Pashto Verbs Master Chart

A simple set of rules that all Pashto verbs follow

October 12, 2020

Pashto verbs may seem confusing, unruly, and intimidating to the outside learner. But in reality, once we get to know them, we see that they all follow one beautiful, simple structure. If we can understand this basic set of rules, all verbs will make perfect sense.

Over the course of this post we’ll do three things:

  1. Introduce the idea of the two aspects in Pashto verbs
  2. Give you the simple master formula for all verbs
  3. Prove how this does work for all verbs

Two Aspects in Pashto Verbs

The first thing to realize in that in Pashto, every verb has two main roots, based on two different aspects.

A few Pashto verbs with their two forms

In Pashto, all verbs are divided up into two different aspects: imperfective and perfective. We can think of the aspect as our angle or perspective on the action. Do we see the action from inside, as something ongoing or recurring? That’s the imperfective aspect. Do we see the action as a whole snapshot, completed and done? That’s the perfective aspect.

It might help to think of these two aspects as videos and photos of some event. When you see a video , you can see the action happening over time. You can be immersed in it. You can see the inner workings of an action as it’s ongoing or repeated. When you see a photo , you see the action from the outside, as a whole. You just know that it happened, that’s all.

With the imperfective aspect, we can see that an action progresses over time, or is repeated.

imperfective in time

With the perfective aspect, we only see that an action happens. We just see it as simple event. All we know is that the action occurs.

perfective in time

In English we often use these two different aspects with the past tense:

imperfective and perfective contrasted with the past tense

For an excellent explanation of these aspects from a different perspective, see this video on how aspects are used in Maya.

In Pashto we also use these aspects not just for the past tense, but in all kinds of other ways as well. For example, in English we can only say “Eat palaaw!” but in Pashto you can have two very different kinds of commands, depending on the aspect that you use.

Imperfective Imperative Perfective Imperative
پلاو خوره! / paláaw khorá!پلاو وخوره! / paláaw óokhora!
Eat palaaw!Eat palaaw!
ongoingone time
You should make a habit of eating it, repeatedly or generallyI'm just telling you to do this one time.

If we set up a little graph of reality like this…

graph setup for verbs

…then we can draw some rough diagrams of what all the different verb forms are used for:

Imperfective Perfective
Present
Something that is happening, happens generally, or is definitely about to happen
Subjunctive
Used for hypothetical statements about the desire, necessity, purpose, or possibility of something happening. Or for saying something should or shouldn't happen
Imperf. Future
Saying something will happen, repeatedly or as an ongoing action
Perf. Future
Saying something will happen as a one-time event - May also used when there is some doubt
Imperf. Imperative
Commanding someone/people to do something repeatedly, or in general
Perf. Imperative
Commanding someone/people to do something one time
Continuous Past
Saying something was happening, or would happen
Simple Past
Saying something happened.
Perfect
Saying something happened and it affects the present

That’s nice, but when we speak Pashto, how do we actually make these different forms? What do we do to the verbs to make them fit into these different boxes?

Below is one simple formula for every different form. This is the master chart you came for. First have a look, and then we’ll see how this actually works with different verbs.

The Master Formula for Pashto Verbs

Imperfective Perfective
Present
imperfective stem + present ending
Subjunctive
perfective stem + present ending
Imperf. Future
به + present
Perf. Future
به + subjunctive
Imperf. Imperative
imperfective stem + imperative ending
Perf. Imperative
perfective stem + imperative ending
Continuous Past
imperfective root + past ending
Simple Past
perfective root + past ending
Perfect
past participle + equative verb

Behold the simplicity. All verbs follow this chart exactly. Yes, all of them. Exactly.

A little fine print/clarification:

  • With transitive past tense verbs, the endings will agree with the object, not the subject.
  • With negative imperative statements, only the imperfective form is used.

How this actually works for all verbs

Now let’s see how we can use this formula to make the forms of any kind of verb we want. Whatever verb we encounter, it will always follow these very simple rules. We just need to explain what these “stems” and “roots” that we mentioned are.

Regular Verbs

Here’s how you make the ingredients mentioned with regular verbs:

Imperfective root: That’s the infinitive, the base form of the verb. It comes in either a short or long form, with or without the ل on the end.

Imperfective stem: That’s the shorter form of the imperfective root, without the ل on the end.

Perfective root: To make the perfective root, you do two things:

  1. Add a و - oo prefix on the front
  2. Shift the accent/emphasis to the front

Perfective stem: This is the short form of the perfective root.

