Lesson 25: Compound Verbs

Lesson 25 teaches compound verbs.

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Welcome to lesson five, the fifth in our series of grammar lessons.

We hope you've been enjoying the lessons so far.

We're getting into very intermediate territory in such a short period of time, so let us know if you have any questions, or if we haven't explained something quite well enough yet

As always, you can go over previous lessons, and download essential bonus materials on our website at www.chaiandconversation.com, with CHAI spelled CHAI

And enough of that for now, Matt, are you ready to begin learning?


Great, then let's begin to learn Perisan with Chai and Conversation.

We spent the first few lessons in this unit going over verbs, and last week, we had a bit of a break to learn about the concept of ezafe. This week, we are going to go back to verbs.

We've already gone over a few simple verbs, and how to say them in the past simple tense. An example of a simple verb is raftan, to go. Raftan


So what I mean by simple verb is that it's just one word. The majority of Persian verbs, however, are compound verbs. This means that they consist of two or more words. The first word in a compound verb is either a noun, adjective, adverb or preposition, and the second word is a simple verb. This will become more clear after we go over a couple of examples. Thankfully, a large portion of these compound verbs are produced with the help of two simple verbs, one of which we've learned in a previous lesson! So the two verbs are shodan, or to become, and kardan, or to do. We learned 'kardan' and its conjugations in lesson 23. If I wanted to ask you, Matt, what you did over the weekend, I would say 'akhareh hafteh cheekar kardee?'

Akhareh hafteh cheekar kardee.

We learned that this means 'what things did you do over the weekend.' So this is the first compound verb we learned- kar kardan.

Kar kardan

And this means to do work. Kardan, again, is to do, and kar is work. So as we learned in lesson 23, in this context, it's used to mean general activities, like what general activities did you do over the weekend.

So, let me illustrate the use of this word in compound verbs with a few examples. Kardan literally means 'to do', but in many compound verbs, it also is used to mean 'to make'. This can be seen in the example of 'To make a phone call, or, 'telephone kardan'

Telephon kardan

To play in Persian is 'bazi kardan'

Bazi kardan

so again, you're literally saying 'to make play'. To cook in Persian is 'ashpazee kardan'

Ashpazee kardan

So let's take go back to the first example of kar kardan, and use it to literally mean 'to do work'. We learned in lesson 23 how to find the past stem of the word, and we do this by taking off the an sound off the end. So what is the past stem of kardan Matt?


Exactly, kard. We went over the conjugation of the past stem of this word in lesson 23, but since it's so important to the concept of compound verbs, let's do it again now together as a refresher. So I did is 'kardam'


You did is 'kardee'


He, she or they did is oo kard

Oo kard

We did is ma kardeem

ma kardeem

You, formal did, is shoma kardeen

Shoma kardeen

And they did is oona kardan

Oona kardan

Great, so let's go back to the concept of working, or, as we are going to say it 'to do work'. So to say I worked, or again, I did work, we say kar kardam

Kar kardam

We won't go through every single conjugation, as you should be able to figure it out by now. But as a tester, Matt, how do you say they worked, or 'they did work'

Oona kar kardan

Exactly, oona kar kardan. Or how about we did work?

Ma kar kardeem

Great, exactly! So let's go back to our previous examples. To play, is bazi kardan

Bazi kardan

So Matt, how would you say you, informal, played?

Bazi kardee

Great! How about he played?

Bazi kard

Exactly. So to cook is ashpazi kardan

Ashpazi kardan

How do you say you, formal, cooked?

Ashpazi kardeen

Exactly, ashpazi kardeen

And how about we cooked

Ashpazi kardeem

Right, ashpazi kardeem.

We also learned how to say 'to make a phone call'. Do you remember the infinite of this Matt?

Telephone kardan

Right, telephone kardan. So how would you say 'we telephoned'

Telephone kardeem

Ok, right, and how about I telephoned

Telephone kardam.

Great, I think you get the hang of this. Let's learn a few more compound verbs using to do, or kardan. A very common one using words we've learned before is 'kar kardan'

Kar kardan

This means to work, or literally, to do work.

To say I practiced, you say 'tamreen kardan'

tamreen kardan

So how do you say 'I practiced'

practiced kardam

to watch is 'tamasha kardan

Tamasha kardan

So how do you say 'I watched

Tamasha kardam

Exactly, tamasha kardam.

To make is 'dorost kardan'

Dorost kardan

So how do you say 'I made'

Dorost kardam

Exactly, dorost kardam. Now let's take this a step further and learn how to use these compound verbs using kardan in sentences. Let's go backward, and start with dorost kardan. Let's say you want to say you made a sandwich. You would form the sentence by saying 'Sandeveech dorost kardam.'

Sandeveech dorost kardam.

