Lesson 21: The verb ‘To Be’

Lesson 21 is the first lesson in Unit 3 of Chai and Conversation! In this unit, we will be going over the fundamentals of grammar of the Persian language! This entire lesson is devoted to the verb ‘to be,’ and its many different forms.

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Hello and welcome to the first lesson of unit 3 of Chai and conversation! Thank you so much for joining us.

As we mentioned, unit three will take a slightly different approach from the previous lessons. In the next ten lessons, we will be going over technicalities of conversational Persian

What makes Chai and conversation different from other Perisan learning programs is that we are focusing solely on conversation Perisan

The Persian language is somewhat extreme in the differences when it is written, versus when it is spoken in colloquial conversation. In order to speak and understand Perisan on a conversational level, it is important to know purely conversational Persian. However, I believe that in any language, it's important to have a solid foundation to stand on, and that foundation is grammar.

It's important to have a grasp of the grammar of the Persian language in order to understand why we say the things we do. However, please remember that language is all about communication. Don't get too bogged down with the grammatical aspect of it. Hopefully, these lesson will cause you to be an even better speaker.

In the next unit of Chai and Conversation, we will be having dialogues in the Persian language. You will be surprised as to how much you will be able to understand and communicate after this next unit!

And as always, remember that you can always relisten to previous lessons and download all the bonus materials from our website at www.chaiandconversation.com for an extremely nominal and affordable fee.

But more on that later. For now, are you ready to begin learning Matt?


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


So, we are going to begin our discussion of grammar in conversational Persian by focusing on the verb 'to be.' We have mentioned this word over and over again in every lesson, as it has come up in many words and phrases we've learned. Today, we are going to learn how to conjugate the term in a formal manner, in a colloquial manner, and in the shortened conversational manner.

So let's get right on with it. I am in man hastam

Man hastam

We've heard this several times already. For example, we learned in the very beginning, you can introduce yourself by saying, man leyla hastam. I am Leyla. Next, you are, informal is to hasti

To hastee

We've heard to hastee several times. Like, to chekare hastee. Or literally 'what kind of worker are you'. She or he is is oo hast

oo hast

As we've said before, 'an' is a gender neutral word, and can mean he or she. S

We are is 'maa hasteem'

Maa hasteem

As we said in lesson 20, the pronoun shoma represents both you plural and you formal. So you are in the plural and formal sense is shoma hasteed

Shoma hasteed

And they are is 'anha hastand

Anha hastand.

So again, let's go over these very quickly.

Man hastam

Man hastam

I am. To hastee

To hastee

You, informal, are. oo ast

Oo ast

He or she is. Ma hasteem

Ma hasteem.

We are. Shoma hasteed

Shoma hasteed.

You plural or you formal are.

Anha hastand

Anha hastand

They are.

So this is the way to be is conjugated in formal, written Persian. However, things change in colloquial conversation. Some of these conjugations become a bit different. So again, in written and in colloquial Persian, I am stays man hastam. You are stays to hastee. He or she is in written Persianis an ast. In conversation, you will hear oo hast.

Oo hast

We are is ma hasteem in both written and colloquial.. Next, in writing, you formal or you plural are is shoma hasteed. In conversation, this becomes shoma hasteen.

Shoma hasteen

We talked about the briefly in lesson 15. Then they are in formal language is anha hastand. In colloquial language, the d gets dropped, and it becomes anha hastan.

Anha hastan

Now, another interesting thing happens in spoken Persian that is best illustrated in the verb to be, and that is the reduced form of the verb. Let's go over these, and we'll talk about it afterwards. To illustrate the reduced form, we are going to talk about the concept of being well. We have gone over several of these before, so it will sound familiar to you. First, I am, hastam, becomes reduced to –am. So I am well is

Man khoobam

Man khoobam.

So we learned this in the very first lesson. Khoob means good or well. –am at the end of this word is the reduced version of hastam. So man khoobam means I am well. Now, these endings allow us to drop the pronoun in the phrase as well. So, we can simply say khoobam. Am indicates that you are talking about yourself, so saying the pronoun, though not incorrect, would be redundant.. So again, khoobam


In Persian, this is written as one word. In the pdf guides, we have been adding the verb after a hyphen to indicate that it is essentially two words put together, and we will continue to do this to make it as clear as possible for you. Next, you informal are, or hasti becomes reduced to –ee. So adding ee to the end of khoob is to khoobee

To Khoobee

So you are well, khoobee.


He or she is, oo hast, becomes reduced to –e. So oo khoobe

Oo khoobe

So he or she is well, khoobe


We are is ma hasteem, and it becomes reduced to eem. So ma khoobeem

Ma khoobeem

So we are well, khoobeem


You are in plural or formal form is shoma hasteen. It becomes reduced to een. Shoma khoobeen.

Shoma khoobeen.

So you are well, khoobeen


And finally, they are is anha hastan. This is reduced to an. Or oonha khooban

Oona khooban.

So they are well is khooban


So this is quite a bit to learn, so let's go over the verb to be one more time to make sure we have a firm grasp on it. First, we'll say it in long colloquial form, and then we'll say it in the reduced version. We're going to only go over the colloquial form of the verb, however, as you won't need to know the formal version for day to day conversations as much.

