Does Thai have Tenses?

Being able to express the timing of an action is a key skill to acquire when learning a foreign language. Did it happen yesterday? Is it going to happen next year? Or maybe it’s happening right now, as you read this?

In most languages, tenses are used to accomplish this. A tense is a grammatical concept that can be applied to verbs through conjugation. For example, in English you could express the past, present, and future this way:

But there’s some good news for Thai learners: There are no Thai tenses you need to learn! Thai is a tenseless language and we have other (much simpler) ways of expressing time as it relates to actions.

Ex. I go to the market. ==> phom pay ta-laat

I will go to the market. ==> Phom ja pay ta-laat

I am going to the market ==> Phom kam-lang pay ta-laat

I went to the market.==> Phom pay ta-laad laew

Present continuous: patten ==> S + gam-lang + Verb

Future : patten ==> S + Ja + Verb

Past tense : patten ==> S + Verb + Laew

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