Persian Grammar: Lesson nine (Simple Present tense)

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The simple present tense in Persian is used to express actions or states that happen in the present time, things that always happen, things that will happen in the future, and general facts. For example:

  • I see = /mibinæm/
  • You read = /mixuni/
  • He sleeps = /mixabæd/
  • We go = /mirim/
  • You (plural) write = /minevisid/
  • They work = /mikærænd/

As you can see, the verbs in the simple present tense in Persian have different endings depending on the subject. These endings are:

  • /-æm/ for first person singular (I)
  • /-i/ for second person singular (you)
  • /-æd/ for third person singular (he/she/it)
  • /-im/ for first person plural (we)
  • /-id/ for second person plural (you)
  • /-ænd/ for third person plural (they)


However,we don’t add these endings directly to the verb infinitive. Instead, we add them to a special form of the verb called the present stem. The present stem is usually different from the verb infinitive, and it is not always easy to guess. For example, the verb infinitive “to see” is /didæn/ in Persian, but its present stem is /bin/. Therefore, to say “I see” in Persian, we have to add /-æm/ to /bin/, not to /didæn/. The result is /mibinæm/, not */mididæm/.

How to find present tense stem

To find the present stem of a verb, we have to use a trick. We have to look at the imperative form of the verb, which is the form used to give commands or requests. For example, the imperative form of “to see” is /bin/, which means “see!” or “look!”. This is also the present stem of the verb. Here are some more examples of verbs with their infinitives, imperatives, and present stems:

  • To read = /xundæn/; Read! = /bexun/; Present stem = /xun/
  • To sleep = /xubidæn/; Sleep! = /bexub/; Present stem = /xub/
  • To go = /ræftæn/; Go! = /beru/; Present stem = /ru/
  • To write = /neveshtæn/; Write! = /benevis/; Present stem = /nevis/
  • To work = /kær kærdæn/; Work! = /bokær/; Present stem = /kær/

As you can see, some verbs have a prefix /be-/ in their imperative forms, which is dropped in their present stems. Some verbs also change their vowels or consonants in their present stems. These changes are irregular and unpredictable, so you have to memorize them.

Once you know the present stem of a verb, you can add the endings according to the subject. However, there is one more thing you need to do before that. You have to add a prefix /mi-/ before the present stem. This prefix is used to mark the simple present tense and also progressive structures in present and past tenses. For example:

  • I read = /mixuni/
  • You sleep = /mixubi/
  • He goes = /miru:ad/
  • We write = /minevisim/
  • You (plural) work = /mikærænd/
  • They see = /mibinænd/

You always should put the strong stress on the prefix /mi-/ and separate from the rest of the verb by a half-space. A half-space is a small gap between two letters that indicates that they belong to different words but are pronounced together.

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