Persian is an ancient language of Indo-European family. You can find many grammatical similarities between Persian and the other languages of this family. However, Persian is similar more to its coeval languages like Latin than to relatively newer languages. For instance, both Latin and Persian have a SOV word order (they both have free word order, though), which is uncommon among most modern European languages (even the descendants of Latin).
Today, Persian is mainly spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Bahrain. It has official status in the first three countries but was once the official, court, or literary language of many more places ranging from Turkey through India. At this time, many Persian poets emerged from Indian subcontinent, Central Asia and the regions under the control of Ottoman Empire. It is still appreciated as a literary and prestigious language among the educated elite. Many people in Iran and neighboring countries know Persian fluently even though it's not their mother tongue. It's because Iran (formerly "Persia" until 1935) was historically much bigger before losing many territories, especially to its neighbor Russia (for more information, see Wikipedia: Greater Iran). After the 1979 revolution, many Iranians migrated to the West and as a result, there are numerous Persian-speaking communities throughout the world, particularly in USA. Persian is the second language of Islam so in many Islamic countries you can find someone knowing Persian.
The local name of the language is Farsi (officially, Fârsiyè Dari (Dari Persian), which means "Official/Court Persian"). The word Farsi has also entered English mainly because West-migrated Iranians didn't know about the native English name of their language (i.e. Persian) and began to use Farsi, which still prevails although somewhat decreased. Persian has three main dialects: Iranian Persian, Afghanistani Persian and Tajikistani Persian. They are all mutually intelligible and the written language is literally the same.
Note - The contents of this page are written in bookish Persian so that you can use them not only in Iran but also in Afghanistan, Tajikistan and other countries. Nevertheless, this page is centered on Iranian Persian; Afghanistani Persian and Tajikistani Persian should have their own pages for a closer coverage.
The Persian writing system derives from that of Arabic, extended with four letters to denote the sounds not found in Arabic. Persian writing system is not an alphabet but an abjad. An abjad has only characters for denoting consonant sounds. Vowels have no specific character; they are indicated either by certain diacritics or by certain consonant characters. Additionally, most letters change shape when they are followed by another letter.
Vowels and diphthongs
|| as a in ant
|| as aw in law
|| as e in egg
|| as ea in eagle
|| as o in hot
|| as u in flute
|| as ow in American English
|| as ey in they
Regarding their indication in the Persian script:
- The sounds a, e, o can be indicated with certain diacritics but they are practically only used in elementary-school books. The vowel o is sometimes denoted with the consonant و (v).
- The sounds â is always indicated: with آ at word initial and with ا elsewhere.
- The sounds i and ey are indicated with ای at word initial and with the consonant ی (y) elsewhere.
- The sounds u and ow are indicated with او at word initial and with the consonant و (v) elsewhere.
- at word initial can denote: a, e, o; elsewhere: â
- at word initial when followed by ی can denote: i (mostly) and ey
- at word initial when followed by و can denote: u (mostly), ow and ave
|| as o in hot
|| as in bob
|| as in put
|| as in tea
|| as in sad
|| as in job
|| as in cheese
|| as in head
|| as ch in Scottish loch, German Buch
|| similar to r in Spanish reloj
|| as in zoo
|| as s in vision, pleasure, French j in jardin
|| as in sad
|| as in sheet
|| as in sad
|| as in zoo
|| as in tea
|| as in zoo
|| glottal stop
|| similar to r in French écrire, German schreiben
|| as in feet
|| similar to r in French écrire, German schreiben
|| as in keep
|| as in go
|| as in leave
|| as in moon
|| as in noon
|| as in van; also used to denote some vowel sounds
|| as in yet; also used to denote some vowel sounds
|| as in head
As you may note, there are characters that denote identical sounds e.g. ظ ,ض, ز are all pronounced z. It's because Persian has preserved the spelling of Arabic loanwords. Each of these characters has distinguished sounds in Arabic but they are all pronounced the same in Persian.
Persian has the following syllable patterns (C = Consonant, V = Vowel):
|| na, to, ke, mâ, xu, si, u
|| kar, pol, del, kâr, mur, sir, az, in, âb
|| kard, goft, zešt, kârd, xošk, rixt, farš, ârd, abr
These patterns can be encapsulated in CV(C)(C). According to the patterns:
- A syllable always begins with a consonant sound. Please note that syllables which visually begin with a vowel sound, have a preceding glottal stop merged with their sound. For instance, u (he, she) is actually said øu and ârd (flour) is actually said øârd.
- The second component of any syllable is a vowel sound.
- Each syllable can only have one vowel sound. Therefore, each vowel indicates a syllable.
As opposed to English and many other languages, Persian does not allow two or more consonants to begin a syllable. Therefore, loanwords with such a characteristic are always Persianized:
|| estâdiyom (øes.tâ.di.yom)
|| terâfik (te.râ.fik)
|| kelâs (ke.lâs)
To help you understand it better, here are some basic words along with their syllabification:
|| drug store
The stress is on the last syllable. However, a few adverbs do not follow this regularity. In addition, Persian has a number of enclitics, which simply put, are unstressed endings (English example: 's in Peter's book). Enclitics do not change the stress position of the word to which they attach. Therefore, the stress position does not shift to the last syllable e.g. pedaram (my father): pe.dar + enclitic -am = pe.da.ram (rather than expected pe.da.ram)
Note - As an aid to beginners, the grave accent can be placed on the first vowel of enclitics to make them distinguishable from suffixes and final letters of words. This method is used here for the genitive enclitic (è / yè), indefinite enclitic (ì / yì) and enclitic form of "and" (ò).
Persian has a relatively easy and mostly regular grammar. Therefore, reading this grammar primer would help you learn much about Persian grammar and understand phrases better. You should also be able to memorize phrases easier.
Persian is a gender-neutral language. Such languages don't differentiate different grammatical genders (masculine, feminine and neuter) and have identical pronouns, adjectives, etc. for all of them. For example, Persian has one word for both English "he" and "she", "him" and "her", "his" and "her".
