Speak / Lesson 27

Present Continuous Tense

Lesson 27 teaches the present continuous tense.


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 everyone and welcome to the 27th lesson of Learn Persian with Chai and Conversation!

Matt: As you know, lessons 21-30 make up what we're calling Unit 3 of Chai and Conversation

Our focus on unit 3 is grammar. Hopefully you've been learning a lot so far- please let us know if there's anything specific you'd like to learn that we haven't been covering on the lessons, or if the pace of the lessons is suiting you!

Matt: Also, remember that the audio podcast is only one small part of the lesson. More information and bonus materials, as well as all the previous lessons, can be found at www.chaiandconversation.com with CHAI spelled CHAI.

Leyla: 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: We've covered a lot of different concepts and conjugations in our grammar lessons so far. It is now time to learn about the present simple tense. As you know, present stems of Persian words are irregular, so they just need to be memorized. Let's go over the present simple tense by learning how to say 'I know, you know, etc.' To make a word into the present simple tense, all you have to do it add the prefix –mi to the present stem of the verb, and then follow it with the personal ending. So, for example, I know is 'meedoonam'

Matt: Meedoonam

Leyla: So in this example, doonestan is the infinitive 'to know.' Doonestan

Matt: Doonestan

Leyla: The present stem of to know is 'doon'

Matt: Doon

Leyla: Again, this is irregular, so you just need to memorize it. Doon

Matt: Doon

Leyla: So again, I know, meedoonam

Matt: Meedoonam

Leyla; And note that in the present simple tense, the mee carries the stress. So meedoonam

Matt: Meedoonam

Leyla: you know, informal, is meedoonee

Matt: Meedoonee

Leyla: He or she knows 'meedoneh'

Matt: Meedooneh

Leyla: We know, meedooneem

Matt: Meedooneem

Leyla: You know formal, meedooneen

Matt: Meedooneen

Leyla: They know, meedoonan

Matt: Meedoonan

Leyla: So to make a present simple tense verb negative, we add the prefix –ne to it. So I don't know is nemeedoonam

Matt: Nemeedoonam

Leyla: How would you say 'we don't know'

Matt: Nemeedooneem

Leyla: They don't know

Matt: Nemeedoonan

Leyla: You don't know, informal
Matt: Nemeedoonee

Leyla: He or she doesn't know

Matt: Nemeedoone

Leyla: And finally, you formal don't know

Matt: Nemeedooneh

Leyla: Now, let's go over this concept with a few different verbs, including a couple of compound verbs. First, let's go over the verb 'to sit.' The infinitive of this verb is 'neshastan'

Matt: Neshastan

Leyla: So, again, since present stems are irregular, you just have to memorize that the present stem of to sit is 'sheen'. So if the formal is to add the prefix –mee and end with the personal pronoun, Matt, how do you say 'I sit.

Matt: Mee sheen am

Leyla: Perfect, you got the formula just right, but your pronunciation needs a little work. The correct way to pronounce I sit it meesheenam

Matt: Meesheenam

Leyla: So the stress is always on the mee. Meesheenam

Matt: Meesheenam

Leyla: How would you say 'we sit'

Matt: Meesheeneem

Leyla: Great, meesheeneem. How about you sit, informal

Matt: Meesheenee

Leyla: Great, meesheenee. So to make this negative, you add a –ne prefix to the whole word. So I don't sit is nemeesheenam

Matt: Nemeesheenam.

Leyla: How would you say they don't sit

Matt: Nemesheenan

Leyla: Great. Another verb we've learned before is 'raftan.' Remember what this means Matt?

Matt: To go

Leyla: Yes, exactly, to go. So the present stem of this verb, interestingly, is simply 'r'. So, I go is 'meeram'

Matt: Meeram

Leyla: Simple enough. What would we go be

Matt: Meereem

Leyla: Meereem, exactly. And you, formal, go?

Matt: Meereen

Leyla: Great, meereen, you formal go. Let's learn another. To eat is 'khordan'.

Matt: Khordan

Leyla: The informal of this is khor, simple enough. So Matt, what is I eat

Matt: Meekhoram

Leyla: Exactly. I think you're getting the hang of this. What is they eat

Matt: Meekhoran.

Leyla: Now let's learn 'to do' so we can have a short conversation. To do is kardan

Matt: Kardan

Leyla: And the present stem of this is 'kon.' So what is I do

Matt: Meekonam

Leyla: you do, informal, is meekonee

Matt: Meekonee

Leyla: Ok, next let's learn a compound verb in the present simple tense. Kar kardan is the infinitive of to work. Kar kardan

Matt: Kar kardan

Leyla: So the present simple stem of kar kardan is kar kon. The first word in the compound verb stays the same- we add the prefix and conjugate the second word. So kar meekonam is I work. Kar meekonam

Matt: Kar meekonam.

Leyls: Kar meekoneem is we work. Kar meekoneem

Matt: Kar meekoneem.

Leyla: And how would you say he or she works

Matt: Kar meekoneh

Leyla: Now, before we go any further, let's talk about one of the best things about colloquial Persian- in colloquial Persian, the present simple tense is used to refer to several things, including to a future act or fact. It also refers to the present continuous. So, we just learned 'kar meekonam'. Dependending on the context, this could mean 'I work' or 'I am working' or I will work' or 'I will be working.' Let's illustrate this with a few simple dialogues. We've learned before the phrase 'akhareh hafteh cheekar kardee'. Do you remember what this means Matt?

Matt: What did you do over the weekend.'

Leyla: Great, so cheekar kardee, means what things did you do. If you want to ask this with the present tense we are learning right now, you say 'cheekar meekonee'

Matt: Cheekar meekonee?

