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Lesson Transcript

Intro

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?
Explanation
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.

Outro

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

7 Comments

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ThaiPod101.com
Saturday at 6:30 pm
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What Thai learning question do you have?

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ThaiPod101.com
Wednesday at 12:12 pm
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Hello Adreas,


Thank you very much. มา in the sentence เมื่อวานไปตลาดมา, is not that necessary but it make us feel complete when we have it at the end. It's also give us feeling of telling what we have done for that day. Not just a short and distances feeling "เมื่อวานไปตลาด" Yesterday I went to the market!

Hope you understand. Please feel free to let me know if you have any questions.


Have a great day.

Parisa

Team ThaiPod101.com

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Andreas
Thursday at 8:52 pm
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Why is the มา (maa) necessary in the end of the sentence เมื่อวานไปตลาดมา?

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ThaiPod101.com
Tuesday at 7:57 pm
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Hello Mary,


Thank you very much for your comment and question. Yes, you can simply say "ไปตลาด" and if possible say a couple more things you done. Hope that's help. Please let me know if you have any future questions. I will be glad to help. We wish you will have a good progress with Thai.


Have a nice day.


Parisa

Team ThaiPod101.com

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Mary
Monday at 7:22 am
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So if someone asks you, "เมื่อวานคุณทำอะไร?"

Can you respond simply with "ไปตลาด"?

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ThaiPod101.com
Tuesday at 10:02 pm
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Hello Roma,


Thank you very much for your comment and question. For your question, เมื่อวานซืน (mûuea-waan-suuen) means "the day before yesterday" but วันก่อน (wan gàawn) means "day before" which not specific, so you can put number in front like 2 - 3 วันก่อน wan gàawn "a few days ago" . Hope that's help. Please let me know if you have any future questions. I will be glad to help. We wish you will have a good progress with your Thai.


Have a good day.

Parisa

Team ThaiPod101.com

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Roma
Monday at 3:42 pm
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Hello,

Is "the day before yesterday": เมื่อวานซืน (mûuea-waan-suuen) or วันก่อน (wan gàawn)?

Are both corrects? Which one do you use more often? In which context do you use one more than the other?

Many thanks.