There is no definite article in Persian. A bare noun indicates a definite noun (which includes common and generic nouns) e.g. mâšin dar pârking ast: the car is in the garage (literally: car, in garage, is); az mâr mitarsam: I'm afraid of snakes (literally: from snake fear-I)
Indefiniteness is expressed with the enclitic -ì (or -yì after vowels). It is for both singular and plural nouns. English does not have an exact equivalent for the Persian's plural indefinite article. It's often translated as "some" or "a few" or is simply omitted. The indefinite enclitic is added to the end of the noun phrase: mâšinì (a car, some car), mâšinhâyì (some cars)
Nouns are pluralized with the suffix -hâ. It's the only plural suffix used in spoken Persian. In written Persian, there's another plural suffix -ân (-gân after the vowel e and -yân after other vowels) which can only be used for animates and human beings in particular. It is especially useful to restrict the meaning to human beings. For example:
- sar means "head", sarhâ means "heads" and sarân means "chiefs, heads, leaders"
- gozašte means "past", gozaštehâ means "the past (events, etc.)" and gozaštegân means "the people of the past"
Arabic loanwords have usually brought their irregular plural forms (technically referred to as "broken plurals") into Persian but they can be avoided and you can use -hâ to pluralize them. In spoken Persian, broken plurals are never used except for very few cases where the broken plural has found an extended meaning. Regarding written Persian of today, the use of broken plurals has greatly decreased and it's prevalent to pluralize words with -hâ.
Note - In Persian, nouns are not pluralized when preceded by numbers because the number itself indicates quantity e.g. yek ketâb (one/a book), do/se/panjâh ketâb (two/three/fifty books).
In Persian, the genitive case relates two or more words to each other. The genitive case is marked with the enclitic -è (or -yè after vowels). The genitive enclitic is added to all the words that are connected to the head word and complement it. Look at the following examples:
||the father of Ali, Ali's father
||the prophet of Islam
||the name of the book, book's name
||the country of Iran
||north of Tehran
The accusative case is indicated with the enclitic râ, added to the end of the noun phrase. Despite being an enclitic, it is written apart from the host word in the Persian script. Examples: dar râ bastam (I closed the door), in filmè Hendi râ qablan dide budam (I had already seen this Indian film).
Adjectives have only one form. They agree neither in gender nor in number with the noun they modify. They come after the noun and are related to it with the genitive enclitic: pesarè xub: good boy (template: boy-è good), doxtarhâyè xub: good girls (template: girl-hâ-yè good). As stated before, the indefinite article is added to the end of the noun phrase, so: pesarè xubì (a/some good boy), doxtarhâyè xubì ((some) good girls).
The comparative form of an adjective is always made by adding the comparative suffix -tar to the end of the adjective: bad (bad), badtar (worse); kam (little), kamtar (less); zibâ (beautiful), zibâtar (more beautiful).
The common pattern to compare A with B is: A + comparative + az (from) + B + verb
- [došmanè dânâ] [behtar] [az] [dustè nâdân] [ast]: a wise foe is better than a foolish friend (template: foe-yè wise, good-tar, from, friend-è foolish, is). It's a Persian proverb.
The superlative form of an adjective is always made by adding the superlative suffix -in to the comparative: bad (bad), badtar (worse), badtarin (the worse). The superlative comes before the noun e.g. behtarin hotel (the best hotel), behtarin hotelè in šahr (the best hotel of this city)
Demonstrative adjectives come before nouns and like other adjectives, they have only one form. In Persian, we don't say "these books" but "this books". The plural form itself indicates that we are pointing to a plural noun. Basic demonstrative adjectives are ân (distal: that, those) and in (proximal: this, these):
- When combined with jâ (place), they make adverbs: injâ (here) and ânjâ (there)
- When combined with chon (like), they make demonstratives: chonin (such, like this) and chonân (such, like that)
- When combined with ham (also; even), they make demonstratives: hamin (this/the same/one/very) and hamân (that/the same/one/very)
A pronoun (pro-noun) substitutes a noun phrase therefore the quantity (singular or plural) must be indicated. Therefore, demonstrative pronouns agree in number with the noun phrase whose place they take: ân (that), ânhâ (those), in (this), inhâ (these).
Demonstrative pronouns are also used as subjective pronouns. For example, the Persian word for "they" is ânhâ. Distal pronouns (ân, ânhâ, hamân, hamânhâ) are either used neutrally (i.e. not denoting distance from the speaker) or natively (i.e. indicating remoteness); but proximal pronouns (in, inhâ, hamin, haminhâ) are always used natively and indicate proximity to the speaker. English doesn't have such a feature.
Personal pronouns have two forms. One is their normal form called free personal pronouns (free in the sense of "not bound, separate") and the other is their enclitic form called bound personal pronouns. Subjective pronouns of English: "I, you, he, she, etc." are analogous to free personal pronouns but English does not have any equivalent for Persian's bound personal pronouns.
Persian has formal and informal 2nd and 3rd person. In addition, people of higher ranks like kings usually use 1st person plural (we) rather than 1st person singular (I). So, plural forms can be considered as polite and formal forms of singulars.
||thou, you (informal)
||you (formal, singular and plural)
you (informal, plural)
||he, she (formal)
||he, she, it
||il, elle, ça
||ils, elles, on
In spoken Persian, there is also šomâhâ used as the plural form of both informal and formal "you" (to and šomâ).
Bound personal pronouns have various functions depending on the word class to which they attach. For example, when they are added to the end of a noun (phrase), they express possession e.g. pedaram (my father). We'll learn more about their functions.
Direct object pronouns
Direct object pronouns are simply made by adding the accusative enclitic râ to subjective pronouns e.g. man râ (me), u râ (him, her). man râ has developed a truncated form marâ (omission of n from manrâ), which is usually preferred in bookish Persian.
Indirect object pronouns
Although Persian has lost the declination system of Old Persian but it does mark different cases with technically called ad-positions (post/pre-positions). That's why Persian has been able to preserve the free word order feature:
- As we learned, the accusative case is marked with the enclitic râ (a post-position).
- The dative case is marked with the pre-position be (to).
- The ablative case is marked with the pre-position az (from).
English marks none of these cases. For example, if you change the word order of "the father kissed the daughter" (accusative) to e.g. "the daughter kissed the father", the meaning completely changes. The same applies to "the father helped the daughter" (dative) and "the father asked the daughter" (ablative). As with Latin, by changing the word order, just the emphasis changes and the basic meaning is preserved:
- accusative: pedar doxtar râ busid, doxtar râ pedar busid
- dative: pedar be doxtar komak kard, be doxtar pedar komak kard
- ablative: pedar az doxtar porsid, az doxtar pedar porsid
Hence, Persian has three different sets of "object pronouns" as per the case. They are made from the adposition of the case and subjective pronouns e.g. mâ râ busid (s/he kised us, accusative), be mâ komak kard (s/he helped us, dative), az mâ porsid (s/he asked us, ablative).
