Persian has a two-way distinction between demonstratives: proximal and distal. Proximal demonstratives like English “this” and “these”, indicate being close to the speaker and distal demonstratives like English “that” and “those”, indicate being away from the speaker. When a demonstrative word is used with a noun, it is called a demonstrative adjective and when it substitutes a noun, it is called a demonstrative pronoun.

In Persian, demonstrative adjectives, like other adjectives, have only one form. They agree neither in gender nor in number with the noun they modify. For example, we say “this books” instead of “these books”. The plural form i.e. “books” itself indicates that we are referring to more than one book.

Simple demonstratives combine with certain words and form compound demonstratives. Therefore, Persian has the following sets of demonstrative adjectives:

Simple Demonstrative Adjectives

The simple demonstrative adjectives of Persian are این (in) and آن (ân).

Proximal Distal
این
in
this, these
آن
ân
that, those
Proximal Distal
Singular این میز
in miz
this table
آن میز
ân miz
that table
Plural این میزها
in mizhâ
these tables
(literally: this tables)
آن میزها
ân mizhâ
those tables
(literally: that tables)

More examples:

آن پسر برادرش است
Ân pesar barâdar-ash ast
That boy is his brother
از این پیراهن خوشت می‌آید؟
Az in pirâhan khosh-at miâyad?
Do you like this shirt?
آن لباس چند است؟
Ân lebâs chand ast?
How much is that dress?

Demonstrative Adjectives of Exactitude

Demonstrative adjectives of exactitude are formed by prefixing هم (“ham”, same) to simple demonstrative adjectives. They denote “exactly” and function like English “this/that very”, “this/that same”, “the same” and “the very same”.

Proximal Distal
همین
hamin
this same, these same, the same
همان
hamân
that same, those same, the same

Examples:

همین خانه
hamin khâne
this same house
همان مردم
hamân mardom
those same people
دقیقا همین حرف را زد
Daghighan hamin harf râ zad
He said exactly the same thing
همان داستان همیشگی
hamân dâstân-e hamishegi
the same old story

Demonstrative Adjectives of Similitude

Demonstrative adjectives of similitude are formed by prefixing چون (“chon”, like) to simple demonstratives. They are similar to English “such” and “like this/that”. Demonstratives of similitude make their noun specific. Therefore, the indefinite article always accompanies the noun.

Proximal Distal
چونین
chonin
like this/these; such (a)
چونان
chonân
like that/those; such (a)

Examples:

چونین کتابی
chonin ketâb-i
such a book, a book like this
چونین کتابهایی
chonin ketâbhâ-yi
such books, books like these
چونین رفتاری
chonin raftâr-i
such behavior, behavior like this

چونین and چونان are often written as چنین and چنان. Additionally, they are often pronounced as chenin and chenân. However, there is no word as چن in Persian nor it is pronounced chen.

Summary of Demonstrative Adjectives

The following table summarizes all demonstrative adjectives of Persian language.

Simple Exactitude Similitude
Proximal این
in
همین
hamin
چونین
chonin
Distal آن
ân
همان
hamân
چونان
chonân