Persian Lesson 22 – /ra:/, objects, use nouns with adjective

Persian Lesson 22 – /ra:/, objects, use nouns with adjective

Persian Lesson 22 – /ra:/, objects, use nouns with adjective

Dec 22, 2018 - Persian Language Courses

Salam! Khosh amadid!

Hello everyone! As always, we have got some questions to deal with.

1- I still do not know when I have to use “RA” or when not. When is something an object and when not?

Well, you seem looking for trouble!!

I think it’s a bit soon to know this fluently in Persian. But, I’ll try to answer to your question now. Don’t worry if you find it a little difficult to understand completely at this stage. It will give you some insight and will prepare you for future.

We have two kinds of verbs in Persian:

A- Transitive, a verb that takes a direct object

B- Intransitive, a verb that has a subject and not an object.

I don’t think it’s really difficult to find the object of your sentences. In one word ‘Objects’ receive the actions done by ‘Subjects’. That is to say, subjects are doers of an action and this action is done on objects. Look at the following example:

I killed him.

I = subject

Killed = verb

Him = object

In Persian, however, there is a very small and easy rule which helps us to recognize the objects more easily. I am afraid I can not translate this simple rule as short as it is in Persian. Instead, I’ll try to explain it a bit more to make it understandable.

Objects can be either persons or things (non-person). In the above sentence ‘I killed him’, the object is a person or human being. Am I right?

Now look at the following sentence:

I broke the table.

I = subject

Broke = verb

The table = object

Here, ‘the table’ is a non-human object (things). Is it correct?

So, we have put ‘objects’ into two main categories: 1- human 2- non-human which includes animals, and other things.

Now, let’s do the main part of our job!

In Persian, we have two questions which can be raised after each verb to find the exact object and to see if we can put /ra:/ after the object. Confused! I know!! It’s because I can not translate these two short sentences into English without damaging their meaning!

In ‘I killed him’ the person who is listening to me will raise this question: whom did you kill?

Let’s see some more examples:

I saw him. The question is: whom did you see?

I found him. Whom did you find?

I hurt him. Whom did you hurt?

The answer to these questions is the object of our sentence. It’s that simple!

In Persian we have to ask the following question if the object is human-based.

 /cheh kæs ra:/?

And we have to ask this question if the object is non-human based:  /che chi:z ra:/.

I killed (him/it).  /mæn koshtæm/. You will ask:  /cheh kæs ra:/? Or  /che chi:z ra:/.

I saw (him/it).  /mæn didæm/. You will ask:  /cheh kæs ra:/? Or  /che chi:z ra:/.

I found (him/it).  /mæn peida: kærdæm/. You will ask:  /cheh kæs ra:/? Or  /che chi:z ra:/.

The answer to  /cheh kæs ra:/ or  /che chi:z ra:/ is the direct object of our sentence and we can put  /ra:/ after that object.

In short,

Can you put these questions after a sentence (verb)? Yes.

Can you find a single word as the answer to your question? Yes.

So, that answer is the object of your sentence and you can put  /ra:/ after that word.

Well, this is not the main problem! The problem appears when the verb has a preposition. Look at the examples below:

I talked with him.

I said to him.

I listened to him.

This is the question here:

Whom did you talk to/with?

Whom did you say to?

Whom did you listen to?

As you see, there is a preposition after the verb. Therefore, you can not put  /ra:/ after the words that seem to be the objects of our sentence.

Some Persian verbs need a preposition. It is not possible for me to tell you all these verbs here. It depends on the verbs. You may see the following verbs as the examples:

To touch

To face

To encounter

To visit

To telephone

And many others.

You cannot put  /ra:/ after the objects that come with these verbs. It seems nonsense in Persian. Each of the above verbs comes with a preposition.

I touched him.  /mæn beh u: dæst zædæm/, not  /mæn u: ra: dæst zædæm/.