So let’t try that with the regular verbs لیکل - leekúl and وهل - wahúl…

لیکل - leekul (to write)
🌳 Stems and Roots
Imperfective Stem
لیکـ
leek–
Perfective Stem
ولیکـ
óoleek–
Imperfective Root
لیکل
leekúl
Perfective Root
ولیکل
óoleekul
Past Participle
لیکلی
leekúley
Example conjugations
Imperfective Perfective
Present
هغه لیکي
hagha leekée
"She writes"
imperfective stem + present ending
Subjunctive
هغه ولیکي
hagha óoleekee
"...so she'll write"
perfective stem + present ending
Imperf. Future
هغه به لیکي
hagha ba leekée
"She will write"
به + present
Perf. Future
هغه به ولیکي
hagha ba óoleekee
"She will write"
به + subjunctive
Imperf. Imperative
لیکه!
leeká!
"Write!"
imperfective stem + imperative ending
Perf. Imperative
ولیکه!
óoleeka!
"Write!"
perfective stem + imperative ending
Continuous Past
هغې کیسه لیکله
haghé keesa leekúla
long
short
"She was writing a story"
imperfective root + past ending
Simple Past
هغې کیسه ولیکله
haghé keesa óoleekula
long
short
"She wrote a story"
perfective root + past ending
Perfect
هغې کیسه لیکلې ده
haghé keesa leekule da
"She's written a story"
past participle + equative verb
وهل - wahul (to hit)
🌳 Stems and Roots
Imperfective Stem
وهـ
wah–
Perfective Stem
ووهـ
óowah–
Imperfective Root
وهل
wahúl
Perfective Root
ووهل
óowahul
Past Participle
وهلی
wahúley
Example conjugations
Imperfective Perfective
Present
هغه وهي
hagha wahée
"She hits"
imperfective stem + present ending
Subjunctive
هغه ووهي
hagha óowahee
"...so She'll hit"
perfective stem + present ending
Imperf. Future
هغه به وهي
hagha ba wahée
"She will hit"
به + present
Perf. Future
هغه به ووهي
hagha ba óowahee
"She will hit"
به + subjunctive
Imperf. Imperative
وهه!
wahá!
"hit!"
imperfective stem + imperative ending
Perf. Imperative
ووهه!
óowaha!
"hit!"
perfective stem + imperative ending
Continuous Past
هغې زه وهلم
haghé zu wahúlum
long
short
"She was hitting me"
imperfective root + past ending
Simple Past
هغې زه ووهلم
haghé zu óowahulum
long
short
"She was hitting me"
perfective root + past ending
Perfect
هغې زه وهلی یم
haghé zu wahuley yum
"She's hit me (male)."
past participle + equative verb

Verbs with irregular stems

Other verbs have a special form in the present tense (imperfective stem). To make the perfective stem we just add a “و - oo/w” prefix on the front of this irregular stem form.

Here are a couple examples of verbs where the present / stem forms are irregular:

لیدل - leedul (to see)
🌳 Stems and Roots
Imperfective Stem
وینـ
ween–
Perfective Stem
ووینـ
óoween–
Imperfective Root
لیدل
leedúl
Perfective Root
ولیدل
óoleedul
Past Participle
لیدلی
leedúley
Example conjugations
Imperfective Perfective
Present
زه وینم
zu weenum
"I see"
imperfective stem + present ending
Subjunctive
زه ووینم
zu óoweenum
"...so I'll see"
perfective stem + present ending
Imperf. Future
زه به وینم
zu ba weenum
"I will see"
به + present
Perf. Future
زه به ووینم
zu ba óoweenum
"I will see"
به + subjunctive
Imperf. Imperative
وینه!
weena!
"see!"
imperfective stem + imperative ending
Perf. Imperative
ووینه!
óoweena!
"see!"
perfective stem + imperative ending
Continuous Past
هغې زه لیدلم
haghé zu ledúlum
long
short
"She would see me"
imperfective root + past ending
Simple Past
هغې زه ولیدلم
haghé zu óoledulum
long
short
"She saw me"
perfective root + past ending
Perfect
هغې زه لیدلی یم
haghé zu ledúley yum.
"She has seen me (male)."
past participle + equative verb
خوړل - khoRul (to eat)
🌳 Stems and Roots
Imperfective Stem
خورـ
khor–
Perfective Stem
وخورـ
óokhor–
Imperfective Root
خوړل
khoRúl
Perfective Root
وخوړل
óokhoRul
Past Participle
خوړلی
khoRúley
Example conjugations
Imperfective Perfective
Present
زه خورم
zu khorúm
"I eat"
imperfective stem + present ending
Subjunctive
زه وخورم
zu óokhorum
"...so I'll eat"
perfective stem + present ending
Imperf. Future
زه به خورم
zu ba khorúm
"I will eat"
به + present
Perf. Future
زه به وخورم
zu ba óokhorum
"I will eat"
به + subjunctive
Imperf. Imperative
خوره!
khorá!
"eat!"
imperfective stem + imperative ending
Perf. Imperative
وخوره!
óokhora!
"eat!"
perfective stem + imperative ending
Continuous Past
ما ډوډۍ خوړله
maa DoDúy khoRúla
long
short
"I was eating food"
imperfective root + past ending
Simple Past
ما ډوډۍ وخوړله
maa DoDúy óokhoRula
long
short
"I ate food"
perfective root + past ending
Perfect
ما ډوډۍ خوړلې ده
maa DoDúy khoRúle da
"I have eaten food (I'm full now)"
past participle + equative verb

Regular intransitive verbs

For intransitive verbs that end in ېدل - edul, the imperfective stem changes from ېدل - edul to ېږـ - eG-.

