"The letters are long."
Translation:La leteroj estas longaj.
It sounds like it should work.
In English, we normally use the Subject-Verb-Object (SVO) order. Now, there are several things that I've read about non-SVO sentences in Esperanto:
- It's for people whose native language is non-SVO. So, if you speak a SOV language like Japanese, you can use La kata la muson kisas.
- It's for emphasis, where what you're putting out of SOV order gets more emphasis. In this case, Longas la leteroj.* is saying that we're talking about reaaaaaaly long letters.
So, for a single sentence, you can't tell which is meant. With longer works, you obviously can tell if the person is always using SVO (and thus this would be for emphasis) or is always using a non-SVO pattern. (Somebody mentioned elsewhere on here that about 80% of Esperanto text is SVO.)
They don't take the -n after most prepositions and when there's a predicate nominative: the verb to be doesn't give you an object (something/someone being acted on/upon by something/someone), but more information about the same subject (The letters = long). Therefore, you don't have an object and both sides of the verb remain unmarked.
That's what I thought at first, but it gave me a right answer with the very same "la leteroj longas" so I'm a bit confused about this. For example La virino estas bela La virino belas But: La virinoj estas belaj La virinoj belas or belajs? Is it impossible to "verbalize" when plural?
Yes, longas comes from bending the adjective longa (or longaj in this case) into the verb longi, and then into present tense longas.
Here's another example
Iliaj paperoj estas bonaj
Iliaj paperoj bonas
It comes from the verb boni (to be good) and changing it into present tense bonas. Nifty isn't it? :-)