he vs 'o vs [nothing] when starting a statement sentence

I'm having trouble figuring out when I should start a sentence with he, 'o, or nothing. It seems like 'he' is for personal description, maybe? But what trips me up is sometimes with weather, for example, you use 'he' or sometimes nothing, and with personal descriptions it's the same thing. Help?

June 11, 2019


aloha mai~~!! To be honest, I think a lot of people would like to answer the question for you but it is really a loaded answer lol. I myself have typed out like 3 times responses that I meant to comment here, but have then deleted them all because itʻs so hard to explain on here without diagrams >.<".

What I will try to comment on, which I hope will help you, is that your question isnʻt so much knowing what to START sentences with, as it is about Hawaiian Sentence Patterns. When you mentioned weather, it helped me to understand what you were asking about. For that, the sentence patterns I believe have been present in the skills are all Equational Sentences, where A=B. The reason why Hawaiian has equational sentences is because there is no "am"/"is"/"are"/"was"/were" in Hawaiian, and is instead conveyed through the equational sentence pattern.

"Wela kēia lā" -> "Wela" = "kēia lā" --> hot = today --> Today is hot. "Wela" is a condition / state of being word and does not need anything before it in this pattern.

Since itʻs equational, it can be reversed and maintain the same meaning like in A=B, so B=A..., BUT in Hawaiian there are certain requirements to this pattern and if the B goes in the front, needs to be marked with {ʻo} before it to indicate that this is the B thing and not A. So you would then have:

" ʻO kēia lā ka wela." Conveys the same meaning, but with MORE emphasis on TODAY being hot and not emphasis on the fact that today is HOT (...and maybe it wasnʻt yesterday, for example) in the natural form of the sentence pattern. Notice also, that "ka" was added before "wela" since this is the requirement of that position.

Now letʻs see how the sentence would read if we didnʻt add {ʻo} and the additional {ka}.

" Kēia lā ka wela" -- this would still make sense, but would be noted as being grammatically incorrect in proper form. The reason why it makes sense is that "ka" is still before wela.

" ʻO kēia lā wela..." --> "On this hot day..." See how without {ka}, now wela is acting as an adjective like word?

ONE MORE EXAMPLE: "Why is "he" used in front sometimes. Letʻs say youʻre not saying "Today is Hot" (using a condition word "hot"), but instead saying, "Today is a hot day."

"A hot day" is not a condition word, but a sentence fragment and so when in the front position, it already has a particle in front of it "a hot day" = "he lā wela." So the correct sentence would be "Today is a hot day" = "He lā wela kēia (lā)." Here, {lā} is sometimes omitted as it is understood with just {kēia}.

If you reverse the sentence into B=A form, you would get " ʻO kēia lā he lā wela."

For different word types (conditions, physical forms, actions, etc) and pronouns / names / place names, thereʻs a few more rules as to what goes "in front" of each, but thatʻs where Iʻm gonna stop because itʻs too much info for here and gets hard for me to explain properly with no diagrams lol.


June 13, 2019

That was incredibly helpful. That makes so much sense now! I appreciate your detailed response. Mahalo!

June 13, 2019

very useful, Mahalo!

July 9, 2019

Use HE if the indefinite article A is in the English sentence.

July 27, 2019
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