameful way (losing the game, etc.)
ma1-ta1-ya3 unjustly; unfairly
ma1-tau2 ta1-hsa1 accidentally
ma1-thi1 ma1-tha2 unnoticeably; without being able to detect easily
ma1-ya1 ma1-ka1 by all means
ma1-yut ma1-na3 non-stop; unceasingly
mya3-mya3 a lot; in large quantity
myan2-myan2 fast
na1-mau2 na1-meare1 heedlessly; carelessly
neare3-neare3 a little
no3-no3 kja3-ja3 vigilantly
pfa1-yo2 pfa1-yeare3 in disarray
pfau2-bau2 yway2-yway2 in friendly way
pfyay3-byay3 slowly
pfyit ga1-dut-hsun3 anyhow do something; not properly done
pyau2-byau2 shwin2-shwin2 happily
pyin3-pyin3 yi1-yi1 lazily
sate-shay2 let-shay2 patiently
sau3-zau3 early
sain2-byay2 na1-byay2 leisurely; take one's time
ta1-kha2 deare3 at once
ta1-lweare3-ta1-chau2 erroneously (deviate from goal)
thate so much
thay2-dthay2 cha2-cha2 carefully
thet-thoun1 thet-tha2 comfortably
thut-thut yut-yut neatly
thwet-thwet let-let briskly
toe3-doe3 lowly; opposite of loudly
wome3-wome3 dine3-dine3 noisily
ya2-yi2 temporarily
yay2-bone2-ya1 generally
yeare3-yeare3 tin3-tin3 bravely; boldly
yi3-ti3 ya3-ta3 deceptively (try to fool someone)
yin3-yin3 hni3-hni3 cordially
yoat-ta1-yet unexpectedly (appear)
yoat-yoat yoat-yoat in a turmoil
yo2-yo2 thay2-dthay2 with care; with respect
youn2 leare2-leare2 indecisively; not knowing what to do
yu1-yu1 ya1 ya1 tenderly
a-ngan3 ma1-ya1 without restraining the desire
ay3-ay3 hsay3-zay3 leisurely; unhurriedly