I am Man hastam

Man hastam

You are, informal. To hastee

To hastee

He or she is

Oo hast

We are, ma hasteem

Ma hasteem

You are, formal and plural. Shoma hasteen

Shoma hasteen

They are, oona hastan

Oona hastan.

And now, shortened version, using the concept of being well. We're going to drop the pronoun on these.

I'm well is khoobam


You're well is khoobee


He or she is well is khoobe


We are well is khoobeem


You're well plural or formal is khoobeen


They are well is khooban


Ok, let's go over two very simple exchanges just using these two phrases. I'll start

Leyla: khoobee?

Matt: Khoobam

So I said khoobee? Which is you'u're well? And matt said


Which means I am well. Next conversation, you start this time Matt

Matt: Khoobeen?

Leyla: Khoobeem

So Matt said 'Khoobeen?' And in this case this is you plural are well?

And I replied 'khoobeem' which is 'we are well. So in both of these exchanges, by uttering one word, both Matt and I were able to say a complete subject and verb, and get our point across.

Now, let's try going over the reduced form of to be with a different word. Instead of the word khoob, or well, let's use the word happy, or khoshhal. Can you say that first Matt, khoshhal


So this simply means happy. So first, I am happy is 'khoshhal-am'


You are happy, informal is khoshhalee


She or he is happy is khoshhale

We are happy is khoshhaleem


You are happy, formal and plural is khoshhaleen


They are happy is khashhalan


Let's try another one, and this time, Matt, I'm going to ask you to figure it out on your own. Let's use the word khoshgel, or pretty. How would you say I am pretty? The reduced version of I am is am


You are pretty, informal. You are reduced is –ee


He or she is pretty. He or she is reduced is –e


We are pretty. We are reduced is –eem


You are pretty plural or formal, You are plural or informal reduced is –een


And finally they are pretty. They are reduced is –an


Let's learn a few more adjectives we can use to practice the verb to be. Let's say you want to say 'I am free.' Free is azad

Matt: Azad

Leyla: So let's try three different ways of say I am free. In written Persian, it would be Man azad hastam.

Matt: Man azad hastam

Leyla: We can then eliminate the subject, so azad hastam

Matt: Azad hastam

Leyla: And we can reduce is even further with the reduced version- azadam

Matt: Azadam

Leyla: Let's try another word- deltang

Matt: Deltang

Leyla: This literally means tight heart, and is similar to the English concept 'heavy hearted.' So to say he is heavy hearted in full form, you would say 'oo deltang hast'

Matt: Oo deltang hast

Leyla: Dropping the subject, you could say 'deltang hast'

Matt: Deltang hast

Leyla: And the most reduced version would be- deltange

Matt: Deltange

Leyla: In unit one we learned how to say Nationalities. Let's try that using our knowledge of the reduced 'to be' to describe some people's nationalities. For example, to say 'I am Iranian', you say 'man Irani hastam' or 'Iraniam'

Matt: Iraniam

Leyla: Matt how would you say 'I am American'

Matt: Amricaee-am

Leyla: PerfectÉ Amricaee-am. They are Russian could be oona roosee hastan, or simply 'rooseean'

Matt: Rooseean

Leyla: How would you say They are Chinese?

Matt: Cheenee-an

Leyla: Now there are a couple exceptions that we should also note. The reduced forms of to be all begin with a vowel. So if the word that precedes them ends in a vowel as well, there need to be some adjustments. Let's take as an example the phrase 'I am home'. So the full sentence would be man khooneh hastam. To shorten it, we need to combine khooneh and am, which would be khoone-am. Since this is awakward to say, the second vowel sound is simply taken out, and we pronounce is 'khoonam.'

Matt: Khoonam

Leyla: Or to say you are home, we put the y buffer between the words, as we've seen numerous times before. So khooneh ee becomes khooneyee

Matt: Khooneyee

Leyla: You are home. For the third person singular, khooneh hast, this becomes the –st sound we've seen before. Instead of khoone –e it becomes khoonast.

Matt: Khoonast

Leyla: We are home, khooneh hasteem, becomes 'khooneyeem'

Matt: Khooneyeem

Leyla: So this has the ye buffer as well. You are home, formal or plural is khooneh hasteen or 'khooneyeen'

Matt: Khooneyeen

Leyla: And they are home, khoone hastand becomes khoone-an

Matt: Khoone-an


Leyla: Great! So I think we are getting the hang of this. In the bonus materials of this lesson, we've included several adjectives and exercises you can complete in order to get this concept down completely. but for now, that brings us to the end of lesson 21!

Thanks so much for listening!

As we mentioned before, bonus materials for this lesson can be found on our website at chaiandconversation.com. The bonus materials for this grammar unit of Chai and conversation are especially important, since they provide a written transcript of the concepts we have been learning using phonetic English script.

Please let us know if you have any questions, or if you have any feedback or commentary. We'd be glad to know what you think.

And until next time, beh omeede deedar from Leyla

And khodahafez from Matt!

Bonus Materials

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Lesson 21 Bonus Materials

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