غږېدل - ghuGedul (to speak)
🌳 Stems and Roots
Imperfective Stem
غږېږـ
ghuGéG–
Perfective Stem
وغږېږـ
óoghuGeG–
Imperfective Root
غږېدل
ghuGedúl
Perfective Root
وغږېدل
óoghuGedul
Past Participle
غږېدلی
ghuGedúley
Example conjugations
Imperfective Perfective
Present
زه غږېږم
zu ghuGéGum
"I'm speaking"
imperfective stem + present ending
Subjunctive
زه وغږېږم
zu óoghuGeGum
"...so I'll speak"
perfective stem + present ending
Imperf. Future
زه به غږېږم
zu ba ghuGéGum
"I will speak"
به + present
Perf. Future
زه به وغږېږم
zu ba óoghuGeGum
"I will speak"
به + subjunctive
Imperf. Imperative
غږېږه!
ghuGéGa!
"speak!"
imperfective stem + imperative ending
Perf. Imperative
وغږېږه!
óoghuGeGa!
"speak!"
perfective stem + imperative ending
Continuous Past
زه غږېدلم
zu ghuGedúlum
long
short
"I was speaking"
imperfective root + past ending
Simple Past
زه وغږېدلم
zu óoghuGedulum
long
short
"I spoke"
perfective root + past ending
Perfect
زه غږېدلی یم
zu ghuGedúley yum.
"I (male) have spoken."
past participle + equative verb
وېرېدل - weredul (to be afraid)
🌳 Stems and Roots
Imperfective Stem
وېرېږـ
weréG–
Perfective Stem
ووېرېږـ
óowereG–
Imperfective Root
وېرېدل
weredúl
Perfective Root
ووېرېدل
óoweredul
Past Participle
وېرېدلی
weredúley
Example conjugations
Imperfective Perfective
Present
زه وېرېږم
zu weréGum
"I'm afraid"
imperfective stem + present ending
Subjunctive
زه ووېرېږم
zu óowereGum
"...so I'll be afraid"
perfective stem + present ending
Imperf. Future
زه به وېرېږم
zu ba weréGum
"I will be afraid"
به + present
Perf. Future
زه به ووېرېږم
zu ba óowereGum
"I will be afraid"
به + subjunctive
Imperf. Imperative
وېرېږه!
weréGa!
"fear!"
imperfective stem + imperative ending
Perf. Imperative
ووېرېږه!
óowereGa!
"fear!"
perfective stem + imperative ending
Continuous Past
زه وېرېدلم
zu weredúlum
long
short
"I was fearing / would be afraid"
imperfective root + past ending
Simple Past
زه ووېرېدلم
zu óoweredulum
long
short
"I got afraid (one moment)"
perfective root + past ending
Perfect
زه وېرېدلی یم
zu weredúley yum.
"I (male) have become afraid."
past participle + equative verb

Note: Many intransitive verbs can be said in a shorter form as well where the ېږ - eG is ommitted. For example "زه ګرځېږم" (I am walking around) or "زه ګرځم" (I am walking around - more common).

Verbs that can’t take the و - oo prefix

There are many words that begin with پرې - pre, کې - ke, بو - bo etc., and these words can’t take an و - oo prefix in front in the perfective aspect.

To make the perfective forms we can’t:

  1. Add an و - oo prefix

But we still have to

  1. Move the accent/emphasis to the front.
کېناستل - kenaastul (to sit)
🌳 Stems and Roots
Imperfective Stem
کېنـ
ken–
Perfective Stem
کېنـ
kén–
Imperfective Root
کېناستل
kenaastúl
Perfective Root
کېناستل
kénaastul
Past Participle
کېناستلی
kenaastúley
Example conjugations
Imperfective Perfective
Present
زه کېنم
zu kenúm
"I sit"
imperfective stem + present ending
Subjunctive
زه کېنم
zu kénum
"...so I'll sit"
perfective stem + present ending
Imperf. Future
زه به کېنم
zu ba kenúm
"I will sit"
به + present
Perf. Future
زه به کېنم
zu ba kénum
"I will sit"
به + subjunctive
Imperf. Imperative
کېنه!
kená!
"sit!"
imperfective stem + imperative ending
Perf. Imperative
کېنه!
kéna!
"sit!"
perfective stem + imperative ending
Continuous Past
زه کېناستلم
zu kenaastúlum
long
short
"I was sitting down (in the process of going down to sit) / I would sit (repeatedly)"
imperfective root + past ending
Simple Past
زه کېناستلم
zu kénaastulum
long
short
"I sat down"
perfective root + past ending
Perfect
زه کېناستلې یم
zu kenaastúle yum.
"I (female) have sat down."
past participle + equative verb

Notice the difference between the simple and continuous past. It’s just a shift in emphasis in the word but it makes a big difference in meaning!

پرېښودل - prexodul (to quit)
🌳 Stems and Roots
Imperfective Stem
پرېږدـ
preGd–
Perfective Stem
پرېږدـ
préGd–
Imperfective Root
پرېښودل
prexodúl
Perfective Root
پرېښودل
préxodul
Past Participle
پرېښودلی
prexodúley
Example conjugations
Imperfective Perfective
Present
زه پرېږدم
zu preGdúm
"I'm quitting/leaving..."
imperfective stem + present ending
Subjunctive
زه پرېږدم
zu préGdum
"...so I'll quit/leave..."
perfective stem + present ending
Imperf. Future
زه به پرېږدم
zu ba preGdúm
"I will quit/leave..."
به + present
Perf. Future
زه به پرېږدم
zu ba préGdum
"I will quit/leave..."
به + subjunctive
Imperf. Imperative
پرېږده!
preGdá!
"leave it!"
imperfective stem + imperative ending
Perf. Imperative
پرېږده!
préGda!
"leave it!"
perfective stem + imperative ending
Continuous Past
هغې زه پرېښودلم
haghé zu prexodúlum
long
short
"She was leaving me"
imperfective root + past ending
Simple Past
هغې زه پرېښودلم
haghé zu préxodulum
long
short
"She left me"
perfective root + past ending
Perfect
هغې زه پرېښودلی یم
haghé zu prexodúley yum.
long
short
"She has left me (male)"
past participle + equative verb

Verbs with irregular everything

There’s a very small handful of verbs where multiple ingredients are irregular. But even these most unruly verbs dutifly and perfectly follow the formula.