As you see, we have  /beh/ before  /u:/ which is sitting in the place of an object in our Persian sentence. So, we cannot say  /che kæs ra:/, here the question is  /beh cheh kæs/ or whatsoever which is not included in our rule and we have nothing to do with that. In this case, you can not put  /ra:/ after the object.

Result: look at the verb first. Ask this question:  /cheh kæs ra:/ or  /che chi:z ra:/. Find a direct object for your question. If there is a direct object after your question, your verb is transitive and you can put  /ra:/ after the object. If there is no direct object after your question and you need to add something like a preposition to get the answer to your question, that verb is not transitive and you can not put  /ra:/ after your object.

I know this rule seems difficult for you to follow. But, in Persian it is really easy for everybody. It’s because they know the verbs. You will become more familiar with this in near future.

2- I am becoming puzzled about how to guess the pronunciation of syllables, and the special case of va:v. How can I know when two letters are pronounced as together, as in the ‘ft’ and ‘nd’ in ræftænd, and when they are separated by a vowel sound. Consider the word for ‘friend’: da:l va:v sin te. In lesson 15 it is pronounced

du:st, but in the Persian for “I love you” the same series of letters are pronounced du:set.

Again in lesson 15, in the word for ‘sister’, kha:hær, the va:v is sounded as a vowel. How would I know, on seeing the word the first time, that it is not pronounced khæv:ahær?

All right, Let me solve the problem of /va:v/ first. It seems to be the problem of many!

Sometimes /va:v/ pronounced as /u:/ and sometimes it accepts other short and long vowels. Unfortunately, there is no clear and general rule about this problematic feature of this letter. In many cases, however, it refers to the root of words. Whatever it is, I don’t think it’s possible to read a foreign word correctly when it’s your first meeting with that word! Even in English, I have many problems with the pronunciation of a lot of words that I haven’t seen before or I haven’t used them very often. So, I mustn’t feel puzzled when I am not able to pronounce an unfamiliar word. It seems quite natural. So, I believe, as a beginner, you’d better try to learn new words in a parrot like repetition or mimicry. Little by little, you’ll come to understand and separate the different pronunciation of similar words or different letters that come together to make a word in different situations. 

Try to learn the words first(as you are being told) and avoid pronouncing the new words based on your own knowledge.

As far as I remember, the combination of /khe/ and /va:v/ is pronounced /kha:/ in most words (which are used more frequently) if they are followed by /a:/ sound. The familiar examples to this are /kha:hær/, /kha:b/. In some words the same combination can be pronounced as /khæva:/, but fortunately these words are not used very often and they are really short in numbers, maybe less than five words. I promise you won’t have to use these words with this pronunciation /khæva:/ once in a million or even less than this. I don’t think there is more than ten words altogether for both /khæva:/ and /kha:/ in Persian and more than seventy percent of this ten words are not very common among people. So, I don’t think this problem is really frightening. All you have to do is memorize less than ten words in this category.

What you said about /du:st/ is correct. It needs some explanations. The language we are learning is the written form of Persian. Unlike English, there is a considerably big difference between oral and written Persian although both of them are understandable to native Persians. Generally, the Iranians do not use the written form in their daily conversations. They do understand it but they don’t use it. As far as I know, there is no considerable course in Persian conversation. All you learn in Persian classes, whether inside the country or outside (most of them), is the written form of this language which enables you to read, write and communicate with others in a written form. By written form I mean your style in communication is in a book style and it does not mean that you have to write down your words in order for others to understand you. But the way you speak seems funny and somehow entertaining for others. They will like your style but most probably they will laugh!

‘I love you’ means ‘du:stæt da:ræm’, but if you say this sentence to one Iranian he or she will certainly laugh at you for such an accent (and maybe he or she will like you more for such an interesting accent!). In daily conversation we say ‘du:set da:ræm’ not ‘du:stæt da:ræm’ which is a literary style and is found in our poetry and that’s why it will make others laugh if you use it in daily conversation. They will see themselves in a couple of centuries back in the history! A good example I can mention here is ‘how are you’? It has two basic equivalents in Persian. Let’s take a look at it:

What people say in their daily conversations is this: /ha:letu:n chetoreh/?

