Languages > Esperanto > Lesson 8: it was him AND her WITH the wrench IN the study

Lesson 8: it was him AND her WITH the wrench IN the study
Prepositions and Conjunctions

After this lesson, you will be able to create much more complex sentences by adding additional information to them using prepositions, or by stringing together multiple sentences using conjunctions.


Prepositions allow the addition of more information to a sentence. Using them, we can specify locations, timing, context, and other useful concepts. These are words such as “of, on, to, in, after, before, about, etc.”. A preposition must act on something else to be useful - “to where? In what? About what? Before when?”. These question words can expand to become places, objects, times, etc. When this happens, the entire result is called a “prepositional phrase”.

Prepositional phrases are easy to make in Esperanto (surprise, surprise). We simply use a preposition followed by the object of the preposition. An object following a preposition should not use the accusative (-n) case. Let’s see some examples:

English Esperanto
Her son went to the park Ŝia filo iris al la parko
He is talking about his mom Li parolas pri lia panjo
They meet in the book store Ili renkontiĝas en la librejo

An Exception?

A wild exception has appeared! Let's battle it.

When using prepositions we said that the accusative case should not be used. There is a case when the accusative should be used! If any sort of motion is being shown, then we denote this motion using the accusative case. For example:

English Esperanto English with Motion Esperanto with Motion
I jumped on the table Mi saltis sur la tablo
I jumped onto the table Mi saltis sur la tablon
I walked in the store Mi marŝis en la butiko
I walked into the store Mi marŝis en la butikon

But wait, the preposition “al” (to) also has motion. In fact, it indicates motion all of the time. This is why the accusative case is not included with “al”.

What? Our knowledge is evolving!


What if a preposition doesn’t exactly fit? Maybe we don’t mean it literally, or we simply want to turn a phrase into a prepositional one without the extra meaning of an existing preposition. This is a job for the preposition “je”.

It’s used just like a normal preposition, but it allows you to express a prepositional phrase when no other preposition seems to fit just right, or you’re too lazy to find a good one. Be careful though, because using “je” can have many different meanings, so make sure you’re being clear. Here are some examples:

Esperanto English
Kiu frapas je la pordo?
Who is knocking on the door?
Ĉu vi kredas je Dio?
Do you believe in God?

The ifs, ands, or buts! - Conjunctions

What is the function of a conjunction? It allows two phrases to be combined in a logical way, where one phrase modifies the meaning of another phrase.

Here are some of the very common conjunctions that we will use. The full list of conjunctions can be found here.

English Esperanto
if se
and kaj
but sed
because ĉar

They work by placing the conjunction between the phrases that you wish to join. For some, order doesn't matter ("kaj", "aŭ") because logically either order means the same thing. For others, the modifying phrase should go after the conjunction, just like in English. Let's look at some examples:

English Esperanto
I'll do it if you'll do it Mi faros se vi faros
Animals drink water, and they eat food Bestoj trinkas akvon kaj ili manĝas manĝaĵon
Did you drive to the city, or did you walk there? Ĉu vi veturis al la urbo, aŭ ĉu vi marŝis tien?
I want to buy it, but I don't have money Mi volas aĉeti ĝin sed mi ne havas monon
I got married with my husband because I love him a lot Mi edziĝis kun mia edzo ĉar mi amas lin multe

Logical Nouns

The words "kaj" and "aŭ" can also be used between noun phrases, exactly like they were used for full sentences. Here they are in action:

Esperanto English
Vi kaj mi estas amikoj
You and I are friends
Ĉu vi preferas la kinejon aŭ la teatron
Do you prefer the movie theatre or the theatre
Ŝi miksis akvon kaj oleon
She mixed water and oil
Mi volus iĝi katon aŭ birdon
I would like to become a cat or a bird

The Correlative Conjunctions

Do you remember my precious from last lesson? This table is extremely useful, especially the interrogative column. Not only can these words be used as question words, but most can also be used as conjunctions! Let’s take a look:

English Esperanto
I become happy when I learn new words Mi feliĉiĝas kiam mi lernas novajn vortojn
? I want to go where the people are ? Mi volas iri kie la homoj estas
I don’t like those who hurt me Mi ne ŝatas tiujn kiuj dolorigas min**
I like languages, therefore I study them Mi ŝatas lingvojn, tial mi studas ilin
I forgot how to breathe Mi forgesis kiel spiri

**Note how “kiu” aims to match the plurality of the object of the sentence, but not the accusative. A conjunction should not use the accusative case.

To Infinity and Beyond

Wow! You can now technically make an infinite sentence using these new tools! But I wouldn’t try it…

Make sure to learn the words for this lesson before moving on to the quiz. Every bit of practice helps. If you have questions, and you’re a member of Langful, then pop on over to the forums for help from us or the community.

See you in the next lesson!

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to buy, to purchase
to love
store, shop
to hurt
to get married, to marry
husband, spouse
to do, to make
to knock, to hit, to strike, to smack
cinema, movie theatre, (movie) theater
to lead, to be in the lead, to drive
to believe
to walk
door, port, gate
but, if
to breathe
to study
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The owl carried a message from the school to my houseLa strigo portis mesaĝon la lernejo mia domo
I should hide before she arrives, then later scare herMi kaŝus min ŝi alvenas, e timigus ŝin
After dinner, before I go to bed, I like to play video games verpermangxo, mi enlitiĝas, mi ŝatas ludi videoludojn
My father and my sister will fly to Toronto for a competitionMia patro mia fratino flugos Toronto konkurso
Neither me nor my friend understood what he said mi mia amiko komprenis , li diris
Who wants to live where there are no rules? volas loĝi ne ekzistas reguloj?
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