1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Esperanto
  4. >
  5. "Li donas al ni lakton."

"Li donas al ni lakton."

Translation:He gives us milk.

May 28, 2015



al ni vs nin?

May 28, 2015


I think it was "al ni", because "nin" would be accusative, but the milk was being given, not us.

May 28, 2015


you're right. nin would be accusative but here ni should receive dative marking

June 17, 2016


Us in this case would be the INDIRECT object, while milk would be the direct object, so al ni implies that something is being given TO us rather than us being given to somebody.

May 31, 2015


Well, the sentence "Li donas al ni lakton" or "Li donas lakton al ni" would literally translate to "He gives milk to us," where "us" would not be the indirect object but the object of a preposition.

Now, I'm not sure how Esperanto handles objects of prepositions, but I'm sure one of the grammar pages on duolingo says that nouns preceded by a preposition never get the -n. However, I've also read that da and de mark indirect objects, so they might not actually count as prepositions.

April 7, 2016


I believe you don't mark indirect objects with -n.

May 31, 2015


Don't forget Esperanto is a mixture of many languages, and in this case the phrase is very GERMANIC:

Li donas al ni la lakton-

◘ Subject: Li (he)

◘Verb: doni (give)

◘ Direct object: well, i'm giving wilk, not "giving us", so milk is the accusative/ direct object of my sentence.

◘ Indirect object: The milk was given to us, the milk is the direct object, so IT us given to US.... al ni is the indirect object.

And because Esperanto is a mixture of many languages you can also say Li donas la lakton al ni, which is a bit more complicated but it's ok!!

December 12, 2016


The accusative also implies direction.

May 30, 2015


I would say its using it when theres a pronoun

November 8, 2015


The accusative can also be used here. You can either say “Li donas lakton al ni“ or “Li donas lakton nin“.

The accusative has more than one function: • marks the direct object • marks the direction • marks the time • can be sometimes used as an alternative to “al”

I cannot find the exact rule right now. Maybe I’ll post here later-on a reference to the exact grammar rule.

I still have not found the rule but I was told, that in this sentence “al” sounds more natural but “nin” still is not wrong.

June 1, 2015


You can't find that rule, ĉar ĝi ne ekzisti, kaj, ĉar vi estas malĝusta.

June 7, 2015


I was wrong because a verb must not have more than one connection.

Quote from this page: http://bertilow.com/pmeg/gramatiko/rolmontriloj/n/objekto.html

“Ĉe iuj verboj ricevanto/profitanto/malprofitanto povas aperi aŭ kiel al-komplemento, aŭ kiel objekto kun N-finaĵo. Tiaj verboj havas alternativajn frazkonstruojn.”

My translation of this: “At some verbs a recipient […] may either appear as an al-complement, or as an object with a N-complement. Such verbs have alternative sentence construction.”

But since you could therefore build sentences with two accusatives (source: http://bertilow.com/pmeg/gramatiko/verboj_frazroloj/alternativoj.html): “Sed oni ne povas samtempe havi plurajn objektojn kun malsamaj rilatoj al la ĉefverbo. Ne diru: Mi dankis lin la tujan plenumon de mia deziro. Mi petas vin pardonon. […]”

My translation: “But one cannot simultaneously have several objects with different connections to the main verb. […]”

When a verb does not have two connections you can replace “al” with the accusative in Esperanto. With this in mind you can either say: “Mi dankas al vi” or “Mi dankas vin”.

June 8, 2015


You can't use two accusatives at the same verb.

You could use nin, if you are saying "Li donas nin." It could be a part of a conversation where we already know or don't care about what was given.

An example: - Kie estas la mono? - Mi ne konas. - Vi diras malveron. - Bone! Li donas nin kaj...

June 3, 2018


This is going to come off as extremely rude. I wish you no ill, but I"m saying it anyway. I'm going to suggest that you don't give advice about Esperanto for a while. This is just plain wrong -- and there already has been a lot of discussion elsewhere in the thread. You cant say "li donas nin" unless "we" are the things being given. This comes from the meaning of the word "doni", not from a restriction on double accusatives. There are additional errors in your examples.

There's nothing wrong with being a beginner, or making mistakes, or being new... but please spend some time really learning Esperanto before giving advice ... especially when the question already has a good answer on it. It just creates more confusion for others.

June 4, 2018


Just curious... can the original sentence be written as "Li donas lakton al ni" instead? Would that be grammatically correct / sound natural?

May 31, 2015


That is actually the preferred way of saying it

May 31, 2015


In 20 years of speaking Esperanto I haven't found that people make a big deal either way.

  • Li donas lakton al ni
  • Li donas al ni lakton

Both are good.

February 13, 2017


I think so but I'm not sure. I know that Esperanto has a very flexible word order.

May 31, 2015


It can be flexible, but it's always useful to use the general order that people will all understand

June 2, 2015


or you could mess around with people and say: al ni li donas lakton

June 5, 2015


That's a good idea but I guess we should be a little bit careful about the word order when you want to emphasize something.. look below..