Persian does not have possessive adjectives as is found in English. In Persian, possession is expressed by adding "bound personal pronouns" to the end of the noun phrase (NP):
- dustam: my friend (template: friend-am)
- dustè xubam: my good friend (template: friend-è good-am). Please note that English's possessive adjectives also function on the whole NP. The difference is that in English, the possessive precedes NP. Compare [dustè xub]am with my [good friend].
Possession can also be expressed using the genitive case and subjective pronouns. This form is usually used for emphasis and doesn't have an equivalent in English:
- dustè man: my friend (template: dust-è I)
- dustè xubè man: my good friend (template: friend-è good-è I).
As for possessive pronouns, they are formed by relating mâl (property) to subjective pronouns with the genitive enclitic e.g. mâlè man (mine), in ketâb mâlè man ast, na mâlè to (this book is mine, not yours)
Learning verb conjugation of Persian is quite easy. The infinitive always ends in -an e.g. budan (to be), dâštan (to have). Each verb has two stems: past and present. The past stem always obtains regularly by removing -an from the infinitive e.g. raftan (to go) = raft. There isn't such a rule for obtaining the present stem of verbs but they can be classified into subgroups whose present stem is obtained according to a regular pattern with no or few exceptions. However, a verb whether regular or irregular has one and only one present stem for all persons. Therefore, as opposed to languages like French, Italian and Spanish, Persian does not have irregular verb conjugations. The past participle forms by replacing the infinitive suffix (-an) with -e. In other words, by adding -e to the past stem e.g. raftan = rafte.
To conjugate verbs in different tenses, conjugative enclitics attach to stems and participles. They only differ in 3rd person singular:
Note - Subjective pronouns (I, you, etc.) are not normally used in Persian because each person has a unique conjugative enclitic, which suffices to indicate the person of the verb. For example, in raftim it is evident that the person of the verb is 1st person plural and therefore, we do not normally say mâ raftim. So, Persian is a "pro-drop" language.
Formula: past stem + past enclitic. Examples:
- didan (to see): didam (I saw), didi (you /informal/ saw) , did (s/he saw); didim, didid, didand
- raftan (to go): raftam, rafti, raft; raftim (we went), raftid (you went), raftand (they went; s/he /formal/ went)
- budan (to be): budam, budi, bud, budim, budid, budand
- dâštan (to have): dâštam, dâšti, dâšt, dâštim, dâštid, dâštand
To negate verbs just add the negation prefix na to the stem: naraftam (I didn't go), nadid (s/he didn't see), nadâštand (they didn't have). The negation prefix take the primary stress.
English does not have a grammatical form that corresponds exactly to this aspect. As an example, in languages having imperfective aspect, "I ran five miles yesterday" would use past simple form, whereas "I ran five miles every morning" would use past imperfective form. Romance languages like French, Spanish and Italian have only one imperfective tense, which from the viewpoint of Persian, is the counterpart of "past simple". In contrast, each "past simple", "present perfect", "past perfect", "present simple", etc. have an imperfective tense that are simply made by prefixing "mi" to the stem or participle (depending on the formation of the tense). None of these imperfective tenses has an equivalent in English, though and Romance languages have only an equivalent for the Persian's past imperfective.
Formula: mi + past simple (i.e. past stem + past enclitic).
- raftan (to go): miraftam, mirafti, miraft; miraftim, miraftid, miraftand
- xâstan (to want): mixâstam, mixâsti, mixâst; mixâstim, mixâstid, mixâstand
The past imperfective is also used in conditional tenses and as with "conditionnel" of French, it is used to make polite expressions (that's why this tense has been mentioned in the primer): yek livân âb mixâstam (French: je voudrais un verre d'eau, English: I'd like a glass of water).
Note - Because of a vowel harmony, the negation prefix "na" becomes "ne" before "mi". Therefore, we say nemiraftam rather than expected namiraftam. However, in Afghanistani and Tajikistani Persian, this change hasn't occurred and they still say namiraftam.
Formula: present stem + present enclitic. Regarding usage, the present imperfective has taken the place of this tense. The only exception is dâštan (to have), which is not normally conjugated in the imperfective aspect due to its meaning ("having" something cannot be "imperfective"; you either "have" or "don't have" something). The present stem of dâštan is dâr. Now, its conjugation: dâram (I have), dâri (you /informal/ have), dârad (s/he has), dârim (we have), dârid (you have), dârand (they have; s/he /formal/ has).
The verb budan (to be) has two forms in present simple:
- The full form (or free form) is: hastam (I am), hasti (you /informal/ are), (h)ast (he, she, it is); hastim (we are), hastid (you are), hastand (they are; s/he /formal/ is).
- The enclitic form (or bound form) is: -am, -i, -ast; -im, -id, -and.
The free form is usually for emphasis and it is the bound form, which is normally used e.g. xubam (I am fine), xubi? (Are you fine?; used in greetings).
Formula: imperfective prefix mi + present simple (present stem + present enclitic). Present stems are placed within slashes / /.
- neveštan /nevis/ (to write): minevisam (I write), minevisi (you /informal/ write), minevisad (s/he writes); minevisim, minevisid, minevisand
- didan /bin/ (to see): mibinam, mibini, mibinad; mibinim (we see), mibinid (you see), mibinand (they see; s/he /formal/ sees)
- raftan /rav/ (to go): miravam, miravi, miravad; miravim, miravid, miravand
As you see, although the stem is irregular but the conjugation is still regular.
Persian has a "future simple" tense but it is not used in spoken Persian. In spoken Persian, "future simple" is expressed with present imperfective accompanied by a "future" adverb like fardâ (tomorrow), baødan (later). Example: fardâ sobh be muze miravim (We'll go to the museum tomorrow morning).
An imperfective tense can also express a progressive (continuous) action because a progressive action is incomplete (imperfect). Therefore, for example "minevisam", which is in "present imperfective", besides "I write", can also mean, "I am writing" depending on the context. On this very basis, there is no progressive tense in written Persian but spoken Persian has developed a full set of progressive tenses built upon the imperfetive tenses with the help of the auxiliary dâštan (to have).
