Está en la página 1de 46


3.1 Verb phrases in English 94

3.1.1 Verb forms 94

3.1.2 Types of verbs 97

3.1.3 Finite and non-finite 100

3.2 Verb phrases in Thai 103

3.2.1 Main verbs 104

3.2.2 Auxiliaries 111

3.3 Negative markers m Thai 118

3.4 Complements in English 125

3.5 Complements in Thai 127

3.6 Tense markers in Thai 134

3.7 Versatile verbs and serial verbs in Thai 136



This chapter deals with another key element of the syntactic constituents.
It first provides a description of verb phrases in English in some detail. In
the succeeding sections, it describes in detail the characteristics of verb
phrases in Thai. Differences and similarities of verb phrases in English and
Thai are compared.

3.1 Characteristics of Verb Phrases in English

A verb is a term used in the grammatical classification of words to refer to

class of words which denote a process or state of being. It is a central
element in a clause structure. It can be long and complex, but it usually
consists of only two or three words. A verb phrase is the name of the
construction which can appear as the verb element within a clause (Crystal,
2004: 101).

3.1.1 Verb Forms

The verb phrase is a phrase headed by a verb. Without a verb, a sequence

of words does not constitute a verb phrase. Some verbs require either a
noun phrase or an adjective phrase, for example She becomes rich She
is a doctor while many verbs exclude adjective phase, for example
*She reads rich. Some verbs require a noun phrase, while others exclude

noun phrases, for example The dog chased the cat *They laugh
money. There are verbs that allow two noun phrases, I gave John a book.
There are verbs that require a noun phrase and prepositional phrase, as in
She put a book on the table.
Verb phrases in English can consist of just the main verb:
The boy reads a book every day.

The verb phrases can have one or more auxiliaries added to the main
verb. The main verbs are either regular ( such as walk, like, want), or
irregular ( such as buy, see, go). 'Regular' means that we can state all the
verb forms of an English verb once we know its base form. Irregular verbs
are like regular verbs in having -s and —ing forms. For example, the
irregular verb break has the forms breaks, breaking, just as the regular
verb walk has the forms walks, walking. With regular verbs we can
predict that the past tense forms and past participle forms are identical and
formed with the -ed ending added to the base:
The Base Past Form Past Participle

Walk Walked Walked

However, we cannot predict the past tense or past participle forms of

irregular verbs from the base:
The Base Past Form Past Participle

Break Broke Broken

A regular English verb has four forms (Leech, 2007:316-318):

- the base call

- the - s form calls
- the -ing form calling
- the -ed form called

An irregular verb varies from three e.g. put, puts, putting to eighf be,
am, is, are, was, were, being, been.
The base form is used in all persons of the present tense except the third
person singular:
I / you/ we/they like fast food.
It is also used in the imperative, and the infinitive:
Come here
Shut the door
We want to go after four.
The - s form is used in the third person singular of the present tense, for
She sings very beautifully.
The student/Everybody wants to have a good time.
The - ed form is used for both the past tense and the past participle.
- unlike the present tense, the past tense has only one form in all
she/he / they/the boys/everyone waited for the bus.
- The past participle is used with the form of have to form the
perfect aspect:
My parents have bought the present for me.
He has asked me to contact you.
- the past participle is used with the form of be to form the passive:
She was given the special gift on her birthday.
The plans have been changed.
- the past participle can become an adjective and can modify a noun:
His injured back puts stop to his career.
The - ing form is used -
- to form the progressive e.g. they are working.
- to form the -ing participle clauses:

He falls asleep while waiting for me in the car.
The -ing form can become an adjective and can modify a noun:
It is a boring movie.
It is an interesting book.

3.1.2 Kinds of Verbs

The grammatical class of verbs may be divided into two groups: auxiliary
verbs and lexical verbs.
Auxiliary verbs conventionally known as 'helping verbs', are restricted
both in form and in distribution. The auxiliary verbs help the main verb to
express important nuances of meaning, such as the time at which an action
takes place (Crystal, 2004: 102-104).
There are two types of auxiliary verbs: primary auxiliaries, and modal
auxiliaries. The primary auxiliaries are capable of acting both as
auxiliaries and as lexical verb. Be, have and do fall into this category.
They can occur as main verbs in their own right.
For instance:
They are rich.
I have a book.
I do my homework.
Elections are imminent.
They can act as auxiliaries of other verbs. They are responsible for the
generation of both the progressive and perfect aspects and the passive
voice. For instance:
The dog is running.
They have left.
The houses are destroyed by fire.
They do not come.

The modal verbs include can, could, may, might, will, would, shall,
should, must, ought to, dare, need.
The modals are responsible for the particular mood of the verb phrase.
They serve to indicate such moods as permission {can/could), intention
{will/would), and compulsion {must), future time and ability. They do not
have -s inflection of the third person singular present tense. For example:
They will come here tomorrow.
If they work hard, they will succeed.
She can speak English very fluently.
You must finish the work now.

