Prepositional Phrases

In addition to single prepositions, there are many prepositional phrases in Persian.  They may be categorized in two groups.

The first group is prepositional phrases which consist of a noun or an adverb preceded by a preposition and followed by the ezāfe [-e] (in English, ‘of,’ as in ‘in front of’).  The prepositions most commonly used are dar ‘in, at’ and bar ‘(up)on.’

instead of dar bāre-ye دربارهٔ
above, on the top of dar bālyā-e دربالای
between, among, in the middle of dar beyn-e دربین
behind, beyond, on the back of dar pas-e درپس
behind, beyond, on the back of dar pošt-e درپشت
beside, next to dar pahlu-ye درپهلوی
in front of, before dar piš-e درپیش
inside of dar tu-ye درتوی
in front of, before dar jelow-(y)e (درجلو(ی
around, about dar dowr-e دردُور
under, underneath dar zir-e درزیر
instead of dar ‛avaz-e درعوض
between, among, in the middle of dar miyān-e درمیان
inspite of bā vojud-e باوجود
on, on top of bar ru-ye برروی
on, on top of, at the tip of bar sar-e برسر
instead of be‛avaz-e بعوض
like be mesl-e بمثل
instead of, in place of be jā-ye به جای
because of be vāsete-ye به واسطهٔ
by, by the means of be vasile-ye به وسیلهٔ
along with be hamrāh-e به همراه

In many instances in the colloquial dialect, using the prepositions dar, bar, and be, is optional.

The second group includes prepositional phrases which consist of an adverb or an adjective followed by a simple preposition, more frequently az ‘from, of’:

after ba‛d az بعد از
after pas az پس از
before piš az پیش از
instead of rāje‛ be راجع به
except, beside, other than γeyr az غیر از
before qabl az قبل از

Although barā-ye more accurately belongs to the prepositional phrases category (in Middle Persian pad ‘to, at’; in New Persian به and the direct object post-positioned particle, را rāy), it is not recognized as such by a modern speaker of Persian.

It must be noted that there are three be prepositions:

(1) The Persian be به ‘to, at’, which is never connected to a following word:

!به من بگو
“Tell me!”

(2) the verbal prefix [be-]:

Sit! imperfect !بنشین
I must go subjunctive باید بروم

(3) and the Arabic [bi-] (Persian [be-]) prefix, which is connected:

Good morning! sobh bexeyr! Persian
I must go. bixayr as in ‘ana bixayr’ Arabic
instead of be‛avaz-e Arabic