Persian Grammar
Learn About Persian Language

In spoken Persian, the conjugational endings are:

past present comment
1S -am -am
2S -i -i
3S - -e «-ad» changes to «-e»
1P -im -im
2P -in -in the same «-id» is also heard
3P -an' -an' the final «d» of «-and» drops but
the same «-and» is also heard

Look at the conjugation of «neveshtan» (to write):

Past simple Present imperfect Present subjunctive
1S نوشتم
neveshtam
می‌نویسم
minevisam
بنویسم
benevisam
2S نوشتی
neveshti
می‌نویسی
minevisi
بنویسی
benevisi
3S نوشت
nevesht
می‌نویسه
minevise
بنویسه
benevise
1P نوشتیم
neveshtim
می‌نویسیم
minevisim
بنویسیم
benevisim
2P نوشتین
neveshtin
می‌نویسین
minevisin
بنویسین
benevisin
3P نوشتن
neveshtan'
می‌نویسن
minevisan'
بنویسن
benevisan'

Narrative tenses

In narrative tenses, the past participle and the past endings go on a contraction. For example: «neveshte+am» becomes «nevesht'am». Please note that «neveshtam» (I wrote) and «nevesht'am» (I have written» are not pronounced identically. In «neveshtam» the stress falls on the syllable right before that of the ending (the penultimate): «ne.vesh.tam», whereas in «nevesht'am» the stress is on the last syllable: «ne.vesh.tam». The only form that remains distinct in writing is 3S as it does not take ending. See:

Past simple Past narrative
1S نوشتم
neveshtam
نوشتم
nevesht'am
2S نوشتی
neveshti
نوشتی
nevesht'i
3S نوشت
nevesht
نوشته
neveshte
1P نوشتیم
neveshtim
نوشتیم
nevesht'im
2P نوشتین
neveshtin
نوشتین
nevesht'in
3P نوشتن
neveshtan'
نوشتن
nevesht'an'

As you see, Persian alphabet does not have a character to denote contractions. Unfortunately, this causes past simple and past narrative appear alike in writing (but not in speech, as explained). Even native speakers occasionally make a mistake in telling them apart. For example, when writing down a recorded informal interview…

ضبط کار یا آلبوم تازه‌ای رو شروع کردی؟
Zabt-e kâr yâ âlbom-e tâze-i ro shoruø kardi?

…where «shoruø kardi» شروع کردی is in past narrative and must be written:

In Persian's native script, there is no way to write past narrative correctly (in fact, contractions in general). But when writing in Latin script, contractions can be shown with apostrophe: shoruø kard'i

TIP Although the difference can easily be detected from speech (from stress position) but it can also be detected from the third person singular (3S) form, which remains distinct. In order to decide whether شروع کردی is a narrative, you can simply consider the sentence in 3S form. For example, here it would be شروع کرده, which means the tense is past narrative. This tip can also be used for other narrative tenses. Example:

Rewriting it in 3S form, results in شنیده بوده and therefore, this tense is past precedent narrative and not past precedent! Writing it in written language:

Further reductions

Historically, there's a common phonemic change in the evolution of Persian: reduction of VCV to V (V = vowel; C = consonant). That is to say, whenever a word has a VCV pattern, it is disposed to be reduced to either V's some time in the evolution of the language:

VCV pattern and its reduction are in bold
Old Persian Middle Persian New Persian
shiyâti shâti —> shâdi shâdi
chavant chant —> chand chand
duvar dar dar

New Persian is more than 1100 years old. So, it is fairly natural to witness similar changes happened through this long period. Our written language is very preservative but the spoken language has evolved freely. Interestingly, the VCV pattern has also occurred in New Persian. Examples from verb category (more examples in the article VCV Pattern):

raftan /rav/
Before After
1S miravam miram
2S miravi miri
3S miravad mirad —> mire
1P miravim mirim
2P miravid mirid —> mirin
3P miravand mirand —> miran'
goftan /gu/
Before After
1S miguyam migam
2S miguyi migi
3S miguyad migad —> mige
1P miguyim migim
2P miguyid migid —> migin
3P miguyand migand —> migan'