In addition, they express possibilities and probabilities, politeness or

The car should arrive tomorrow, (it is likely, but not certain.)
Could I borrow your pen? (more polite)
Angela Downing and Philip Locke, in their book A University Course in
English Grammar, added another type of auxiliaries called 'lexical
auxiliary' (2002: 316-317). According to them, the lexical auxiliary is sub-
divided into three groups: l)be, 2) have, and 3) a modal idiom.

1) Be+Lexical item+V-to-inf
Be able to They are able to pay back.
Be about to The plane is about to take off.
Be due to He is due to arrive at any moment.
Be likely to it is likely to rain.

2) Have/Have got + V-to-inf

Have to There has to be a solution.
Have got to We 've got to finish the work.

3) Modal idioms with had and would+ V-inf
Had better you had better come back tomorrow.
Would rather I would rather stay here with you.

Unlike primary auxiliaries they can never occur as main verbs.

Syntactically, the auxiliaries differ from the lexical verbs in four ways.
First, negation: they may be negated directly, e.g. after auxiliary I could
not came, but not * I came not. Second, inversion: auxiliaries may invert
with the subject, for example in interrogatives. Could you come?, but not
* Came you? Third, code: this refers to reduced, elliptical forms,
possible with auxiliaries:
A. Could you come tomorrow?
B. Yes, I could.
It is uncommon with lexical verbs: ? Yes, I came.

Finally, emphatic affirmation: auxiliaries can freely and easily be

stressed, as in I COULD come. He IS coming. He CAN come (Gramly,
2002: 103).

Traditionally lexical verbs are defined as denoting actions or states, for

example, eat, drink, speak, run, understand, hate. The first four of these
words denote actions: that is, in doing these things we perform some
physical action; while the final two denote states: we can do these things
without performing any physical action (Kuiper and Allan, 2004: 28).
Defined in a new perspective, lexical verbs are those which can act as the
main verb in a verb phrase. They are capable of contrasts of tense, aspect,
person and number.

3.1.3 Finite and Non-finite Phrases

Geoffrey Leech and Jan Svartvik (2007:413) have distinguished two kinds
of verb phrases in English: finite and non-finite.
Finite verb phrases may consist of just a finite verb:
They take the issue very seriously.
Finite verb phrases have tense distinction:
He learns English, (present).
He learned English, (past).
There is a person and number concord between the subject and the finite
He reads the newspaper every morning. , . ^
They read the newspaper every mommg.

In finite verb phrases consisting of more than one verb, the finite verb is
the first one as seen in the examples below:
They are dancing.
The scientists have been working on the project for many
The finite verb is the element of the verb phrase which has present or past
tense. In the examples, dancing, and been working are non-finite verb
Finite verb phrases fiinction as the verb element of the main clauses and
most sub-clauses. There is usually a person and number concord between
the subject and the finite verb.

The non-finite forms of the verb are:

- the infinitive: (to) call

- the -ing participle calling

- the -ed participle called

Finite and non-finite verb phrases can be compared in the following

Finite verb phrases are the bold-printed words.

She cleans the table.

He smokes heavily.
The boy is sleeping in the room.
He has lived here since 2000.
Non-finite verb phrases are the bold-printed words.

I like to get up early in the morning.

To smoke like that is dangerous to health.
When asked to help she never refiised.
I found him working.
Having finished the work, the employees go home.

With verbs considered, it is clear that some constituents of verbs are

optional. Some are obligatory. For instance, most verbs allow adverbs of
time, as in He finished the work yesterday. The time adverb 'yesterday' is
optional. There are verbs, in particular the copula 'be', which need to be
complemented by some constituents, for example, a noun phrase as in He
is a soldier, an adjective phrase as in He is strongs a prepositional
phrase as in The concert was on Monday.

When a verb phrase consists of more than one verb, there are rules for how
the verbs can be combined. Basic verb combinations are as follows
(Leech, 2007: 414):

(A) Modal - a modal auxiliary followed by a verb in the infinitive:

She can do a lot of things.
You may leave anytime you want.
(B) Perfect - a form of have followed by a verb in the -ed participle
We have already finished the assignment.
The two sides had reached an agreement.
( C ) Progressive - a form of be followed by a verb in the -ing
The horse is running very fast.
They were dancing.
(D) Passive - a form of be followed by a verb in the -ed participle
The man was killed last night.
The country is ranked third in the world in terms of
economic growth.

The basic combinations may combine with each other to make up longer
strings of verbs in one single verb phrase as illustrated in the examples:
A+B He must have typed the letter.
A+C He may be typing at the moment.
A+ D The letter will be typed by him.
B+ C He has been typing all morning.
B+ D The letters have been typed already.
C+ D The letters are being typed.

It is to be observed that the order in which the auxiliaries occur is fixed.
Combinations have to be in appropriate order to be meaningful.

3.2 Characteristics of Verb Phrases in Thai

Verbs in Thai are different from the verbs in English in several ways. As
an isolating language, Thai does not have verbs which show inflection for
such categories as aspect, gender, number, tense, person, voice and mood.
For example, the verb /tham/ 'do/work' remains the same regardless of
aspects, tenses, persons, etc. while the verb 'work' in English will change
according to tenses, aspects, and persons, etc.
The verb 'work' in English

She/he/ the man works.

