"Mi marŝas en la kafejon por aĉeti kafon."

Translation:I walk into the café to buy coffee.

August 25, 2015

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Why is kafejon marked for accusative in this sentence, when it comes after the preposition 'en'?


If we are speaking about direction, we should add -n, we should use Accusative

Ni estas en la kafejo - we are in the cafe.

Ni iras en la kafejon - we are going to the cafe.

And I recommend you to read Tips and Notes!


Probably a bit technical, but I'd avoid the term "accusative" when speaking about the direction "-n". This sentence is not using the accusative case for "kafejon" as I see it. Rather, "-n" can be used for:

  1. creating the accusative case, and
  2. for indicating direction in addition to an existing preposition

Here, the "-n" is used as #2 and not #1. It adds direction where there is already a preposition (which does not convey the full meaning). So "-n" changes:

  1. "on" to "onto"
  2. "in" to "into"
  3. etc.


Hmm, I see.

I just thought this all (the -n ending) is called "accusative" regardless the meaning. At least, we have such a point in the Esperanto grammar in Russian, that's why maybe I got confused.

Do you know why the direction is not accusative? Like, I can't understand the difference.


You can follow this link for some short explanations on noun cases:


Basically, it comes down the the fact that accusative is strictly the term used for the case of the verb's direct object. In Esperanto, we change the noun in the accusative (direct object) by adding an "-n". The other cases mentioned on that site are all made by using prepositions in Esperanto. So we do not have to worry about extra word endings. That would have been really tough! (You probably already know that Russian has many more noun cases that change the noun. You will also see this in German after you get past the basic lessons)

For example, in "Li donas la libron al mi", we have the dative case in "al mi", but we do not change "mi" by adding anything to the word. We use the preposition "al", since that is how Esperanto shows the dative case. As we know, the accusative is shows by adding an "-n", so that is why the direct object (libron) has the "-n".

So that is a very short intro on nou cases. Now, to my original post: this does not mean that all nouns getting an "-n" is necessarily in the accusative case. Esperanto also shows direction with the "-n" ending.

I hope this helps :)

P.S. This is all very technical, and you probably don't need to know all of this to speak Esperanto.


I know that because Russian is my native language and I have been studying German for many years, so the case endings are not new for me.

Actually, I am interested in all the technical stuff - it is one of my reasons to study languages, I love exploring them!

Thanks for the link, I found a lot of other interesting information!

Thank you for the explanation, I suppose I get your point. I just thought that the direct object (Accusative) can indicate the direction - in Russian and in German we use Accusative for directions. But I am not sure about Esperanto.


To arthur0703: yes, German does use some cases for direction, especially the dative case too. And in some languages some of the cases also merge together. It is not always perfect. However, I think in Esperanto the grammar is meant to be very clear and unambigious to soften the learning curve.

I'm glad you enjoy the technicalities of language, I find it fun too!

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