The dative case is a grammatical case that typically marks the indirect object of a verb. The indirect object can be the recipient or beneficiary of a verb. We can find the indirect object by asking “for whom?” or “to whom?” depending on the context. For example, in the sentence “We sent mom flowers”, the question “for whom?” and in the sentence “We gave mom flowers”, the question “to whom?” indicate that “mom” is the indirect object.

Dative Case in Persian

The dative case is chiefly marked with به (“be”). The preposition برای (“barâ-ye”) is used in certain cases, particularly when it is needed to indicate the beneficiary of a verb rather than simply its recipient.

Compare the following examples. The verb is “to send” in both sentences. The preposition برای marks the target when it is beneficiary and the preposition به marks the target when it is recipient.

The ablative case marks “source” and the dative case marks “target”. This can be easily seen in the following example:

Dative of Pronouns

The dative marker به can combine with bound personal pronouns and free personal pronouns. Bound pronouns are not normally used in written Persian and are typical of spoken Persian. The following table demonstrates bound dative pronouns as they are written and pronounced in informal speech. The “h” in “be-hem” and other forms is an epenthetic consonant used to resolve vowel hiatus.

Singular Plural
1st Person بهم
be-hem
بهمون
be-hemun
2nd Person بهت
be-het
بهتون
be-hetun
3rd Person بهش
be-hesh
بهشون
be-heshun

The following table demonstratives free dative pronouns.

Singular Plural
1st Person به من
be man
به ما
be mâ
2nd Person به تو
be to
به شما
be shomâ
3rd Person به او
be u
به آن
be ân
به آنها
be ânhâ