We/they/the men work.

They/she/ the men worked yesterday.

The verb /tham/ 'work' in Thai

/khao tham/ 'He works.'

/phuakkhao tham/ 'They work.'

/chan tham/ 'I work.'

3.2.1 Constituents of Verb Phrases in Thai
Verb phrases in English may consist of either one main or of a main verb
preceded by one or more auxiliary verbs, for example:
He gives an apple.
He has been challenged.
Verb phrases in Thai like English equivalent can have only one main
constituent or more than one constituents. Verb phrases in Thai are
composed of three constituents, namely, (1) the main verb (v), (2) the
auxiliaries (aux) that are sub-divided into two: 2,1) the pre-verb
auxiliary (pre-v), 2.2) the post-verb auxiliary (post-v). As these
elements are the constituents of a verb phrase, so they are referred to as the
verb phrase constituents (Panupong, 1970: 83-86 ).
Each constituent will be dealt with in turn in the sections which follow. Main Verb

I. The main verb consists of one of the following:
a) a simple verb
b) a compound verb
c) a sequence of a pre-verb and a verb
d) a sequence of a verb and a post-verb
e) a sequence of a pre-verb, a verb and a post-verb
f) a sequence of verbs, either with or without accompanying
pre-verbs or post-verbs
g) a sequence of two verbs linked by the verbal linker /hai/,
with or without accompanying pre-verbs or post-verbs.

A) The main verb consisting of a simple verb, e.g.

/di.7 'good'

/puad/ 'pain'

/haiy/ 'lose'

/ hiew/ 'liungry'

/ lenV 'play'

/hen/ 'see'

/ dem/ 'walk'

/tha:m/ 'ask'

/khit/ 'think'

B) The main verb consists of a compound verb. The compound

verb in Thai is the verb with two or more words. These words
when separated have an independent meaning different from
that of the compound verb. For example, /khao-jai/
'understand' has two words each of which has its independent
meaning, /khao/ literally means 'enter' while /jai/ literally means
'mind or heart.'

The main verb consisting of a compound verb, e.g.

/ dem-tha:ng/ 'travel'

/ ru:-tua/ 'aware'

/ tang- jai / 'determine'

/ rap-pa".k/ 'promise'

/long-tabian/ 'register'

/tatsin-jai/ 'decide'

/jai-di:/ 'generous/kind'

C) The main verb consisting of a sequence of a pre-verb and a verb.

The pre-verb is described in more detail in the sections on

Pre-v V

/pai ha:/
go see
'goto see'

/ ya:k sue/
like buy
'would like to buy'

/khong ma::/
probably come
'probably come'

/ tong pai/
must go
'must go'

Generally, the pre-verb auxiliaries do not require English translation

although literal meaning may be possible in some cases.

D) The main verb consisting of a sequence of a verb and a post-
verb. The post-verb is described in details in the sections on
V Post-v

/yaiy pai/
'move to'

/khaiy pai/
'sell it'

/jam wai/
'remember >

/thing wai/
'leave it'

/phu:t sia/
'speak it'

The post-verb auxiliaries shown in the above expressions do not have the
equivalents in English. Their English translation is not necessary even
though a literal translation is possible.

E) The main verb consisting of a sequence of a pre-verb, a verb and
a post-verb, e.g.

Pre-v V Post-v

/ma: ao pai/
'take it away'

/ao kep wai/

'keep it'

/kamlang lap yu:/

'(someone) is sleeping'

/ ma: kit du:/

'think it over'

/ma: du: sia/

'see it now'

/juanja set iaew/

almost finish
'be almost finished'

/yang pit yu:/
still close
'(the door) is still closed'

It is important to reemphasize that the pre-verb and post -verb auxiliaries

in Thai when used as verb constituents normally do not require English
translation. They are generally complementary to the main verb. They are
used to indicate the tone of the verb phrase. For example, in the first
phrase /ma: ao pai/ 'take it away' has the tone of command. Literally,
each word has its own meaning, /ma:/ 'come', /ao/ 'take', /pai/ 'go'. The
pre-verb and the post-verb words in Thai are given the equivalents in
English when it is possible to do so.

F) The main verb consisting of a sequence of verbs, either with or

without accompanying pre-verb or post-verbs:

Pre-v V Post-v

/dai mawng hen/

'can see'

/kit awk/
think can
'can think'

/khong khoiy yu:/

probably wait
'(be) probably waiting'

G) The main verb consisting of a sequence of two verbs linked by
the verbal linker /hai/. The word occurs between two verbs,
with or without accompanying pre-verbs or post-verbs. The
word, /hai/ as the main verb means 'give'. However, the word
as used as a verbal linker requires no English translation. The
verbal linker in Thai is different from the linking signals in
English which convey meanings of the expressions. The linking
signals in English are to conclude, besides, and, or, when, if,
because, yet, meanwhile, etc.