Formula: auxiliary dâštan in present simple + verb in present imperfective. Examples: dâram minevisam (I am writing), dârad minevisad (s/he is writing).
Progressive tenses only appear in affirmative sentences and they have no negative form. For negation, the imperfective form of the verb is used. Example: "I'm writing" (dâram minevisam), "I'm not writing" (neminevisam, not: dâram neminevisam).
Formula: past participle + auxiliary budan (to be) in present simple and in its bound form. Examples:
- didan (to see): dideam (I have seen), didei (you /informal/ have seen) , dideast (s/he has seen); dideim, dideid, dideand
- raftan (to go): rafteam, raftei, rafteast; rafteim (we have gone), rafteid (you have gone), rafteand (they have gone; s/he /formal/ has gone)
It'd be interesting to speakers of French (and other Romance languages) to know that rafteam is exactly equivalent to "je suis allé" (literally: I'm gone). The difference is that in Persian the auxiliary verb is always "être" (budan) and never "avoir" (dâštan).
As stated before, the negative conjugation is formed with the prefix na: narafteam (I haven't gone).
Formula: past participle + auxiliary budan (to be) in past simple. Examples:
- didan (to see): dide budam (I had seen), dide budi (you /informal/ had seen), dide bud (s/he had seen); dide budim, dide budid, dide budand
- raftan (to go): rafte budam, rafte budi, rafte bud; rafte budim (we had gone), rafte budid (you had gone), rafte budand (they have gone; s/he /formal/ had gone)
The negative conjugation is formed with the prefix na: narafte budam (I hadn't gone).
As with "present perfect", rafte budam literally means "I was gone". If you consider "gone" as an "adjective" rather than a "past participle", you should be able to understand this construction and its meaning.
Formula: subjunctive prefix be + present simple (present stem + present enclitic). English doesn't practically have any subjunctive tenses and therefore, Persian's subjunctive tenses cannot be exactly translated into English. Therefore, translations are given in French. Examples:
- neveštan /nevis/ (to write): benevisam (que j'écrive), benevisi (que tu écrives), benevisad (qu'il/elle écrive); benevisim, benevisid, benevisand
- didan /bin/ (to see): bebinam, bebini, bebinad; bebinim (que nous voyions), bebinid (que vous voyiez), bebinand (qu'ils/elles voient)
- raftan /rav/ (to go): beravam, beravi, beravad; beravim, beravid, beravand
In English we say "I want to go" but in Persian "to go" does not appear in "infinitive" but in present subjunctive: mixâham beravam. We can assume that there is a relative pronoun ke (that) after "I want" that causes the second verb to appear in the subjunctive (similar to French que) i.e. mixâham [ke] beravam (French: je veux qu'aille). In any case, this construction is used very much and you should learn it well. Another example: mitavânam bebinam (I can see).
- Persian has a limited number of simple (single-word, light) verbs (about 100, in common use). The majority of Persian verbs are non-simple verbs made with these simple verbs. For example, kardan /kon/, which is equivalent to French "faire" both in usage (making new verbs: faire attention, faire un voyage, etc.) and in basic meaning (to do, to make), has been used to make thousands of verbs from nouns, adjectives and loanwords. Examples: rang kardan (to dye; rang: color), bâz kardan (to open; bâz: open), sefid kardan (to whiten; sefid: white), dânlod kardan (to download; dânlod: download). Therefore, by just knowing the present stem of kardan (/kon/) you can conjugate a countless ever-growing number of verbs. Some useful verbs: telefon kardan (to phone), kopi kardan (to copy), safar kardan (to travel), negâh kardan (to look, to watch), guš kardan (to listen), pârk kardan (to park), komak kardan (to help), tamiz kardan (to clean).
Important note: Although kardan basically means "to do, to make" and is so useful, but be careful not to use it alone because when used alone, it has a very bad meaning (vulgar: to have sexual intercourse) in the common language. For "to do", we say "anjâm dâdan" and for "to make" we say "sâxtan". The present stem of dâdan is /deh/, and that of sâxtan is /sâz/.
- The non-verbal part of a non-simple verb is called preverb (e.g. "telefon" in "telefon kardan"). When conjugating non-simple verbs, the preverb sits aside and the conjugational elements are added to the verbal part (you should find it quite logical). Example: telefon mikonam (I phone), telefon nemikonam (I don't phone), telefon kardam (I phoned), telefon nakardam (I didn't phone).
- Bound personal pronouns can substitute direct object pronouns. They attach to the end of the verb e.g. "I saw you": to râ didam versus didamat. In fact, it's the normal way and full (free) forms like to râ didam are used for emphasis.
- To make a question, just change the tone of your voice e.g. didi (you saw), didi? (did you see?), raftei (you have gone), raftei? (have you gone?).
- Hello, Hi
- Salâm (سلام)
- How are you?
- Hâlè šomâ chetor ast? (حالِ شما چطور است), less formal: chetorid? (چطورید), xubid? (خوبید)
- Fine, thank you.
- khoobam, kheyli mamnoonn (خوبم، خیلی ممنون)
- What is your name?
- esmetân chi'st? (اسمتان چيست)
- My name is ~ .
- esmam ~ ast (اسمم ~ است)
- Nice to meet you.
- xošbaxtam (خوشبختم)
- lotfan (لطفا)
- Thank you.
- xeyli mamnun (خیلی ممنون), mersi (مرسی)
- Note - xeyli mamnun literally means "many thanks" but it's the common way of saying "thank you"
- You're welcome.
- xâheš mikonam (خواهش میکنم)
- bale (بله)
- na (نه)
- Excuse me (getting attention or begging pardon)
- bebaxšid (ببخشید), maøzerat mixâham (معذرت میخواهم)
- I'm sorry.
- bebaxšid (ببخشید), maøzerat mixâham (معذرت میخواهم)
- xodâhâfez (خداحافظ)
- See you
- formal: mibinametân (میبینمتان), informal: mibinamet (میبینمت)
- I can't speak Persian [well].
- Nemitavânam [xub] Fârsi harf bezanam (نمیتوانم خوب فارسی حرف بزنم)
- Do you speak English?