راتلل - raatlul (to come)
🌳 Stems and Roots
Imperfective Stem
ځـ
dz–
Perfective Stem
راشـ
raash–
Imperfective Root
راتلل
raatlúl
Perfective Root
وراتلل
óoraatlul
Past Participle
راتللی
raatlúley
Example conjugations
Imperfective Perfective
Present
زه راځم
zu raadzúm
"I'm coming"
imperfective stem + present ending
Subjunctive
زه راشم
zu ráashum
"...so I'll come..."
perfective stem + present ending
Imperf. Future
زه به راځم
zu ba raadzúm
"I will come"
به + present
Perf. Future
زه به راشم
zu ba ráashum
"I will come"
به + subjunctive
Imperf. Imperative
راځه!
raadzá!
"come!"
imperfective stem + imperative ending
Perf. Imperative
راشه!
ráasha!
"come!"
perfective stem + imperative ending
Continuous Past
زه راتللم
zu raatlúlum
long
short
"I was coming"
imperfective root + past ending
Simple Past
زه راغللم
zu ráaghlulum
long
short
"I came"
perfective root + past ending
Perfect
زه راغلی یم
zu raaghuley yum
"I (masc.) have come"
past participle + equative verb
بوتلل - botlul (to take, send)
🌳 Stems and Roots
Imperfective Stem
بیایـ
byaay–
Perfective Stem
بوځـ
bódz–
Imperfective Root
بوتلل
botlúl
Perfective Root
بوتلل
bótlul
Past Participle
بوتللی
botlúley
Example conjugations
Imperfective Perfective
Present
هغه بیایي
haghá byaayee
"He is taking"
imperfective stem + present ending
Subjunctive
هغه بوځي
haghá bódzee
"...so he'll take..."
perfective stem + present ending
Imperf. Future
هغه به بیایي
haghá ba byaayee
"He will take"
به + present
Perf. Future
هغه به بوځي
haghá ba bódzee
"He will take"
به + subjunctive
Imperf. Imperative
بیایه!
byaayá!
"take!"
imperfective stem + imperative ending
Perf. Imperative
بوځه!
bódza!
"take!"
perfective stem + imperative ending
Continuous Past
هغې زه بوتللم
haghé zu botlúlum
long
short
"She was taking me"
imperfective root + past ending
Simple Past
هغې زه بوتللم
haghé zu bótlulum
long
short
"She took me"
perfective root + past ending
Perfect
هغې زه بوتللی یم
haghé zu botlúley yum
"She has taken me (masc)"
past participle + equative verb
وړل - wuRul (to take, carry)
🌳 Stems and Roots
Imperfective Stem
وړـ
wuR–
Perfective Stem
یوسـ
yos–
Imperfective Root
وړل
wuRúl
Perfective Root
یوړل
yóRul
Past Participle
وړلی
wuRúley
Example conjugations
Imperfective Perfective
Present
هغه وړي
haghá wuRee
"He is bringing"
imperfective stem + present ending
Subjunctive
هغه یوسي
haghá yósee
"...so he'll bring..."
perfective stem + present ending
Imperf. Future
هغه به وړي
haghá ba wuRee
"He will bring"
به + present
Perf. Future
هغه به یوسي
haghá ba yósee
"He will bring"
به + subjunctive
Imperf. Imperative
وړه!
wuRá!
"bring!"
imperfective stem + imperative ending
Perf. Imperative
یوسه!
yósa!
"bring!"
perfective stem + imperative ending
Continuous Past
هغې پیاله وړله
haghé pyáala wuRúla
long
short
"She was bringing the cup"
imperfective root + past ending
Simple Past
هغې پیاله یوړلم
haghé pyáala yóRula
long
short
"She took the cup"
perfective root + past ending
Perfect
هغې زه وړللې ده
haghé pyáala wuRúle da
"She has brought the cup"
past participle + equative verb
تلل - tlul (to go)
🌳 Stems and Roots
Imperfective Stem
ځـ
dz–
Perfective Stem
لاړ شـ
laaR sh–
Imperfective Root
تلل
tlúl
Perfective Root
لاړ
laaR
Past Participle
تللی
tlúley
Example conjugations
Imperfective Perfective
Present
زه ځم
zu dzum
"I am going"
imperfective stem + present ending
Subjunctive
زه لاړ شم
zu laaR shum
"...so he'll bring..."
perfective stem + present ending
Imperf. Future
زه به ځم
zu ba dzum
"I will go"
به + present
Perf. Future
زه به لاړ شم
zu ba laaR shum
"I will go"
به + subjunctive
Imperf. Imperative
ځه!
dza!
"go!"
imperfective stem + imperative ending
Perf. Imperative
لاړ شه!
laaR sha!
"go!"
perfective stem + imperative ending
Continuous Past
زه تللم
zu tlúlum
long
short
"I was going"
imperfective root + past ending
Simple Past
زه لاړلم
zu láaRulum
long
short
"I went"
perfective root + past ending
Perfect
زه تللی یم
zu tlúley yum
long
short
"I have gone"
past participle + equative verb

NOTE: The لاړ in the perfective stem will inflect depending on the gender of the subject. For example, I woman will say, “زه لاړه شم?” while a man will say “زه لاړ شم?”. (subjunctive)

So far our formula is holding up well. it holds true for all kinds of different verbs. But will it work with compound verbs too? Yes, it will!