Verbal Linker

/nang hai sabaiy/

sit comfort
'sit comfortably'

/ kit hai di:/

think good
'think carefully'

/ ma: hai dai/

come can
'must come'

/tawt hai suk/

fry cook
'fiy until it is cooked'

3.2.1. 2 Auxiliaries

Auxiliary verbs in English which have been described earlier in the

chapter come before the main verb, for example "can go, must
work, will arrive, may sleep". In addition, they have to be in a fixed
order, for example he may have been driving a car, not *he have
may been driving a car. The auxiliaries in English are optional and
precede the main verb. Their structure is in a strict order.
Combinations have to be grammatically acceptable. The rule also
applies to the auxiliary verbs in Thai.
Vichin Panupong (1970) has divided the auxiliaries in Thai into
the pre-verb auxiliary which always precedes the main verb and
the post- verb auxiliary which always follows it. Shoichi Iwasaki
and Preeya Ingkaphirom (2005:133ff) has classified the auxiliaries
in Thai based on their functions. According to them, there are two
types of the auxiliaries: one is deontic and the other is epistemic.
The former concerns the speaker's intention, obligation and
permission. This type of the auxiliaries includes /tong/ 'have to',
/khuan/ 'should', /n"a/ 'should'. The latter adds information
regarding the nature of proposition. It includes /n'^a/ 'should',
/khong/ 'probably', /a:t/ 'may'. The present work follows the
auxiliaries as described by Vichin Panupong because his work is
focused more on the structure of the verb phrases. It is in line with
the objective of this research.

Pre- Verb Auxiliaries

The pre-verb auxiliary consists of one or more of the pre-verbal

auxiliaries (Panupong, 1970: 87-90).

Examples of one pre-verbal auxiliary

Pre-verbal Aux V

/khong ma:/
probably come
' probably come'

/kamlang pai/
-ing go
'be going'

The word /kamlang/ '-ing form' refers to an ongoing action. It may

be literally translated as 'currently'.
/perng ma:/
just come
'just came'

/kueap thueng/
nearly reach
'nearly reach'

/makja cha:/
likely slow
'likely to be slow'

/dai hen/
already see
'had already seen'

Examples of two or three pre-verbal auxiliaries

Pre-v V

/khongja kuey dai-yin/

may ever hear
'may have heard'

/ kamiang ja pai /
-ing will go
'be about to go'

/a:tja tawng yawmrap/

may have to accept
'may have to accept'

/ khong ja na:n /
probably will long
'will probably be long'

/ khongkhoy yangchua/
probably get better
'probably get better'

/bang ern phop/

happen meet
'happen to meet'
/juanja pai/
almost go
' about to go'

The pre-verbal auxiliaries in Thai are similar to the auxiliaries in English
in that they come before the main verb. Many auxiliary verbs in Thai can
appear with /ja/ which is optional. The following are the auxiliary verbs
which co-occur with/ja/:

/kueap ja/ 'almost, nearly'

/thaep ja/ 'almost, nearly'
/diaw ja/ 'immediately'
/chak ja/ 'begin to'
/n"a: ja/ 'should'
/a:t ja/ 'could'
/juanja/ 'about to'

Some pre-verbal auxiliaries /tong/ 'must', /khuan/ 'should', /na:/ 'should',

/khong/ 'probably' and /a:t/ 'may' convey a different level of confidence.
/tong/ indicates the speaker's highest confidence, /khuan/ and /na: (ja)/
imply medium confidence, and /khong/ and /a:t (ja)/ express lower
confidence (Iwasaki, 2005:137):
/tong/ 'must/have to' indicates a requirement:

/khun tong thamnga:n/

(you) must work
'(you) must work.'

The sentence indicates that you are required to work. It shows a certainty
of proposition.
/khuan/ 'should' indicates an obligation.

/khun khuan tham/
you should do (something)
'you should do (something).'

/na: (ja)/ 'should/ought to' is more subjective. It expresses the speaker's

hope or expectation.
/rao na:ja chuay khao/
we should help he
'we should help him.'
/khong (ja)/ 'may, probably, likely' marks a lower degree of speaker's
/phom khongja rerm wanni/
i probably start today
'I probably start today.'

Post-Verb Auxiliaries
The post-verb auxiliary consists of the words /yu:/ or /laew/ or the
sequence /yu:laew/ (Panupong, 1970: 90).

V Post-v

/kin yu:/
eat -ing
'be eating'

/thamnga:n yu:/
work -ing
'be working'

/khoy yu:/
wait -ing
'be waiting'

/ma: laew/
come already
'has/have already come'

/tham laew/
do already
'has/have already done'

/suk laew/
cook already
'(food) is cooked'

/khoy yu: laew/

wait -ing already
'has/have been waiting'

It should be clear that the word /yu:/ is a suffix used to indicate the
ongoing action. It always follows the verb. As there is no exact equivalent
in English, so the -ing form (progressive aspect) is given. The word /laew/
in Thai indicates the completion of action. The possible, though not exact,
equivalent in English is 'already'. In this respect, verbs in Thai are
different from those in English. The former can be post-modified while the
latter cannot.
To conclude the pre-verbal auxiliaries and the post-verbal auxiliaries are
arranged in the following groups.

