Pashto Language Blog

Perfective and Imperfective Moods in Pashto Posted by on Dec 15, 2018 in language

In addition to tenses, Pashto also uses two moods: the imperfective and the perfective. Both of these moods can be used in the past and present tenses.

Imperfective Mood

The imperfective mood is used to express a regularity or continuity of the verb action.  It also points to the progressive nature of the action of the verb.

In reality the imperfective mood is the ‘base’ form of the verb in either the present or past tenses without any prefixes to the stem (see notes on syllable stress).

Perfective Mood

The indicator of the perfective mood is a و prefix to the stem of the verb (see notes on syllable stress).

کول       has the perfective form of      کړل

کېدل      has the perfective form of      شول


The perfective mood is used:

  1. When describing actions that have been completed (even if they are regular events). For example, when you describe someone’s daily schedule on a particular day, you would use the perfective. If you are describing their schedule every day of their life (or of a long period), you would use the imperfective mood.
  2. To indicate completing an action before doing something else

کله چې وخورم نو بيا به ځو

When I eat (have finished eating) then we will go.

3. For the verb of the second clause of a sentence following چې

زه غواړم چې وخورم

I want to eat

Note: in this type of sentence in which the perfective mood is used for the second verb, this would always be in the present tense irrespective of the tense of the verb in the first clause)

ما ته څه راکړۀ چې و يې خورم

Give me something to eat

Hint: it’s fair to say that if there are two verb infinitives being used in the English sentence, then the perfective mood will be used for the second verb in the Pashto.

4. As an indication of compulsion (should, must, ought to, have to)

زه بايد وخورم

I must/have to eat

زه اړيم چې وخورم

I must/have to eat

زه مجبور يم چې وخورم

I must/have to eat

5.  Commonly used in questions when the interrogative is “should…?”

زه تا ووهم؟

Should I hit you?


Syllable Stress

As previously stated, the imperfective mood is the ‘base’ form of the verb in past and present tense without any kind of marker. In fact, when pronouncing the verb, the position of the stress indicates either the imperfective or the perfective mood. This is necessary because some verbs cannot take the و which is the normal indicator for the perfective mood. Generally, the verbs that cannot take this are derived forms of verbs (see notes) from کول and کېدل  and verbs that have two segments.


to sit


to lie down

Note: When a verb is in the perfective mood then the stress is placed at the start of the verb. This holds true if the verb has the perfective marker or not. To indicate the Imperfective Mood the stress is placed at the end of the verb.

Keep learning Pashto with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it


  1. mia:


    It’s so good to see that this blog has been revived! I received an email after years, if memory serves correctly.

    If possible, please write the “Roman” versions of the Pashto phrases alongside the translation. It’s hard for me to read the script or understand how to pronounce words without that. Just a suggestion. Keep up the good work!

    • muhammad:

      @mia Hi Mia
      thank you very much for your valuable comments, i will add roman alongside Pashto script so you can read it. This will be done in my next post. Thank you once again for your comments.

  2. Mohammad fayyaz:

    زه غواړم چې اوخرم Is not this sentence in the imperfective mood as the actions mentioned in two verbs of the sentence are yet to happen in future?