Special Auxillary Verbs

For compound verbs there’s a very important set of auxillary verbs. These are extremely common in Pashto, and yes, they continue to follow our formula. They are also the only words we see that have irregular past participles.

کول - kawul (to make)
Imperfective Stem
کوـ
kaw–
Perfective Stem
کړـ
kR–
Imperfective Root
کول
kawúl
Perfective Root
کړل
kRul
Past Participle
کړی
kúRey
کېدل - kedul (to become)
Imperfective Stem
کېږـ
kéG–
Perfective Stem
شـ
sh–
Imperfective Root
کېدل
kedúl
Perfective Root
شول
shwul
Past Participle
شوی
shúwey
کول - kawul (to do)
Imperfective Stem
کوـ
kaw–
Perfective Stem
وکړـ
óokR–
Imperfective Root
کول
kawúl
Perfective Root
وکړل
óokRul
Past Participle
کړی
kúRey
کېدل - kedul (to happen)
Imperfective Stem
کېږـ
kéG–
Perfective Stem
وشـ
óosh–
Imperfective Root
کېدل
kedúl
Perfective Root
وشول
óoshwul
Past Participle
شوی
shúwey

NOTE: When not used before an ل, the کړ - kR and وکړ - óokR in the perfective stem and perfective roots is often shortened to ک - k and وک - óok.

Some see these as only two verbs (کېدل and کول), and not four, probably because in some forms they are homonyms. But it really is helpful to think of them as four different verbs. They have completely different meanings, they’re used differently in sentences, and they have diverging perfective roots and perfective stems.

Once we see these as four seperate verbs, so much confusion about when and why the و prefix is used completely dissapears. It is not random, and you don’t have to memorize it!

Some have talked about these verbs having ‘weak’ (کول) and ‘strong’ (کړل) forms. But we will see that it’s probably more accurate to think of these different roots and in the same categories as all other verbs: imperfective and perfective.

Transitive stative compounds with کول - to make

What are these??

There are a huge amount of compounds using کول (to make) in Pashto. These involve applying a complement to an object and somehow changing the object. These compounds come with a complement (an adjective, noun, or adverb) and take an outside object. Basically they follow this kind of pattern

I am making [object] ___ (complement).

These are made up of a complement + کول. Here’s an example with پخول - pukhawul (to cook) whis is made up of پوخ (cooked) plus کول (to make).

زه آلوګان پخوم
zu aaloogaan pukhawum
I am cooking potatoes (I am making potatoes cooked)

cooking potatoes

When a complent ends in a consonant, we take off the ک in kawul and shove the two words together. پوخ + کول = پخول

If the complement is an adjective it will inflect to agree with the object if possible. (when it’s not jammed together in the imperfective forms)

For example

ما الوګان پاخه کړل
maa aaloogaan paakhu kRul
I cooked potatoes (potatoes are masculine)

ما ورېژې پخې کړې
maa wrejze pakhe kRe
I cooked rice (rice is feminine plural)

You can also use nouns or adverbs in these compounds. If you are going to say “I’m sweeping the room” you say:

