I bought water.
I bought a water.
Edit: regarding the reply below, water is not plural. I see the little grin afterwards, but the intended meaning of the comment is not clear to me. "I bought a water" is very common.
Edit: regarding the second reply below (Lochlannn), once again water is not plual. The very fact that we say "water is" and not "water are" shows that it is singular. Normally water is non-countable (or "collective") - but remember, my point here is a reply to the comment by Ostomachion that the indefinite article does not change the meaning. The point is that it certainly can.
Water is always plural as it is a collective - you cannot have one piece of water, (like all liquids) it does not come in pieces. "Can I have a water" is a colloquial shortening of "Can I have a bottle of water" or glass of water etc. depending on context. Also "a water" is spoken with very little gap inbetween the words; shorter than if there was a singular noun in its place. This is also a hint that 'a' is not serving it's normal role of singular indefinite article (in regards to water). A similar example: you "Buy toilet paper" but not "Buy a toilet paper" Even though you can "Buy a roll of toilet paper"
Oops, of course, dua. Thank you. That also makes sense about the second sentence. It seems to be very similar to how it works in Dutch :)
Het tweede boek is het mijne.
Het tweede boek is van mij.
Het tweede boek is mijn boek.
*Het tweede boek is mijn.
*Het tweede boek is het mijn(e) boek.
Here also, the same example (here the third, equivalent to the second Esperanto one) is grammatical but somewhat repetitive.
BTW: e.g French has this construction, too:
- le/la//les mien/mienne/miens/miennes
..so first of all please be thankful, that E has less 'causa' thann F and secondly: English is not the universal reference, and third: a collective cannot be plural (as stated several times, but here is why:) because it is one of them each and you cannot count them. Test: increase the amount of water/air/earth/gas you have and it won't get more = not fewer. grrr. More as in a higher number. English is a bit limited here or is it just me? If I have five apples and buy 3 more, do the amout that I possess get 'more'? there is no word for many-ier !?
ex (collective) :
''I want (much) more water and (many) more apples.''
In for example Swedish you can distinguish and say:
''I want mer/more water [not less] and I want fler/more apples as [not fewer].''
Could sb fill in here please. What are the words in E for mer and fler ?
Or : a what stage in the course will I and all English speaking guys, having an issue with the collective water (maybe because of the missing unique 'collective-pointer'' word, the word for mer/fler) learn this?
BTW: English has more of these kinds of 'deficites': she met her sister. And then she had her lunch. Her sister had to buy a new one ;-)
just mina deux cents...
I should have known that; after all, whenever you have the possessing party being a noun phrase rather than a pronoun, you usually can't just add -a in this way, and then indeed you do say "de [noun phrase]". I'm not sure what I was thinking with my above post, even four months ago. Even when comparing it to Dutch, it should have been right. Ah well :) thanks for (probably) correcting me.
The 'n' would give 'la mia' the accusative case, which is used when specifying an object of a transitive verb. For example, "I threw a rock" versus "I am a rock". Using accusative after an intransitive verb like 'esti' is incorrect because it would be saying that you are doing the act of being something upon something, which makes no sense at all.
To add to that, it may seem like "to be" is a transitive verb because there are two elements to it, e.g. in "I am a rock", there's the element "I" and the element "a rock". However, verbs like "to be" and I think perhaps "to seem" are a special class of verb called "linking verbs", and I think those generally get nominative case.
You'll notice a lot of tentative phrasing in the above paragraph ("I think" "perhaps" etc.), which is because I'm not certain about the precise classification and terminology. I suppose for our purposes here, it would just suffice to know that the verb "to be" goes with nominative case.
See, I would have thought so at first, but actually this does seem to be correct in Esperanto. At least, it is widely used and accepted. I still prefer to throw in the la, which is more natural to me because of my background as a native Dutch speaker, but I don't think it's wrong without it, strictly speaking.