Verbal endings or more precisely, conjugational endings, are endings that attach to the stems of verbs and help to conjugate them in different tenses. In Persian, there are three grammatical persons: first person, second person and third person. They can be singular or plural. Therefore, there are six grammatical persons altogether. They are abbreviated as 1S, 2S, 3S, 1P, 2P and 3P. For example, “2S” means “second person singular” and “3P” means “third person plural”.

Past and Present Endings

Persian has two sets of verbal endings: past and present. They only differ in third person singular (3S). The past ending for 3S is null. That is, nothing is added to the stem of a verb. When a conjugated verb does not have an ending, we know that it belongs to third person singular because all the other persons have an ending.

Past Verbal Endings Present Verbal Endings
1S م
am
م
am
2S ی
i
ی
i
3S -
-
د
ad
1P یم
im
یم
im
2P ید
id
ید
id
3P ند
and
ند
and

Stress Position

Verbal endings are enclitic. That is, contrary to a suffix, they are unstressed and do not shift the stress position to the last syllable, which is the normal stress position in Persian. Therefore, the stress falls on the preceding syllable. The following table shows the conjugation of نوشتن (“neveshtan”) in the past simple tense and the stressed syllable in each conjugated form.

1S نوشتم
ne-vesh-tam
I wrote
1P نوشتیم
ne-vesh-tim
We wrote
2S نوشتی
ne-vesh-ti
You wrote
2P نوشتید
ne-vesh-tid
You wrote
3S نوشت
ne-vesht
He/She wrote
3P نوشتند
ne-vesh-tand
They wrote

Pronoun-dropping

In English, it is not possible to drop the subject pronoun in “I wrote” and say “wrote” because the person of the verb becomes unclear. In Persian, each person has a unique verbal ending. They convey the person and the number of a conjugated verb. For example, in نوشتم (“neveshtam”), the verbal ending “-am” indicates that the person of the verb is first person singular. As a result, subject pronouns are not normally used with verbs. Languages that have this feature are called pro-drop (pronoun-dropping) or null-subject. Spanish and Italian are among other null-subject languages.