زه کمره جاره کوم
zu kamra jaaroo kawum
I am making the room broom

sweeping room

خفه کول - khufa kawul (to make sad)
🌳 Stems and Roots
Imperfective Stem
خفه کوـ
khufa kaw–
Perfective Stem
خفه کړـ
khufa kR–
Imperfective Root
خفه کول
khufa kawúl
Perfective Root
خفه کړل
khufa kRul
Past Participle
خفه کړی
khufa kúRey
Example conjugations
Imperfective Perfective
Present
زه هغه خفه کوم
zu haghá khufa kawúm
"I'm making her sad..."
imperfective stem + present ending
Subjunctive
زه هغه خفه کړم
zu haghá khufa kRum
long
short
"...so I'll make her sad..."
perfective stem + present ending
Imperf. Future
زه به هغه خفه کوم
zu ba haghá khufa kawum
"I will make her sad..."
به + present
Perf. Future
زه به خفه کړم
zu ba haghá khufa kRum
long
short
"I will make her sad..."
به + subjunctive
Imperf. Imperative
هغه خفه کوه!
haghá khufa kawá!
"make her sad!"
imperfective stem + imperative ending
Perf. Imperative
هغه خفه کړه!
haghá khufa kRá!
long
short
"make her sad!"
perfective stem + imperative ending
Continuous Past
ما هغه خفه کوله
maa haghá khufa kawúla
long
short
"I was making / would make her sad"
imperfective root + past ending
Simple Past
ما هغه خفه کړه
maa haghá khufa kRa
long
short
mini
"I made her sad"
perfective root + past ending
Perfect
ما هغه خفه کړې ده
maa haghá khufa kúRe da
"I've made her sad (and now she's upset at me)"
past participle + equative verb
ورکول - wrukawul (to lose/misplace)
🌳 Stems and Roots
When the object is
Imperfective Stem
ورکوـ
wrukaw–
Perfective Stem
ورک کړـ
wruk kR–
Imperfective Root
ورکول
wrukawúl
Perfective Root
ورک کړل
wruk kRul
Past Participle
ورک کړی
wruk kúRey
Example conjugations
Imperfective Perfective
Present
زه ورکوم
zu wrukawum
"I'm losing..."
imperfective stem + present ending
Subjunctive
زه ورک کړم
zu wruk kRum
long
short
"...so I'll lose..."
perfective stem + present ending
Imperf. Future
زه به ورکوم
zu ba wrukawúm
"I will lose..."
به + present
Perf. Future
زه به ورک کړم
zu ba wruk kRum
long
short
"I will lose.."
به + subjunctive
Imperf. Imperative
ورکوه!
wrukawá!
"lose / get rid of ...!"
imperfective stem + imperative ending
Perf. Imperative
ورک کړه!
wruk kRa!
long
short
"lose / get rid of...!"
perfective stem + imperative ending
Continuous Past
ما بټوه ورکوله
maa baTwá wrukawúla
long
short
"I was losing / would lose the wallet"
imperfective root + past ending
Simple Past
ما بټوه ورکه کړه
maa baTwá wruka kRa
long
short
mini
"I lost the wallet"
perfective root + past ending
Perfect
ما بټوه ورکه کړې ده
maa baTwá wruka kúRe da
"I've lost the wallet (I don't have it now, uh oh)"
past participle + equative verb

Intransitive stative compounds with کېدل - to become

What are these?

These are similar or related to the compounds with کول - to make that we saw above. The difference is that we use the verb کېدل - to become.

These verbs talk about something being transformed or changing into a different state. However

  • There is no object (they are intransitive)
  • The subject is the the thing that is ‘becoming’ something.

cooking potatoes

This is not the same as a ‘passive’ construction, although it is close in meaning.

When the complement ends in a consonant, the ک in کېدل is often dropped and the words are fused together.

خفه کېدل - khufa kedul (to become sad)
🌳 Stems and Roots
Imperfective Stem
خفه کېږـ
khufa kéG–
Perfective Stem
خفه شـ
khufa sh–
Imperfective Root
خفه کېدل
khufa kedúl
Perfective Root
خفه شول
khufa shwul
Past Participle
خفه شوی
khufa shúwey
Example conjugations
Imperfective Perfective
Present
هغه خفه کېږي
haghá khufa kéGee
"She's getting sad..."
imperfective stem + present ending
Subjunctive
هغه خفه شي
haghá khufa shee
"...so she'll get sad..."
perfective stem + present ending
Imperf. Future
هغه به خفه کېږي
haghá khufa kéGee
"She will become sad..."
به + present
Perf. Future
هغه به خفه شي
haghá ba khufa shee
"I will make her sad..."
به + subjunctive
Imperf. Imperative
خفه کېږه!
khufa kéGa!
"become sad!"
imperfective stem + imperative ending
Perf. Imperative
خفه شه!
khufa sha!
"become sad!"
perfective stem + imperative ending
Continuous Past
هغه خفه کېدله
haghá khufa kedúla
long
short
"She was becoming / would become sad"
imperfective root + past ending
Simple Past
هغه خفه شوله
haghá khufa shwúla
long
short
"She became sad"
perfective root + past ending
Perfect
هغه خفه شوې ده
haghá khufa shúwe da
"She's become sad"
past participle + equative verb
ورکېدل - wrukedul (to get lost, disappear)
🌳 Stems and Roots
When the subject is
Imperfective Stem
ورکېږـ
wrukéG–
Perfective Stem
ورک شـ
wruk sh–
Imperfective Root
ورکېدل
wrukedúl
Perfective Root
ورک شول
wruk shwul
Past Participle
ورک شوی
wruk shúwey
Example conjugations
Imperfective Perfective
Present
زه ورکېږم
zu wrukéGum
"I'm getting lost..."
imperfective stem + present ending
Subjunctive
زه ورک کړم
zu wruk shum
"...so I'll get lost..."
perfective stem + present ending
Imperf. Future
زه به ورکېږم
zu ba wrukéGum
"I'm will get lost..."
به + present
Perf. Future
زه به ورک کړم
zu wruk shum
"...so I'll get lost..."
به + subjunctive
Imperf. Imperative
ورکېږه!
wrukeGa!
"get lost...!"
imperfective stem + imperative ending
Perf. Imperative
ورک شه!
wruk sha!
"get lost!"
perfective stem + imperative ending
Continuous Past
"I was getting lost"
imperfective root + past ending
Simple Past
"I got lost"
perfective root + past ending
Perfect
زه ورک شوی یم
zu wruk shúwey yum.
"I've gotten lost. (ie. I am lost/dissapeared now)"
past participle + equative verb

Transitive dynamic compounds with کول - to do

What are these?

These kinds of compound verbs use کول - to do, or another helper verb like وهل - wahul etc.

