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  5. "The teacher asks the boys ab…

"The teacher asks the boys about something."

Translation:La instruisto demandas la knabojn pri io.

June 1, 2015



why is al optional here


"Al" is not really optional. Rather, there are two ways of marking the role that "la knaboj" and "io" have in this sentence.

  • demandi la knabojn pri io.
  • demandi al la knaboj ion.

  • Ask the boys something.

  • As something of the boys.
  • Ask the boys about something.


Yeu can think of demandi as both "ask" and "pose a question".


Really confused


"La instruisto demandas al la knaboj pri io.", "La instruisto demandas la knabojn pri io."

Some prepositions can be replaced by the accusation-ending, if that doesn't introduce ambiguity, or make the sentence have two direct objects.


I think that "La instruisto demandas ion al la knaboj" is also possible. For me it makes sense and it's the same contruction as "I ask him a question". Am I right?


That's not quite the same meaning. In the original sentence, the teacher is asking the boys about something. (i.e. What can you tell me about horses?) In your sentence, the teacher is merely asking the boys something. (i.e. How many legs does a horse have?)


I would describe this as "technically possible" - but it's nothing you'd see in practice. The only sentence I found that was even close was something like:

  • La instruisto demandas al la knaboj nur tion, ĉu ili faris la hejmtaskojn.

  • The teacher asks the boys only whether they'd done their homework.

In that case "tion" is added to make the function of "nur" more clear. Otherwise, you'd simply say

  • La instruisto demandis al la knaboj ĉu ili faris le hejmtaskojn.


Thank you. I had forfotten that and kept wondering why "la knabojn" was accusarive.


Properly, demandi is a transitive verb and requires an object. It is unlike the English verb "ask," which is both transitive and intransitive. Moreover, "ask" in English has mutliple meanings and can take different kinds of objects. Some examples: (1) put a question to; inquire of; "I asked her." (2) request information about; "Ask the way." (3) call for; need; "This experiment asks patience."

The Esperanto verb "demandi" has only meaning (1) of "ask" and "demandi al" is a corruption from outside Esperanto.

http://vortaro.net/#demandi - demand/i (tr) Peti pri sciigo, informo: demandi iun pri io


@BillEverett: Your answer seems definitive, but how do I know that it is? You write that "'demandi al' is a corruption from outside Esperanto" Is that definitive? I'd be really grateful to know, either by consensus or unilateral edict, whether that entire quoted statement is true.

Or, as AustinSegal so brilliantly asked, does "demandi" take a direct object?

Thanks in advance for any cogent answers.


"This experiment asks patience" sounds wrong.


It's not. It's a valid use of ask, but a rare one. Although I think it would be "begs patience" more often or "requires patience" far more often". All mean the same, it's just a stylistic choice.


So does "demandi" take a direct object of the question being asked or the person being asked...?


I rhink Thomas A's post may have answered that.


Well, re-reading my own answer all these months later, I'm not sure. :-)

The normal pattern is demandi iun pri io -- that is, the direct object is the person asked.

You will also see demandi al iu....

And in questions, the direct object is often the thing askd. "Kion li demandis?"


Ĉu li demandis: Kie estas viaj krajonujoj?


Ni ne scias kien!


At 68 years my English is poor, now I am trying to learn Esperanto, cu ne.


Mi volas al vi bonan ŝancon.
Ankaŭ mi proponas helpi, kiel ajn mi povas.
Redakto [ mi havas preskaŭ 66 jaroj]


Which am I more likely to hear from proficient Esperantists?

(1) La instruisto demandas la knabojn pri io.

(2) La instruisto demandas al la knaboj pri io.

(3) La instruisto demandas pri io la knabojn.

(4) La instruisto demandas pri io al la knaboj.

Or, are they equally correct and equally likely to be used by proficient Esperantists?


Look at Salivanto's posts elsewhere on the page, That may help you to clarify the issue.


I'm not sure my posts address which is more common or likely to be heard. I'd seen this question but chose not to respond, mostly because my sense is that this kind of question is best answered through experience, as in Esperanto Variety Show's recent post:

source - https://twitter.com/Salivanto/status/1213991368802127872


Why petas is not accepted?


Because "peti" means "to request". This is about asking a question - and so has to be "demandi".


Because peti also has nuances of requesting and pleading. Demandi is pretty much straight forward to ask.


Unless you're asking for something (without begging) in which case it HAS TO be peti.


I don't believe "peti" has any nuances of "begging and pleading".

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