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The “to be” verb in English has only two forms (was, were) in the past tense. In Pashto, however, we have at least six forms for the past tense of the verb “to be”. The reason we have so many forms for the verb “to be” is because unlike the English verbs, Pashto verbs have genders and also verbs are conjugated according to the subject of the sentence. For example, If we want to say Hagha wa “she was” vs. Hagha woo“he is” as you can see the verb, which is underlined, is different and that is because in Pashto for the masculine nouns we use a masculine verb. As the example shows, wa “is” is used for feminine nouns and woo is used for masculine nouns.
And here are the past tense of the “to be” verbs:
Pashto transliteration meaning
زه وم za wom I was
ته وې ta way you were
هغه و hagha wo He was
هغه وه hagha wa she was
مونږ وو moong woo we were
تاسې وئ taase wai you were (plural)
هغوی وو haghoi woo they were
دوی وو dooi woo they were
As y you can notice, the word “they “appears two times at the last two lines. That is because in Pashto there are two versions of the word “they”. The first one haghoi refers to the group of people who are far away from the speaker. The second one, dooi , refers to a group of people who are located very close to the speaker.
Here are the example sentences for the verbs above.
زه خوشحاله وم za khoshala wom I was happy.
هغه خوشحاله وه hagha khoshala wa she was happy.
تاسې خوشحاله وئ taase khshala wai You were happy.