Lesson 29: More Present Continuous and Imperatives (!)

Lesson 29 teaches how to emphasize the present continuous tense and how to form imperative statements.

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Leyla: Hello and welcome to Learn perisan with Chai and Conversation. WE're so glad that you've joined us!

Matt: Lesson 29 is the last lesson in Unit 3 of Chai and Conversation, the grammar unit

Leyla: In this unit, we've been going over all sorts of different grammar topics, including many of the tenses in the Persian language. In this unit, we're going to go over the present continuous tense, and learn about Imperative verbs.

Matt: Hopefully you've been keeping up with everything we've been learning, but if not, remember that you can always find all of our previous lessons and bonus materials on the website at www.chaiandconversation.com, with CHAI spelled CHAI.

Leyla: And if you've missed it over the past few weeks, we posted a new cultural video about the concept of 'tarof'- it's also on our website, and features Matt acting out several different cultural scenarios. Check it out if you haven't already. But enough of that for now, Matt are you ready to begin the lesson?

Matt: Ready!

Leyla: Great, then let's begin to learn Persian with Chai and Conversation!

The past few lessons, we've been going over the future tense. We learned in lesson 27 that in conversational Persian, you use the same structure to express 'present simple', 'future simple' and the present continuous tense.

To be clear that we are in the middle of something, you add the verb 'to have' or dashtan. So for example, if you are in the middle of eating lunch, you say 'daram nahar meekhoram.

Daram nahar meekhoram.

So again, nahar meekhoram could mean present simple, as in I eat, or future simple as in 'I will eat' or present continuous, as in 'I'm eating'. So the word 'daram' is added simply for emphasis- it is not necessary to express the sentiment. But you will hear it stated this way in conversation, so we'll go over it to make sure you have a good hang of it.

Let's try the continuous present with another verb we learned in detail, and that is 'to come.' The infinitive of 'to come' is amadan


So to say 'I come' in the present tense you say 'meeyam'


Now, this is the colloquial way to conjugate to come in the present tense. In written or formal language, it's would be meeyayam.' But as always, we are sticking with the colloquial. So I come is 'meeyam'


So to say I am coming you say 'daram meeyam'

Daram meeyam

So what if you want to ask someone 'are you coming?' For this, we have to remember the you form of to have. So let's go over the present conguations of to have. WE went over this in lesson 22, but let's review.

I have, as we said before is 'daram'


You have informal is daree


He or she has is dare


We have is dareem


You have, formal, is dareen


They have is daran


Now, we also went over the present tense conjugations for 'to come' in lesson 27, because we said this was an important verb that would be used over and over again. The colloquial conjugations for this verb are a bit odd, because the colloquial present stem of amadan is simply 'aaa'. So if you remember from lesson 27, the conjugation for you, informal, come in the present tesne is 'meeyay'.


Again, this is the conversational conjugation. As you know, the personal ending for you informal is ee, so really, it should be 'meeyayee,' but in conversation, it's said as 'meeyay'


So to ask are you coming? In the present continuous, you say 'daree meeyay?'

Daree meeyay?

So you conjugate both the first and last word. Daree meeyay? Are you coming? Daree meeyay?

Daree meeyay?

To say he or she is coming, you say 'dare meeyad'

Dare meeyad.

So to say we are coming, you say 'dareem meeyaym'.

Dareem meeyaym.

You, formal, are coming is 'dareen meeyayn'

Dareen meeyayn.

And finally, they are coming is 'daran meeyan'

Daran meeyan.

So again, the verb 'to have' is not completely necessary, it's only to emphasize the fact that this is taking place continuously at the moment. Let's go back to the first example, and practice with that verb. How, again, do you say 'I am eating'

Daram meekhoram.

Perfect, I am eating, daram meekhoram. How would you you are eating, informal?

Daree meekhoree

Great, exactly. How about he or she is eating?

Dareh meekhoreh

Dareh meekhoreh. Perfect. So it's easy because the same ending must be given to both of the verbs. Hopefully you're picking that up. So we are eating?

Dareem meekhoreem

Yes. Dareem meekhoreem. You are eating, formal.

Dareen meekhoreen.

Great, dareen meekhoreen. And finally they are eating?

Daran meekhoran.

Right, daran meekhoran.

Ok, moving on- One last thing we are going to cover in the grammar unit is how to express the imperative. Imperative sentences are ones in which you make requests or commands. For example, Sit, please, is an imperative sentence. Let's go over how to say this in Persian. First of all, the infinitive of 'to sit' is neshastan


So the imperative uses the present stem of a word, and as we very well know, present stems in the Persian language are irregular. So the present stem of neshastan is sheen


So, let's use this to say 'I sit' just for practice. Again, Matt, how do you construct the present tense of a verb.

You add the prefix 'mee' to the present stem, and end it with a personal ending.

Ok, so how would you do that with neshastan, which has the present stem 'sheen'

Mee + sheen + am. Meesheenam.

