Languages > Esperanto > Lesson 4: Fire up the Tardis

Lesson 4: Fire up the Tardis
Past, Future, and Negatives

Always talking in the present is fun, and somewhat mindful I guess, but wouldn’t it be nice to express other moments in time?

The Past

If I wanted to say “I saw a person”, then we would be talking in the past tense since the event has already happened.

In Esperanto, talking in the past is easy. Instead of removing the “-i” and adding ‘-as’ like in the present, we just have to remove the “-i” and add ‘-is’. There are no exceptions to this rule.

English Esperanto
I went Mi iris
I drank water Mi trinkis akvon
I liked the cat Mi ŝatis la katon

The Future

If I wanted to say “I will learn esperanto”, we would be talking in the future tense since it is not currently happening, but is planned to happen.

The future is just as easy as the past and present. For future tense, we drop the “-i” and add “-os”. Again, no exceptions.

English Esperanto
I will go Mi iros
I will drink water Mi trinkos akvon
I will like the cat Mi ŝatos la katon

Expressing Ability and Desire

In English, we are able to use certain verbs to modify the intent of the main verb. For example, “I want to go”. We used “want” to modify the main verb “to go” to change the meaning -- our intention -- of the verb.

Esperanto can also do this. We simply conjugate the modifying verb, and leave the main verb unconjugated (in the infinitive), like so:

Esperanto English
Mi volas iri
I want to go
Mi volas trinki akvon
I want to drink water
Mi volas lerni esperanton
I want to learn Esperanto
Mi volis iri
I wanted to go
Mi volos manĝi
I will want to eat

Some other verbs can be used like this. Grab a pen and paper, or use your favourite writing program, and try making 5 of your own sentences with these verbs:

Esperanto Verb English Verb Esperanto Phrase English Phrase
voli
to want Mi volas vidi
I want to see
povi
to be able Mi povas iri
I can go
devi
must (to have to) Mi devas lerni
I must learn / I have to learn

Negative Phrases

To express the negative in English we often add “(do/does) not” before our verb.

In Esperanto, all we have to do is add the word “ne” before our verb.

English Esperanto
I do not want to go Mi ne volas iri
I do not have a cat Mi ne havas katon
He cannot see Li ne povas vidi

Using the 5 sentences that you constructed earlier, try making them mean the opposite using the negative that we just learned.

And with that, we can now make statements in the past, present, and future, and even negate all of them to mean the opposite. Be sure to study the vocabulary for this lesson, and take the quiz before continuing to the next one.

See you soon for the next lesson!

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