Persian Grammar
Learn About Persian Language

In English and Persian, grammatical number is divided into singular form and plural form. The singular form indicates one person or thing. The plural form indicates that there is more than one of that noun. There are languages that have a distinct form, called dual, for referring to two persons or things. For example, Arabic has singular (one), dual (two) and plural (more than two) forms.

The formation of plural in Persian, can be divided into three categories:

Plural Suffix -hâ

Words are normally pluralized with the suffix -hâ:

پسر
pesar
boy; son
پسرها
pesarhâ
boys; sons
دختر
dokhtar
girl; daughter
دخترها
dokhtarhâ
girls; daughters
درخت
derakht
tree
درختها
derakhthâ
trees
کتاب
ketâb
book
کتابها
ketâbhâ
books
سیب
sib
apple
سیبها
sibhâ
apples

Plural Suffix -ân

Historically, all nouns were pluralized with the suffix -ân. This suffix is now restricted to animate nouns and in particular, human nouns.

مرد
mard
man
مردان
mardân
men
زن
zan
woman
زنان
zanân
women
پسر
pesar
boy; son
پسران
pesarân
boys; sons
دختر
dokhtar
girl; daughter
دختران
dokhtarân
girls; daughters
درخت
derakht
tree
درختان
derakhtân
trees

It is also seen in certain inanimate nouns, which reflects its historical role:

سخن
sokhan
word, talk
سخنان
sokhanân
words, talks

The suffix -ân changes to -gân after the vowel e and to -yân after other vowels:

دانشجو
dâneshju
student
دانشجویان
dâneshjuyân
students
ستاره
setâre
star
ستارگان
setâregan
stars

The word ستارگان (setâregan) in the above table, is another inanimate noun whose old plural form is still used in the language. For more information about this suffix, please refer to the page more on plural suffix "-ân".

Arabic loanwords

Many Arabic loanwords brought their plural form into written Persian (not into spoken Persian). These plurals can be regular or irregular. However, you can use -hâ to pluralize all words. For example, کتاب ketâb is an Arabic loanword. Its plural form is کتب kotob, which is irregular. kotob is found in written Persian but what you normally see is ketâbhâ. This is comparable, to some extent, to Latin plurals found in English. The plural form of forum is fora but its usage is decreasing and it is often pluralized as forums.

I must emphasize that Arabic plurals are not typically used in spoken Persian. Words are pluralized with -hâ. Even in written Persian, the use of Arabic plurals has greatly decreased. The only exception are Arabic words whose plural form has found an extended meaning as well as some fixed Arabic plurals.

Nouns after numbers

In Persian, nouns are not pluralized after a number because the number itself indicates the quantity:

یک کتاب
yek ketâb
one book
دو کتاب
do ketâb
two books
چند کتاب
chand ketâb
a few books (any number betwen 3 to 9)

But:

همه‌ی کتابها
hame-ye ketâbhâ
all books (no particular number)

More examples

دو برادر دارم
do barâdar dâram
I have two brothers
برای چند شب
barâ-ye chand shab?
For how many nights?