"Mi manĝas pomon."

Translation:I am eating an apple.

May 28, 2015

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This one is tricky. I'm no grammar guru, but there's no one to one translations between the tenses in English and Esperanto. A lot depends on context. If you want to say that you eat apples in general (and use present simple) you'd say "I eat apples" and that would usually be "Mi manĝas pomojn". I'm no English native, but what do you actually exactly mean by "I eat apple"?

Good luck with the course!


If I understand your question correctly, you're asking whether there's a difference in Esperanto between "I eat apple" and "I eat an apple".

The answer is no. Esperanto has only the definite article la (the) and doesn't use indefinite ones (like 'a' or 'an'). If you don't see an article, simply add the a/an if it would make sense in English.

If for some reason you want to emphasize that there's only one apple being eaten, you can use the number: Mi manĝas unu pomon.

Fun fact: la ends in 'a' because articles are considered adjectives.


Seriously? I never thought about that before! Articles were always just articles. But that makes a lot if sense!


Our English teacher made us label them as adjectives so it makes sense to me

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I've studied linguistics and yes, it is useful to think of articles as a sub-category of adjectives. See also how articles, like other adjectives, have to agree in gender and number with the noun in so many different languages. (At least in Indo-European languages.)


I don't understand the grammar stuff, but I didn't realize "I eat apple" was considered a normal, intelligent sentence in Esperanto. I've really struggled with this because it is so unnatural, but now that I know it, basically, is unnatural, I think it will help me better remember going forward. Thanks.

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It's unnatural in English. There are plenty of natural languages out there that have different grammar structures than English does, that don't have definite or indefinite articles. It's not good, bad, or strange. It's just a different way a language can be.


Thx for the answer tomaszym!

I should have specified it but my question was in fact about the article (eat or am eating will depend on context I guessed and the verb wasn't a problem, the exercise seems to accept both "eat" and "eating", and no pb).

Well I meant in a partitive sense. Like Je mange de la pomme. in FR or Como manzana. in SP or, I think, I eat apple. in EN. Talking about the "substance" apple.

N.B.: You can answer specifically to a given comment by clicking on the "reply" button just under the said comment.
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I eat an apple.

In Esperanto, the indefinite article (a/an in English) is implied (not stated).

EDIT: My comment here may not really be relevant to the thread, but I will leave it anyway in case it helps someone;

I think now that I misinterpreted tomaszym's comment.


How would you say I eat apple.?

N.B.: My question isn't about eat vs. is eating but about the article (or its omission) to express a partitive meaning?
Is it the following?

  • definite article: I eat the apple. <-> Mi manĝas la pomon.
  • indefinite article: I eat an apple. <-> Mi manĝas pomon.
  • (partitive meaning): I eat apple. <-> Mi manĝas pomon.

I answered I eat apple. but it was refused, so I wonder how to express it in esperanto.

EDITED (after tomaszym's and bohemien100's answers).

2nd edition:
After some research, it seems it would be:

  • definite article: I eat the apple. <-> Mi manĝas la pomon.
  • indefinite article: I eat an apple. <-> Mi manĝas pomon.
  • (partitive meaning): I eat apple. <-> Mi manĝas iom da pomo.

Am I correct?


"I eat an apple" and "I am eating an apple" both translate to "Mi manĝas pomon". If you want to really specify that you are at the exact current moment that you are eating an apple, you can say "Mi estas manĝanta pomon".


Hi bohemien100, thanks for the answer!

However see my answer to tomaszym's comment (that was answering this same question): my question is about the article.


"I eat apple" isn't correct because articles are much more important in English than many other languages.... if it can be counted (unlike water for example) and isn't a name (I wouldn't say "the Pepsi" for example) it generally needs either "a" or "the" (and I wouldn't use "a" in plural)


Thx for the answer.
But if someone wants to express that, yes their is no problem for her/him to eat the "apple substance", not "an apple" neither "the apple".

Like (if it's correct, like I think) I'm eating cake. for example.

I'm thinking about a discussion like:

  • Any food trouble ? With apple [the "substance"] for example?
  • I eat apple, no problem.

because articles are much more important in English than many other languages...

Seeing non French native speakers struggling with definite/indefinite/partitive article, I wouldn't have thought that.
Almost the contrary in fact: my problem is to translate, w/o loosing part of the meaning, the (single) partitive meaning (in FR or SP for example) into English. It seems thus that English the precision on the article is less important since you can't express the three distinct things.

I think I'll stay with the fact that you just can't express that in EN in a short way (by just omitting the article). ;)


You're correct--there is no precise way to express the partitive meaning in English. You'd often use "some" or possibly "any".. or even no article at all to express a similar sentiment. For example, you might say "I ate (some) salad yesterday," "I am eating (some) cake," or "We're drinking (some) water"...or if you're not doing something, it may be like, "I am not having (any) soup," or "We didn't have (any) ice cream."

Hope this helps as far as the English is concerned.


Pomon is the accusative form. Like a direct object rather than a subject.


