Introduction to Persian/Verbs

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The prefix "be"[edit | edit source]

The subjunctive-marker be- is used:

  • 1. in the case of uncertainty (i.e. after shâyad (maybe), agar (if), bâyad (must) and the like.
  • 2. If there are more than two verbs in a sentence (no matter past or present) the second, third .... verb begin with be-.

So you see that when you have to use "to" before the second verb in English you have to use "be-" in Persian.

So the correct forms are:

  • "Mixahæm sibi bexoræm"
  • "Mixastæm sibi bexoræm"

About your question: "in the past tense, can you also say "Xastæm" instead of "Mixastæm" for I wanted"

Xâstam and mixâstam are two different tences.

  • Xâstam means "I wanted",
  • Mixâstam means "I used to want".

Adding mi- to the simple past tence makes it durative. For many verbs like "mi-did-am" you can always translate it in English as "I used to see" but for the sense-related verbs like "mixâstam" depending on the context both "I want" or "I used to want" can serve as English translation.

I hope I have been able to help you. I am at your service for other questions, (we can follow here in my user page). Take care. --Mani1 21:04, 16 July 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for the clarification. Then can we use the prefix "be" in all the following examples(?):

  • I like/love VERBing (for example "Zeban yad begirem dust darem" ("I love learning languages") (?)
  • I tried to VERB
  • I hate VERBing (for example "az benevisad moteneffer ast" ("he hates writing") (?) (I have a feeling that this is a little different)
  • I started/ended VERBing

and so on...

Khâesh mikonam (you're welcome).

  • I like/love VERBing ("Zeban yad gereftan dust darem". Gereftan is the infinitive.
  • I tried to VERB. (Sa'y kardam be-Verb-am).
  • He hates VERBing ("az neveshtan moteneffer ast"
  • I started/ended VERBing. (Shoru' karam neveshtan).

As you see for VERBing we use normally the infinitive form in Persian.

Can, may, should, must[edit | edit source]

I already learnt these before, but now that I have a clearer picture of the usage of the prefix "be," I would just like to ask one example for each auxillary verb to make sure that I am using it right. Thanks in advance.


  • "I can go to school" Is it "mitevanem beh madreseh rævæm" ?(from where I learnt, the prefix "be" was not used in "can")
  • "I could go to school" IS it "mitevanestem beh madreseh behravam" ??

May, might:

I know how to say "might have VERBed"

  • "I might have eaten that apple" should be "shayæd an sib ra xordeh bashæm" (is this true?, the website I learnt from does not use the prefix "be")

But I do not know how to say "might VERB":

  • "I might eat that apple" ??

Should, must:

Again I know how to say "must have VERBed"

  • "I must have eaten that apple" Is it "bayæd an sib ra mixordæm" ? (the website I learnt from does not use the prefix "be" here.)

But I do not know how to say "must VERB"

  • "I must eat that apple" ??

It is:Bayæd an sib ra behkhoram.

This was a bit long, but thanks a lot for taking your time to answer them. I really appreciate it.


  • "I can go to school" is "mitevanem beh madreseh beravam".

Be- is used here because it is the second verb. (In literature and some instances of the spoken language be-can be omited, whenever you see a verb without a be- or mi- you can be sure it has been the be- which is omited thus it is subjunctive, mi- is never omited).

  • "I could go to school" is "mitavânestem beh medreseh be-rav-am".

Like in English the present tence is used for "go".

May, might:

  • "I might have eaten that apple" is indeed "shayæd an sib ra xordeh bashæm".

xorde bâsham is the subjunctive from for the past tences. In the past tence -bâsh- (historically be+ast) is used for making the subjunctive form.

  • "I might eat that apple": "Shâyad ân sib-ra be-xoram".

Should, must:

  • "I must have eaten that apple" Is "bâyad an sib râ xorde bâsham"
  • "bayæd an sib râ mixordæm" means: "I had to eat that apple".
  • "I must eat that apple" is: "Bâyad âan sib râ be-xor-am.

It's bedtime here now, I hope I can be at your service tommorow. Iyi Geceler, --Mani1 23:30, 16 July 2005 (UTC)

If[edit | edit source]

Teshekkor mikonam.


  • Agar in sib râ be-xor-am ... (If I eat this apple ...)
  • Agar be-xâh-i be-xor-i. (If you would want to eat).