They always involve doing an action, and the action itself is the object. This object is included inside the compound verb. And so in the past tense the verb will always agree with the object included in the compound.

doing work

When using کول - to do with these compounds:

  • The ک is never dropped from کول as it is with the stative compounds. The 2 words in the compound are always seperate.
  • There will always be a و prefix on کول in the perfective forms.
کار کول - kaar kawul (to work)
🌳 Stems and Roots
Imperfective Stem
کار کوـ
kaar kaw–
Perfective Stem
کار وکړـ
kaar óokR–
Imperfective Root
کار کول
kaar kawúl
Perfective Root
کار وکړل
kaar óokRul
Past Participle
کار کړی
kaar kúRey
Example conjugations
Imperfective Perfective
Present
زه کار کوم
zu kaar kawúm
"I'm working..."
imperfective stem + present ending
Subjunctive
زه کار وکړم
zu kaar óokRum
long
short
"...so I'll work..."
perfective stem + present ending
Imperf. Future
زه به کار کوم
zu ba kaar kawúm
"I will work..."
به + present
Perf. Future
زه به کار وکړم
zu ba kaar óokRum
long
short
"...I will work..."
به + subjunctive
Imperf. Imperative
کار کوه!
kaar kawá!
"work!"
imperfective stem + imperative ending
Perf. Imperative
کار وکړه!
kaar óokRa!
long
short
"work!"
perfective stem + imperative ending
Continuous Past
ما کار کولو
maa kaar kawúlo
long
short
"I was working"
imperfective root + past ending
Simple Past
ما کار وکړو
maa kaar óokRo
long
short
mini
"I worked"
perfective root + past ending
Perfect
ما کار کړی دی
maa kaar kúRey dey
"I have worked"
past participle + equative verb

Note: the masculine third person singular short form of the past tense is often idiosyncratic and has varients.

دعا کول - dUaa kawul (to pray)
🌳 Stems and Roots
Imperfective Stem
دعا کوـ
dUaa kaw–
Perfective Stem
دعا وکړـ
dUaa óokR–
Imperfective Root
دعا کول
dUaa kawúl
Perfective Root
دعا وکړل
dUaa óokRul
Past Participle
دعا کړې
dUaa kúRe
Example conjugations
Imperfective Perfective
Present
زه دعا کوم
zu dUaa kawúm
"I'm praying..."
imperfective stem + present ending
Subjunctive
زه دعا وکړم
zu dUaa óokRum
long
short
"...so I'll pray..."
perfective stem + present ending
Imperf. Future
زه به دعا کوم
zu ba dUaa kawúm
"I will pray..."
به + present
Perf. Future
زه به دعا وکړم
zu ba dUaa óokRum
long
short
"...I will pray..."
به + subjunctive
Imperf. Imperative
دعا کوه!
dUaa kawá!
"pray! (generally, repeatedly)"
imperfective stem + imperative ending
Perf. Imperative
دعا وکړه!
dUaa óokRa!
long
short
"pray! (one time)"
perfective stem + imperative ending
Continuous Past
ما دعا کوله
maa dUaa kawúla
long
short
"I was praying"
imperfective root + past ending
Simple Past
ما دعا وکړه
maa dUaa óokRa
long
short
mini
"I prayed"
perfective root + past ending
Perfect
ما دعا کړې ده
maa dUaa kúRe da
"I have prayed"
past participle + equative verb

Notice how you will often hear people say, “دعا کوه!” (Pray for me!) This is an imperfective command meaning that they want you to pray for them, repeatedly, in general. If they just wanted you to make one prayer at one time, they would say “دعا وکړه!”

There’s more…

For the sake of simplicity, we’ve left out some verb forms. There are a number of other forms, but don’t worry, they all follow simple formulas as well.

Habitual Past

Imperfective Perfective
Imperf. Habitual Past
An action would happen over and over again, viewed as an ongoing event each time
به + Continuous Past
Perf. Habitual Past
An action would happen over and over again, viewed as a whole event each time
به + Simple Past

For example, with the verb پخول (to cook):

Imperfective Perfective
Imperf. Habitual Past
ما به ډوډۍ پخوله
maa ba DoDúy pakhawúla
long
short
"I would cook food (each time I would be busy doing it as on ongoing event)"
به + Continuous Past
Perf. Habitual Past
ما به ډوډۍ پخه کړه
maa ba DoDúy pakha kRa
long
short
mini
"I would cook food (each time seeing it as a single, whole event that was done)"
به + Simple Past

Other forms of Perfect

There are a number of different variations on the perfect form that can be made by adjusting the tense of the equative.

Past Perfect
Talking about events that had happened in the past, or had affected a past situation
هغې ډوډۍ خوړلې وه
haghé DoDúy khoRúle wa
"She had eaten food"
Past Participle + Past Equative
Present Perfect
Talking about that something happened in the past and it affects the present
هغې ډوډۍ خوړلې ده
haghé DoDúy khoRúle da
"She has eaten food"
Past Participle + Present Equative
Future/Possible Perfect
Talking about something that will have happened in the future, or guessing that the event will have occured presently
هغې به ډوډۍ خوړلې وي
haghé ba DoDúy khoRúle wee
"She will have eaten food (future or uncertain)"
Past Participle + Future Equative
Affirmational Perfect
Affirming that an event will have taken place
هغې به ډوډۍ خوړلې وه
haghé ba DoDúy khoRúle wa
"She'll have eaten food (affirmational)"
به + Past Participle + Past Equative

Perfect Tenses and Equatives don’t fit!