I don't know about the Esperanto yet so I really can't answer that.


What's the -ta for?


"I eat an apple" and "I am eating an apple" both translate to "Mi manĝas pomon". If you want to really specify that you are at the exact current moment that you are eating an apple, you can say "Mi estas manĝanta pomon".

What's the -ta for?

"Mi est'as manĝ'ant'a pom'o'n."
[the apostrophes are there to aid in showing how the word is built up]

-ant- is something called active present participle - "someone does something right now".

There are six particip forms in Esperanto - three active, and three passive:

active present: -ant- [example: kant'ant'a who sings, singing]
active past: -int- [example: kant'int'a who has sung]
active future: -ont- [example: kant'ont'a who will be singing]

passive present: -at- [example: kant'at'a is being sung]
passive past: -it- [example: kant'it'a has been sung]
passive future: -ot- [example: kant'ot'a will be sung]

(examples taken from the Swedish Wikipedia entry for Esperanto, and roughly translated by me)

Also: a link to the English Wiktionary entry for -ant-, and a link to the English Wikipedia entry for Esperanto grammar (look under "Participles").

I'm a komenc'ant'o (someone who is in the act of beginning; or, as English Wiktionary phrases it: "one who is beginning, a beginner") myself, so someone with a better grasp of grammar is welcome to expand on it.


Wow, thank you very much for the detailed explanations! Have a lingot!


Ne dankinde! :-)
(ne dank'ind'e, or ne'dank'ind'e - [no, not] [thank] [worth, worthy] [adverb ending])

I actually learn quite a bit myself, by trying to explain things, so thank you too!


"I eat apple." isn't really correct English; I guess if someone said "You don't eat cherry pies! What type of pies do you eat?", "I eat apple" would be a grammatical response, but I think it would be "Mi manĝas poman." in Esperanto. (I think.)


I am still very confused. I don't understand the difference with "pomo" and "pomon". What is the grammatical difference to a noun, when you add -n at the end of it?


It's the mark of the accusative: of the fact for a noun to be a direct object.
See Tip&Notes (from a computer) of the skill Accusative for more details.


Use -n on the thing that is happening to something.... in this case an apple is what is being eaten and we show that with the -n. Min amas pomo means an apple eats me


An apple loves me?


this is almost exactly like French


Esperanto is very largely derived from Romance languages.


I hate how there is not slower button to play the audio slower. I can tell one word from another


I am doing this on my Samsung phone, I cannot get diacritics and it saya mangxas is a typo. Any thoughts?


You can probably install the Google keyboard, and then install the Esperanto keyboard for it. That will offer everything (except, frustratingly, ĥ) that you need. Or you can accept that it will complain about the text having typos and usually accept it anyway.


The SwiftKey keyboard works perfectly. Just add Esperanto as a language on your phone and it will recognise the words and place the diacritical marks correctly


Hi people, what's the differente between "pomo" and "pomon"; what about the letter "n" at the end?


Hello there,

This is what I replied on a similar question elsewhere:

from the Tips and notes for the skill Accusative:

> The -n ending in Esperanto is called the accusative.
Be aware that the accusative ending -n is never used with the verb estas:
Li estas knabo. (He is a boy.)

If you are using Duolingo via an app, it is a good idea to visit Duolingo using your browser now and then (at least, say, before and after each skill), as the Tips and notes section is presently not available in the app.

The -n marks the object, i.e.
the difference between

  • Mi manĝas pomon.
    I eat an apple.


  • Min manĝas pomo. ( = Pomo manĝas min. )
    I am being eaten by an apple. (An apple eats me. = An apple is eating me.)

(There are a bunch of examples in the Tips and notes I linked above.)

I hope this made it at least a bit clearer.


Hi. I sont get it, an apple is "pomo" why in here its written "pomon"?


You add the n to the end of the noun when it has the action of the verb happening to it. So because the apple is being eaten, it requires the n to indicate that action on it. As a simple guide, if there is a verb (usually ending in "-as" such as manĝas, havas, kisas, dancas, etc) then the thing accepting that action requires an n ending. The exception to this simple rule is the word estas, which does not have that effect on the noun. So "Tio estas pomo" (This is an apple" versus "Mi manĝas pomon" (I am eating an apple). The second has the verb action (eating) happening to the apple, whereas the first has no action,therefore does not require the n ending. Make sense?

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All present-tense verbs end in "-as", so that guide is meaningless.

You need to look at what the verb means, what it's doing.

The -n suffix marks the accusative, the direct object of a transitive verb, the recipient of the action.

If you can turn it around and put it in the passive voice, the verb is transitive.

Zombies chased her.
She was chased ... by zombies.

He threw the ball.
The ball was thrown ... by him.

Only active verbs (verbs of action, where something is happening) can be transitive or intransitive. Verbs like "esti" are stative verbs (verbs of state, where something is being described) and transitivity doesn't apply.

Mi manĝas pomon.
Mi estas ulo.

[deactivated user]

    Why is it "pomon" and not pomo?

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    Because it is the direct object of the verb.

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