Pronouns take the place of a proper noun, such as names of persons, places, or things.
|you, thou||tó (singular)||تو|
We will focus first on personal pronouns, i.e., the ones used for people.
Unlike in English, in Persian we do not call these pronouns subject pronoun because all of these pronouns may function as either the subject or object of a sentence. We also use them in possessive constructions.
Compare and contrast the Persian and English pronouns in the following sentences:
|I went.||man raftam||.من رفتم|
|He saw me.||u man ra did</td.||.او من را دید|
|This is my book.||in ketab-e man ast||.این کتاب من است|
|This book belongs to me.||in ketab māl-e man ast||.این کتاب مال من است|
As you can see, in Persian من man stays constant, while in English the pronoun (‘I,’ ‘me,’ ‘my’) changes according to the case.
In colloquial Persian, the third-person plural pronoun ایشان išān is used exclusively as a polite/formal variant of the third-person singular. In written materials, however, it may be used instead of آنها ānhā. Therefore, in the written language both ایشان išān and آنها ānhā might represent ‘they.’
The first-person plural ما mā is also used in place of the first-person singular من man as an expression of humbleness, especially when a younger person or a person of a status speaks to someone older or from a higher status.