To form the standalone possessive pronouns (mine, yours, his, hers, its, ours, yours, theirs).
But I can't think of a situation where leaving out the "la" would change the meaning or make it less understandable.
It's very common to say "la mia" when there's no noun. You can often leave off "la", but sometimes the meaning is slightly different.
- "La dua libro estas la mia" - the presumption is that one of the books is yours.
- "La dua libro estas mia" - and in fact, maybe they all are.
I can't think of situation where leaving out the "a" in English sentence would change the meaning or make it less understandable. That's just rule of the language.
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.
For those wondering, "I bought a water" implies a bottle or glass of water.
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"
So if I understand correctly,
La duo libro estas la mia.
La duo libro estas mia libro.
*La duo libro estas mia.
*La duo libro estas la mia libro.
(Asterisk indicating an ungrammatical sentence per the linguistic convention.)
Is that right?
Sounds good, but it's "La dua libro" and the second sentence, while grammatical, is slightly repetitive ("The second book is my book").
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.
That structure can be useful for clarification: <montras malgranda stako da libroj> La unua kaj tria libroj estas donacoj por mia frato, sed la dua libro estas mia libro.
I'm a komencanto, so take my opinion with a grain of salt, but that doesn't sound right to me. I don't think "de" is used that way/has that kind of meaning (as in French and Spanish).
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.
Why does mia not end in an 'n'. Just wondering, because I think it is a direct object. Then again, I don't even know how english works :-).
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.
The only words I got were "The", " third", "book", " is", "mine", "quarter", " half", and "two". I did not get "second", I only got "two"... SOANNOYING!!!!!!!!!
Not exactly no. "la mia" changes it to be "mine". Where as "mia" is my. So "La dua libro estas mia" means "The second book is my"
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.
I answered this up above. "La dua libro estas mia" is grammatically correct and many speakers wouldn't notice a difference, but there is a difference.