"Ili ne devas fermi la pordon."

Translation:They do not have to close the door.

June 14, 2015

This discussion is locked.


How would one say "They must not close the door"? This was my answer but it was rejected.


Ili devas ne fermi la pordon, or ili ne fermu la pordon (though I don't know if duo would take the second one).


It should, if we were to translate the original sentence. :) And another possibility: Ili ne rajtas fermi la pordon.


My question as well, dankon!


can anyone confirm this?


Ili devas ne fermi la pordon - That's exactly how I wish Esperanto would express "They must not close the door.", but I can't find any evidence that Esperanto does this.

From my searches "ne devas fari ion" can mean either "must not do something" or "do not have to do something".

This is not a special problem in Esperanto - it is actually the normal situation in languages. The logical distinction between "must not" and "do not have to" is left to context, intonation or gestures in most languages I know (you can see the list displayed after my name); English is one of the exceptions.

  • 3074

"Do not have to" means it's optional.
"Must not" means it should not happen.


Yes, that is the distinction English makes.

But can you specify how Esperanto would make this distinction clear (beyond all ambiguity) in words alone (no contextual help, no intonational distinctions, no gestures etc.)?

In fact, is there any language you know, other than English, that makes this distinction clear through words alone?


I put "They should not close the door," how is this wrong?


Should in Esperanto is devus (the conditional form of devi, so that would be ili ne devus fermi la pordon.


It should be "they do not have to close the door" - it's optional, not that they should not, but that they do not have to.


How many times will I get this wrong???? YYYYYYYYYATCH!!! Always I am going for "Open" as the primary form, and Esperanto has "closed" for the primary ("fermi") form. AAACK! So frustrating!! XD


I don't know the word, but should is different than must or have to.


Ili ne bezonas fermi la pordon?

  • 3074

It's devi + verb phrase, bezoni + noun phrase. Just like the French it was taken from.


Okay.... That was way telegraphic. Verb phrase: a word or phrase that acts as a verb. Noun phrase: a word or phrase that behaves as a subject or object. Bezoni: to need. Mi bezonas nenion: I need nothing. (Nothing is a noun.) Devi: must. Oni ne devas kuri: one must not run. (Run is a verb.)


Ils n'ont pas besoin de fermer la porte. - Zamenhof's "bezoni" is more restrictive than the French "avoir besoin de", since French does allow a verb to follow.

Learn Esperanto in just 5 minutes a day. For free.