The imperfective present indicative tense describes a continuing, repetitive or habitual occurrence (→ imperfective aspect) in present or future, which is based on the known state of affairs (→ indicative mood). This Persian tense is called “present simple” in other grammar references. However, it has imperfective aspect and contrasts with perfective present. Persian’s imperfective present does not have an equivalent in English and has to be translated with different tenses depending on the context. When it refers to a habitual or repeated occurrence, the present simple tense can be used. When it refers to a continuing or an ongoing occurrence, the present progressive tense can be used. Therefore, a verbal form like می‌روم (miravam) can mean “I go”, “I am going” and “I use to go” (using “use to” structure for present tense is obsolete in English and is only mentioned here to include the habitual sense of imperfective present).

Classically, Persian tenses are divided into past and non-past (i.e. present or future). Present tenses can equally express future occurrences. The context indicates the exact time. Regarding imperfective present, it can also function as imperfective future. Therefore, می‌روم (miravam) can mean “I go”, “I am going”, “I will go” and “I will be going” (as well as present and future habitual structures “I use to go” and “I will use to go”, which do not exist in modern English).


The imperfective present indicative tense is formed according to the following pattern:


Simple verbs

1S می‌روم
I go
I am going
2S می‌روی
You go
You are going
3S می‌رود
He/She/It goes
He/She/It is going
1P می‌رویم
We go
We are going
2P می‌روید
You go
You are going
3P می‌روند
They go
They are going

Compound verbs

1S کار می‌کنم
kâr mikonam
I work
I am working
2S کار می‌کنی
kâr mikoni
You work
You are working
3S کار می‌کند
kâr mikonad
He/She/It works
He/She/It is working
1P کار می‌کنیم
kâr mikonim
We work
We are working
2P کار می‌کنید
kâr mikonid
You work
You are working
3P کار می‌کنند
kâr mikonand
They work
They are working

Special cases

When the present stem ends in a vowel sound, the epenthetic consonant ی (“y”) is added between the stem and the ending:

گفتن (“goftan”; to say) — گو (gu)
1S می‌گویم
1P می‌گوییم
2S می‌گویی
2P می‌گویید
3S می‌گوید
3P می‌گویند
آمدن (“âmadan”; to come) — آ (â)
1S می‌آیم
1P می‌آییم
2S می‌آیی
2P می‌آیید
3S می‌آید
3P می‌آیند

The imperfective form of the verb بودن (“budan”; to be) is made by taking باش (“bâš”) as its present stem.

1S می‌باشم
I am
2S می‌باشی
You are
3S می‌باشد
He/She/It is
1P می‌باشیم
We are
2P می‌باشید
You are
3P می‌باشند
They are

The verb داشتن (“dâštan”; to have) is not normally conjugated in imperfective aspect and instead, its perfective present form is used. This also applies to compound verbs retaining the sense of “to have”. The following table compares بر داشتن (“bar dâštan”; to pick up) with دوست داشتن (“dust dâštan”; literally: to have a feeling of liking or love).

1S بر می‌دارم
bar midâram
دوست دارم
dust dâram
2S بر می‌داری
bar midâri
دوست داری
dust dâri
3S بر می‌دارد
bar midârad
دوست دارد
dust dârad
1P بر می‌داریم
bar midârim
دوست داریم
dust dârim
2P بر می‌دارید
bar midârid
دوست دارید
dust dârid
3P بر می‌دارند
bar midârand
دوست دارند
dust dârand

It should be noted that it is possible to conjugate دوست داشتن in imperfective present. For example, to emphasize on the sense of “continuation” that the imperfective aspect conveys.


هر روز به پیاده‌روی می‌رویم
Har ruz be piyâderavi miravim
We go walking everyday
پزشکی می‌خوانم
pezeški mixwânam
I study medicine
باران می‌آید
Bârân miâyad
It is raining

In the following examples, the imperfective present tense functions as imperfective future. There is a specific future tense in written Persian but in spoken Persian, the future is always expressed with present tenses.

فردا باران می‌آید
Fardâ bârân miâyad
It will rain tomorrow
(Also: It will be raining tomorrow)
امشب به تو زنگ می‌زند
Emšab be to zang mizanad
He will call you tonight
یک ماه در ایران می‌مانیم
Yek mâh dar Irân mimânim
We will stay in Iran for a month

Negative conjugation

The negative form of the imperfective present tense is constructed by prefixing ن (“ne”) to می (“mi-”). In the presence of the imperfective particle (“mi”), the negation particle is pronounced “ne”.

1S نمی‌روم
2S نمی‌روی
3S نمی‌رود
1P نمی‌رویم
2P نمی‌روید
3P نمی‌روند
1S کار نمی‌کنم
kâr nemikonam
2S کار نمی‌کنی
kâr nemikoni
3S کار نمی‌کند
kâr nemikonad
1P کار نمی‌کنیم
kâr nemikonim
2P کار نمی‌کنید
kâr nemikonid
3P کار نمی‌کنند
kâr nemikonand