Basic Preposition Usage

The following continues the general discussion of the basic usage of single prepositions.

Normally in a single sentence the object which takes the از az preposition comes prior to the one which takes به be:

او از مدرسه به خانه آمد
u az madrese be xāne āmad
“He came from the school to the house.”

In modern colloquial Persian در dar is almost obsolete and a colloquial word for ‘in, at’ as تو tu is used instead:

تو خونه ~ در خانه
tu xune ~ dar xāne
‘in the house’

Under normal circumstances, both در dar and تو tu are entirely dropped:

پدرم خونه ست
pedaram xunas(t) instead of
pedaram tu xunas(t)

Unless the whereabouts of the subject is of consequence, as in:

پدرم تو خونه ست
pedaram tu xunas(t)

Meaning ‘he is NOT in the yard, on the street, in the back alley, etc.,’ but “He is inside the house.”

The تو tu reappears if the object takes an adjective, including the demonstrative adjective:

رفتیم مغازه
raftim maγāze
“We went to the/a shop.”


رفتیم تو اون مغازه
raftim tu un maγāze
“We went to that (particular) shop.”
رفتیم تو اون خونه بزرگ
raftim tu xune bozorge
“We went into the big house.”
ماشینم رو گذاشتم خونه
māšinam ro gozāštam xune
“I left my car at home.”


ماشینم رو گذاشتم تو اون گاراژ
māšinam ro gozāštam tu un gārāž
“I left my car at that garage/repair shop.”

More emphatic:

ماشینم رو گذاشتم تو اون گاراژ
māšinam ro gozāštam tu un gārāž
“I left my car at that (particular) garage/repair shop.”

With توی “tu(ye) + noun” obviously we are dealing with a sort of locative phrase. Although as a rule the verb should come at the end of the sentence, in colloquial Persian the verb tends to precede the prepositional phrase when dealing with location:

رفتم تو خونه
raftam tu xune
(instead of tu(ye) xune raftam)
“I went inside the house.”
رفتیم تهرون
raftim tehrun
(instead of be tehrun raftim)
“We went to Tehran.”

Depending on the phonetic environment and the semantic value of the prepositions, the personal enclitics are not used with some of the prepositions, except colloquially.

Compare and contrast the following sentences:

پدرش با او آمد
pedaraš bā u āmad

(instead of pedaraš bā aš āmad)

پدرش بهش گفت
pedaraš beh-aš goft

“His father told him.”

In colloquial Persian the personal enclitics may even be added to با bā, with the intervention of a [-hā-]/[-ha-] segment as epenthesis. Although this is a Tehrani feature, it is becoming more and more common in other dialects through the influence of the media:

پدرش باهاش آمد
pedaraš bāhāš/bāhaš āmad
“His father came with him.”

The usage of [-ha-] is based on analogy with behaš ~ be + aš.

In colloquial Persian, bar has become obsolete. It is only used formally:

بر روی میز
bar ru-ye miz
‘upon the table’

بر فضای شهر
bar farāz-e šahr
‘over/above the city’

As a preposition, تا has many different meanings and functions:

As long as you talk, I shall not answer you.

by tā zohr bargard تا ظهر برگرد return by noon
by the time tā to γazāyat rā tamām koni, man bargašte-am تا تو غذایت را تمام کنی ، من برگشته ام By the time you have finished your meal, I shall have returned.
up to/until tā ān lahze u rā nadide budam تا آن لحظه او را ندیده بودم Up to/until that moment, I had not seen him/her.
until hamānjā nešastam tā u bargašt همانجا نشستم تا او برگشت I sat there until he/she returned.
so, so that biyā tā be to beguyam بیا تا به تو بگویم Come so that I’d tell you.
in order to āmade-am (tā) pedarat rā bebinam آمدم (تا) پدرت را ببینم I have come in order to see your father.
in order that bače rā āvarde-im tā betavānad bāzi rā bebinad بچّه را آوردیم تا بتواند بازی را ببیند We have brought the child in order that he/she can see the game.
insofar as tā mitavāni bāyad az forsat estefāde koni تا می توانی باید از فرصت استفاده کنی Insofar as you can, you must seize the opportunity.
as long as tā vaqti ke to harf mizani, man javābat rā nemi daham تا وقتی که تو حرف می زنی ، من جوابت را نمی دهم
as soon as tā berasi be rāh mi oftim تا برسی به راه می افتیم As soon as you arrive, we shall set out.
to čizi ke miguyid tā haddi
sahih ast
چیزی که می گویید تا حدی صحیح است What you are saying is correct to a certain point.
up to tā injā dorost ast تا اینجا درست است Up to this point, it is correct.


تـا تـو نگــاه مـیکنـی٬ کـار مـن آه کردن است
ای به فدای چشم تو٬ این چه نگاه کردن است؟
So long as to me you stare,
I keep sighing; and that’s all my share
May I be sacrificed for your eyes’ pair!
Giving you those piercing eyes was all unfair

In the following contexts تا functions as “before” does in English:

تا دیر نشده باید برگردم
tā dir našode bāyad bargardam
“I have to return before it is too late.”

تا خراب نشده آن را زمین بگذار
tā xarāb našode ān rā zamin bogzār
“Put it down before you break it.”

تا آن وقت او را ملاقات نکرده بودم
tā ān vaqt u rā molāqāt nakarde budam
“I had not met him/her before.”