- Mitavânid Engelisi harf bezanid? (میتوانید انگلیسی حرف بزنید؟)
- Is there someone here who speaks English?
- Injâ kasi Engelisi midânad? (اینجا کسی انگلیسی میداند)
- komak! (کمک)
- Look out
- formal: Movâzeb bâšid (مواظب باشید), informal: Movâzeb bâš (مواظب باش)
- Good morning.
- sobh bexeyr (صبح بخیر)
- Good evening.
- asr bexeyr (عصر بخیر)
- Good night.
- šab bexeyr (شب بخیر)
- I don't understand.
- nemifahmam (نمیفهمم), motevajjeh nemišavam (متوجه نمیشوم)
- Where is the toilet?
- dastšuyi kojâ'st? (دستشویی کجاست)
- Leave me alone.
- Mixâham tanhâ bâšam (میخواهم تنها باشم)
- Don't touch me!
- Be man dast nazanid (به من دست نزنید)
- I'll call the police.
- Polis râ xabar mikonam (پلیس را خبر میکنم)
- Polis (پلیس)
- Stop! Thief!
- Âhây dozd! (آهای دزد)
- I need your help.
- Be komaketân niyâz dâram (به کمکتان نیاز دارم)
- It's an emergency.
- zaruri'st (ضروریست)
- I'm lost.
- gom šodeam (گم شدهام)
- Go away!
- Boro kenâr! (برو کنار)
- I lost my bag.
- sâkam râ gom kardeam (ساکم را گم کردهام)
- I lost my wallet.
- kifam râ gom kardeam (کیفم را گم کردهام)
- I'm sick.
- Hâlam bad ast (حالم بد است)
- I've been injured.
- Zaxmi šodeam (زخمی شدهام)
- I need a doctor.
- Doktor mixâham (دکتر میخواهم)
- Can I use your phone?
- Mišavad az telefonetân estefâde konam (میشود از تلفنتان استفاده کنم)
Note - There are two ways to express "and" in Persian. One is with the enclitic ò (or yò after vowels) and the other is with the word va. The enclitic ò is the common way (and the sole way in spoken Persian).
|| sefr (صفر)
|| pânzdah (پانزده)
|| šastò šeš (شصت و شش)
|| šešsad (ششصد)
|| yek (یک)
|| šânzdah (شانزده)
|| haftâd (هفتاد)
|| haftsad (هفتصد)
|| do (دو)
|| hefdah (هفده)
|| haftâdò haft (هفتاد و هفت)
|| haštsad (هشتصد)
|| se (سه)
|| hejdah (هجده)
|| haštâd (هشتاد)
|| nohsad (نهصد)
|| chahâr (چهار)
|| nuzdah (نوزده)
|| haštâdò hašt (هشتاد و هشت)
|| hezâr (هزار)
|| panj (پنج)
|| bist (بیست)
|| navad (نود)
|| hezârò yek (هزار و یک)
|| šeš (شش)
|| bistò yek (بیست و یک)
|| navadò noh (نود و نه)
|| hezârò sad (هزار و صد)
|| haft (هفت)
|| bistò do (بیست و دو)
|| sad (صد)
|| do hezâr (دو هزار)
|| hašt (هشت)
|| si (سی)
|| sadò dah (صد و ده)
|| do hezârò hašt (دو هزار و هشت)
|| noh (نه)
|| siyò se (سی و سه)
|| devist (دویست)
|| dah hezâr (ده هزار)
|| dah (ده)
|| chehel (چهل)
|| devistò bistò do (دویست و بیست و دو)
|| bist hezâr (بیست هزار)
|| yâzdah (یازده)
|| chehelò chahâr (چهل و چهار)
|| sisad (سیصد)
|| sad hezâr (صد هزار)
|| davâzdah (دوازده)
|| panjâh (پنجاه)
|| sisadò siyò se (سیصد و سی و سه)
|| yek milyun (یک میلیون)
|| sizdah (سیزده)
|| panjâhò panj (پنجاه و پنج)
|| chahârsad (چهارصد)
|| do milyun (دو میلیون)
|| chahârdah (چهارده)
|| šast (شصت)
|| pânsad (پانصد)
|| yek milyârd (یک میلیارد)
- number ~ (train, bus, etc.)
- šomâreye ~ (شمارهی ~)
- nesf (نصف)
- kamtar (کمتر)
- bištar (بیشتر)
- aløân (الآن)
- baødan (بعدا)
- qablan (قبلا)
- sobh (صبح)
- baød-az-zohr (بعدازظهر)
- qorub (غروب)
- šab (شب)
- one o'clock AM
- yekè sobh (یک صبح)
- two o'clock AM
- doè sobh (دو صبح)
- zohr (ظهر)
- one o'clock PM
- yekè baød-az-zohr (یک بعدازظهر)
- two o'clock PM
- doè baød-az-zohr (دو بعدازظهر)
- nimešab (نیمهشب)
- ~ minute(s)
- daqiqe(hâ) (دقیقهها))
- ~ hour(s)
- sâat(hâ) (ساعتها)
- ~ day(s)
- ruz(hâ) (روزها)
- ~ week(s)
- hafte(hâ) (هفتهها)
- ~ month(s)
- mâh(hâ) (ماهها)
- ~ season(s)
- fasl(hâ) (فصلها)
- ~ year(s)
- sâl(hâ) (سالها)
Tip - In Persian, nouns are not pluralized when a number precedes them. The plurality is clear from the "number". Therefore, we say, for example:
- one/three/fifty day: yek/se/panjâh ruz (یک/سه/پنجاه روز)
- three to five week: se tâ panj hafte (سه تا پنج هفته)
- emruz (امروز)
- diruz (دیروز)
- fardâ (فردا)
- this week
- in hafte (این هفته)
- last week
- hafteyè gozašte (هفتهی گذشته)
- next week
- hafteyè âyande (هفتهی آینده)
- yekšanbe (یکشنبه)
- došanbe (دوشنبه)
- sešanbe (سهشنبه)
- chahâršanbe (چهارشنبه)
- panjšanbe (پنجشنبه)
- jomøe (جمعه)
- šanbe (شنبه)
Tip - In Iran, weeks begin with "Saturday" and end with "Friday". So, the holiday is "Friday" and the weekend starts from "Thursday".
