Persian Lesson 84 – Relative pronouns in Persian

Salam! Khosh amadid!

Are you now fluent with the comparative and superlative adjectives in Persian? If yes, let’s start a new lesson.

Let’s see some sentences in English first. Ready?

  1. The man who is walking is my friend.
  2. The man whom you saw is my friend.
  3. The chair that (which) you broke is mine.

Do you know these kinds of sentences? Do you know what ‘who’, ‘whom’, ‘which’, and ‘that’ are? These are called Relative Pronouns in English. No, I am not teaching you English! But, to learn Persian we need to know these things first.

Don’t worry! Wait and you will see that Persian is much easier than English!! Let’s try them if you don’t believe me!

In sentence number 1 above, what we have is:

Let’s break sentence number 1:

The man is walking.

The man is my friend.

As you see, ‘the man’ is subject in both sentences. To join these two sentences, we need to delete the words that are repeated. Now tell me what is repeated in both sentences? Wonderful!! ‘The man’ is repeated.

So let’s delete one of them, and we will have this:

The man is walking.

Is my friend.

Now, let’s put these two together. We will have: The man is walking is my friend.

So far so good? Great!

But, what we need is one complete sentence. So, we have to join these two sentences. But something is missing. Guess what? This sentence has no ‘joint’. The best ‘joint’ here is ‘who’. Why? Because ‘the man’ is subject in both sentences (The man is walking.

The man is my friend.)

Now in our new sentence (The man is walking is my friend), put ‘who’ after the subject (The man). Then you will have: The man who is walking is my friend.

Was it difficult?

Now you try this one (you have ten seconds!):

The girl is playing.

The girl is my daughter.

Did it? Good!

The answer should be this:

The girl who is playing is my daughter.

Now try this one:

The woman left.

The woman was my wife.

The answer should be this: The woman who left was my wife.

Is everything clear? Good!

Now answer to this question:

What is before and after ‘who’ in above sentences?

Great job!

We have ‘Noun’ as subject before ‘who’. We have ‘Verb’ after ‘who’.

So this is the grammar in English. Did you enjoy it?

Now let’s see the second sentence above (The man whom you saw is my friend).

Let’s break it together:

The man is my friend.

You saw the man (him).

In the first sentence, ‘the man’ is Subject (at least we can accept it as our subject).

In the second sentence, ‘the man’ is Object.

What is repeated in these two sentences? Good guess! ‘The man’ is repeated twice. To join these two sentences, we need to delete one of them. Which one should be deleted? Delete the Object.

So, we will have:

The man is my friend.

You saw

Easy, isn’t it?

As you can guess now, to join these two sentences we need a ‘joint’. What is the best ‘joint’ here?

Wonderful! The best ‘joint’ is ‘whom’. Why? Because ‘the man’ is the subject of one sentence, and the object of the second.

Where should we put ‘whom’?

Put it after ‘the man’, and you will have:

The man whom is my friend.

Now, put the second sentence (you saw) after ‘whom’, and you will have:

The man whom you saw is my friend.

Good job! Wasn’t it?!

Now it’s your turn to try! Combine them.

The girl is my girlfriend. (The girl = subject)

You met the girl yesterday. (the girl = object)

The answer should be:

The girl whom you met yesterday is my girlfriend.

I hope it was not difficult.

Now answer to this question:

What is before and after ‘whom’?

Good job!

We have ‘Noun’ before ‘whom’. We have ‘Subject’ after ‘whom’.

The same is true with ‘which’ and ‘that’. The difference is that ‘which’ can be both ‘subject’ and ‘object’. So, you can follow the above rules to join your sentences when ‘which’ is needed. The other difference is that ‘which’ refers to ‘things’ or animals rather than ‘persons’.

Wow, too much grammar!

Now, let’s go back to our Persian class.

In Persian, we don’t need to go through this much rules!

Look at this word: /keh/.

All you need to do in Persian is this:

Replace ‘who’, ‘whom’, ‘which’, and ‘that’ with /keh/. That’s it!! Isn’t Farsi sugar?!!

Now let’s translate some of the sentences into Persian together. Afraid? Of course not!!

1- The man who is walking is my friend.

Man = /mærd/

Who = /keh/

To walk = /ghædæm zædæn/

Is walking = /da:ræd ghædæm mi zænæd/. (present continuous tense)

Is = /æst/

My friend = /du:stæm/ = /du:st e mæn/

You know them all already. If not, please review the previous lessons again.

The only change we need to make in our Persian sentence is that we should put /i:/ sound or simply the letter at the end of the ‘Noun’ ( mærd). So, instead of saying /mærd keh/, we should say /mærdi keh/. This rule is applicable to all kinds of relative pronouns.

So, the translation of the above sentence in Persian is as follows:

/mærdi keh da:ræd ghædæm mi zænæd du:st e mæn æst/.

Was it difficult?

Now try this one:

The man who is sitting in the chair is my father.

Man = /mærd/

Who = /keh/

Is sitting = /neshæsteh æst/. NOTE: In such sentences, although ‘is sitting’ is in present continuous tense it should be translated as ‘Present Perfect Tense’.

In = on = /ru: ye/

Chair = /sændæli/

Is = /æst/

My father = /pedæræm/ = /pedær e mæn/.

So, it’s Persian translation is as follows:

/mærdi keh ru: ye sændæli neshæsteh æst pedær e mæn æst/.

One more example:

The man whom you saw is my friend.

Man = /mærd/

Whom = /keh/

You = /to/

Saw (simple past tense) = /didi/

Is = /æst/

My friend = /du:stæm/ = /du:st e mæn/

NOTE: Although we cannot issue a general rule here, we’d better put /ra:/ before /keh/ whenever we are to use ‘whom’. Why? Because ‘whom’ refers to an object, and ‘the man’ is the object. We already know that /ra:/ is an object indicator.

Translation: /mærdi ra: keh to didi du:st e mæn æst/.

I hope you enjoyed this lesson.

Please go to useful drills page to practice more.

Have a good week!

Khoda Hafez!

Lesson 84