Present Perfect

In Persian, the present perfect is constructed by the addition of the present copulas to the past participle (note the construction of the present perfect is dependent upon the past participle).

I have said. gofte-am گفته ام
You have said. singular gofte-yi گفته ای
He/she has said. gofte ast گفته است
We have said. gofte-yim گفته ایم
You have said. plural gofte-yid گفته اید
They have said. gofte-and گفته اند

The negative is constructed by the addition of the prefix [-na] to the participle:

nagofte-am “I have not said.” نگفته ام

By and large, the Persian present perfect, sometimes referred to as past narrative, corresponds to the English present perfect:

I have seen. dide-am دیده ام
You have been. singular bude-yi بوده ای
She/he has gone. rafte ast رفته است
We have eaten. xorde-yim خورده ایم
You have heard. plural šanide-yid شنیده اید
They have lived. zendegi karde-and زندگی کرده اند

However, its correspondence to English is very limited. That is to say, there are instances in the usage of the present perfect in Persian, for which English may use different moods and tenses, especially in the case of the difference between the transitive and intransitive verbs. For instance, compare and contrast the following Persian present perfect and its English translation:

کورش بزرگ شاه دادگری بوده است
kuroš-e bozorg šāh-e dādgari bude ast
“Cyrus the Great was a just king.” Literally, “Cyrus the Great has been a just king.”
حافظ در شیراز دفن شده است
hāfez dar širāz dafn šode ast
“Hafez is buried in Shiraz.” Literally, “…has been buried….”

A very particular instance may be explained as follows:

Normally, when the narrator has been personally witnessing, or experiencing an event which has started in the past but is still of some sort of relevance in the present, both Persian and English use the present perfect:

این شاه تا اینجا شاه خوبی بوده است
in šāh tā injā šāh-e xubi bude ast
“So far this king has been a good one.”

However, when an event in the past is still considered to be of some sort of relevance or pertinence in the present time, while the narrator has not witnessed, or experienced it in person, Persian uses the present perfect, while in English the simple past, preterit, is used. Compare and contrast the following Persian and English sentences:

فردوسی شاعر بزرگی بوده است
ferdowsi šā’er-e bozorgi bude ast
“Ferdowsi was a great poet.”
مولانا در قونیّه وفات یافته است
mowlānā dar quniyye vafāt yāfte ast
“Mowlana (that is, Rumi) passed away in Konya.” Literally, “…has passed away….”
برادر سیما معلّم خوبی بوده است
barādar-e simā mo’allem-e xubi bude ast
“Sima’s brother was a good teacher.”

All of these suggest, “based on evidence, or even hearsay, the saying is true, but I have not witnessed or experienced it personally,” in other words, “I wasn’t there when it took place or was true at the time.” This may be illustrated in the difference between the following sentences:

او (یک) نابغه بود / او (یک) نابغه بوده است
u (yek) nābeγe bud / u (yek) nābeγe bude ast
(the latter, literally, has been)“He was a genius.”

او قبلاً در اینجا بوده است / او قبلا به اینجا آمده است
u qablan dar injā bude ast / u qablan be injā āmade ast
“He has been here before.”
او باید نابغه (می) بوده باشد
u bāyad nābeγe (mi-) bude bāšad
“He must have been (a) genius.”
which means that whether or not the subject was genius is not absolutely proved to the narrator, and only the evidences suggest that.

Another instance is when an action has taken place in the past, but still has its “memories” left with us:

من در این مدرسه درس خوانده ام
man dar in madrese dars xānde-am
“I studied at this school.” (literally, “I have studied….”)

More in the Past Perfect Continuous section.