This page has audio!
Continuous Tenses
Past Continuous
The past continuous is constructed by adding the corresponding past simple form of the verb “to have” before past imperfective verbs.
Here is an example for the verb “to fight”:
Verb Infinitive:
Past Stem:
داشتم می‌جنگیدم
داشتی می‌جنگیدی
داشت می‌جنگید
داشتیم می‌جنگیدیم
داشتید می‌جنگیدید
داشتند می‌جنگیدند
[I] was fighting
[you] were fighting
[he/she/it] were fighting
[we] were fighting
[you (pl.)] were fighting
[they] were fighting
Present Continuous
Almost similar to past continuous, the present continuous is made by adding the corresponding present simple form of the verb “to have” before present simple verbs.
Verb Infinitive:
Present Stem:
دارم می‌جنگم
داری می‌جنگی
دارد می‌جنگد
داریم می‌جنگیم
دارید می‌جنگید
دارند می‌جنگند
[I] am fighting.
[you] are fighting.
[he/she/it] is fighting.
[we] are fighting
[you (pl.)] are fighting
[they] are fighting
An important pronunciation tip to consider is that in this particular usage (and only in the present tense), the stress in the past simple form of “داشتن” is on the last syllable, i.e. the enclitic part.
The auxiliary verb of these tenses always comes at the beginning of the sentence. There are only two exceptions: sentential adverbs and explicit subjects precede them. Here are some examples:
داری همه‌ی ما را مسخره می‌کنی.
داریم خانه را برای مهمانی فردا مرتّب می‌کنیم.
وقتی مینا رسید داشتم غذا می‌خوردم.
نرگس الآن می‌آید، دارد لباس می‌پوشد.
کم‌کم داشتم نگران می‌شدم.
پدربزرگ دارد می‌میرد!
You are making fun of all of us.
We are tidying up the house for tomorrow’s party.
I was eating food when Mina arrived.
Narges will come right now, she’s getting dressed.
Little by little I was getting worried.
Grandfather is dying!
It is not common (though not entirely prohibited) to use the continuous tenses in negative form. The negative forms of the past imperfective and present simple (the tenses from which the continuous tenses are made structurally) are usually used instead.
It is also important to notice that these continuous tenses belong solely to the modern Persian as used in Iran and exist neither in classical literary works nor in the Persian spoken in Afghanistan and Tajikistan (alternative structures exist in these varieties to express continuity.)