1. The group of one-word pre-verbal auxiliary: /thaep/ 'almost',
/khong/ 'probably', /tong/ 'have to', /pemg/ 'just', /khuan/
'should', /khueap/ 'almost', /dai/, /ja/ 'will', /kert 'happen', /yang/
'still', /na/ 'likely to', and /a:t/ 'may'.
2. The group of two-word pre-verbal auxiliary: /khongyang/ 'still',
/khongja/ 'probably', /khongkhoiy/ 'likely to', /na:ja/ 'seem to',
/chakja/ 'appear to', /henja/ 'seem to, apparently', /kamlang/
'currently', /makja/ 'often', /du:tha/ 'seem to, apparently', /juan ja/
'about to, nearly'.
3. The group of three-word pre-verbal auxiliary: /khong ja khuey/
'possibly used to', /kamlnag ja/ 'going to', /a:t ja tong/ 'may have
to', /kamlang ya:k/ 'would like to', /du:muean ja/ 'seem,

The post-verbal auxiliary consists of/yu:/, /laew/, /wai/, /du:/, /sia/,

In addition to the pre-verbal and post-verbal auxiliaries so far described,

there are words which can be categorized as ' pre-verbs' and * post-
verbs' according to their positions relative to the main verbs with which
they are associated (Panupong, 1970: 158).
The words in question are /pai/, /ma:/. They occurs with other words
to indicate directions of motion, /pai/ indicates the act of moving away
from the speaker, /ma:/ indicates the act of moving towards the speaker.

1. Pre-verb V O

/pai sue nangsue/

go buy book
'go to buy a book'

/pai nang/ -
go sit
'go to sit'

/ma: ha: khun/

come see you
'come to see you' (towards the speaker)

2. V Post-V

/dem pai/
walk go
'walk.' (away from the speaker)

/khuen ma:/
come up
'come up'

3.3 Negative Markers in Thai

For the purpose of comparison, it is necessary to briefly examine the

negative markers in English before describing those in Thai.
Common negative words in English are no, not, never. They are used to
negate the expressions. In English, a sentence is typically negated through
the verb by the insertion of not after the verb, for example, the car is
running becomes the car is not running. If an auxiliary verb is present as
in the sentence 'the work will start', not follows it as 'the work will not
start'. If no auxiliary is present, the relevant form of the auxiliary do {do,

does, or did, according to tense and person) is used for the negation, for
example, the sentence 'they understand' becomes 'they do not
Common negative markers in Thai include /mai/ 'not', /mai chai/ 'not',
/mai dai/ 'not', /y^'a:/ 'do not', /plao/ 'no', and /h^am/ 'no'. The most
commonly used negator in Thai is /mai/ 'not'. This type of the negative
markers is both similar to and different from its English equivalent. It can
occur before the main verb, before the auxiliary verb and after the
auxiliary verb. The negator is closely related to the pre-verbal auxiliary
verbs and the post-verbal auxiliary verbs as illustrated in the examples.

A) Examples of one pre-verbal auxiliary accompanied by the negator

/mai/) 'not'.

The majority of the pre-verbal auxiliaries are pre-negator auxiliaries. The

negative marker /mai/ 'not' follows the pre-verbal auxiliaries. It is similar
to the negative marker in English which follows the auxiliaries. There are,
however, some pre-verbal auxiliaries which follow /mai/; they are /khuan/
'should', /khuey/ 'ever ', /na:/ 'should', /khoiy/ 'very', /tong/ 'must,
have to', /ya:k/ 'would like.'(Panupong, 1979: 57-60). The negator
/mai/ as shown in the illustrations is in italics.
Pre-v Neg V

/yang mai ma:/

still not come
'still does/do not come'

/ khong mai chawp/

probably not like
'probably does/do not like'

/a:t mai di:/
may not good
'may not be good'

/ja mai dem/

will not walk
'will not walk'

/kert mai sabaiy/

happen not well
'happen not to be well'

/kueap mai suk/

almost not ripe
'be almost not ripe'

B) Examples of two or three pre-verbal auxiliaries accompanied by the

negator /mai/.

Pre-v Neg V

/khong yang mai set/

probably still not finish
'be probably not finished '

/khong ja mai ma:/

probably will not come
'probably will not come'

/a:tja mat awkpai/
may not go out
'may not go out'
/ na ja mai rawt/
likely not survive
'not likely to survive'

/chakja mai di:/

seem not good
'not seem to be good'

/kamlang ja mai tham nga:n/

-ing not work
'be not working'

In the examples with one, two or three pre-verbal auxiliaries accompanied

by the negator /mai/, the position of the negative word in both English
£ind Thai is similar. It is placed between the auxiliary and the main verb.

C) Examples of the negator /mai/ placed before the main verb. This
structure is different from the negation in English as it is regarded as
ungrammatical to use the negative marker in English without the
auxiliary verb, for example *we not study today.
Negator V
/mai tham-nga:n/
not work
'does/do not work'

/ mat chawp/
not like
'does/do not like'

/ mai kh^om/
not bitter
'be not bitter'

/mai rawn/
not hot
'be not hot'

/mai khaojai/
not understand
'does/do understand'

/ mai samkhan/
not important
'be not important'

Considering the use of the negator /mai/ 'not' in this structure, the word
order in English and Thai is similar. The difference is that English
requires the introduction of 'be', 'do' or 'have' before the negator while
Thai requires no auxiliaries to operate.

