"I order four kilograms of tomatoes."
Translation:Mi mendas kvar kilogramojn da tomatoj.
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The word "of" is really the key. "Of" is the beginning of the prepositional phrase that describes the object of the sentence.
Think of the phrase: "I learned three words of Esperanto." Yes, you learned Esperanto; but in this sentence, you specifically learned "three words," and these words just so happened to be Esperanto. Coming back around, now we have the phrase: "I order four kilograms of tomatoes." Yes, you order tomatoes; but in this sentence, you specifically order "four kilograms," and these kilograms just so happened to be tomatoes.
I hope that makes a bit more sense
I keep getting thrown off when I read an English sentence like this. Typically, in my experience, the speaker would be saying: "I am ordering…." When I don't see the variant on "be" there I automatically assume it to be past tense, despite the lack of other markers.
Yes. and when "I am ordering," the order has no defined end in time. I have started to order and I am continuing to do it, for a maybe a few more moments (until the waiter jots everything down), or maybe continuously, for a few more months (of consecutive shipments). But when "I order", it is a discrete event--or many discrete events that each have a clear start and end, instead of continuing throughout. Hope that's not confusing, since I somewhat flipped your explanation around.
da is for quantities and
de is for possession.
glaso da vino - a glass of wine (quantity)
taso da teo - a cup of tea (quantity)
la patrino de la knabo - the mother of the boy /the boy's mother (possession)
la koloro de la lakto - the color of the milk / the milk's color (possession)