Persian Lesson 21 – How to Use /ra:/ or /yek/, Numbers from 20 to 100

Salam! Khosh amadid!

Hopefully you are enjoying the lessons. Please let me know if you have any questions that you think I can answer! Don’t get impatient if you receive no direct reply although I am trying to write back to many of you as much as I can. Anyway, you may find the answers to your questions regarding the lessons here on this site even if there is no direct reply to your messages through e-mail.

Before we start today, let me answer to some of your questions.

1- In Useful drills 19, why /hæfteh ye pish/ and not /hæfteh ye gozæshteh/ for ‘last week’?

Both /hæfteh ye pish/ and /hæfteh ye gozæshteh/ are the same. You may use both of them, which are absolutely correct.

You may also say /seh ru:z-e- pish/ or /seh ru:z-e- gozæshteh/ for ‘three days ago’. Certainly our Persian grammar has no objections! Me too!

2- We have /ru:z/ for ‘day’ and /diru:z/ for ‘yesterday’. We also have /shæb/ for ‘night’ and /dishæb/ for ‘last night’. Can we say /di hæfteh/ for ‘last week’?

Well, you can but you have to create a new grammar for Persian language, which is too soon for you at this stage!! (just a joke!)

you seem absolutely right. Nevertheless, we don’t have such a rule in Persian. although the structure you have offered seems acceptable, it sounds non sense in this language and people can not understand you.

3- the Persian translation of ‘this young lady didn’t touch your son yesterday’, is this: /in kha:nom-e- jæva:n diru:z beh pesæreta:n dæst næzæd/. Why /pesæreta:n/ and not /pesæreta:n ra:/?

I think I have already explained on the same page. Some English verbs when used in Persian need some extra elements such as prepositions and so on. Let’s have a look at the sentence once more:

This young lady didn’t touch your son yesterday. When converting the same sentence into Persian, we have to say ‘ this young lady didn’t touch to your son yesterday’. But in English ‘to’ is redundant.

Look at this sentence which is much closer to what I am trying to say:

‘I said to you yesterday. As you see, we cannot say ‘I said you’ in English. This verb needs ‘to’, which cannot be deleted. We’ll have to change the verb if we want to delete ‘to’ from our sentence. In this case, we should say: ‘I told you yesterday’.

Some Persian verbs have the same story. We can not put /ra:/ after some words although we know that this word is sitting in the place of an object. It rather depends on the nature of verbs not the objects. But currently, you don’t need to worry about these verbs. Even I, as a Persian who is teaching you, don’t know all the verbs which should fall in this category, before using them. To me it’s not necessary to overload your brain with memorizing a group of words, rules, verbs, etc…. Instead, you’d better try to use words in your sentences and then correct the structure of your sentence actively by deleting or adding some elements to your sentence, which seems more sensible; and avoid memorizing a group of words and rules and different things that you haven’t used it by yourself in your sentences. What I am trying to say is that the context should be your first priority in choosing and applying words. I remember when I was a high school student in my town. We had an English teacher who was really active, but I think he was, to some extent, wrong in properly teaching the rules. He was a really hard-working one. He had tried really hard to tell us different rules and let us write them down one by one. You don’t believe me if I tell you that I had memorized more than two long pages about when and how to use ‘The’ in English! I had memorized more than 100 pages rules and regulations altogether! And I was quite sure that I would get a high mark in the exam. Do you know what happened to me? I failed in the exam!! Don’t laugh at me! I did really fail in the English exam! I was never able to use all those rules in real texts! Today, I don’t even remember one of those hundreds rules I had filled my brain with. What I do now is I use a word in a sentence and then take a look at it to see how I can change it properly and how I can find a rule for that. Now, the context is my biggest teacher.

Please note that I don’t want to neglect the efforts of my teachers to whom I owe a lot. I just want to tell you that you can find the rules from within the contexts not from your memorized knowledge.

4- how can we use ‘A’ in our Persian translations? For example: I was a student.

As you know, ‘A’ has different meanings and functions in different sentences. Sometimes it means ‘one’ and sometimes it refers to something that is not known or clear to us and so on. In English, we use ‘A’ or ‘An’ before a singular noun which is countable, such as ‘a student’, ‘a book’, ‘an apple’, and so on. We are not allowed to say ‘I was student’; instead we should say ‘I was a student’. This is the nature of this language. But it does not mean that ‘I was one student and not two students’! correct? Well, basically, this ‘A’ should not be translated as /yek/ in Persian, since every body knows that you can be only one student and not two! As a result, you may only say /mæn da:nesh a:mu:z bu:dæm/ and don’t say /mæn yek da:nesh a:mu:z bu:dæm/.

Nevertheless, ‘A’ in the following sentence has two equivalents in Persian both of which are accepted.

I bought a book. /mæn yek keta:b khæridæm/ or /mæn keta:bi khæridæm/. The first one is mostly used in daily conversation while the second one is more literary oriented and mostly used in writings. You are allowed to use either of them in your sentences. It has some other functions which I believe will put you in confusion if explained at this stage. So, currently feel free to use either /mæn yek keta:b khæridæm/ or /mæn keta:bi khæridæm/.

To tell the truth, this question goes deeper than this, but we don’t need it now. Let’s do first things first and let’s do things step by step. Ok?

Now let’s see what we have for today.

Today, we’ll learn some more numbers and then we’ll go to Useful drills page to test our ability in using our knowledge.

We already know the numbers from one to twenty. As I told you before, this was the most difficult part of our work in learning numbers. Before we continue, let’s try the following numbers first.

20 = /bist/.


30 = /si:/.


40 = /che hel/.


50 = /pænja:h/.


60 = /shæst/.


70 = /hæfta:d/.


80 = /hæshta:d/.


90 = /nævæd/.


100 = /sæd/.


No problems? Great!

Now we want to say the following numbers:

  • 21
  • 22
  • 23

and so on.

The easiest way and explanation in learning the numbers is this:

The main number (20, 30, 40, 50, …) + /o/ sound + one of the first ten numbers. Don’t let this rule scare you! Let’s try and see!

21 = /bist-o- yek/.


22 = /bist-o- do/.


23 = /bist-o- seh/.

24 = /bist-o- chæha:r/.

You continue!

30 = /si:/.

31 = /si: -o- yek/.


32 = /si: -o- do/.

33 = /si:-o- seh/.

You continue!

40 = /che hel/.

41 = /che hel-o- yek/.


42 = /che hel-o- d-/.


50 = /pænja:h/.

51 = /pænja:h-o- yek/.


52 = /pænja:h-o-do/.


60 = /shæst/.

61 = /shæst-o- yek/.


62 = /shæst-o- do/.


70 = /hæfta:d/.

71 = /hæfta:d-o- yek/.

72 = /hæfta:d-o- do/.


80 = /hæshta:d/.

81 = /hæshta:d-o- yek/.

82 = /hæshta:d-o- do/.


90 = /nævæd/.

91 = /nævæd-o- yek/.

92 = /nævæd-o- do/.


100 = /sæd/.

101 = /sæd-o- yek/.

102 = /sæd-o- do/.


All right! With this we come to the end of lesson /bist-o- yek/.
! I hope you liked it.

Please go to Useful drills page to do your own share.

Let’s write page is waiting for you if you want to see the main stress of the new words.

See you next week!

Khoda Hafez!

Lesson 21