The first be- is because of (uncertainty), the second because it is the second verb.

  • Agar mi-xâh-i bexori. (If you want to eat).
  • Agar xâsti bexori. (If you wanted to eat).
  • Agar mi-xâsti bexori. (If you always wanted to eat).

Past subjunctive:

  • Agar xorde-bâshi. (If you have eaten).

Iyi Gunler. --Mani1 10:51, 17 July 2005 (UTC)

    • "if you don't go to school today, you will be punished" Is: "agar emruz beh madreseh na-rævi, tanbih xâhi shod".

Negation of subjunctive: The be- is replaced by na-.

  • How about the 2nd kind of "if" (subjunctive):
    • "if you ate the entire cake, you would get sick." is "Agar hame-ye Kayk râ mi-xordi (ehtemâlan) mariz mi-shod-i.

The durative past tense (mixordi) has as subjunctive the same form (mixordi). Ehtemâlan means possibly.

    • "If you had not eaten that cake, you would not have thrown up". is: "Agar ân Kayk râ na-xorde-budi, bâlâ ne-mi-âvardi.

Ne-mi-âvardi is the subjunctive of the durative (repeatetive) form mi-âvardi (you brought during a certain time). Bâlâ means up.

Tækrar (that means "again"(?)) teshekkor mikonæm. Correct form: Dobâreh (again) tashakkor mikonam. Taekrar means more like repeat, dobâreh is a better way of saying 'again'. Active voice:

Indicative --> Subjunctive:

  • miravam --> beravam
  • xâham raft --> beravam
  • raftam --> rafte bâsham
  • rafteh-am (I have gone) --> rafte bâsham
  • mi-raftam --> mi-raftam
  • rafte budam (I had gone) --> rafte budeh bâsham

Passive voice:

Indicative --> Subjunctive:

  • xorde mi-shavam (I am (being) eaten) --> xorde be-shavam
  • xorde xâham shod (I'll be eaten) --> xorde beshavam.
  • xorde shodam (I was eaten) --> xorde shode bâsham
  • xorde shodeh-am (I have been eaten) --> xorde shode bâsham
  • xorde mi-shodam (I used to be eaten) --> xorde mi-shodam
  • xorde shode budam (I had been eaten) --> xorde shode budeh bâsham.

Khâhesh mikonam (You're welcome). --Mani1 11:31, 17 July 2005 (UTC)

Future perfect tense[edit | edit source]

Again thanks a lot. Maybe you should corporate some of the material here into the main article "Persian grammar." These are very helpful.

How about the future perfect tense:

  • "By the time spring comes, he will have already left.

Is the second part is like "terk kerdeh khahed bud" ?


I am happy it has been helpful to you. Yes I think I will add the tences, moods and voices to that article in the future.

  • "By the time spring comes, he will have already left. is : "Bahâr ke be-ây-ad, u digar rafte ast/u injâ râ tark karde-ast".

We use just the tence based on "present participle" i.e. "rafte ast" for "Will have VERB-ed".

Movaffaq bâshid. --Mani1 16:59, 17 July 2005 (UTC)

Just a quick question. Why don't you say "Bahâr ke mi-ây-ad", but say "Bahâr ke be-ây-ad," in the example here?

"Bahâr ke be-ây-ad" means: "When (in the case/if) spring comes"
  • "Bahâr ke miâyad" means: "When (every time) the spring comes".

You can say Bahâr ke miâyad" and this actually probably fits your translation of 'When spring comes' better than "Bahâr ke be-ây-ad" which means when (in it's own time) spring would come.

Imperatives[edit | edit source]

I have learnt that imperatives can be built in two ways: with or wihout the prefix "bo":

  • Go! --> Ro! or Boro!

Is this the case for all verb imperatives? Does the prefix "bo" have an additional meaning?


-- Basically all the imperatives are made as; be+present stem, whithout personal endings (except for 2nd person plural). using imperative without be- is found in literary works and in spoken Persian in the case of much used verbs be- is omited in combinations. like: Behtar (be-)sho! "become better". bâz (be-)kon! "Open"!

