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‘ra’ for definite direct objects

Object Marker (rā)

را ‘rā’ (Object Marker) is used after a definite direct object.

What is a definite direct object?

See this example:

I bought him a book.

There are two objects used in this sentence:
– him (indirect object)
– book (direct object)

‘book’ is the direct object, because the action of verb (bought) is directly affecting ‘book’ (not him).

When you say ‘ bought him the book’, the word ‘book’ is definite, because it is a specific book. Therefore, it must be followed by ‘rā’ (را) when translated to Persian.

/man ketāb rā barāte u xaridam/ من کتاب را برای او خریدم

However, the translation of the following sentence would not need ‘rā’ as the direct object is not definite and is general:

I bought him a book

من یک کتاب برای او خریدم
/man yek ketāb barāye u xaridam/

Example 1:
/man har šab televizion mibinam/ من هر شب تلویزیون می بینم
(I watch TV every night)

* ‘rā’ is not needed after the object (/televizion/) as it refers to TV in general.

/man har hafte(h) televizion rā tamiz mikonam/ من هر هفته تلویزیون را تمیز می کنم
(I clean the TV every week)

* ‘rā’ is needed after the object (/televizion/) as it refers to a specific TV set.

Example 1:

/man mamulan sā’at-e 9 qazāyam ra mixoram/
من معمولا ساعت 9 غذایم را می خورم


By its nature, ‘ra’ is used only in sentences with a transitive verb.

What is a Transitive verb?

The definition and usage of transitive verbs in Persian are very similar to English.

A transitive verb is a verb that requires one or more (direct) objects (as well as a direct subject)

– Amin saw Sara. /Amin Sārā rā did/ (Sara is the direct object of “saw”)
– I like nature. /Man tabi’at rā dust dāram/ (nature music is the direct object of “like”)

In contrast, an Intransitive verb does not take an object. In other words, an intransitive verb has only one argument (the subject)

– She laughs /u mixandad/


22/09/2009 Handout 02

Article for Objects in Persian

In English a definite article (the) comes immediately before a known object:
I am reading the book.
In Persian, the definite article is:
/rā/ را

It (almost) always follows the object and comes immediately after that.

The simple structure of a sentence in English is as below:
SUBJECT + VERB + the (article) + OBJECT

This structure in Persian is slightly different:

SUBJECT + OBJECT + rā (article) + VERB

English: I read the the book.
Persian: /man ketāb rā xāndam/
من کتاب را خواندم.

English: I broke the window.
Persian: /man panjare rā šekastam/
من پنجره را شکستم.

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