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Lesson Transcript

Becky: Hi everyone. I’m Becky. Welcome back to VietnamesePod101.com This is Absolute Beginner series, Season 1, Lesson 25 - Getting Home Late in Vietnam.
Huyen: Xin chào! I’m Huyen.
Becky: In this last lesson of the series, you’ll learn about the past tense. The conversation takes place in the neighborhood and is between Mai and Linh. The speakers are neighbours, so they’ll be using informal Vietnamese.
Mai: Linh à, về muộn thế em?
Linh: Vâng.
Mai: Đã ăn tối chưa?
Linh: Em đã ăn ở công ty rồi ạ.
Mai: Thế à? Dạo này có vẻ bận nhỉ?
Linh: Vâng, em sắp phải nộp báo cáo ạ
Mai: Hey Linh, you're coming home so late.
Linh: Yes.
Mai: Have you had dinner already?
Linh: I already ate at the company.
Mai: Really? You seem very busy these days.
Linh: Right. I will have to submit a report soon.
Becky: Huyen, are neighbors in Vietnamese communities very close to each other?
Huyen: Yes, it’s very common to ask your neighbors about their daily activities, as we heard in the dialogue.
Becky: Oh, interesting. That’s because Vietnam is such a community-oriented society, right? I assume neighbors are close friends and eat together sometimes?
Huyen: Yes, that’s right. Usually it’s on special occasions, and they also might talk after dinner or watch TV or share stories of their day.
Becky: And maybe even help each other when needed?
Huyen: Definitely.
Becky: That’s really nice, but don’t you feel uncomfortable when your neighbors know many things about you?
Huyen: Yes! Well, the older generations get along well with their neighbours, but young people now prefer having their own privacy.
Becky: But of course they are still well-mannered and greet neighbors when they meet.
Becky: Let’s take a closer look at some of the words and phrases from this lesson. The first word is....
Huyen: ...về...
Becky: ...meaning “to return” or “to come back”. It also means “return home” in the case of going back from work or school. The whole phrase should be...
Huyen: ...về nhà, where nhà means “home”...
Becky: ...but in the case of returning home from work or school, using only…
Huyen: ...về…
Becky: ...is fully understood. Let’s give our listeners some examples.
Huyen: Cậu vừa về à?
Becky: “Have you just returned?” It can mean “have you just returned from school or from work?”
Huyen: Hôm nay bố về sớm.
Becky: “Dad came home from work early today”. The phrase “from work” was not added because in this case it was just implied that the father came home from work.
Huyen: The second word is em.
Becky: “younger brother” or “younger sister”. It’s used as a pronoun too. When you talk with a younger person, you call him or her...
Huyen: ...em…
Becky : ...which means “you” in this case. For example you can say to your younger sister...
Huyen: ...Em đã làm bài tập chưa?
Becky: “Did you do your homework?” On the contrary, when you talk to an older person, you call yourself...
Huyen: ...em...
Becky: ...which means “I” or “me” in this case. You can say to your elder sister...
Huyen: ...Em đã làm xong bài tập rồi ạ.
Becky: “I have already done my homework.” You can use both pronouns in one sentence like this:
Huyen: Chị ơi, cho em mượn cái ô này nhé.
Becky: “Sister, can I borrow this umbrella?” Okay, now onto the grammar.
Becky: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to use the past tense.
Huyen: Em đã ăn ở công ty rồi ạ.
Becky: “I already ate at the company.” The sentence starts with...
Huyen: ...em…
Becky: ...meaning “I” because the speaker is talking to an older person. Next comes the adverb…
Huyen: ...đã…
Becky: ...which expresses actions or situations in the past. Then comes the main verb…
Huyen: ...ăn…
Becky: ...which is “to eat”. Next is…
Huyen: ...ở công ty…
Becky: ...which means “at the company”, and the last word is…
Huyen: ...rồi.
Becky: This adverb also means “already”. To form the past tense, add the adverb...
Huyen: ...đã...
Becky: ...in front of the main verb, then add...
Huyen: ...rồi...
Becky: ...after the main verb if there’s no object, and after the object, if there is one. This verb structure won’t change regardless of whether the subject is singular or plural.
Huyen: The pair đã - rồi expresses that some action has already been completed, at the time of speaking.
Becky: When the time expression is used, it can be added at the beginning of the sentence or after the verb phrase and in front of...
Huye: ...rồi.
Becky: Could you give some more examples?
Huyen: Hôm qua tôi đã làm xong việc rồi.
Becky: "I already finished work yesterday.”
Huyen: Cô ấy đã về thăm ông bà tuần trước.
Becky: "She returned home to visit her grandparents last week." Please note that when there is no past expression, the past tense is very similar to the present perfect tense. Let’s look at the previous example again.
Huyen: Tôi đã làm xong việc rồi.
Becky: Here it means “I have already finished work.”
Huyen: Cô ấy đã về thăm ông bà.
Becky: "She has returned home to visit her grandparents." Okay! That’s all for the past tense in this lesson. We hope you understood it all!
Huyen: We hope that you can say Tôi đã hiểu rồi.
Becky: “I already understood.” And please review what you’ve learned by reading the lesson notes.


Huyen: Well, that’s all for this lesson, and this series.
Becky: We hope that you’ve enjoyed learning with us, and have acquired good basic Vietnamese, all while having fun! And please don’t forget to ask questions if you have any. We’ll be more than happy to help.
Becky: Thanks for listening, everyone, and we’ll see you in another series. Bye!
Huyen: Tạm biệt và hẹn gặp lại.