Leyla: Simple enough. It means 'What are you doing'. You could answer 'kar meekonam'

Matt: Kar meekonam

Leyla: Or, I am working. So Matt, ask me what I'm doing, and I'll say I am working

Matt: Cheekar meekonee?

Leyla: Kar meekonam. Now, if you want to change this to the future, and say what are you doing this weekend, you say 'akhareh hafteh cheekar meekonee?'

Matt: Akhareh hafteh cheekar meekonee?

Leyla: So in this context 'cheekar meekonee' refers to the future tense, and I'm asking 'what are you doing next weekend. You can answer by saying 'kar meekonam

Matt: Kar meekonam.

Leyla: So Matt, ask me what I'm doing next weeked.

Matt: Akhareh hafteh cheekar meekonee?

Leyla: Kar meekonam. So I answered the same way I would have if you'd asked what I'm doing right now, but based on context clues, it's clear that I'm talking about next weekend in the future tense.

Ok, let's learn some more verbs. The infinite of to swim is 'shena kardan'

Matt: Shena kardan

Leyla: Great. Like we said in lesson 24, many compound verbs are formed with kardan as the second word. So kar kardan and shena kardan. How would you say I swim

Matt: Shena meekonam

Leyla: And how do you say you informal swim

Matt: Shena meekonee

Leyla: Great. Let's learn another one. The infinitive of to watch is tamasha kardan

Matt: Tamasha kardan

Leyla: How do you say 'I watch'

Matt: Tamasha meekonam

Leyla: And to say, for example, I watch television, you say 'television tamasha meekonam

Matt: Television tamasha meekonam

Leyla: How would you say 'I watch a film

Matt: Feelm tamasha meekonam

Leyla: How about they watch a cartoon?

Matt: Cartoon tamasha meekonan

Leyla: Great! I'm not sure if you knew the word for cartoon already, but if not, great guess- that's exactly how you say cartoon. Now let's learn how to use the simple tense to talk about meals. We learned the word for I eat, it's meekhoram

Matt: Meekhoram

Leyla: So if you want to say I eat breakfast, you say 'sobhaneh meekhoram'

Matt: Sobhaneh meekhoram

Leyla: I eat lunch is nahar meekhoram

Matt: Nahar meekhoram

Leyla: And I eat dinner is shaam meekhoram

Matt: shaam meekhoram

Leyla: So one way that present simple tense can be used is to say a sentence like 'In the mornings, I eat breakfast.' To say this, you say 'sobha, sobhaneh meekhoram

Matt: Sobha sobhaneh meekohram

Leyla: So the suffix ha basically means every. So every morning, I eat breakfast. 'sobha, sobhaneh meekhoram

Matt: Sobha, sobhaneh meekohram

Leyla: Or, shabha, shaam meekhoram

Matt: Shabha, shaam meekhoram.

Leyla: Similarly, if you want to say Sundays, I watch Mad Men, you say 'yek shanbeha, Mad Men tamasha meekonam

Matt: Yek shanbeha, Mad Men tamasha meekonam

Leyla; So by adding ha to the end of yek shanbeh, you're saying every Sunday. Yek shanbeh-ha

Matt: Yek shanbeh –ha

Leyla; And tamasha meekonam as we learned before means I watch. So Yek Shanbeh-ha, Mad Men tamasha mekeonam.

Matt: Yek shanbeh ha Mad Men tamasha meekonam

Leyla: Or say on Monday nights you watch football. You say doshanbeh shabha, football tamasha meekonam

Matt: Doshanbeh shabha, football tamasha meekonam.

Leyla: Ok great. So let's learn the simple present conjugation for one more word that will come in handy in many different ways in the future, and that word is to come, or amadan

Matt: Amadan

Leyla: The present stem of amadan, is, quite strangely, a single vowel- aaa. The literary conjugation for the present stem of this word is rather strange, but we won't confuse you with it. Rather, let's go over the colloquial conjugation of the word now. So I come is meeyam

Matt: meeyam

Leyla: You, informal, come is to meeyay

Matt: To meeyay

Leyla: He or she comes is oo meeyad

Matt: Oo meeyad

Leyla: We come is miaim

Matt: Miaim

Leyla: You come, formal or plural, meeyain

Matt: Meeyain

Leyla: They come, meeyan.

Matt: Meeyan

Leyla: Great. So we've gone over the simple present tense conjugations of many different verbs, both simple and compound, in this lesson. We'll go over more uses of this tense more in the next lesson. But for now, that brings us to the end of lesson 27.

Matt: Thanks so much for joining us.

Leyla: As always, find more information and our bonus materials on our website at www.chaiandconversation.com, with CHAI spelled CHAI

Matt: And until next time, khodahafez from Matt

Leyla; And be omeedeh deedar from Leyla.

Leyla: Ok, let's learn a really simple question you can ask, where the answer will be given in the present simple tense. A possible question to ask is 'cheekar meekonee?'

Matt: Cheekar meekonee?

Leyla: And this simply means 'what are you doing?' Cheekar meekonee?

Matt: Cheekar meekonee?

Leyla: And you can answer this with any present simple verb.

Leyla: Ok, so we learned a question in lesson 24, what did you do over the weekend. Do you remember how to say this Matt?

Matt: Akhareh hafteh cheekar kardee?

Leyla: Exactly. So if we want to ask what someone is doing the next weekend, we simply change this to Akhareh hafteh cheekar meekonee?

Matt: Akhareh hafteh cheekar meekonee?

Leyla: And you can answer with the present simple tense. For example, something I often say is 'Meeram Dallas'

Matt: Meeram Dallas

Leyla: I go to Dallas. Present simple tense.