You would say "Estas malvarme hodiaŭ". But that involves grammar which hasn't yet been explained. You're jumping ahead of yourself!
For the original sentence, could it be a realistic posibility to use "Tago malvarmas" since "tago" is already a singular indefinite noun and "malvarmas" is a verb form of the adjective "malvarma". I mean this in the purposes of speech, as in is it natural sounding or not.
I don't think it would convey the same thing. "It's a cold day" vs "A day is cold".
When you say "ĝi estas malvarma" en Esperanto, "ĝi" (it) refers to something specific which has already been named, e.g. the coffee, the water, the day, the room. In that case the word "malvarma" (cold) correctly has an adjective ending. But in English we also like to say things like "It's cold", "it's dark", "it's unfortunate that..." where "it" doesn't refer to anything specific, but is simply a way of introducing the phrase. In Esperanto, where there's no specific subject in expressions like that, you just say "estas..." and follow it up with an adverb, not an adjective: "estas malvarme", "estas mallume", "estas bedaŭrinde ke..." Adverbs are used a great deal in Esperanto, as you will discover. I hope you can follow this very brief explanation of a point which I suppose will come later in the course.
I was looking at the difference between "estas malvarma tago" and "estas malvarma hodiaŭ".
You wouldn't say "estas malvarma hodiaŭ". That's an incomplete phrase. It means "... is cold today". But you could say "estas malvarma tago". That means "it's a cold day."
You wouldn't say "estas malvarma hodiaŭ". That's an incomplete phrase. It means "... is cold today".
But in your reply to OliverEdsforth:
How would you say "It is cold today?"
You would say "Estas malvarme hodiaŭ".
Look more carefully at the endings of the words. (Endings are essential in Esperanto!) Malvarma is an adjective and malvarme is an adverb. But, as I said, you're rushing ahead to a more advanced lesson. Better to work through it step by step, or it will seem confusing.
I made that mistake also, so I looked it up.
"today " is "hodiaŭ"
Here are some dictionaries that I am finding useful: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/16967/16967-h/16967-h.htm (English to Esperanto)
http://esperanto-panorama.net/vortaro/eoen.htm (Esperanto to English)
Can we only drop the pronoun when it is it? If it would obviously be I or YOU, could we drop it then?
I know that the "mal" suffix is important for creating words like "cold" and "small" from Granda and Varma. But are there any words specifically for cold or small that aren't just the opposite of large or hot?
I looked up "small" and the dictionary still gave me "malgranda", but in another discussion someone gave the word for "tiny" as "eta" so I looked up "tiny", but what the dictionary gave me was "malgrandeta" so I must have misunderstood the person who was probably trying to explain the ending change for "tiny", but just to make sure I looked up "eta" and lo and behold it is listed as "tiny" - maybe it is short for the other one. It is an exception.
Even the word for "a dwarf" which is "malgrandegulo" is the opposite of the word for "a giant".
"Cold" came up as ""malvarma", but "to catch a cold" or "have a cold" use different words. "Frigid is "glaciiga" and "cool" is "malvarmeta"
Here see what you can find! If you go to a different intensity, there is usually another word; otherwise, it looks as though there would be no need for a thesaurus in Esperanto.
HERE IS ANOTHER DICTIONARY: http://www.archive.org/stream/englishesperanto00oconuoft/englishesperanto00oconuoft_djvu.txt
Oh, wow, thanks for all the info! Here's a lingot for all your hard work researching that for me!
I think 'et' is a suffix. It makes something smaller. Dormo = house. Dormeto = hut or cottage. 'Eta' would be with the adjective. Someone may correct me though.
I'd say you're 99% good there. The only thing I'd clarify is that affixes stack in an established sequence.
So you start with the root, whether "varm-" or "dorm-" or what have you, and then add the "-et-" suffix to indicate smallness, and then add either "-o" to indicate noun or "-a" to indicate adjective (or "-e" to indicate adverb, etc.)
And then you might add the suffix "-j" to indicate plural, and then you might add the suffix "-n" to indicate the accusative.
Since this is a constructed language, I think the whole point is to have as few synonyms as possible.
How does one differentiate between various words as the [mal] opposite form? For instance, how does one differentiate between "cool" versus "cold" for "malvarma"?
"Cool" would be "malvarmeta", which is "malvarma" with a diminutive added. If you wanted to make a scale of degrees of cold and heat, it would be "varmega, varma, varmeta, malvarmeta, malvarma, malvarmega". I hope that's enough to be going on with!
So something like: Varmega = Scorching, blistering, Varma = Warm Varmeta = Lukewarm Malvarmeta = Tepid Malvarma = Cool Malvarmega = Freezing, Chilly
I think it's the same as in English, the difference between "It's a cold day" and "The day is cold."
Is it correct to say "estas malvarma tago hodiaû" to "it is a cold day today"?
Darn got it wrong figured it would be "it is cold today" I try to get these right by guessing. makes it easier to learn because when I can't guess it right it makes me sad, but when I guess it right I am really really happy.
Why wouldn't it be 'Ĝi estas malvarma tago.'? Is there a rule I'm missing that lets you drop the ĝi?
What do you mean 'there is no it'? In Esperanto, I thought ĝi meant it and I'm confused as to why you can drop the ĝi in this case.
I mean semantically, there is nothing concrete for "it" to point to. In English we just use the dummy pronoun "it" because our grammar requires it. Like how we say "It is raining." What, exactly, is raining?
In Esperanto, "gxi" can only stand for an actual noun.
ĝi can only have a concrete referent, like "Ĝi estas verda flago."
Standard English grammar requires an overt subject, even when the referent is abstract (It's a cold day) or non-existent (It's raining).
It's grammatically correct, but I can hardly imagine a context in which you would say that. It means "A day is cold". A more likely sentence would be "La tago estas malvarma" (The day is cold).