Lesson 29: More Present Continuous and Imperatives (!)

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


how are you?

Note: In Persian, as in many other languages, there is a formal and an informal way of speaking. We will be covering this in more detail in later lessons. For now, however, chetor-ee is the informal way of asking someone how they are, so it should only be used with people that you are familiar with. hālé shomā chetor-é is the formal expression for ‘how are you.’

Spelling note: In written Persian, words are not capitalized. For this reason, we do not capitalize Persian words written in phonetic English in the guides.


I’m well

Pronunciation tip: kh is one of two unique sounds in the Persian language that is not used in the English language. It should be repeated daily until mastered, as it is essential to successfully speak Persian. Listen to the podcast for more information on how to make the sound.

Persian English
salām hello
chetor-ee how are you?
khoobam I’m well
merci thank you
khayli very
khayli khoobam I’m very well
khoob neestam I’m not well
man me/I
bad neestam I’m not bad
ālee great
chetor-een? how are you? (formal)
hālé shomā chetor-é? how are you? (formal)
hālet chetor-é? how are you? (informal)
khoob-ee? are you well? (informal)
mamnoonam thank you
chetor peesh meeré? how’s it going?
ché khabar? what’s the news? (what’s up?)

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!

Leyla: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.

Matt: Daram nahar meekhoram.

Leyla: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.

Leyla: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

Matt: Amadan

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

Matt: Meeyam

Leyla: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'

Matt: Meeyam

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

Matt: Daram meeyam

Leyla: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.

Leyla:I have, as we said before is 'daram'

Matt: Daram

Leyla:You have informal is daree

Matt: Daree

Leyla:He or she has is dare

Matt: Dare

Leyla:We have is dareem

Matt: Dareem

Leyla:You have, formal, is dareen

Matt: Dareen

Leyla:They have is daran

Matt: Daran

Leyla: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'.

Matt: Meeyay

Leyla: 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'

Matt: Meeyay

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

Matt: Daree meeyay?

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

Matt: Daree meeyay?

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

Matt: Dare meeyad.

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

Matt: Dareem meeyaym.

Leyla: You, formal, are coming is 'dareen meeyayn'

Matt: Dareen meeyayn.

Leyla: And finally, they are coming is 'daran meeyan'

Matt: Daran meeyan.

Leyla: 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'

Matt: Daram meekhoram.

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

Matt: Daree meekhoree

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

Matt: Dareh meekhoreh

Leyla: 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?

Matt: Dareem meekhoreem

Leyla: Yes. Dareem meekhoreem. You are eating, formal.

Matt: Dareen meekhoreen.

Leyla: Great, dareen meekhoreen. And finally they are eating?

Matt: Daran meekhoran.

Leyla: Right, daran meekhoran.

Leyla: 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

Matt: Neshastan

Leyla: 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

Matt: Sheen

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

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

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

Matt: Mee + sheen + am. Meesheenam.

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

Matt: Meesheenam

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

Matt: Meesheeneen

Leyla: 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

Matt: Besheeneen

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

Matt: Besheeneen

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

Matt: Lotfan besheeneen

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

Matt: Befarmayeen besheeneen

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

Matt: Befarmayeen.

Leyla: 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'

Matt: Besheen

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

Matt: Lotfan besheen

Leyla: Or befarma besheen

Matt: Befarma besheen

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

Matt: Besheeneen

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

Matt: Besheen

Leyla: How about Please sit in the formal manner?

Matt: Lotfan besheeneen

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

Matt: Lotfan besheen

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

Matt: Befarmayeen besheeneen

Leyla: What does this loosely translate as?

Matt: Please go ahead and sit

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

Matt: Befarma besheen

Leyla: 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

Matt: Lotfan eenja beesheen.

Leyla: 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'

Matt: Nasheen

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

Matt: Nasheeneen

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

Matt: Lotfan oonja nasheeneen.

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

Matt: Gozashtan

Leyla: 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

Matt: Bezar

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

Matt: Bezareen.

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

Matt: Bezar roo meez

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

Matt: Bezar roo meez.

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

Matt: Bezar payeen

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

Matt: Bazareen payeen

Leyla: 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'

Matt: Ketab o bezar payeen

Leyla: 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

Matt: Ketab o bezar payeen

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

Matt: Ketab o bezar roo meez

Leyla: 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?

Matt: Lotfan ketab o bezareen roo meez

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

Matt: Lotfan ketab o bezareen roo meez

Leyla: And how about please put the book down, formally?

Matt: Lotfan ketab o bezareen payeen

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

Matt: 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!