D). The examples of the post-negator auxiliaries in which the
auxiliaries come after the negator. The auxiliaries belonging
to this category include /kuan/ 'should', /na/ 'should', /khoey/
'have ever done', /mua/ 'keep on doing', /khoiy/ 'very, quite'.

Neg Post-v V

/mai khoiy sawa:ng/

not quite bright
'be not quite bright'

Imai khuan tham/

not should do
'should not do'

Imai tong yut/

not must stop
'must not stop'

Imai na tok/
not look like fall
'not look like to rain'

/mai khuey hen/

not ever see
'had not ever seen'

The negative marker in English in the negative expression comes

after the auxiliaries. In contrast, the negative marker as used in the
above auxiliaries precedes the auxiliary.
The pre-verbal auxiliaries, /tong/ and /a:t/ can occur before or after
the negative marker /mai/, for example:

Imai tong tham/

not have to do
'do not have to do'

/tong mai tham/
must not do
'must not do'

/a:t mai pai/

possibly not go
'may not go'

/mai a:t pai/

not can go
'cannot go'

As for the use of the negator before and after the auxiliaries /tong/
and /a:t/, there is difference in meaning, /mai tong tham/ means
'it is not compulsory for you to do it. It is acceptable even you do
not do as told.' /tong mai tham/ indicates a prohibition, 'you are
not allowed to do it.' /a:t mai pai/ means ' one possibly does not
go, a person cannot assure you that he/she will definitely go.' /mai
a:t pai/ means 'a person cannot manage to go because he is not
allowed or he has other engagement or physical inability.
There are other negators, /mai ctiai/, /y^a:/, and /plao/ which are
commonly used in Thai (Yates and Tryon, 1970: 56).

/mai chai/ is used to negate noun phrases.

/mai chai nangsue/
not book
'not a book'

Imai chai nakkhian/
not writer
'not a writer'

/y^a:/ is placed before a verb to form a negative imperative, or

lya: pai/
not go
'don't go'

/ya: tham/
not do
'don't do'

/plao/ is used as 'no' in a negative answer in English to negate a

whole proposition for a question (Iwasaki, 2005:10):
/khun duem mai/
you drink Q part
'Do you drink?'

3.4 Complements in English

Complement in Thai is a crucial element of verbs. Structurally, it is very
similar to post-verbal auxiliaries described in the preceding sections. The
difference is that the complements in Thai can be a verb, an adjective, and
an adverb while the post-verbal auxiliary cannot.

The term 'complement' means something that is necessary to complete a
grammatical construction. In English, complements are divided into three
types: clause compleinents, adjective complements and prepositional
complements (Leech, 2007: 271-273).
The complement of a clause can be:
a) a noun phrase, e.g. he is a very good teacher.
b) an adjective or adjective phrase, e.g. he is kind.
His lectures are interesting and easy to follow.
c) a nominal clause e. g. the problem is that he
cannot speak English.

The above examples show that the complement usually comes after the
verb. If there is both an object and a complement in the sentence, the
complement normally comes after the object, for example:
We consider her a very good leader.

The complement caimot be omitted. If it is taken away, the remaining part

may not be meaningfiil:
The incidents make her nervous.
It is not grammatically correct if 'nervous' is removed.
In a passive sentence, it is the object of the sentence which is turned into a
Active We consider her a good teacher.
Passive She is considered a good teacher.

A complement often expresses a quality or attribute of the subject or

The guests are absolutely furious.

Adjective complements can be that-clause, to-infinitives and

prepositional phrases:

She is angry that I come late.
She is happy to see her sister.
I am glad of your success.
Prepositional complements can consist of a preposition and its
complement. The complement is usually a noun phrase:
The man is not in a good mood.
The shirt is of the finest material.
They discussed about the political situations in the country.

3.5 Complements in Thai

The complement in Thai can be a verb, an adjective and an adverb. It

is divided into three types, namely, 1) the directional complement
2) the resultative complement and 3) the potential complement.

The word 'complement' in Thai is debatable. Different authors use

different terms to refer to it. Shoichi Iwasaki (2005: 15) refers to it as 'an
auxiliary'. Stuart Campbell (1962: 2410 takes it as 'an adverb'. James
Higbie (2003: 102) views it as 'the secondary verb'.

Directional Complements

The main verbs /pai/ 'go', /ma:/ 'come', /khuen/ 'ascend', /long/
'descend', /khao/ 'enter', and /awk/ 'go out' indicate the directions of the
action of the verbs. When they are used after einother verb, they are called
*the directional complements.' They are no longer main verbs. They act
as the complements. Their translation is usually not required in English,
(Arya,1978: 60).

The directional complement is illustrated in the examples below.

