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Lesson Transcript


Hi everybody! Jay here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Thai questions.
The Question
The question for this lesson is: Does Thai have a past tense?
Probably the main challenge of Thai language is that Thai’s past tense is quite ambiguous. In fact, there’s no difference between past and present tense in Thai. In this lesson, we’ll learn how to address the past in Thai sentences.
To address the past and to distinguish it from the present tense, we use adverbs of time, either at the beginning or end of the sentence. Adverbs of time include เมื่อวาน mûuea waan (“yesterday”), เมื่อวันจันทร์ mûuea wan jan (“last Monday”), ปีที่แล้ว bpii thîi láaeo (“last year”), เดือนที่แล้ว duuean thîi láaeo (“last month”), and วันก่อน wan gàawn (“the day before yesterday”).
Let’s see some examples that show how we can put these either at the beginning or the end of the sentence. For example, ฉันไปอเมริกาปีที่แล้ว chǎn bpai à-mee-rí-gaa bpii thîi láaeo. (“I went to America last year.”) In present tense, it’s simply ฉันไปอเมริกา chǎn bpai à-mee-rí-gaa. (“I go to America.”)
We can also put adverbs of time at the beginning of the sentence. For example เมื่อวาน ไปตลาดมา mûuea waan bpai dtà-làat maa. (“(I) went to the market yesterday.”) The sentence ไปตลาด bpai dtà-làat, “(I) go to the market,” is in present form only because there are no adverbs of time.
So, if you want to tell someone you did something in the past, you can make sentences like you would with present tense, but add an adverb of time. This way, they’ll know you’re talking about a past action.


Pretty simple, right?
If you have any more questions, please leave a comment below!
Bye! สวัสดีค่ะ (sà-wàt-dii khâ)