Iran uses a solar calendar with the New Year on the vernal equinox (March 21 on the Gregorian calendar). Years begin with "spring" and end with "winter". The first six months have 31 days, and the last five have 30 days each. The final month has 29 or 30 depending on whether or not it is a leap year. Leap years are not as simply calculated as in the Gregorian calendar, but typically there is a five year leap period after every 7 four-year cycles. Year 0 of the calendar corresponds to 621 in Gregorian.
||Farvardin (31 days)
||21 Mar. – 20 Apr.
||Ordibehešt (31 days)
||21 Apr. – 21 May
||Xordâd (31 days)
||22 May – 21 June
||Tir (31 days)
||22 June – 22 July
||Mordâd (31 days)
||23 July – 22 Aug.
||Šahrivar (31 days)
||23 Aug. – 22 Sep.
||Mehr (30 days)
||23 Sep.– 22 Oct.
||Âbân (30 days)
||23 Oct.– 21 Nov.
||Âzar (30 days)
||22 Nov.– 21 Dec.
||Dey (30 days)
||22 Dec.– 19 Jan.
||Bahman (30 days)
||20 Jan. – 18 Feb.
||Esfand (29/30 days)
||19 Feb. – 20 Mar.
Gregorian month names are borrowed from French.
- Žânviye (ژانویه)
- Fevriye (فوریه)
- Mârs (مارس)
- Âvril (آوریل)
- Me (مه), also Mey (می)
- Žuan (ژوئن)
- Žuiye (ژوئیه), also Julây (جولای)
- Ut (اوت), also Âgust (آگوست)
- Septâm(b)r (سپتامبر)
- Oktobr (اکتبر)
- Novâm(b)r (نوامبر)
- Desâm(b)r (دسامبر)
Writing time and date
The staring point of the Iranian solar calendar is Muhammad's flight from Mecca to Medina in 622 AD. Short date format is yyyy/mm/dd (or yy/mm/dd) and the long date format is dddd, dd MMMM yyyy. For example, today (Monday, August 11, 2008) is:
- short date format: 1387/05/21 (or 87/05/21)
- long date format: došanbe, 21 Mordâd 1387
Time is written like English e.g. 8:34 (۸:۳۴).
- siyâh (سیاه), also meški (مشکی)
- sefid (سفید)
- xâkestari (خاکستری)
- qermez (قرمز), also sorx (سرخ)
- âbi (آبی)
- zard (زرد)
- sabz (سبز)
- nârenji (نارنجی)
- arqavâni (ارغوانی)
- qahvei (قهوهای)
Bus and train
- How much is a ticket to ~?
- belitè ~ cheqadr ast? (بلیط ~ چقدر است)
- One ticket to ~, please.
- lotfan yek belit barâye ~ (لطفا یک بلیط برای ~ )
- Where does this train/bus go?
- in qatâr/otobus kojâ miravad? (این قطار/اتوبوس کجا میرود)
- Where is the train/bus to ~?
- qatârè/otobusè ~ kodâm ast? (قطار/اتوبوس ~ کدام است)
- Does this train/bus stop in ~?
- in qatâr/otobus dar ~ miistad? (این قطار/اتوبوس در ~ میایستد)
- When does the train/bus for ~ leave?
- qatârè/otobusè ~ key harkat mikonad? (قطار/اتوبوس ~ کی حرکت میکند)
- When will this train/bus arrive in ~?
- in qatâr/otobus key be ~ miresad? (این قطار/اتوبوس کی به ~ میرسد)
- How do I get to ~ ?
- chetor beravam be ~ (چطور بروم به)
- ...the train station?
- istgâhè qatâr (ایستگاه قطار)
- ...the bus station?
- istgâhè otobus (ایستگاه اتوبوس)
- ...the airport?
- forudgâh (فرودگاه)
- markazè šahr (مرکز شهر)
- ...the youth hostel?
- mehmânxâne (مهمانخانه)
- ...the ~ hotel?
- hotel (هتل)
- ...the American/Canadian/Australian/British consulate?
- sefâratè Âmrikâ/Kânâdâ/Ostorâliyâ/Engelestân (سفارت آمریکا/کانادا/استرالیا/انگلستان)
- Where are there a lot of...
- kojâ ~ ziyâd peydâ mišavad? (کجا ~ زیاد پیدا میشود)
- hotel (هتل)
- resturân (رستوران)
- NOT FOUND IN IRAN
- ...sites to see?
- jâyè didani (جای دیدنی)
- Can you show me on the map?
- mišavad ruyè naqše nešân bedahid? (میشود روی نقشه نشان بدهید)
- xiyâbân (خیابان)
- Turn left.
- bepichid dastè chap (بپیچید دست چپ)
- Turn right.
- bepichid dastè râst (بپیچید دست راست)
- chap (چپ)
- râst (راست)
- straight ahead
- mostaqim (مستقیم)
- towards the ~
- be tarafè (به طرف)
- past the ~
- baød az (بعد از)
- before the ~
- qabl az (قبل از)
- Watch for the ~.
- donbâlè ~ begardid (دنبال ~ بگردید)
- chahârrâh (چهارراه)
- šomâl (شمال)
- jonub (جنوب)
- šarq (شرق)
- qarb (غرب)
- sarbâlâyi (سربالایی)
- sarpâyini (سرپایینی)
- tâksi (تاکسی)
- Take me to ~, please.
- lotfan marâ bebar ~ (لطفا مرا ببر ~)
- How much does it cost to get to ~?
- tâ ~ cheqadr mišavad? (تا ~ چقدر میشود)
- Take me there, please.
- lotfan marâ bebar ânjâ (لطفا مرا ببر آنجا)
- Do you have any rooms available?
- otâqè xâli dârid? (اتاق خالی دارید)
- How much is a room for one person/two people?
- otâq barâye yek/do nafar chand ast? (اتاق برای یک/دو نفر چند است)
- Does the room come with ~
- otâq ~ dârad? (اتاق ~ دارد)
- ~ bedsheets?
- malâfe (ملافه)
- ~ a bathroom?
- hammâm (حمام)
- ~ a telephone?
- telefon (تلفن)
- ~ a TV?
- televizyun (تلویزیون)
- May I see the room first?
- mišavad avval otâq râ bebinam? (میشود اول اتاق را ببینم)
- Do you have anything quieter?
- jâyè ârâmtarì dârid? (جای آرامتری دارید)
- ~ bigger?