D C ( a verb as a complement)

/toah khuen/
' have grown'

/ao pai/
'take this'

/nang long/
'sit down'

/uan khuen/
'getting fatter'

/bawk ma:/
'tell me, speak up'

/dueng awk/
'pull out'

The directional complement indicates that the action specified by the main
verb take place towards or away from the speaker or some designated or

implied position. Most verbs of motion, for instance /song/ 'send', /khab/
'drive' /khuen/ 'ascend' are followed by /ma:/ 'come' or /pai/ 'go' to
indicate the direction of movement relative to some reference position.

Resultative Complements

There is another type of complement that tells the result of an action. It is

called a resultative complement. If the negative morpheme /mai/ 'not' is
present, this type of complements has it placed before the resultative
complement, not before the main verb (Arya, 1978: 64). In English, the
negative marker is placed between the auxiliary verb and the main verb,
for example:
They do not come.
She cannot speak French.

In the following examples, adverbs act as the resultative complement:

V Re C (adverbs as a complement)

/chawp ma:k/
like much
'like (it) very much'

/jam phit/
remember wrong/
'get it wrong'

/phu:t dang/
speak loud
' speak loudly'

V Neg Re C

/phu:t mai klong/

speak not fluent
' not speak (language) fluently'

/yu: mai na:n/

stay not long
'not stay long'

Potential Complements

Potential constructions refer to sentences which show meanings such as

possibility, ability, permission, physical and mental strength. The English
auxiliary 'can' covers all these meanings (Iwasaki, 2005:349).
The verbs in Thai which indicate the possibility of the result are used after
other verbs are called 'the potential complements.' Some potential
complements include /dai/ 'can', /pen/ 'can' and /wh'ai/ 'can'.

/dai/ 'can' is the most general potential expression. It is used to express

possibility, ability and permission.
/pen/ means 'can'. It indicates ability to perform some activity.
/wh'ai/ means 'can' in the sense of being physically able or possible,
(Arya, 1978: 70-79).

Each type of complements is illustrated in the succeeding sections.

The construction of these three potential auxiliaries is similar. They are
placed after a lexical verb, for example:
/khap pen/
drive can
'can drive.'
In English, the auxiliary verb comes before the main verb as shown in the
example 'can drive'. If the negator /mai/ 'not' is present, it occurs before
the auxiliary as in /khap mai pen/.

A) Potential Complement /dai/ 'can'

The word /dai/ is used to indicate that something is possible, for example:
/kin dai/ 'can eat'. It is placed after the verb and conveys the idea that one
has been given permission or one has the ability to do something, /khun
pai dai/ 'you can go or you are allowed to go'.
The word /dai/ has two basic meanings. If the word is a main verb, it
means 'to get, to obtain and to acquire'. If it is an auxiliary, it means 'can,
able to.' It is most commonly used in speech to tell the possibility of the
result thanks to some conditions. In the negative form, /mai/ 'not' comes
between the main verb and its potential complement.


/tham dai/
do can
'can do'

/kin dai/
eat can
'can eat'

/chuay dai/
help can
'can help'

V Neg Pot C

/pai mai dai/

go not can
'cannot go'

/a:n mai dai/

read not can
'cannot read'

B) Potential Complement /pen/

The word /pen/ is used as a potential complement to indicate that someone

knows how to perform some activities. It is different from /dai/ because it
means a certain skill or an ability acquired through learning or practice to
do something.
V O Pot C

/phurt angkrit pen/

speak English can
'can speak English'

/prung a:ha:n pen/

cook food can
'can cook food'

/len dontri pen/
play music can
'can play the music'

V O Neg PotC

/khap rot mai pen/

drive car not can
'cannot drive a car'

/sawm na:lika: mai pen/

repair clock not can
'cannot repair the clock'

C) Potential Complement /wh^ai/

/wh'ai/ is used as a potential complement to cover the meaning 'physical

ability or possibility'. In other word, it indicates possession of a physical or
mental condition to carry out activities.

V O Pot C

/tham wh'ai/
do can
'can do'

/thon jeb wh'ai/

bear pain can
'can bear the pain'

V Neg Pot C

/dem mai wh'ai/

walk not can
'cannot walk'

The structure of all potential complements is similar. Compared to the

word order in English, there is difference. In English the auxiliaries and the
negative markers come before the main verb. On the contrary, the
complements in Thai that are equivalent to the auxiliaries in English and
the negative marker come after the main verb.

3.6 Tense Markers

The verbs in Thai do not have a grammatical inflection. They do not

change their forms that correlate with time. Each lexical unit or word stays
the same. In English, verbs change their forms according to time, for
example ' see saw seen', etc. On the contrary, the verbs in Thai do not
change their form irrespective of time. The 'time frame' is an important
grammatical category. In English, time is divided into three general
categories: present, past ond future. In statements, the past time is signaled
by adding ' - ed' to the simple form of the verbs. If the action is being
carried out at the present time, it may be expressed by a verb phrase
including the verb 'to be' plus ' - ing form' of a verb, for instance. He
is going, They are going. The fiiture form is signaled by the verb 'to be',
'going to' plus the simple form of the verb, or by 'will' or 'shall', for
example He is going to leave tomorrow, They will come next month.