As you can guess, sandeveech is the word for sandwich in Persian. So you can think of the sentence as saying 'I did make a sandwich. Next, for the compound verb tamasha kardan, to watch, you could say 'feelm tamasha kardam'

Feelm tamasha kardam.

Can you guess what this means Matt?

I watched a film.


Before that, we learned 'tamreen kardan', or, to practice. to use this in a sentence you could say, I practiced piano. In Persian, this would be 'piano tamreen kardam'

Piano tamreen kardam

And before that, we learned kar kardan. Let's form this into a sentence by saying I worked today. In Persian that would be 'emrooz kar kardam

Emrooz kar kardam

And just for practice, Matt, how would we say 'I worked yesterday?' The word for yesterday is 'deerooz'

Deerooz kar kardam

Perfect, derooz kar kardam. Now let's go over the next common verb used in forming compound verbs, and that is the verb to become or 'shodan'


This is an extremely useful verb. So first, let's figure out the past stem of the verb- Matt?


And how did you figure that out?

By taking the –an off the end of the verb

Exactly. So let's go through the conjugations. I'm going to say the English, then listeners, you try to say the correct conugation in Persian, and then check your answers with Matt. Go ahead and say the subject in this case, so that we remember it better. So first, I became

-man shodam

You, informal became

-To shodee

We became

-Maa shodeem

He or she became

Oo shod

You, formal or plural became

Shoma shodeen

They became

Oona shodan

Ok great. This verb, like kardan, can be used to form a whole host of compound verbs. Some of the most useful are those involving personal feelings. Let's go through a few of these, using the first person conjugation. So to say 'I became happy', you say 'khoshhal shodam'

Khoshhal shodam

This is used often as a form of goodbye- for example, getting off the phone with someone, you can sign off with 'khoshhal shodam', meaning, your call made me happy. Khoshhal shodam

Khoshhal shodam

Conversely, to say I became upset, you say 'narahat shodam'

Narahat shodam.

It more literally translates to 'I became uncomfortable' but in the Persian language, this means the same as I became sad or upset. To say I became angry you say 'asabanee shodam'

Asabanee shodam

To say I became tired you say 'khasteh shodam

Khasteh shodam

Let's learn a couple more examples of compound verbs using the verb shodan. To say 'to open' you say 'baz shodan'

Baz shodan

This is used when talking about an establishment or an object- it's literally 'to become open.' So for example, to say 'the door opened', you say 'dar baz shod'

Dar baz shod

Or to say 'Nordstrom's opened', you say 'Nordstrom baz shod'

Nordestrom baz shod.

The opposite of that would be 'basteh shodan'

Basteh shodan

And this means 'closed'. So to say 'the door closed' we would say 'dar basteh shod'

Dar basteh shod

Or, the store closed would be 'maghazeh basteh shod'

Maghazeh basteh shod

And as you can tell, the word for store in Persian is maghazeh


Next, hazer shodan means 'to become ready.' Hazer shodan

Hazer shodan

You can use this in several different ways. For example, to say 'the food became ready', you say 'ghaza hazer shod

Ghaza hazer shod

Or say you've been getting ready to go somewhere, and you just put that last shoe on. You say 'hazer shodam'

Hazer shodam

I became ready.

Ok, before we wrap this lesson up, let's go over a dialogue that illustrates this concept with a few of the verbs we've learned today. I'm going to start

Matt, akhareh hafteh cheekar kardee?

Ashpazee kardam

Eh, chee dorost kardee?

Ghormeh sabzee dorost kardam.

Cheghadr aali! Ladan chee fekr kard?

Ladan khayli khoshhal shod.

Ok, this was a very simple dialogue, but illustrated this concept. So I first asked Matt, Akhareh hafteh cheekar kardee? Which means

'What did you do during the weekend?

And Matt replied

Ashpazee kardam

This is a compound verb and it means 'I cooked', or literally 'I did cooking.' I asked 'chee dorost kardee?

Dorost kardee is also a compound verb, and chee dorost kardee means 'what did you make.'

Matt replied with a compound verb, saying 'ghormeh sabzee dorost kardam.

I asked Ladan chee fekr kard. I snuck in a compound verb we didn't go over in the lesson and that is fekr kard

fekr kard

This means 'to think'. It's more literally 'to make thoughts'. So chee fekr kard means 'what did she think'?

Chee fekr kard

And Matt replied

khayli khoshhal shod

Which means 'she became very happy'

So as you can see, compound verbs are very prominent in the Perisan language, and pretty much inescapable if you want to make conversation. And with that, let's wrap up this lesson.

Thanks so much for joining us

As always, bonus materials can be found on our website at www.chaiandconversation.com, with Chai spelled CHAI

Khob, khoshhal shodam, khodahafez, from Leyla

And khayli khoshhal shodam, ta baad, from Matt!

Bonus Materials

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Lesson 25 Bonus Materials

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