The infinitive of Persian verbs consists of the past stem and the suffix “ân”. The past stem ends with d or t:

xordan to eat xâstan to want
robudan to kidnap raftan to go
bordan to take goftan to say
budan (hast, bâŝ) to be dâŝtan (dâr) to have

Past tense

To form the past tense, the personal endings are added to the past stem. The subjective pronouns must match the conjugation of the verb and are therefore not absolutely necessary:

(Man) bordam. I took. (Mâ) bordim. We took.
(To) bordi. You took. (Ŝomâ) bordid. You took.
(U) bord. He / she / it took. (Ânhâ) bordand. We took.

The conjugation of the third person plural is also used to express “somebody …”:

Havâpeymâ râ robudand. Somebody hijacked the plane.

Present tense

In order to form the present tense, the present stem is used, which is irregular in most cases:

xordan (xor) to eat xâstan (xâh) to want
robudan (robâ) to kidnap raftan (rav) to go
bordan (bar) to take goftan (gu) to say

Furthermore, the personal ending “ad” is added to the third person singular. Finally, the preverb “mi-”is added to the stem as a sign of the durability of the action:

(Man) mibaram. I take. (Mâ) mibarim. We take.
(To) mibari. You take. (Shomâ) mibarid. You take.
(U) mibarad. He /she / it takes. (Ânhâ) mibarand. They take.

If the present stem ends with â or u, then a “y” is inserted:

mirobâyand they steal miguyim we say


The negation of a verb is achieved by the preverb “na-”. Normally, “na-” becomes the only preverb. Only “mi-” is not replaced by “na-”. In this case,”na-”is shifted to “ne-”:

naraft he did not go nemiravad he does not go

The preverb “na-” may be confused with the word na, which can mean no, not, neither and nor:

Mibini? Na. Do you see? No. Na in râ mixâham na ân râ. I want neither this nor that.

To have & to be

As in other Indo-European languages, the verbs have (dâshtan) and be (budan) play a special role. They are used to form other or compound tenses. The preverb “mi-” is added to none of them, as they signal the durability of the action by their meanings:

dâram I have dârim we have
dâri you have dârid you have
dârad he/she/it has dârand they have

Budan has a full and a short form. The negation is irregular:

Lâqar hastam. Lâqar am. I’m thin. Lâqar nistam. I’m not thin.
Lâqar hasti. Lâqar i. You are thin. Lâqar nisti. You’re not thin.
Lâqar hast. Lâqar ast. He / she / it is thin. Lâqar nist. He/she/it is not thin.
Lâqar hastim. Lâqar im. We are thin. Lâqar nistim. We are not thin.
Lâqar hastid. Lâqar id. You are thin. Lâqar nistid. You are not thin.
Lâqar hastand. Lâqar and. They are thin. Lâqar nistand. They are not thin.

Budan has another presence stem (bâsh), which is used in other tenses. For the third person singularhastis usually used only when the existence of something is emphasized.

U dâneŝju ast. She is a student. Dar Irân naft hast. There is oil in Iran.

As you can see in the example above, the noun is, in contrast to English, always definite. Also, the noun occurs always in singular unless it is described by an adjective:

Mâ dâneŝju hastim. We are students. Mâ dâneŝjuyân e xub i hastim. We are good students.

If a word ends in a vowel, then ast can be shortened to “st”. If the word ends with e, then a shift of the sound takes place to a:

Bâlâ ast / ‘st. It’s upstairs. Dar metro ast / ‘st. She is in the metro.
Dâneŝju ast / ‘st. He is a student. Dar xâne ast / xâna ‘st. He is at home.

If the word ends with â or u, a “y” is inserted:

bâlâ yam I’m up dâneŝju yand they are students

Future tense

In colloquial language, the present tense is also used for future actions. Formally, thefuture tense is formed using the conjugation of the present stem of xâstanfollowed by the past stem of the actual verb:

xâham raft I will go xâhim raft we will go
xâhi raft you will go xâhid raft you will go
xâhad raft he/she/it will go xâhand raft they will go

Compound verbs

There are a limited number of simple Persian verbs. In contrast, there are a variety of compound verbs. They consist of a non-verbal part and a simple verb. The following verbs are often found as the verbal part:

kardan (kon) to do zadan (zan) to beat âmadan (â) to come
gereftan (gir) to get xordan (xor) to eat raftan (rav) to go
dâdan (deh) to give bordan (bar) to take oftâdan (oft) to fall
âvardan (âvar) to bring keŝidan (kesh) to draw andâxtan (andâz) to throw

The non-verbal part is:

  • a prefix, such as “dar-” in darraftan (to flee)
  • a noun or an adjective, such as dast (hand) in dast keshidan (to stop),
  • a combination of the above cases, such as sar (head) and “dar-” in sar darâvardan (to understand) or
  • a phrase that begins with a preposition and results together with the verb in an imaginary meaning, such as az pâ darâmadan (to be defeated).

The prefixes are:

bâz- bâzgaŝtan to return
bar- bargereftan to take from
dar- darâvardan to get out
farâ- farâxândan to call up
foru- forurixtan to break down
vâ- vâdâŝtan to cause
var- varparidan to jump around

The conjugation applies only to the verbal part of a compound verb. The prefix is separated from the verbal part while conjugating:

yâd gereftan to learn bardâŝtan to take
yâd gereft I learned bar dâŝtam I took
yâd migiram I learn bar midâram I take
yâd xâham gereft I will learn bar xâham dâŝt I will take

An exception is the impersonal constructions, in which the verbal part always appears in the third person singular and instead the non-verbal part is given a pronoun suitable to the subject:

Xande am migirad. It makes me laugh. Xande am gereft. It made me laugh.
Xâb aŝ mibarad. She falls asleep. Xâb aŝ bord. She fell asleep.

