"Do you know the answer?"
Translation:Ĉu vi scias la respondon?
I might be wrong but from what I gathered, Konas is if ye are familiar with something, like: I know her. Mi konas sxin. But Scias is if ye are aware of a fact or an answer. I know the answer is green. Mi scias la respondo estas verda. But I don't know what the actual answer to the question ye just asked is. This is just what I've gleaned.
It seems counter-intuitive since it is a fact that you know, but think of it instead as "are you familiar with/do you know the nature of the answer?" (The French "savoir" and "connaître" are equivalent to this dichotomy and reframing it like this helped me to figure them out.)
(Not a hard and fast rule but if there is no conjugated verb in the subordinate clause the correct verb should almost always be koni)
Unfortunately I don't have French as a frame of reference. Could you maybe explain with a couple examples? And I'm not sure what you mean by a "conjugated verb." Any verb used as a verb in a sentence is conjugated (inflected)... Or do you mean excluding "verb-like" stems not used as verbs or participles?
The examples on this site (http://a-complete-grammar-of-esperanto.t.ebooks2ebooks.com/49.html) might help clear things up. To paraphrase: koni takes a direct object and cannot be followed by a clause or infinitive, whereas scii is often followed by a clause that contains another subject-verb cluster.
"Cxu vi konas tiun personon?" - Do you know that person? We use koni here because it is asking whether you are familiar with an individual. Note the direct object.
"Mi ne scias cxu li sxatas ilin." - I don't know whether (if) he likes them. Here scii is correct because the following clause contains "li sxatas" (and the sentence would not make sense as "I am not familiar with whether he likes them").
Hopefully that helps? It is hard to explain in English because we don't have an equivalent. Several of my French students also had a hard time wrapping their heads around the concept, but it gets easier with time. It may be helpful to find other examples in Esperanto texts and decipher why each verb is used in that particular context.
In Esperanto, when ye start a question off with cxu, ye just say the sentence form of the question, except with cxu at the beginning. For example. "Does he see her?" "Cxu li vidas sxin?" "He sees her." "Li vidas sxin." In English, and i'm sure in a lot of other languages too, they would conjugate the verb "to do", but in Esperanto, think of it as just a sentence with cxu at the beginning.
I’m having such a hard time getting the accusative -n into my head. English is my first and only fluent language, and I’m starting to think I don’t understand grammar as much as I thought I did. In this sentence, does respondon require the n because the subject vi is doing the action of scias? This is sort of the working theory I’ve had but now I think I’m wrong. Also a note to Salivanto: hi! Thank you for all your wisdom here and elsewhere on the Internet. Have you ever had a student that just Did Not Get the accusative n? I am that student now, if you have the most explain like I’m five version I’ll be so grateful!
Well, first of all, I hope you are reading the tips and notes (light bulb icon.)
Another thing is that the accusative has several functions in Esperanto. Given that the context of your question is this specific sentence:
- Ĉu vi scias la respondon?
it probably makes sense to talk about the "direct object." Marking the direct object is probably the most basic use of the -n ending. So... what is a direct object?
Many verbs you just do -- like "to run". Other verbs, you do to something else -- like eat, see, know, hit, find... and it's this "something else" that is the direct object. The thing that is hit, seen, known, eaten, or found -- that thing is the direct object and so will be marked with an -n.
So in this case, we want to know whether the person knows the answer. What is known? Respondo -- so it needs an -n ending.
Another way this is often explained is that the subject does the action and the direct object receives the action.
Thank you, that does clear some things up! I think my understanding of direct objects is improving. I wish everything made perfect sense to me already but I realise that's not how learning works :) I'll keep working at it steadily. And you make a good point about the tips and notes! I do read them but I might make a habit of re-reading them more often :)