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Persian Grammar: The Use of مگر and دیگر

Use of مگر

The Persian language uses the particle مگر for multiple situations. I’ve entitled this post as “Persian-Specific” grammar due to the fact that Persian Farsi is unique from other languages in the Persian language family in its use of the particles مگر  (magar) and دیگر (digar). The particle مگر  is used in the following situations in Persian:

  1. When the speaker expects an opposite reply, even if the answer is agreeable
  2. When the speaker is trying to induce agreement to a statement they make, they will use the phrase مگرنه؟ (Am I not right? Isn’t it true?)
  3. مگر can also be used to equate to the English conjunctions “unless” and “unless otherwise…”
  4. When the speaker wishes to express utter curiosity or surprise

If the speaker using مگر expects an opposite reply to a statement he/she is making, the speaker would say something like: مگر آمدهاند؟ (Are they here already? OR They aren’t here yet, are they?)

Appropriate responses to this statement include:

بله، آمده اند (Yes, they have come/Yes, they are) OR نه، نیامده اند (No, they haven’t come/No, they aren’t)

Another example of a speaker using مگر and expecting an opposite reply is:

مگر نرفته اید؟ (Haven’t you gone already?)

Appropriate responses to this question include:

نه، نرفتم (No, I did not go) OR چرا، رفتم و برگشتم (Yes, I did go and I (just) returned)

 

مگر can also occur as the segment مگرنه؟ when the speaker is trying to induce agreement to a statement, much like the English use of “Isn’t it true?” or “Am I not right?”

این خراب است، مگرنه؟ (This is broken, right?)

این را می خواهید، مگرنه؟ (You want this, right?)

In this construction, sometimes the phrase وگرنه (otherwise, or else) can intervene to change the meaning, as follows:

مگر نبینمش، وگرنه می کشمش (Unless I don’t see him, (or else/otherwise) I will kill him!)

 

مگر is also used sometimes for expressing utter curiosity or surprise as seen here:

مگر او کیست؟  (Who in the world is he/she?)

مگر تو کی هستی؟ (Who the hell are you?)

مگر چه کار کرده ام که از من کناره می گیری؟ (Tell me, what have I done that you keep away from me?)

 

Use of دیگر

The most commonly understood meaning of دیگر is “other” as in: آن کباب دیگر را میخواهم  (I want that other kabab)

دیگر can also be used in the following ways:

  1. Can be used to mean “any more” or “no more” when dealing with a negative principal verb
  2. Can be used to mean the same as the English “already” in certain constructions
  3. Can be used  to mean the same as the English “else” in certain constructions
  4. Can be used  to mean the same as the English “another thing” or “something else” in certain constructions
  5. Can be used in conjunction with هم as a segment with positive verbs
  6. The plural form دیگران means “others” or “other people”

Here is an example of the use of دیگر to mean “no more” or “anymore” and dealing with a negative principal verb:

دیگر آن جا نمی روم  (I won’t go there anymore)

دیگر حرف نزن  (Don’t talk anymore)

دیگه نگو (Say no more!) — colloquial

 

The particle دیگر can also have other syntactic functions, such as appearing like the English “already”:

دیگر بس است  (Enough already!) OR the more colloquial version بسّه دیگه

 

Here is an example of دیگر acting as the English term “else”:

دیگر چه؟  (What else?)

 

Here is an example of دیگر acting as the English term “something else”:

چیز دیگری می خواهید؟  (Do you want something else?)

Sometimes, with positive verbs, it is used with هم ham as a segment:

چیز دیگری هم می خواهید؟  (Do you want something else?)

 

Here is an example of the use of the plural form دیگران to mean “others” or “other people”:

دیگران هم این کار را کرده اند  (Others have also done this)

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