Da & De

How does one say "of" in Esperanto? I've seen both ways but I don't understand the differences. Thanks in advance for the help.

November 14, 2019


I don't normally watch Alex's videos (although I've hung out with him on more than one occasion) because I don't need a lesson in basic Esperanto grammar, but seeing your link here, I decided to watch this one all the way through. I just left the following comment on YouTube.

Alex, Great job as always, but a few clarifications and corrections are in order. Someone just asked this question on Duolingo and I answered with the following two links to articles that I've written.

Then I noticed that someone had posted a link to this video as answer... so here I am.

In 20 years of speaking Esperanto, the only time I ever hear "glaso de vino" is when people are trying to explain the difference between "de" and "da." Yes, the phrase is found in the Ekzercaro, but it's not really part of the living language. We need to come up with a better example. I used "days of learning" and "the number of (whatever)" in my article - but since writing it I've even seen an example where "granda nombro" can go both ways. Why do we (Esperantists) encourage beginners to struggle with expressions that aren't even used in the language?

And by the way - when was the last time you heard someone say "I broke my glass of whisky"?

You went a little wrong advising people not to say da ĝi and da ili. In fact, there are many situations where these expressions are fine - including in some of your examples. I'm wondering if you were thinking about how you shouldn't say da mia and da lia - which is an extension of the "never say da la" rule. (Where did you get this idea that you can't say da ili and da ĝi? It would be interesting to analyze the source.)

It's really about definiteness.

  • Mi havas kuraĝon kaj multe da ĝi.

This is totally fine. We're talking about courage as an abstract quality that we can have a lot of.

  • Mi havas francan vinon en mia kelo kaj mi volas havi glason da ĝi.

This is almost certainly not correct. It easier to see if we repeat the above sentences without the pronouns.

  • Mi havas kuraĝon kaj multe da kuraĝo.
  • Mi havas francan vinon en mia kelo kaj mi volas havi glason de la franca vino en mia kelo
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