What you find in books is this: /ha:l-e- shoma: chetor æst/? Try this one with one of your Iranian friends and look at his/her face to see the smile or maybe load laughter! But both of them are understandable.

All right, now let’s start.

Today, we are going to see how two words are connected in Persian. What does it mean? Let’s see!

Suppose that we have these two words:



Now we want to combine them. I know it’s easy. We will say: Mr. Jones. Right? Great job! How do you say it in Persian? Right! We’ll say: /a:ga: ye Jones/.

How do you combine this one?



You’ll say ‘a fat boy’. Say it in Persian! Great!  /pesær-e- cha:gh/.

Now try this one:

Big =  /bozorg/.


You’ll say ‘a big house. Try it in Persian! Good!  /kha:neh ye bozorg/.

What about this?



You’ll say ‘a big country’. And you know it in Persian, don’t you?  /keshvær-e- bozorg/.

All right!

Now, imagine you are a teacher and are supposed to make a rule out of what you have seen above.

I am listening! Louder please! Well done!

Now let me try!

As we know, in English there is no sound between two words when they come together, like Mr. Jones. This is the way we say it: Mr. (then pause), Jones (then pause). In Persian, however, we have to use a sound between these two words. Generally, we have these two sounds which work as conjunctions; /ye/ sound and /e/ sound.

If the first word has  /a:/ or this /he/ attached to /be/  at the end, then we have to use /ye/ between the two words.


Mr. Jones

Mr. has  /a:/ sound at the end in Persian  /a:gha:/. So, we’ll say :  /a:gha: ye Jones/. We use /ye/.

Big house

House has /he/ at the end () . So, we will say  /kha:neh ye bozorg/.

Good neighbor

Neighbor =  /hæmsa:yeh/.

 /hæmsa: yeh/ has this  /he/ at the end. So, we will say:  /hæmsa:ye ye khu:b/.

The first /ye/ belongs to the word, and the second one is the conjunction.

White cat =  /gorbeh ye sefid/.  /gorbeh/ has this  /he/ at the end.

Note: in ‘big house’ , ‘good neighbor’, and ‘white cat’, ‘big’, ‘good’, and ‘white’ are adjectives. As you see in the above examples, unlike English, adjectives come after nouns in Persian.

No questions? Good!

In almost all other cases, we connect two words together with /e/ sound.


Good book =  /keta:b-e- khu:b/.

Big country =  /keshvær-e- bozorg/.

Fat boy =  /pesær-e- cha:gh/.

Mrs. Jones =  /kha:nom-e- Jones/.

Now, how do you say the following words? When the name is the first name not last name.


Ali  /æli/.

Mrs./Miss Helen

Easy? Did you say  /a:gha: ye Ali/? Yes? Well, it’s wrong!

As a rule, when we have Mr. or Mrs. before the first name of somebody we should use this combination:

Name +  /a:gha:/ or  /kha:nom/.

Here we can say:

Mr. Ali =  /Ali a:gha:/.

Mrs./Miss Helen = > /Helen kha:nom/.

Note: in a few cases, we may change the above rule into what we see below:

 /a:gha:/ or  /kha:nom/ + name (the title comes before the name for a few names)


Mr. Reza =  /a:gha: Reza/.

Important note: This is not a very strict rule. So, don’t worry if you put a title before or after a name.

Note: using this rule with foreign names looks a little funny in Persian!

OK! With this we come to the end of lesson 22. I hope you liked it.

See you next week!

Khoda Hafez!

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All Comments (3)


Generally, can we say that if a noun ends in a vowel sound we insert "ye" before the adjective and if it ends in a consonant we use "e" ?


Yes that is almost true. In fact we have prepared a blog post for using Ezafe in Persian and discussed this issue completely which you can find at:


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