Next thing you should know is that under the influence of "o" in some frequently used verb stems preffix be- is pronounced bo- in standard spoken Persian. Thus: Boro, Boxor, bokon but: begu, beshuy (Wash!), bedân (Know!). The same happens to be- becoming bi- in spoken language in some cases like: bi-yâ (come!), bi-âr (be-âvar) )bring!) etc.

When, While[edit | edit source]

Are all the sentences that are constructed with "when" and "while" in English are expressed with "ke" in Persian? And do we place this particle right before the verb? (just like "Bahar ke beayed")

And do we always use the prefix "be" in sentences of "when" and "while"

Just two examples:

  • Present, future meaning:
    • "When you (will) come home, make tea!" Could it be "beh khane ke be-ay-i, (bo)saz chai!" ?

It is better to say at the end instead of, (bo)saz chai, which literally means actually create tea, dorost kon chai, which means just prepare it, make it.

  • Past meaning:
  • "When he came home, he made tea" Could it be "be khane ke amed, chai saxt" ?

Again, this makes sense but 'chai saxt' means he actually created the tea, it's better to say, chai dorost kard.

When is expressed in two ways:

  • Vaqti ke / moghe'i ke ....
  • .... ke .... (ke comes after the agent).
    • "When you (will) come home, make tea!" is: "Xâneh ke mi-ây-i châi dorost (be)kon". or: Vaghti ke be xâneh mi-ây-i châi dorost (be)kon".
  • "When he came home, he made tea" is: "Xâneh ke âmad, châi dorost kard". or: "Vaghti ke/moghe'i ke/zamâni ke/hengâmi ke be xâneh âmad châi dorost kard".

Take care. --Mani1 21:16, 17 July 2005 (UTC)

Causatives[edit | edit source]

The source that I used to learn Persian never taught causatives. How would you, for example, build this sentence in Persian:

  • "I made him do his homework"

-I am happy to help you. This would be, 'majbooresh kardam keh kaaresho bekoneh.

And how about this other kind of causative:

  • "I had the letter sent to your office"

-Naameharo ferestoondam beh kaareht.

--Nonewmail 23:19, 17 July 2005 (UTC)

For the causative you should use the causative forms of the verb stems. The rest is the same as normal. Causative form of a stem is made by adding -ân to the normal present or past stem:

  • -xor- (eating), -xorân (making to eat), xorând (made eating).
  • mi-dav-am: ("I run"), sag râ mi-dav-ân-am ("I make the dog run").

But you can not do that with just any verb. For many verbs you should use another verb which has the causative meaning of the same action:

  • "I made him do his homework" : "Vâdâr-ash kardam mashgh be-nevis-ad".

(Vâdâr kardan means "making somebody doing something, forcing", the causative stem -kon-ân- does not exist)

For the form "had him doing ..., we say in Persian "I gave ...":

  • "I had the letter sent to your office" is: "Nameh râ dâdam be-âvar-and daftar-e shomâ".

(Literally: "I gave, they bring the letter to your office".

--Mani1 13:53, 18 July 2005 (UTC)

Although, despite[edit | edit source]

Thanks for the explanation of the causatives. My next question is about building sentences with "although" and "despite":

  • "Although I arrived at the station on time, I missed the train" and,
  • "Despite arriving at the station on time, I missed the train"

Again, unfortunately I never learnt this. But I am sure one example of each will give me a good idea how these constructions are generally used. Teshekkor mikonam.


  • "Although I arrived at the station on time, I missed the train" is: "Bâ inke/Garcheh sar-e vaqt be istgâh residam, qatâr râ az dast dâdam".
  • "Despite arriving at the station on time, I missed the train" Is: "Bâ vojud-e inke/alâraghm-e inke sar-e vaqt be istgâh residam, qatâr râ az dast dâdam".

You can also say: "Sar-e vaqt be istgâh residam, vali qatâr rafteh-bud".

Keep in mind that in written text, this structure will always have an amâ or vali between the clauses much like the latter example.

Exhortations[edit | edit source]

How would you say things like "let's verb!", "let me verb!"? For example with the verb "write"? Do you use the past participle ("nevesht") or the present particle ("nevis") for this kind of exhortations?


--- For the first form we use "Biyâ" (come). For the second one: "be-gozâr" (Let).

"*Let's write!" : "Biyâ be-nevis-im". "Let me write" : "Be-gozâr benevisam".

Khâhesh mikonam.