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Participles - good resources?

Does anyone know of any good resources to get my head around participles? They're still the thing I most regularly misunderstand/get wrong/even translate incorrectly from Esperanto.

August 31, 2015



1 - Did you read the Tips & Notes? Participles are covered in the Education skill...

2 - Did you try Lernu.net? (You will have to log in to read the details grammer notes there.)

3 - Do you know specifically what about it is giving you trouble? What kind of mistake do you usually make?


Yes, yes, and I just seem to randomly get things right or wrong and I'm frequently confused by what I have and haven't got wrong.


Perhaps if you try the discussions for sentences you have trouble with, as you find them? It's possible that it's actually the English giving you trouble.

Wait, let me explain... I don't mean to criticize your English fluency, of course, but rather to point out that English's system is not as straightforward as Esperanto's, so sometimes the translations seem a little odd, or are hard to get to. I know as I progressed the tree, I would often get a translation for a new word or phrase wrong even though I knew what it MEANT because I couldn't quite get from the word-for-word translation to the proper English way of phrasing things. Especially when affixes were involved. I also reported a lot of alternate translations, especially near the end of the course, because durnit, mine was right TOO! ;-)

(It is also true, at least in the US, that this stuff is often not taught clearly in school, so while native speakers have an intuitive understanding, they are not able to easily break down grammatical elements like participles, unless they have an advanced degree in English, or perhaps make a hobby of linguistics. But I can't speak to your personal background, obviously, so this may or may not be related.)

At its simplest, I would equate:

  • mi estis parolinta -- I had spoken
  • mi estas parolinta -- I have spoken
  • mi estos parolinta -- I will have spoken

  • mi estis parolanta -- I was speaking

  • mi estas parolanta -- I am speaking
  • mi estos parolanta -- I will be speaking

  • mi estis parolonta -- I was going to be speaking

  • mi estas parolonta -- I am going to be speaking
  • mi estos parolonta -- I will be going to be speaking

(That last one doesn't make a ton of sense on its own, I know... it needs context desperately. Kiam vi alvenos, mi ankoraŭ estos parolonta. Mi ne estos komencinta paroli. When you arrive, I still will be going to speak. I will not have started to speak.)

(Woah. The sentence "mi estas komencanto" just clicked. :-D )

So there are patterns there in the helping verbs you would choose... but personally, I find it helps me the most to put in the words "in a state of" and go from there. So:

mi estis parolonta -- I was (in a state of) will be speaking -- I was going to be speaking

Or conversely,

I have spoken -- I am currently (in a state of) spoke in the past -- mi estas parolinta

This "intermediate language" helps me... but as always, your mileage may vary. :-)


Yes, and it's also technically possible (although rather rare) to say Mi estas komencinto. (I am a have-begunner... i.e. I'm no longer a beginner, but intermediate such as kurso por komencintoj) and Mi estas komenconto. (I am a will-beginner. This could be someone who plans to start learning Esperanto soon.) :)

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