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  5. "Ili estas belaj leteroj."

"Ili estas belaj leteroj."

Translation:They are beautiful letters.

May 28, 2015



Is it correct to use "ili" referencing non-living objects?


Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that ili is only used for people. You would use "tiuj" for non-living things.


In subject sentence they use "Ili" for letters. That confused me, but I have not enough knowledge to say confidently that it is not correct


Oh yes, I forgot, you could use both for this sentence, with "Tiuj estas belaj leteroj" meaning "Those are beautiful letters". Just a slight difference.


Yes, you can absolutely use ĝi and ili for inanimate things, just like "it" and "they" in English. Here's an example from Ivy Kellerman's Complete Esperanto Grammar, where "ĝi" stands in for a peach, and "ili" represents cherries:

  1. Ĉu persiko estas ruĝa? 2. Jes, ĝi estas kaj ruĝa kaj dolĉa. 3. Ĉu ĉerizoj estas brunaj? 4. Ne, ili estas nek brunaj nek nigraj, sed flavaj.


There's an updated PDF of Kellerman's Grammar here: http://esperanto-edmonton.wikidot.com/kellerman-answerkey

[deactivated user]

    Could this also be letters of the alphabet?


    No, that would be "litero".


    Does the adjective "bela/j" change depending on the context? I just completed a question where "Viroj estas belaj" could've meant "men are handsome", however this question refuses to take "they are handsome letters"


    My rule of thumb is to translate it to beautiful for nonhumans/ inanimate objects and females, handsome for males, and good-looking for gender-neutral words (something that is not oft ecountered in Esperanto). It's usage is similar to Spanish "guapo"


    I suppose, but this seems unnecessary. I'm sure there would be a word that relegates "bela" to one definition across the board


    Good-looking could technically be used for everything, but English's insistence on different words for men's and women's beauty makes it difficult.


    "Beautiful" should be fine for that, but it sounds a little odd to say a man is "beautiful" unless his appearance is at least a little effeminate, or he is an infant.


    A handsome letter seems odd. A beautiful letter makes more sense, as in, the content of the letter is beautiful, not the physical appearance of the letter.


    Why do adjectives need to be pluralized?


    One nice feature of this is to remove ambiguity in some cases. For instance, "the young boy and girl"... Is the girl young, too? In Esperanto, you can tell.

    [deactivated user]

      That is a great point. I wasn't even thinking about that when I typed my first comment.


      They just do, it's a feature of the language.

      [deactivated user]

        I would guess that it is just for clarity or something like that.


        Because there's number-agreement between a noun and its adjective/attribute.

        That's very commonplace in European languages other than English but I think it's the opposite to the purported simplicity Esperanto claims to have.


        So is belaj leteroj "beautiful letters" but belajn (or is it belanj) "are beautiful?" I know it's when your acting upon something... but it's still kinda confusing to me.


        I hope these examples will clear things up...

        • Ĝi estas bela letero. It is a beautiful letter. The accusative (-n) is not used with "estas". In English, we call this a predicate nominative.
        • Ili estas belaj leteroj. They are beautiful letters.
        • Mi sendas belan leteron. I send a beautiful letter. Here we have a direct object of the verb sendas. That is the most basic way to use the accusative.
        • Mi sendas belajn leterojn. I send beautiful letters. The plural (-j) always comes before the accusative (-n).
        • La letero belas. The letter is beautiful. Here we have turned the adjective "bela" into a verb form "belas", meaning "is beautiful".
        • La leteroj belas. The letters are beautiful. The verb does not change regardless of how many letters there are.


        That is extremely helpful! I'll try and apply them when I practice with my husband and see if I can use your examples with other verbs.



        This actually cleared a lot of things up with me :)


        Ok, what if the context of the letters are good news, not beautiful to look at, nice penmanship or beautiful because of what is said is said well or romantically, beautiful? Would you express it the same way? Like when you get accepted into College, a new job, or your book is accepted to be published? Such as good news. You wouldn't say they are beautiful letter would you? You would say they're good letters or good news. So how would you make that distinction in Esperanto?

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