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Farsi Lessons: Verb Basics

In this lesson we’re learning the basics of Farsi verbs 😊 Here are a few example verbs:

verbs

We’re focusing on different building blocks used to conjugate Farsi verbs. These will come in very handy in later lessons when we learn specific tenses.

Words between two slashes are a phonetic representation of the Farsi words, loosely based on the IPA romanization of Persian.

Building Blocks

There are several building blocks for Farsi verbs. Think of conjugation like a game - you can put together several small pieces to build something bigger 🕹

Here are the building blocks we’re looking at in this lesson:

  • The infinitive
  • The personal endings
  • The past stem
  • The present stem

The Infinitive

Like in other languages, verbs in Farsi have an infinitive form. It’s important to know the infinitive to refer to a verb.

Here are a few example verbs in infinitive form:

  • بودَن /budan/ = to be
  • داشتَن /dāʃtan/ = to have
  • آمَدَن /āmadan/ = to come
  • رَفتَن /raftan/ = to go
  • دیدَن /didan/ = to see
  • شِنیدَن /ʃenidan/ = to hear

All infinitives in Farsi end on the suffixes «تَن-» /-tan/ or «دَن-» /-dan/ 💡

The Personal Endings

The personal endings are used for all tenses in Farsi. Every personal pronoun is associated with a personal ending:

Ending Pronoun
م َ- مَن
/-am/ /man/
ی - تو
/-i/ /to/
د -َ او
/-ad/ /u/
--- ---
یم - ما
/-im/ /mā/
ید - شُما
/-id/ /ʃomā/
ند -َ آن‌ها
/-and/ /ānhā/

Note that for the third person singular in the simple past tense, we need to omit the personal ending shown here. Apart from this difference, the personal endings are the same in all present and past tenses 💡

The Past Stem

The past stem of a verb is used to form many past tenses in Farsi.

  • بودَن /budan/ → بود /bud/
  • داشتَن /dāʃtan/ → داشت /dāʃt/
  • آمَدَن /āmadan/ → آمَد /āmad/
  • رَفتَن /raftan/ → رَفت /raft/
  • دیدَن /didan/ → دید /did/
  • شِنیدَن /ʃenidan/ → شِنید /ʃenid/

You can derive the past stem from a verb’s infinitive: remove the ending «ن َ-» /-an/ from the infinitive to obtain the past stem 💡

Outlook: Simple Past

Combining the personal endings and the past stem of a verb, we can conjugate it in the simple past. Head to the Simple Past lesson to learn more about this tense.

The Present Stem

The present stem of a verb is used to form the present tense in Farsi. It is also needed in some past tenses.

In contrast to the the past stem, there is no way to derive the present stem from the infinitive. You have to learn it alongside the infinitive.

  • بودَن /budan/ → هَست /hast/
  • داشتَن /dāʃtan/ → دار /dār/
  • آمَدَن /āmadan/ → آی /āy/
  • رَفتَن /raftan/ → رَو /rav/
  • دیدَن /didan/ → بین /bin/
  • شِنیدَن /ʃenidan/ → شِنَو /ʃenav/

Always remember to learn the present stem right when you hear a new verb for the first time - this makes it easier to keep it in mind for later 💡

Don’t despair if this seems like a lot of effort - apart from a handful of irregular verbs like بودَن /budan/, this is the only only irregularity you have to be aware of with regards to Farsi verbs 😄 Compared to other languages, Farsi verbs are very easy, because of their regularity!

Check out the Simple Present lesson to learn about the present tense in Farsi.


Summary

When studying Farsi verbs there are few things you need to have ready in your arsenal.

When learning a new verb, make sure to remember its infinitive form and present stem. From the infinitive, you can derive the past stem.

Together with the personal endings, you can now conjugate the verb in any past and present tense.

🙌 !ما فارسی یاد می گیریم
/mā fārsi yād migirim/
We’re learning Farsi! 🙌

Published 14 Jan 2019

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