- bozorgtar (بزرگتر)
- ~ cleaner?
- tamiztar (تمیزتر)
- ~ cheaper?
- arzântar (ارزانتر)
- OK, I'll take it.
- bâše, hamin râ migiram. (باشه، همین را میگیرم)
- I will stay for ~ night(s).
- ~ šab mimânam (~ شب میمانم)
- Can you suggest another hotel?
- mišavad hotelè digarì râ pišnahâd konid? (میشود هتل دیگری را پیشنهاد کنید)
- Do you have a safe?
- sandoqè amânât dârid? (صندوق امانات دارید)
- ~ lockers?
- komodè qofldâr? (کمد قفلدار)
- Is breakfast/supper included?
- hazine šâmelè sobhâne/šâm ham mišavad? (هزینه شامل صبحانه/شام هم میشود)
- What time is breakfast/supper? sobhâne/šâm che sâatì ast? (صبحانه/شام چه ساعتی است)
- Please clean my room.
- lotfan otâqam râ tamiz konid (لطفا اتاقم را تمیز کنید)
- Can you wake me at ~?
- mišavad marâ sâatè ~ bidâr konid? (میشود مرا ساعت ~ بیدار کنید)
- I want to check out.
- mixâham tasviye konam (میخواهم تسویه کنم)
- Do you accept American/Australian/Canadian dollars?
- Dolârè Âmrikâ/Ostorâliyâ/Kânâdâ qabul mikonid? (دلار آمریکا/استرالیا/کانادا قبول میکنید)
- Do you accept British pounds?
- Pondè Engelis qabul mikonid? (پوند انگلیس قبول میکنید)
- Do you accept credit cards?
- kârtè eøtebâri qabul mikonid? (کارت اعتباری قبول میکنید)
- Can you change money for me?
- mitavânid pulam râ cheynj konid? (میتوانید پولم را چینج کنید)
- Where can I get money changed?
- Kojâ mitavânam pulam râ cheynj konam? (کجا میتوانم پولم را چینج کنم)
- Can you change a traveler's check for me?
- mitavânid terâvel râ barâyam naqd konid? (میتوانید تراول را برایم نقد کنید)
- Where can I get a traveler's check changed?
- Kojâ mitavân terâvel naqd kard? (کجا میتوان تراول نقد کرد)
- What is the exchange rate?
- nerxè arz cheqadr ast? (نرخ ارز چقدر است)
- Where is an automatic teller machine (ATM)?
- âberbânk kojâ'st? (عابربانک کجاست)
- A table for one person/two people, please.
- Yek miz barâyè yek/do nafar, lotfan. (یک میز برای یک/دو نفر)
- Can I look at the menu, please?
- mitavânam menu râ bebinam? (میتوانم منو را ببینم)
- Can I look in the kitchen?
- mitavânam âšpazxâne râ bebinam? (میشود آشپزخانه را ببینم)
- Is there a house specialty?
- qazâyè xânegi dârid? (غذای خانگی دارید)
- Is there a local specialty?
- qazâyè mahalli dârid? (غذای محلی دارید)
- I'm a vegetarian.
- giyâhxâr hastam. (گیاهخوار هستم)
- I don't eat pork.
- guštè xuk nemixoram. (گوشت خوک نمیخورم)
- I don't eat beef.
- guštè gâv nemixoram. (گوشت گاو نمیخورم)
- I only eat halal food.
- faqat guštè halâl mixoram. (فقط گوشت حلال میخورم)
- Can you make it "lite", please? (less oil/butter/lard)
- mišavad kamcharbaš konid? (میشود کمچربش کنید)
- fixed-price meal
- qazâ bâ qeymatè sâbet (غذا با قیمت ثابت)
- à la carte
- qazâ bâ qeymatè jodâ jodâ (غذا با قیمت جدا جدا)
- sobhâne (صبحانه)
- nâhâr (ناهار)
- tea (meal)
- asrâne (عصرانه)
- šâm (شام)
- I want ~ .
- ~ mixâham (میخواهم)
- I want a dish containing ~ .
- qazâyì mixâham ke ~ dâšte bâšad (غذایی میخواهم که ~ داشته باشد)
- morq (مرغ)
- guštè gâv (گوشت گاو)
- mâhi (ماهی)
- žâmbonè xuk (ژامبون خوک)
- sosis (سوسیس)
- panir (پنیر)
- toxmè morq (تخم مرغ)
- sâlâd (سالاد)
- (fresh) vegetables
- sabziyè tâze (سبزی تازه)
- (fresh) fruit
- miveyè tâze (میوهی تازه)
- nân (نان)
- nânè tost (نان تست)
- rešte (رشته)
- berenj (برنج)
- lubiyâ (لوبیا)
- May I have a glass of ~ ?
- yek livân ~ mixâstam. (یک لیوان ~ میخواستم)
- May I have a cup of ~ ?
- yek fenjân ~ mixâstam. (یک فنجان ~ میخواستم)
- May I have a bottle of ~ ?
- yek šiše ~ mixâstam. (یک شیشه ~ میخواستم)
- qahve (قهوه)
- tea (drink)
- chây (چای)
- âbmive (آبمیوه)
- (bubbly) water
- âbè maødani(yè gâzdâr) (آب معدنی (گازدار))
- âb (آب)
- âbjo (آبجو) (NOTE: There is no alcohol beer in restaurants)
- red/white wine
- šarâbè sorx/sefid (شراب سرخ/سفید) (NOTE: There is no alcohol wine in restaurants)
- May I have some ~ ?
- kamì ~ mixâstam. (کمی ~ میخواستم)
- namak (نمک)
- black pepper
- felfelè siyâh (فلفل سیاه)
- kare (کره)
- Excuse me, waiter? (getting attention of server)
- bebaxšid (ببخشید)
- I'm finished.
- xordanam tamâm šod. (خوردنم تمام شد)
- It was delicious.
- xošmazze bud. (خوشمزه بود)
- Please clear the plates.
- lotfan, bošqâbhâ râ tamiz konid. (لطفا بشقابها را تمیز کنید)
- The check, please.
- surat-hesâb, lotfan. (صورتحساب لطفا)
Remember that the possession, sale and service of alcohol in Iran is illegal.
- Do you serve alcohol?
- mašrub serv mikonid? (مشروب سرو میکنید)
- Is there table service?
