فارسی (‹fârsi›, “Persian”)
Learn the Persian language
Persian Alphabet lessons: 1 ( ۱ )2 ( ۲ )3 ( ۳ )4 ( ۴ )
Elementary grammar: 5 ( ۵ )6 ( ۶ )7 ( ۷ )8 ( ۸ )9 ( ۹ )
10 ( ۱۰ )11 ( ۱۱ )12 ( ۱۲ )13 ( ۱۳ )14 ( ۱۴ )15 ( ۱۵ )
Intermediate: 16 ( ۱۶ )17 ( ۱۷ )18 ( ۱۸ )19 ( ۱۹ )20 ( ۲۰ )
21 ( ۲۱ )22 ( ۲۲ )23 ( ۲۳ )24 ( ۲۴ )25 ( ۲۵ )26 ( ۲۶ )
Appendix: AlphabetGlossaryHandwriting


To continue, your computer must display Persian. The box below should show these Persian letters on the far right:
ا ب پ ت ث ج چ ح خ د ذ ر ز ژ س ش ص ض ط ظ ع غ ف ق ک گ ل م ن و ه ی

If they are different or in the wrong order, see Persian Computing.

In Lesson 5, you learned how to conjugate the verb بودن ‹budan› (“to be”) in the simple present tense.

In this lesson, you will how to conjugate Persian verbs in the simple past tense.

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Simple past tense


In both English and Persian, verbs can be conjugated in the simple past tense to express that an event happened in the past or to comment about a past state of something. For example, the English verb talk is conjugated into the simple past tense form talked by adding the suffix -ed.

بودن ‹budan› (“to be”)

Simple past tense
Past stem: بود ‹bud-›

Singular Plural
First person (من) بودم (ما) بودیم
(‹man›) ‹budam› (‹mâ›) ‹budim›
“(I) was” “(we) were”
Second person (تو) بودی (شما) بودید
(‹to›) ‹budi› (‹šomâ›) ‹budin›[1]
“(you) were” “(you) were”
Third person (او) بود (آنها) بودند
(‹u›) ‹bud (‹ânhâ›) ‹budan›[1]
“(he/she/it) was” “(they) were”

As explained in Lesson 5, Persian verbs suffixes clearly indicate grammatical person and number. For example, the table on the right shows the simple past tense of بودن   ‹budan› (“to be”), consisting of the stem بود ‹bud-› and suffixes to indicate the person and number:

The past stem is identical with the third person singular. Thus the past stem of the verb budan 'to be' is bud, the past stem of the verb guftan 'to say' is guft.

Unlike the simple present tense of بودن ‹budan› , which has both a full and short forms, the simple past tense only has the forms above.

Say each of the personal pronouns from the table above. While saying each one, imagine and point to the people to whom the pronoun might refer. For example, while saying ما   ‹mâ› (“we, us”), imagine another person next to you and point to that person and yourself.
Repeat the personal pronouns as above, but after each one, say the corresponding simple past tense forms of بودن ‹budan› from the table above. For example, when saying شما   ‹šomâ› (“you (plural)”), point to two imaginary addressees and then say بودید ‹budin› .[1]

To make the simple past tense form of any Persian verb, begin with the infinitive (the dictionary form), e.g. بودن ‹budan› . The infinitive of every Persian verb ends in the suffix ن ‹-an› . Remove the final ن ‹-an› to get the past tense stem, e.g. بود ‹bud-› . Then add the appropriate past tense personal suffix from the table below to make the past tense verb form:

Simple past tense

Past tense stem +
personal suffix

Singular Plural
First person ... + م ... + یم
past tense stem + ‹am› past tense stem + ‹im›
“I [did...]” “we [did...]”
Second person ... + ی ... + ید
past tense stem + ‹i› past tense stem + ‹in›[1]
“you [did...]” “you [did...]”
Third person ... + Ø ... + ند
past tense stem + Ø past tense stem + ‹an›[1]
“he/she/it [did...]” “they [did...]”

The same suffixes are used for all simple past tense verbs, so it is important to memorize them.

Plurality and formality/deference


plurality of verb with animate vs. inanimate subject

Plurality of subject reference, optional subject pronoun, and verb as it relates to formality and deference:

  • Semantically plural human subject requires plural verb.
  • 2nd person semantically singular addressee:
    • Friendly, informal reference: (optional pronoun) تو /tow/, singular verb (ی ending)
    • Semi-formal, respectful: (optional plural pronoun) شما /šomâ/, singular verb (ی ending)
    • Formal, more respectful: plural verb, optional plural pronoun (شما), plural verb written with ید ending, pronounced colloquially as ین.
    • Very formal conditions treating the addressee with deference: جناب عالی /jenâb âli/ ("your excellency")

Third person


In the third person, the same pattern applies as with the second person. The singular pronoun او   ‹u› (“he, he”) is the normal way to refer to an individual in the third person, but to show greater respect, the plural pronoun ایشان   ‹išân› (“they”) and/or a verb conjugated in the third person plural (i.e. with the personal suffix ند ‹-and› , colloquially pronounced ‹-an›) may be used instead.


  1. a b c d e Note: The Persian script here uses formal spelling, but the transcriptions in angle brackets shows typical colloquial pronunciation. In colloquial speech, for example, the ending ‍ید ‹-id› is often pronounced as ‹-in›. Other differences between spoken and written Persian will be given in the lessons that follow.


پ و
توپ - bal (ball)
دوستvriend, vriendin, liefde (friend)
می‌اندازدhij gooit, zij gooit (he, she throws)
پری - Pari meisjesnaam (girls name)
پاvoet (foot)
داردhij heeft, zij heeft (he, she has)
اکرم توپ داردAkram heeft een bal (Akram has a ball)
اکرم با پری دوست استAkram is met Pari bevriend (Akram is friends with Pari)
اکرم با پری توپ بازی می‌کندAkram en Pari spelen met een bal (Akram and Pari play with a ball)
پری توپ را با پا می‌اندازد - Pari schopt de bal (Pari kicks the ball)


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In this lesson, you learned how to conjugate Persian verbs in the simple past tense....

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Next: Lesson 8 ( ۸ ), Negation

Continue to Lesson 8 ( ۸ ), Negation >>


Persian Alphabet lessons: 1 ( ۱ )2 ( ۲ )3 ( ۳ )4 ( ۴ )
Elementary grammar: 5 ( ۵ )6 ( ۶ )7 ( ۷ )8 ( ۸ )9 ( ۹ )
10 ( ۱۰ )11 ( ۱۱ )12 ( ۱۲ )13 ( ۱۳ )14 ( ۱۴ )15 ( ۱۵ )
Intermediate: 16 ( ۱۶ )17 ( ۱۷ )18 ( ۱۸ )19 ( ۱۹ )20 ( ۲۰ )
21 ( ۲۱ )22 ( ۲۲ )23 ( ۲۳ )24 ( ۲۴ )25 ( ۲۵ )26 ( ۲۶ )
Appendix: AlphabetGlossaryHandwriting


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