"Ie, bebo faras la unuan paŝon."

Translation:Somewhere, a baby takes the first step.

September 16, 2015

This discussion is locked.


...kaj ie, maljunulo faras la lastan.


Is the “,“ in that sentence right?


Certainly. Why not?


Is the “,“ in that sentence right?

In the English sentence

Somewhere, a baby takes the first step.

the comma is correct. I don't know the exact rule, but English often puts commas around sentence parts that deviate from English's default SVOMPT word order:

  1. subject
  2. verb
  3. object(s)
  4. manner (if indicated at all)
  5. place (if indicated at all)
  6. time (if indicated at all)

Here, the optional place indication "somewhere" is at the beginning of the sentence rather than after subject, verb and object, so it needs to be separated by a comma.

Whether the comma is correct in the Esperanto sentence

Ie, bebo faras la unuan paŝon.

is more difficult to answer. While Esperanto has developed grammar rules beyond the few mentioned in the Fundamento (or hinted at by the examples in that), it doesn't seem (yet) to have very strict, generally agreed-upon rules on punctuation and specifically commas.

PMEG's section on commas is comically short:

Komo estas uzata ene de frazoj en lokoj, kie povas esti nature iom paŭzi, ekz. antaŭ subfrazo: Li diris, ke li amas ŝin. Mi vidis virinon, kiu portis paketon. Oni uzas komojn ankaŭ anstataŭ la vortoj kaj kaj en elnombrado de pluraj aferoj: Ili manĝis legomojn, panon, fromaĝon kaj fruktojn. Komoj estas ankaŭ uzataj inter kunligitaj ĉeffrazoj: Ili manĝis, sed ili ne satiĝis. Krome oni uzas komon antaŭ decimaloj en nombroj: 3,14 (= “tri komo unu kvar”). Legu pli pri matematikaj esprimoj.

And the (actually smaller) "Detala Gramatiko de Esperanto" (2nd ed.) by the same author doesn't even seem to have such a section. (Of course, both books may mention commas in chapters covering other topics.)

This doesn't mean anything goes: Sub-clauses in Esperanto (other than in English) must AFAIK always be separated from the main clause (as well as from other sub-clauses of different (nesting-)level) by commas or similar punctuation. But whether a comma can, should or even must be used after "ie" in this sentence here, is probably up to taste and, maybe, emphasis / semantic nuance (which can be indicated by a pause, thus allowing for a comma).


There is no agreed rule about punctuation in Esperanto. As you yourself concluded, whether or not there should be a comma after "ie" is a matter of personal taste. There's also the fact that people are influenced by usage in their own languages. The main rule on which people (generally) agree is that clauses should be separated by commas.


There are many agreed-about rules for punctuation in Esperanto. For example, sentences begin with a capital letter and end with a period (or question mark, or exclamation mark), ke-phrases are preceded by a comma, etc. Adjectives in a series are separated by commas (la granda, bela, antkiva domo).

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