16 Rules of Esperanto Grammar
are 28 letters in the alphabet: A, B, C (like 'ts' in its), C (like
'ch' in 'chip'), D, E, F, G (always hard like 'g' in 'gum'), G (always
soft like 'g' ng 'gem'), H, H (like 'ch' in German 'Bach' or Scottish
'loch'), I, J (like 'y' in 'yoyo'), J (like 'j' in French 'jour' or
'z' in English 'azure'), K, L, M, N, O, P, R, S, S (like 'sh' in 'show'),
T, U, U (like 'w' in 'water'), V, Z. All the vowels are pronounced
as in Spanish (or like English "fAther, hEy, machIne, mOre, lUnar").
the Internet, the accented characters may also be represented as ch,
gh, hh, jh, sh, u (no h with this last one); or as cx, gx, hx, jx,
sx, ux. Both systems using 'h' and 'x' are commonly used.
definite article is 'la'. This is equivalent to English 'the'. There
is no indefinite article ('a'/'an').
domo = a house
domo = the house
Nouns end in '-o'. For plurals, the '-j' ending is added. (Remember
'j' sounds like the English 'y'.) For accusatives, the '-n' ending
is added. The accusative is a direct object of a verb.
Kato kaptas raton.
= A cat captures a rat.
= Cats capture rats.
Adjectives end in '-a'. For plurals, the '-j' ending is added. For
accusatives, the '-n' ending is added.
La granda kato kaptas la malgrandajn ratojn.
= The big cat captures the small rats.
grandaj katoj kaptas la malgrandan raton.
= The big cats capture the small rat.
comparative adverb is 'pli' (English 'more', '-er') and the superlative
adverb is 'plej' (English 'most', '-est'). The comparative conjunction
is 'ol' (English 'than').
kato estas pli granda ol la rato.
= The cat is bigger than the rat.
baleno estas la plej granda animalo.
= The whale is the biggest animal.
The cardinal numbers are 'unu' (1), 'du' (2), 'tri' (3), 'kvar' (4),
'kvin' (5), 'ses' (6), 'sep' (7), 'ok' (8), 'nau' (9), 'dek' (10),
'cent' (100), 'mil' (1000). Cardinal numbers do not need the '-j'
or '-n' ending. The ordinal numbers end in '-a'. The suffix '-obl-'
is used for multiples, '-on-' for fractions, '-op-' for collectives.
The preposition 'po' means 'at the rate of'.
tria = third
= a third
= three at a time
du dolaroj por kilogramo = two dollars per kilogram
The pronouns are 'mi' ('I'), 'vi' ('you'), 'li' ('he'), 'si' ('she'),
'gi' ('it'), 'si' ('oneself'), 'ni' ('we'), 'ili' ('they'), and 'oni'
('one'/'they'/'people'). The '-a' ending is used for possessives.
For the accusative, the '-n' ending is added.
Li kreis gin. = He created it.
lavas sin. = He washes himself.
patro amas sin. = His father loves her.
diras, ke si estas bela. = People say that she is beautiful.
Verbs end in '-i' in the infinitive, '-as' in the present tense, '-is'
in the past tense, '-os' in the future tense, '-us' in the conditional,
and '-u' in the imperative.
Mi vidis, vidas, kaj vidos.
= I saw, see, and will see.
povas vidi vin. = I can see you.
min! = Help me!
mi estus rica, mi acetus grandan domon.
= If I were rich, I would buy a big house.
participles end in '-ant' for the present, '-int' for the past, and
'-ont' for the future. Passive participles end in '-at' for the present,
'-it' for the past, and '-ot' for the future. The preposition 'de'
is used with the passive.
viro estas falanta. = The man is falling.
viro estas falinta. = The man has fallen.
viro estas falonta. = The man is about to fall.
rato estis mangita de la kato. = The rat was eaten by the cat.
rato estas mangota de la kato. = The rat is about to be eaten by the
Adverbs end in '-e'.
rapide = quickly
Prepositions govern the nominative case of the noun, which ends in
'-o' or '-oj'. (But see Rule 13.)
La domo de la knabo estas en la centro de la urbo.
= The house of the boy is in the center of the city.
All words are pronounced as they are spelled.
accent of a multisyllabic word is on the second to the last syllable.
If the '-o' is omitted, the accent naturally falls on the last syllable.
teleVIdo = television
New words can be formed by compounding.
dormo = sleep
There is no double negative. If 'ne' ('not') is already used, there
is no need for a second negative word.
Li neniam audas. = He never hears.
ne audas. = He does not hear.
To indicate motion towards, the word ends in '-n'.
Mi iras en la domon. = I am going into the house.
iris supren. = I went above.
All prepositions have a definite meaning. There is an 'all-purpose',
generic preposition 'je'. Alternatively, the accusative '-n' ending
may be used.
Je la deka, li foriris. = At ten o'clock, he went away.
dekan, li foriris. = At ten o'clock, he went away.
Words borrowed from other languages follow the Esperanto orthography.
komputero = computer (from English)
(komputi = to compute, ilo = tool)
The noun ending '-o' or the '-a' of 'la' can be dropped and replaced
by an apostrophe.
la elefanto = the elephant
= the elephant