Mi vin amas. I love you. (I, for you am loving.) Vin mi amas. I love you. (It is you that i love.) Vin amas mi. I love you. (You are loved by me.) Amas mi vin. I love you. (Love is what i have for you.) Amas vin mi. I love you. (Loving you is what i'm doing.)

I got this from http://esperanto.org/stanford/leciono-0-order/

June 7, 2015


I think the preferred order depends on one's native language, as many other things.

It's the same as, for instance "ši estas bela" and "ši belas": they're both correct, but, as in english we'd say "she's beautiful", we'd be more likely to use the first one. Maybe people from other countries tend to prefer the latter instead

June 9, 2017


Somehow I spell "he" as "hi"

I think the Esperanto is getting to me.

December 4, 2015


is 'al' always needed after donas?

June 2, 2015


If you're giving something to someone, you'll need "al + pronoun". That same sentence could have been written: Li donas lakton al ni.

Since "to give" usually requires an indirect object (to whom?), you'll have to use "al" with to verb "doni" a lot.

June 2, 2015


No, it is definitely not required.

June 2, 2015


Only SHEs give milk, Jack!

July 1, 2016


I heard "al mi".

February 19, 2017


So did I; that's why I looked at the discussion. I have tinnitus, and I have Music Choice playing on both the TV and the computer, and the computer lags behind the TV a fair bit; it's like hearing two people singing a round. So, I don't think I'm in a good position to make good judgments about what he actually says. But I played it several times after getting it wrong, and it sounds like "mi" to me.

March 11, 2017


Same here.

May 19, 2018


Some other word orders:

Li donas al ni lakton. (He, is who gives milk to us)

Lakton li donas al ni. (Milk, is what he gives us)

Al ni li donas lakton. (Us, is whom he gives milk to)

Donas li lakton al ni. (To give, is what he does with milk to us.)

I'm not sure if they're all accepted. Correct me if I'm wrong.

June 7, 2015


I have just reached level 5, so before i continue with this lesson what should i have a full grasp in this amazing language before i continue?

May 29, 2016


Is there a difference between "He gives us milk" and "He is giving us milk" in esperanto? In other cases they looked the same.

May 30, 2015


No; almost all the previous lessons gave "is _-ing" as correct.

May 30, 2015


No there isn't. "He is giving us milk." should be accepted as a valid translation for this sentence.

May 30, 2015


And yet here we are, 3 years later and this is the only exercise I've found that doesn't accept it :/

April 12, 2019


You can say "Li estas donanta al ni lakton" (or even "Li donantas al ni lakton"), which only means "He is giving us milk". But this is very rare (tio estas tre malofta), and "Li donas" can mean both "He gives" and "He is giving".

February 8, 2017


"He gives to us milk" is the word-for-word translation.

June 7, 2015


Am I the only one who thought 'he donates milk to us'?

December 20, 2015


what is the purpose of the 'al' before 'ni'?

June 23, 2015


"al" means "to" - to us (forms the indirect object)

June 23, 2015


why milk tho?

November 2, 2016


I take it that "li donas lakton al ni" is also correct? But is "Li donas al ni lakton" the more preferred method?

December 26, 2016


Esperanto usally don't have a preferred word order. As it can be different for each native language. So it is easier if you keep your native word order.

June 3, 2018


Esperanto usally don't have a preferred word order. As it can be different for each native language.


June 6, 2018


The milk fic

October 19, 2017


I envision getting "mi" and "ni" confused often in the audio. They just sound too similar when spoken fast. Maybe headphones would help.

February 8, 2019


I'm having such a hard time discerning whether the man says "ni" or "mi".

April 30, 2019


he gives us some milk

May 28, 2015




June 15, 2015


what is "al ni"?

May 19, 2016


"to us" -- "Li donas al ni lakton" -- He gave to us milk OR "Li donas lakton al ni" -- He gave milk to us.

December 26, 2016


"He give the us milk" Li (he) donas (give) al (the) ni (us) lakton (milk). Is what I read and got it wrong, what am I doing wrong?.. :<

June 23, 2016


Al means to, la means the. It's "Li (he) donas (gives) al (to) ni (us) lakton (milk).

August 14, 2016


Shouldn't is be donaj because it's an action?

October 18, 2016


Negative. You don't pluralize verbs.

November 14, 2016


the milkman

November 8, 2016


That's kind of the cow.

March 27, 2017

  • 163


July 26, 2018


I put he gives us the milk. Guessing "the" was what is wrong. Not sure why. Can someone please tell me why? Starting to learn this language, structure is not my strong point.

November 3, 2017


There's no "la" in the Esperanto version.

November 3, 2017


Oh snap there is no la, got it! Thank you commenters.

November 3, 2017


Shouldn't this be "he gives milk to us." instead of "he gives us milk"

March 16, 2018


It's the same

March 27, 2018


I can hear clearly "Li donas al MI lakton"

November 8, 2018



... so I answered that, got the correct-green - and the confusing translation "He gives us milk."

February 1, 2019


Plot twist: he's transgender ⚧

October 24, 2018


I love this sentence LOL ʕ•̀ω•́ʔ✧

August 1, 2016
Learn Esperanto in just 5 minutes a day. For free.