"Our dinner smells good."
Translation:Nia vespermanĝo odoras bone.
Why is it bone and not bona? Its not the act of smelling that is good, its the dinner that is good, so shouldn't it be an adjective and not an adverb?
Like many questions about Esperanto, it isn't because the language has any shortcomings, but because it shows off the inconsistencies and shortcomings of English.
Both taste and smell are two different verbs that in English look exactly the same.
The dinner smells good / I smell the dinner well - The dinner tastes good / I taste the dinner well.
The first verb in each pair is to give off a scent or a taste (or cause a scent or taste to be experienced), and the second is the act of tasting something.
In Esperanto: La vespermanĝo odoras bone / Mi flaras la vespermanĝon bone - La vespermanĝo gustas bone / Mi gustumas la vespermanĝon bone.
In English, the adverb/adjective distinction is there because the verb has two different meanings. Many languages don't even have this distinction as context and syntax usually tells you all you need to know about what is described, and they would simply use an adverb after "tastes" regardless; and they would only use an adjective after "to be" or a verb that one can add "to be" after, such as "appear" or "seem".
As is often the case when it gets confusing, English is the odd one out.
But even if that is the case, bone is describing the verb odoras in this sentence. Wouldn't it then be describing our dinners ability to give off smell instead of the quality of the smell itself? So the sentence would mean something along the lines of "our dinner emits scent well."
This is important in Esperanto. Adverbs are more often used as in English. And there is a reason. The reason is that in Esperanto there is much more freedom with regard to word order. Just assume there were a "bona" in the sentence: La vespermanĝo odoras bona. This would be exactly the same as: La bona vespermanĝo odoras (The good dinner smells). In order to show that not the dinner is good, but its smell, you must use the adverb: La vespermanĝo odoras bone. Just keep in mind that you have to use the adverb in Esperanto, if it doesn't modify the subject, but the whole sentence.
So how would you distinguish between 'smelling good' (as in, 'My food has a pleasant odour') and 'smelling well' (as in, 'My dog is exceptional at smelling things') in Esperanto?
I feel for the poor Esperantists who will never truly be able to appreciate the joy of the old 'My dog's got no nose' joke...
Let's explain this another way.
"The lady smells good" means that the lady is giving off a pleasant smell. "Good" in this sentence is an adjective describing the lady (or the odour which she is giving off).
"The lady smells well." means that the lady uses her nose well to detect or discern smells. In this case "well" is an adverb.
Some dialects of English do use "good" as an adverb, but that is very different from the use of "good" in my example.
So from the sentence "Nia vespermanĝo odoras bone." We can tell that our evening meal is alive and has the sense of smell. Personally, I am not a vegetarian but I am unwilling to eat anything that is alive, conscious and able to smell its surroundings.
The trouble is that I am thinking in English. I have just found the discussion on pineapples tasting good - with the same sort of comments. In this case "odoras" is the verb "to make an odour" rather than "to sense an odour". Which means that the adverb is the correct way to look at it. "The evening meal makes a smell well" perhaps. - nope still doesn't work - now I cannot tell whether the smell is pleasant or not.
Don't think in English!
Edit: See also the difference between “odori” and “flari”.