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Personal Pronouns
Free Personal Pronouns
There are six personal pronouns in Persian:
you (pl.)
There are some points to note about these pronouns:
  • The third person singular pronoun “او” is used only for humans. For other things, the pronoun “آن” is used instead.
  • In polite speech, individuals are addressed with plural pronouns. Using verbs in the plural form in such situations is also common.
  • In literary prose, the third person plural pronoun (آن‌ها) can be replaced by “آنان” when being used for humans.
  • All of the pronouns listed above can actually serve as different parts of speech such as subject, object, object of preposition, etc.
    تو رفتی.
    آنها دوستان من بودند.
    او با ما جنگید.
    You left.
    They were my friends.
    He/She fought with us.
    Enclitic Personal Pronouns
    Enclitic pronouns are always attached to other words as suffixes and are never pronounced with a stress.
    ‌‌َ م
    ‌ِ مان
    ‌َ ت
    ‌ِ تان
    ‌َ ش
    ‌ِ شان
    Enclitic pronouns are used in two different ways. (Notice that using enclitic pronouns is always optional since free personal pronouns can always replace them.)
    Possessive Use
    Enclitic pronouns attach to nouns to indicate possession.
    my hand
    our voice
    your eyes
    your lies
    his/her laughter
    their country
    In many occasions, including when showing emphasis on the owner, using free pronouns is more common.
    دست من
    کشور آنها
    my hand
    their country
    As you see, here again, two vowels cannot be pronounced right after each other. If the word ends with letter “ه” with an “e” sound, a glottal stop with letter “ا” is used (as in “خنده‌اش”). If the last letter of the word is “ا” with an “aa” sound, the letter “ی” with a “y” sound comes in between (as in “صدایشان” and “دروغ‌هایتان”). Obviously, if a noun has a plural mark such as “ها” and “ان”, the enclitic pronouns come after the plural mark (as in “دروغ‌هایتان”).
    Objective Use
    The object of a verb can be shown by suffixing the verb itself with an enclitic pronoun.
    روی میز گذاشتمش.
    به یک اتاق تاریک بردندمان.
    پدر خندید و بوسیدشان.
    دیروز در خیابان دیدمت.
    من پختمش و تو خوردیش.
    I killed him.
    I put it on the table.
    They took us to a dark room.
    Father laughed and kissed them.
    I saw you in the street yesterday.
    I cooked it and you ate it.
    As you have probably noticed, some of these enclitic pronouns are identical with past simple verb suffixes. This can be source of problems; what is the meaning of the word “زدم”? Does it mean “I hit” consisting of the past stem and the first person singular subjective suffix? Or does it mean “he hit me” formed of the past simple verb “زد” meaning “he/she hit” plus the first person singular objective pronoun “م”? The answer is quite simple. It is definitely the first one. Generally, in cases like this where such ambiguities are feared, enclitic pronouns are not used and objects come as free personal pronouns, in a manner which will be discussed under objects. (Note again that using enclitic pronouns is always optional. However, it takes time to grasp a feeling of when it sounds more natural to use them and when it does not.)
    Place and Direction
    Enclitic pronouns can also follow words denoting place and direction.
    پایم رفت رویش.
    بیرون خانه قشنگ بود امّا تویش زشت بود.
    I trampled on it.
    (lit. My foot went on it)
    Outside the house was beautiful but inside it was ugly.