Lesson 12 = Bòt thêe sìb sŏrng = บทที่ ๑๒

How to talk about past events.

There are a few ways to discuss about past action, but for this lesson, I will pick the simplest and most commonly used method: ได้//dâi

Wait, didn’t we learn before that ได้ means ‘can’ or ‘to be able to’. Yes, that’s right. But did you remember the pattern:

Subject + Action (+ Object) + dâi

Here it means the subject can (or is able to) do the action (onto the object).

But now, we are talking about:

Subject + dâi + Action (+ Object)

In this case, dâi actually means ‘to get to (do something)’: i.e. the subject gets to do the action (onto the object). Somehow it feels like a present tense in English, no? In fact, it can be referred to both past and present tenses in Thai.

ฉันไปเที่ยวเชียงใหม่

Chăn pai thiâo Chiang Mài

I go to Chiang Mai for a holiday.

ฉันได้ไปเที่ยวเชียงใหม่

Chăn dâi pai thiâo Chiang Mài

I get to go to Chiang Mai for a holiday. OR

I went to Chiang Mai for a holiday.

To make it clearer that you are not talking about past event, you can do this:

ฉันจะได้ไปเที่ยวเชียงใหม่

Chăn (jà) dâi pai thiâo Chiang Mài

I get to go to Chiang Mai for a holiday.

= I will get to go to Chiang Mai for a holiday.

= I am going to go to Chiang Mai for a holiday.

Speaking of dâi being in front of an action, one of my students suggested this:

Subject + dâi + Action (+ Object)

Subject + did + Action (+ Object)

Easier to remember, right?

As mentioned earlier, this form of past tense is very common and it is very useful when you are talking to your friend about what happened yesterday or simply telling your life story to someone.

And now it comes to negative sentence. Guess what, it cannot be any simpler than this:

Subject + mâi dâi + Action (+ Object)

ฉันไม่ได้ไปเที่ยวเชียงใหม่

Chăn mâi dâi pai thiâo Chiang Mài

I did not go to Chiang Mai for a holiday.

ผมไม่ได้พูดว่าคุณไม่ดี

Phŏm mâi dâi phôod wâh khun mâi dee

I did not say that you were not good.

Question:

Explain the differences among-

Khăo pai mâi dâi

Khăo mâi dâi pai

Chăn tham dâi

Chăn dâi tham

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