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  5. "I order four kilograms of to…

"I order four kilograms of tomatoes."

Translation:Mi mendas kvar kilogramojn da tomatoj.

June 21, 2015



Still trying to get my head round subjects and objects. Why isn't it, "kilogramojn da tomatojn"?


The tomatoes do not take the accusative form here since they follow "da". Because the "four kilograms" are the object of the sentence, and tomatoes (not the object) are what the kilograms possess.


That doesn't make much sense to me. Kilograms are mass, and the tomatoes have mass. The weight of the tomatoes belongs to the tomatoes, the kilograms are of the tomatoes. Tomatojn makes more sense to me too


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


Mass is still generally considered a quantity.


the abbreviation "kilo" does not exist in esperanto?


Ne. The Esperanto word kilo = "a keel, the bottom of a boat/ship"

I'll let you picture what a ship's keel made from tomatoes would be like.


What on earth do you need four kilos of tomatoes for?

  • 2444

You work for a catering business and you need to feed a few hundred people at an event?


A really large pot of marinara?


Heh, I buy exactly that amount every week at the bazaar and I usually run out before the following week. What can I say, I like salad. And caprese. And tomatoes on sandwiches. And with breakfast. And with everything.


I would die eating that much, tomatoes are the worst trigger for my acid reflux


It appears to me that both kilograms and tomatoes are direct objects, so why would it not be "mi mendas kvar kilogramojn da tomatojn?"


Because da is a preposition, and, per Zamenhof, "the preposition governs the nominative."

  • 2444

It's not just something Zamenhof decided to go with, it's also how most Indo-European languages work.


Right, which is why he chose to do it, too.


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.

  • 2444

I am ordering ... right now.
I order ... on a regular schedule.

Both are different nuances of present tense.


Mi agordas, sed mi ankaŭ neniel mendos 4, aŭ eĉ 1, kilogramojn da tomatoj.

Mi komprenas kiel tiun funkcias, sed estas sufiĉe ekster mia mens-maniero, ke mi ne pensas tian.


Okay: "I agree, but there is no way that I will order 4, or even 1, kilograms of tomatoes.

I do understand how this works, but it is sufficiently outside of my mind set that I don't think like that."

Not an exact translation but…

  • 2444

Sorry, my Esperanto is not as advanced as yours is. Could you repeat that in English, please?


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.


Is... is this the person from my math problems? Do they speak Esperanto?


Jes, mi sekvas vin ĉien. Bŭa ha ha!


Why it is "kvar kilogramojn da tomatoj" and not "kvar kilogramojn de tomatoj"


Because da essentially = of a quantity.

Not always, but that's usually the way to bet.

  • 2444

da is for quantity
de is for possession



When is it proper to use de versus da?

  • 2444

Generally speaking, 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)


Thanks! That's very helpful.

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