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"What is this thing?"

Translation:Kio estas ĉi tiu afero?

June 18, 2015



I seem to really be struggling lately with where the line between general and specific is when it comes to -io and -iu. Every time I think I've figured it out I get it wrong, In my reading the above question I thought OK its a specific thing we asking what it it so it must be the question (k) plus the specific thing (iu), but that was wrong. Anyone have any guidance to help with getting these right ?


It's possible that "specific vs general" is the wrong way to look at it - or maybe it doesn't work for you. In this case, I would say it doesn't apply.

  • "What is this thing?"
  • Translation:Kio estas ĉi tiu afero?

It has to be tiu not because it's specific, but because it is followed by a noun. I like to look at it this way.

  • Tio answers "what?"
  • Tiu answers "which?" or "who?"

You're asking about which thing? / Which thing are you asking me about? I"m asking about this thing. What is is?


Coming into the correlatives I got excited thinking it would be easy because I'd know the grid and could just construct all the words on the fly as needed, but maybe I let myself get a little too caught up on that because the part I thought would be the easiest has been the one I've really struggled with so far.

Perhaps it is better to just think of them as words and get a feel for their use in context like I did for everything else so far


why not kiu estas ĉi tiu afero?


That would be "who is this thing" or "which one is this thing". Neither one makes sense.


Would "kio estas ĉi tio?" also work?


Only sort of. That's more like "what is this?"


I have simplified the most I can, and put just "Kio estas tio" which was accepted!

However, I don't recommend for the beginners to do that, before they understand the basics of kiu/kio/ĉi... and other important things, and only when you understand the correlations between these things, you can experiment, simply because your know what you're doing.

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