It’s important to note that the Perfect tense is not the same thing as the Perfective aspect!

In fact, you will have noticed that the perfect forms don’t quite fit into our division of imperfective and perfective aspects. Perfect verbs can even be used with imperfective meaning.

Also, the equative verbs “I am, I was, I will be” (زه یم، زه وم، زه به یم) do not fit into this imperfective/perfective division. If you say someone was tired, you aren’t specifying if they were tired at one point or if this was an ongoing thing.

Equatives are just like an = sign. They’re just for saying something:

  • was (past),
  • is (present),
  • or will be (future) something.

ie. He is hungry. He = hungry.

Equatives take the same endings as the other verbs, but in Pashto they do not have an infinitive, and they don’t have a perfective root. In fact, maybe we could say that they’re not even verbs. 🤔

A note on کېدل and the equative

But what about کېدل - kedul? Isn’t that the infinitive for “to be?” I would propose that, کېدل is not quite the same as the equative in Pashto. It is only used for something “becoming” or changing into something, or for something “happening.”

Using کېدل I can say that someone “became” tired: ( perfective)

هغه ستړی شو
haghá stúRey sho

And I can also say that he was “becoming” tired: ( imperfective)

هغه ستړی کېدلو
haghá stúRey kedúlo

But with the equative I can only say that he “was” tired. (He = tired in the past)

هغه ستړی و
haghá stúRey wo

This third form appears to be something completely seperate from کېدل. It doesn’t fit into the same grid of categories that all other verbs fit into. It’s used as a connector for assigning meaning, but not as an event or action.

It also appears that while there are there are the infinitives,

  • کېدل (to become) ✔
  • کېدل (to happen) ✔

…in Pashto there is no infinitive form of “to be.”

  • (to be) ❌

There are some cases and idioms where کېدل can be bent to almost fit an equative meaning. But usually, it carries more of a meaning of “becoming” or “happening/occuring”.

For example, you can’t say:

❌ زما پلار دلته کېدای شي
❌ zmaa plaar dălta kedaay shee
"My father could be here"

but rather you have to say:

کېدای شي چې زما پلار دلته وي
kedaay shee che zmaa plaar dălta wee
"It could be/happen that my father is here"

As mentioned, there are cases where people might be shortening these kinds of constructions or playing with the syntax a little and کېدل is used as something close to an equative.

I could be wrong, and this does require further study, but it appears that کېدل is not used as an infinitive meaning “to be” in Pashto setences. If someone is able to challenge this, please do so in the comments!

Other forms not discussed:

In our master chart for Pashto verbs we have left out some forms for simplicity’s sake:

  • ability (I can…, I was able to…) etc.
  • passive forms of transitive verbs (The book is being written, the book was written) etc.
  • unreal / wish / prayer (If only you came! If only you were coming! etc.)

We haven’t covered these forms, but don’t worry, they also follow very simple, universal formulas.

Here’s a final review of all the verb forms we have mentioned in this post, along with their formulas.

Imperfective Perfective
Present
Something that is happening, happens generally, or is definately about to happen
imperfective stem + present ending
Subjunctive
Used for hypothetical statements about the desire, necessity, purpose, or possibility of something happening. Or for saying something should or shouldn't happen
perfective stem + present ending
Imperf. Future
Saying something will happen, repeatedly or as an ongoing action
به + present
Perf. Future
Saying something will happen as a one-time event - May also used when there is some doubt
به + subjunctive
Imperf. Imperative
Commanding someone/people to do something repeatedly, or in general
imperfective stem + imperative ending
Perf. Imperative
Commanding someone/people to do something one time
perfective stem + imperative ending
Continuous Past
Saying something was happening, or would happen
imperfective root + past ending
Simple Past
Saying something happened.
perfective root + past ending
Imperf. Habitual Past
An action would happen over and over again, viewed as an ongoing event each time
به + Continuous Past
Perf. Habitual Past
An action would happen over and over again, viewed as a whole event each time
به + Simple Past
Past Perfect
Talking about events that had happened in the past, or had affected a past situation
Past Participle + Past Equative
Present Perfect
Talking about that something happened in the past and it affects the present
Past Participle + Present Equative
Future/Possible Perfect
Talking about something that will have happened in the future, or guessing that the event will have occured presently
Past Participle + Future Equative
Affirmational Perfect
Affirming that an event will have taken place
به + Past Participle + Past Equative

Whatever the verb, you can easily conjugate it into all these different forms by following the formulas.

A little more weirdness…

The idiosyncratic 3rd person masculine singular

One last important detail is that the short forms of the masculine 3rd person past endings are often idiosyncratic, and you will see some weirdness and variation with these forms. Nevertheless, there are often patterns and predictability with these idiosyncrasies.

Verbs ending in ـول - -awul will end with an ـاوهٔ

هغه کار کاوهٔ
haghá kaar kaawú
"He was working"

With other verbs ending with a short a and then a consonant on the end, the short a will be lengthened to a long ا - aa. For instance, with the verb تړل - taRúl (to tie).

ما هغه وتاړه
maa haghá óotaaRu
"I tied him up"

This is also why the third person masculine plural simple past form of کېدل is شو - sho, and in some dialects can even be شهٔ - shu.

Explore more

Explore more verbs in the LingDocs Pashto Dictionary which includes an interactive verb explorer.

Updated on Nov 4, 2020



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