Another exception is the constructions with words like mitavân, miŝavad and bâyad. Here, only the past stem of the main verb appears:

Mitavân in râ be u goft. One can tell her that.
Miŝavad az u xâst. One can ask him that.
Bâyad in dâru râ xord. One has to take this medicine.

Progressive tenses

In order to form the progressive tenses, the verb dâŝtan (to have) is taken to help. Both verbs (dâŝtan and the main verb) are conjugated, accordingly. The preverb “mi-” is used for the main verb:

Infinitive Meaning Past stem Present stem
xordan to eat xord xor
dâram mixoram I’m eating dârim mixorim we are eating
dâri mixori you are eating dârid mixorid you are eating
dârad mixorad he / she / it is eating dârand mixorand they are eating
dâŝtam mixordam I was eating dâŝtim mixordim we were eating
dâŝti mixordi you were eating dâŝtid mixordid you were eating
dâŝt mixord he / she / it was eating dâŝtand mixordand they were eating

If you want to express a certain durability of an action in the past, then you can omit dâŝtan:

Man tâ pârsâl târix mixândam. I studied history until last year.
Tâbestânhâ ŝenâ mikardam. During the summers, I swam.


The participle of a verb is used in forming some of the tenses. It results from the past stem and the suffix “-e”:

Infinitive Meaning Past stem Participle
xordan to eat xord xorde

Perfect tenses

To form the perfect tenses, one has to build the participle of the main verb first. Now the verb budan (to be) is taken to help. The short form of the presence of budan is used for the present perfect. The past tense of budan is used for the past perfect:

Present perfect
xorde am I have eaten xorde im we have eaten
xorde i you have eaten xorde id you have eaten
xorde ast he / she / it has eaten xorde and they have eaten
Past perfect
xorde budam I had eaten xorde budim we had eaten
xorde budi you had eaten xorde budid you had eaten
xorde bud he/she it had eaten xorde budand they had eaten


The imperative mood for the second person singular consists of the preverb “be-” and the present stem:

goftan (gu) to say Begu! Say!
bordan (bar) to take Bebar! Take!

The preverb “be-” is shifted into “bi-” for present stems ending with a, â, o and y:

andâxtan (andâz) to throw Biandâz! Throw!
âvardan (âvar) to bring Biâvar! Bring!
oftâdan (oft) To fall Bioft! Fall!
yâftan (yâb) to find Biyâb! Find!

The preverb “be-” is often shifted into “bo-” for monosyllabic stems of the form cvc (c) – consonant + vowel + consonant (+ consonant) – containing the vowel o:

xordan (xor) to eat Bexor! / Boxor! Eat!
koshtan (kosh) to kill Bekoŝ! / Bokoŝ! Kill!

If the sounds “av” are in one syllable, then “av” is generally converted into “ow”. This is particularly true for the present stems:

raftan (rav) to go Miravam I go. Berow! / Borow! Go!
davidan (dav) to run Midavam. I run. Bedow! / Bodow! Run!

The imperative mood for the second person plural is further conjugated with the corresponding personal ending “-id”:

goftan (gu) to say Begu! Say! Beguyid! Say!
bordan (bar) to take Bebar! Take! Bebarid! Take!


The present subjunctive differs from the present tense only in having the preverb “be-” instead of “mi-”. It is used after modal verbs and expressions indicating desire, obligation and possibility:

Present subjunctive
mixâham beravam I want to go ŝâyad bebinim maybe we will see
mitavâni bexori you can eat omidvârim begirid hopefully you will get
bâyad bebarad he / she / it must take momken ast beguyand maybe they will say
agar beravam when I go lâzem ast ke beguyad it is necessary, that he says

The present subjunctive is also used to express recommendations or questions for approval/comments:

Baravim! Let’s go! Bexânim! Let’s sing!
Baravim? Shall we go? Bexânim? Shall we sing?

The present subjunctive of budan (to be) is irregular:

bâŝam bâŝim
bâŝi bâŝid
bâŝad bâŝand

In order to form past subjunctive, one has to build the participle of the main verb first. The participle is now followed by the present subjunctive of budan (to be):

Past subjunctive
mixâham gofte bâŝam I want to have said
mitavâni xorde bâŝi you can have eaten
bâyad borde bâŝad he/she/it must have taken
ŝâyad dide bâŝim perhaps we have seen
omidvârim gerefte bâŝid hopefully you have gotten
momken ast gofte bâŝand perhaps they have said
agar rafte bâŝad if he’s gone


In order to form passive construction, one has to build the participle of the main verb, first. The participle is now usually followed by the suitable tense of ŝodan (to become):

koŝte miŝavad he is killed
koŝte xâhi ŝod he will be killed
koŝte ŝod he was killed
koŝte ŝode and they have been killed
koŝte ŝode bud he had been  killed

In Persian, there are also compound transitive verbs, for which the active and passive construction match each other:

Active Meaning Passive Meaning
kotak zadan to beat kotak xordan to be beaten


In the causative construction, the object is made by the subject to do something. This construction is often used as a counterpart for infinitives that end with “-idan”. In order to form the causative construction, the suffix “-ândan” is added to the present stem:

Infinitive Meaning Present stem Causative Meaning
xordan to eat xor xorândan to feed
tarsidan to fear tars tarsândan To frighten