- lavâzemè miz (kârd, qâšoq, changâl, etc.) ham vojud dârad? (لوازم میز هم وجود دارد)
- A beer/two beers, please.
- yek/do tâ âbjo, lotfan. (یک/دو تا آبجو، لطفا)
- A glass of red/white wine, please.
- yek gilâs šarâbè sorx/sefid, lotfan. (یک گیلاس شراب سرخ/سفید، لطفا)
- A pint, please.
- yek livân, lotfan. (یک لیوان، لطفا)
- A bottle, please.
- yek šiše, lotafn. (یک شیشه، لطفا)
- ~ (hard liquor) and ~ (mixer), please.
- likorè ~ bâ ~, lotfan. (لیکور ~ با ~، لطفا)
- viski (ویسکی)
- vodkâ (ودکا)
- râm (رام)
- âb (آب)
- club soda
- limunâdè gâzdâr (لیموناد گازدار)
- tonic water
- sevenâp (سونآپ)
- orange juice
- âbporteqâl (آبپرتقال)
- Coke (soda)
- nušâbe (نوشابه)
- Do you have any bar snacks?
- mazze dârid? (مزه دارید)
- One more, please.
- yekì digar, lotfan. (یکی دیگر، لطفا)
- Another round, please.
- yek dorè digar, lofan. (یک دور دیگر، لطفا)
- When is closing time?
- sâatè chand mibandid? (ساعت چند میبندید)
- Do you have this in my size?
- az in andâzeyè man dârid? (از این اندازهی من دارید)
- How much is this?
- chand ast? (چند است)
- That's too expensive.
- xeyli gerân ast. (خیلی گران است)
- Would you take ~?
- ~ mipasandid? ()
- gerân (گران)
- arzân (ارزان)
- I can't afford it.
- pulaš râ nadâram. (پولش را ندارم)
- I don't want it.
- nemixâhamaš. (نمیخواهمش)
- You're cheating me.
- dârid be man kalak mizanid. (دارید به من کلک میزنید)
- I'm not interested.
- xošam nemiâyad. (خوشم نمیآید)
- OK, I'll take it.
- bâše, in râ barmidâram. (باشه، این را برمیدارم)
- Can I have a bag?
- kise dârid? (کیسه دارید)
- Do you ship (overseas)?
- be xârej post mikonid? (به خارج پست میکنید)
- I need ~
- ~ mixâstam (~ میخواستم)
- ~ toothpaste.
- xamirdandân ~. (خمیردندان)
- ~ a toothbrush.
- mesvâk ~. (مسواک)
- ~ tampons.
- tâmpon ~. (تامپون)
- ~ soap.
- sâbun ~. (صابون)
- ~ shampoo.
- šâmpu ~. (شامپو)
- ~ pain reliever. (e.g., aspirin or ibuprofen)
- mosakken ~. (مسکن)
- ~ cold medicine.
- ~ dâruyè sarmâxordegi. (داروی سرماخوردگی)
- ~ stomach medicine.
- ~ dâruyè deldard. (داروی دلدرد)
- ~ a razor.
- tiq ~. (تیغ)
- ~ an umbrella.
- chatr ~. (چتر)
- ~ sunblock lotion.
- zeddè âftâb ~. (ضدآفتاب)
- ~ a postcard.
- kârt-postâl ~. (کارتپستال)
- ~ postage stamps.
- tamr ~. (تمبر)
- ~ batteries.
- bâtri ~. (باتری)
- ~ writing paper.
- kâqaz ~. (کاغذ)
- ~ a pen.
- xodkâr ~. (خودکار)
- ~ English-language books.
- ketâbè Engelisi-zabân ~ (کتاب انگلیسیزبان)
- ~ English-language magazines.
- majalleyè Engelisi-zabân ~ (مجلهی انگلیسیزبان)
- ~ an English-language newspaper.
- ruznâmeyè Engelisi-zabân ~. (روزنامهی انگلیسیزبان)
- ~ an English-English dictionary.
- Farhangè Engelisi be Engelisi ~. (فرهنگ انگلیسی به انگلیسی)
Notice - In Iran, there are no car rental agencies. Most of the time, you would need to rent a car with a driver from an "âžâns" (taxi agency) who will drive you around. The agencies often have set daily/weekly rental prices which you should make sure to ask for!
- I want to rent a car.
- mixâstam yek mâšin kerâye konam (میخواستم یک ماشین کرایه کنم)
- Can I get insurance?
- mitavânam bime begiram? (میتوانم بیمه بگیرم)
- stop (on a street sign)
- ist (ایست)
- one way
- yektarafe (يک طرفه)
- râh bedahid (راه بدهید), ejâzeyè obur bedahid (اجازهی عبور بدهید)
- no parking
- pârk mamnuø (پارک ممنوع)
- speed limit
- sorøatè mojâz (سرعت مجاز)
- gas (petrol) station
- pompè benzin (پمپ بنزين)
- benzin (بنزين)
- gâzoil (گازوئیل)
- I haven't done anything wrong.
- kârì nakardeam. (کاری نکردهام)
- It was a misunderstanding.
- suè tafâhom bud. (سوء تفاهم بود)
- Where are you taking me?
- marâ kojâ mibarid? (مرا کجا میبرید)
- Am I under arrest?
- bâzdâšt hastam? (بازداشت هستم)
- I am an American/Australian/British/Canadian citizen.
- šahrvandè Âmrikâ/Ostorâliyâ/Engelis/Kânâdâ hastam. (شهروند آمریکا/استرالیا/انگلیس/کانادا هستم)
- I want to talk to the American/Australian/British/Canadian embassy/consulate.
- mikhâham bâ sefâratè/konsulgariyè Âmrikâ/Ostorâliyâ/Engelis/Kânâdâ tamâs begiram. (میخواهم با سفارت/کنسولگری آمریکا/استرالیا/انگلیس/کانادا تماس بگیرم)
- I want to talk to a lawyer.
- mixâham bâ yek vakil harf bezanam. (میخواهم با یک وکیل حرف بزنم)
- Can I just pay a fine now?
- mišavad jarime râ naqdan pardâxt konam? (میشود جریمه را نقدا پرداخت کنم)
|This is a guide phrasebook. It covers all the major topics for traveling without resorting to English. But please Plunge forward and help us make it a star!