With no distinctive verb forms used to signalize distinctive time levels,
tense is conveyed by tense markers before or after the verb (Campbell,
The present tense is expressed by literally /kamlang/ 'currently, - ing
form' before the verb for ongoing action. It is equivalent to the
progressive aspect in English. It is also indicated by /yu:/ indicating an
ongoing action after the verb. In some cases, both /kamlang/ and /yu:/
shown in italics come together. For example:

/kamlang kin/ 'be eating'

/kin yu:/ 'be eating'
/kamlang kin yu:/ 'be eating'

The past tense is indicated by /dai/ 'already' before the verb or by a time
expression indicating the past. The time expression includes /phemg/
'just', /khoey/ 'used to', /wa:nni/ 'yesterday', /pi:laew/ 'last year'and
/muea khon/ 'previous', /laew/ 'already' is also used to indicate the past
tense by being placed behind the verb. It occurs at the end of the sentence.
It indicates that the whole action has been completed. The words /dai/ and
/laew/ shown in italics can come together to form the past tense
expression. For example:
/dai kin/ 'already ate'
/kin hew/ 'already ate'
/dai kin laew/ 'already ate'
The future tense is indicated by /ja/ 'will, shall' before the verb, /ja/
signalizes an action that is going to take place in the future and has the
same function as 'to be going to' or 'will' in English.

For example:
/ja sue/ 'will buy'

3.7 Versatile Verbs and Serial Verb Construction

As verbs in Thai are relatively flexible and fluid, hence it is essential to

take into account versatile verbs and serial verb construction. Versatile
verbs are the verbs which can be used as main verbs, auxiliary verbs and
components of various idiomatic expressions. For example, the versatile
verb /ma:/ is used as a main verb meaning 'come'. When it follows a verb
of motion, as in /klap mail literally meaning 'return come'=(retum), it
functions as a directional auxiliary. The verb /ma:/ can also function as an
aspectual auxiliary verb, for example, /rian ma:l literally 'study come' (=
have been studying) (Iwasaki, 2005:18-9).

The verb /pai/ as a main verb means 'go'. It can function as a directional
auxiliary as in /dem pail literally 'walk go' (= walk). It can also be an
aspectual auxiliary as in /phu:d pai/ literally 'speak go' (=speak). The
word /pai/ as a pro-verbal auxiliary practically requires no English
translation. Another example is the word /khuen/. As a main verb, this
word means 'ascend'. It can act as a directional auxiliary, for example
/pi:n khueni literally 'climb ascend' (=climb up). It can function as an
aspectual auxiliary as in /toh khuen/ literally 'grow ascend' (= have
grown up). It is relevant to mention that the verbs as demonstrated in the
above examples are categorized as the post-verb auxiliaries which are
directional. They as the second or auxiliary verbs have lost their original
meaning. As a result, they have gained a grammatical function. In other

words, when some verbs in Thai as those demonstrated above and those
listed below occur in the second position of a verb series, their meaning is
just functional. They follow the initial verb.
Some common versatile verbs which function as main verbs with other
functions are as follows:

As main verbs With other functions

/pen/ 'to be alive' potential auxiliary

/hai/ 'give' causative /benefactive auxiliary
/dai/ 'get' aspectual / potential auxiliary
/laew/ 'finish' aspectual auxiliary

Serial verb construction is another unique feature of Thai, It refers to a

grammatical structure in which two or more verbs or verb phrases appear
together without a marker of coordination or subordination. In other words,
it is the occurrence of two or more verbs in sequence of one after the other
(Harris, 1975: 112-4), A serial verb construction is common in isolating
languages like Thai in which no verbal morphology distinguishes finite
and non-finite verb forms. The degree of integration and relationship
between verbs or verb phrases in a series determines the types of serial
verb construction (Iwasaki, 2005: 231), An English sentence, I went buy a
book is not grammatical because buy must be marked as a nonfinite verb
with 'to'. The grammatical correct sentence is / went to buy a book.
However, a Thai sentence /chan pai sue nangsue/ literally 'I go- buy-
book' is grammatically acceptable.
In other words, Thai verbs can be strung together without an overt
linking word to form a serial verb construction in order to express various
meanings. The English sentence, come and get it is a conjoined sentence

with the linker 'and' but the sentence come get it with no linker is a
sentence with verb serialization. Thai allows this type of serialization
liberally, for example, /dem pai duem nam/ literally 'walk-go - drink
- water' (=walk to get some water), /dem awk ma:/ 'walk-exit- come'
(=walk out).
It is apparent that verb serialization in Thai, as in many other languages
of Southeast Asia, is the occurrence of two or more verbs in sequence one
after the other without a linker:
1. /dek pai sue khanom/
child go buy candy
2. /dek wing pai sue khanom/
child run go buy candy
3. /dek wing klap pai sue khanom/
child run return go buy candy

Thanks to distinctive features of Thai verbs described. Thai learners of

English find it difficult to use English accurately. They unknowingly use
English verbs without linking words.