Great! So as we've said before, in the present construction of this word, the emphasis goes on the prefix, mee. Meesheenam


So how would you say you sit in the formal sense in the present tense.


Meesheeneen. Great, so this means you sit. Now, we're going to transition to the imperative tense. It's a very slight difference between the present tense and the imperative- that difference being in the prefix of the word. So the construction of the imperative is the prefix 'be' plus the present stem of the word, plus the personal ending. So in others words, to say you sit formally, and in a commanding way, you say besheeneen


Just as in meesheeneed, the emphasis goes on the prefix. Besheeneen


So, because this is a command, you can soften it by say 'lotfan besheeneen'

Lotfan besheeneen

We've learned this word 'besheeneen' before in the phrase 'befarmayeen besheen'

Befarmayeen besheeneen

This means 'please go ahead and sit'. So you can see 'befarmayeen' is also an imperative construction, one that we've learned before. 'befarmayeen'


Now, to say 'sit' to a person you have an informal relationship with, you don't add a personal ending to the present stem of the verb. It's even simpler than that. The formula is simply 'be' plus the present stem of the word. So, to say 'you sit' informally, you say 'besheen'


So to say please sit, you say 'lotfan besheen'

Lotfan besheen

Or befarma besheen

Befarma besheen

Ok, so let's go over these again. How do you say 'Sit' in the formal manner


And how do you say 'sit' in the informal manner?


How about Please sit in the formal manner?

Lotfan besheeneen

And how about 'please sit' in the informal manner?

Lotfan besheen

And the last way, which makes it even a bit more polite, in the formal manner,

Befarmayeen besheeneen

What does this loosely translate as?

Please go ahead and sit

Right, something like that. And what about in the informal manner?

Befarma besheen

Perfect! Let's make this sentence a tad more complex by saying 'please sit here.' To say this you say 'lotfan eenja besheen' for informal. Lotfan eenja besheen

Lotfan eenja beesheen.

Now let's learn the negative of the imperative. To make this negative, you replace 'be' with 'na'. So don't sit, informally is 'nasheen'


So besheen and nasheen. So the formal way to say 'sit' is besheeneen. How do you think you say 'don't sit'


Nasheeneen. Great, besheeneen and nasheeneneen. So now to say 'please don't sit there' formal, you say 'lotfan oonja nasheeneen'

Lotfan oonja nasheeneen.

Let's learn another verb to use as an example. The verb gozashtan means 'to put.' Gozashtan


The colloquial present stem of this verb is 'zar'. So using the formula, to say 'you go' informal, we simply add the prefix 'be' to this verb to make it imperative. Bezar


Meaning put. So the formal version of this is 'bezareen


So, to say 'put it on the table' informally, you say 'bezar roo meez

Bezar roo meez

The 'it' in put it on the table is implied in this sentence. Bezar roo meez

Bezar roo meez.

Or to say put it down, you say 'bezar payeen'

Bezar payeen

Payeen means down. So how do you say this in the formal manner?

Bazareen payeen

Bezareen payeen

So to make this a bit more complex- to say to put something specific down, such a book, you say 'ketab o bezar payeen'

Ketab o bezar payeen

As we've learned before, 'o' is the colloquial way to say 'ra' which was an object marker. So we are talking about a specific book, and asking the person with whom we're talking to put it down. Ketab o bezar payeen

Ketab o bezar payeen

So how about put the book on the table, informally? This would be ketab o bezar roo meez

Ketab o bezar roo meez

Simple enough! Now for practice, let's repeat these two sentences for a formal audience, and start them with please, or lotfan. How do you say 'Please put the book on the table' formally?

Lotfan ketab o bezareen roo meez

Perfect! The only thing that changed was the verb. Lotfan ketab o bezareen roo meez

Lotfan ketab o bezareen roo meez

And how about please put the book down, formally?

Lotfan ketab o bezareen payeen

Lotfan ketab o bezareen payeen. Perfect. Please put the book down, formally.

Now, there are several other verbs that would be useful in the imperative tense, but we will stop the lesson here for brevity's sake, and leave those for the bonus materials. And with that, we come to the end of lesson 29!

Matt: And that brings us to the last lesson of Unit 3!

Leyla: Yes, the grammar unit, unit 3 is now completed. Lesson 30 will be a comprehensive review of everything we learned in unit 3, specifically by taking one particular verb, and analyzing it by going through every verb tense we learned through the lessons.

Matt: We've come a long way in this unit. Hopefully you've been able to keep up. If not, remember that all the previous lessons and our bonus materials are available on the website at www.chaiandconversation.com, with CHAI spelled C-H-A-I.

Leyla: We're excited about the next unit too- we'll be revealing more about that soon.

Matt: But for now, khodahafez from Matt

Leyla: And beh omeedeh deedar from leyla!

Bonus Materials

Bonus materials for each lesson include an enhanced podcast, a PDF lesson guide, and more. More info.

Lesson 29 Bonus Materials


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