Word order

In Persian, the word order is basically subject – object – verb. If the object is direct and definite, it is followed by râ (direct object marker):

(Man) ketâb i xândam. I read a book.
(Man) ketâb râ xândam. I read the book.

However, the word order can vary, depending on which word is emphasized.

The adverbials occur usually in a certain order too, similar to the adverbs: “time – manner – place”. However, the word order can also be changed in this regard depending on what is important for the speaker. The most important adverbial occurs first:

Diruz u râ bâ mâŝin be dâneŝgâh âvardam.
Bâ mâŝin u râ diruz be dâneŝgâh âvardam.
Be dâneŝgâh u râ diruz bâ mâŝin âvardam.
Yesterday I took him by car to the university.

Narrative sentences

Narrative sentences usually have the order: subject – object – verb, whereby the direct definite object is followed by the postposition :

Nasrin ketâb râ mixânad. Nasrin reads the book.

If the object has a general and not a specific meaning, then it occurs in singular:

Nasrin sib râ dust dârad. Nasrin like the apple.
Nasrin sibhâ râ dust dârad. Nasrin like the apples.
Nasrin sib dust dârad. Nasrin like apples.


If the answer to a question is yes or no the question has the same word order as a narrative sentence. What is asked for is emphasized. More formally the question begins with the question particle âyâ:

(Âyâ) be xâne miravid? Do you go home?
Bale, be xâne miravim. Yes, we go home.
Na, be xâne nemiravim. No, we don’t go home.

If the answer to a negative question is yes, then it begins with cerâ (but; why):

(Âyâ) be Tehrân nemiravid? Don’t you go to Tehran?
Cerâ, miravim. But we go.

If a contrarian answer is expected, then one begins the question with magar:

Magar miravid? Do you (really) go?
Bale, miravim. Yes, we go.
Na, nemiravim. No, we do not go.
Magar nemiravid? Don’t you (really) go?
Cerâ, miravim. But, we go.
Na, nemiravim. No, we don’t go.

In an indirect yes-no question the questioning clause begins usually with âyâ or ke âyâ. Both of them can often be dropped. The questioning clause can be terminated with yâ na (or not):

Nemidânam (ke) âyâ miâyad (yâ na). I do not know if she comes (or not).

If the question is not a yes-no question, then the interrogative pronouns, adverbs or adjectives (together with their described nouns) are used. While ki/ke (who) and cerâ (why) usually begin the sentence, the others usually precede the verb or its accompanying adverb:

Interrogative pronouns  
Ki miravad? Who goes?
Ce miguyi? What do you say?
Kodâm zibâtar ast? Which is better?
Interrogative adverbs  
Fardâ kojâ miravi? Where are you going tomorrow?
Cerâ  miravi? Why are you going?
Bâ Nasrin cetowr âŝnâ shodi? How did you get to know Nasrin?
Interrogative adjectives  
Cejur ketâb i mixâni? What a book are you reading?
Kodâm ketâb râ mixâni? Which book are you reading?
Ceqadr ŝir lâzem dâri? How much milk do you need?

Exclamatory sentences

In Persian, an exclamatory sentence usually begins with ce (how; what a). If ce precedes a noun, the noun is indefinite. If the noun is followed by an adjective, the adjective is given the postposition “i” instead of the noun:

Ce qaŝang! How beautiful!
Ce mâŝin i! What a car!
Ce mâŝine qashang i! What a nice car!

Indirect speech

While in a direct speech what has been said is narrated 1-1, the inflection of the verb matches the original speaker in the indirect speech. An indirect speech is initiated with ke:

Direct speech  
Nasrin goft: „Man miravam“. Nasrin said: “I go”.
Indirect speech  
Nasrin goft, ke miravad. Nasrin said that she goes.

Relative sentences

In a relative clause, the noun is identified or described. The postposition “i” is added to the noun and followed by ke. If the noun is a direct object, then is pushed in between:

Doxtar i ke ânjâ istâde ast, xâhar e man ast. The girl who is standing over there is my sister.
Gardanband i râ ke be man dâdi, dust dâram. I like the necklace you gave me.

Conditional sentences

In Persian, conditional sentences are initiated with agar (if, when). If there is a possible condition, then a subjunctive mood is used depending on when the condition refers to. If it refers to presence or future, the present subjunctive is used. Otherwise the past subjunctive is applied:

Agar beravad, man ham miravavam. If she goes, I will go too.
Agar rafte bâŝad, u râ naxâham did. If she has gone, I will not see her.

If the condition is impossible, however, you can use the past progressive or the past perfect tense:

Agar miraft, man ham miraftam, If she had gone, I would have gone too.
Agar rafte bud, man ham miraftam. If she would have gone, I would have gone too.

Concessive sentences

Concessive sentences are almost the opposite of conditional sentences. Here, the action will take place in any case, regardless of whether a condition is satisfied or not. The concessive sentences usually start with one of the following conjunctions:

agarce even though agar ham even though harcand so much
bâ in-/ânke although bâ vojud i ke although bâ vojud e in-/ânke although

The verb tense is determined by the chronological sequence of the actions. The following main sentence begins with vali or ammâ (but):

Bâ inke xaste ast, vali hanuz kâr mikonad. Although he is tired, he is still working.
Agarce harf nemizanad, sedâ yaŝ râ miŝenavam. Even though he does not talk, I hear his voice.