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"She did not want him to give her a gift."

Translation:Ŝi ne volis, ke li donu al ŝi donacon.

June 23, 2015



I find this a tough translation because I feel like the English lacks some needed information.

If, in the past, he gave her a gift, and she didn't want that then shouldn't it be "Ŝi ne volis, ke li doni al ŝi donacon."

However, if in the past, she was hoping against the hypothetical possibility that he would give her a gift, then it would be "donu."

Right? Or am I just having a hard time with the imperative/conditional?


This is a decent explanation - except you'd never see "ke li doni" like that. Whether he actually gave her a gift or not it would be "ke li donu" because this is a statement of her will (or lack of it) and not about what actually happened (or didn't.)


Dankon! Cxiam vi estas helpega!


I have a hard time with this one and find it sort of clunky to translate. The sentence looks like "She didn't want, that he give to her a gift". The that is the part that sort of confuses me the most, and I'm getting you to the mandatory "al" when doing something to someone.


Why is it 'donu' and not 'donus'? All 'wishes' are in the first part of the sentence and the second part is about imaginary situation, isn't it?


Kial ne usas "deziris" anstaŭ "volis"?


Vi povas uzi "deziris" anstataû "volis". Sed gxi ne estas la demando.


Agree with the others, this sentence povas fiki for


This is actually good Esperanto. How would you say this in German or Russian?


the sentence is not a request but rather a statement, so why use an imperative.


It has to do with voli - volition. This is expressed with a -u in Esperanto.

Ŝi ne volis, is a statement of fact

li donu al ŝi donacon is not a statement of fact, but of desire/volition.

In some dialects of English we would say "She didn't want that he should give her a present." You would never hear "She didn't want that he is giving her a present."


Does that mean that the only way to make asimilar expression, using "doni" would be:

"Si ne volis lin doni al ŝi donacon" -> she didn't want him to give her a present"

or would that still be bad esperanto?


It's bad Esperanto. It sounds like "she didn't want him" then "she didn't want to give him to her". It's a relexification of English.

First word in your sentence has a typo. I'm assuming that was an accident.


First word is a mere typo.

I was pretty sure that the sentence would be interpreted that way, due to the free word order.

But that is just a proof on that no matter how advanced a language is there are always something that you can't say the same way as in other languages, though it is (with a few expections) possible (and sometimes fairly easy) to create a sentence which one can interpret in the basically same way.

One of the exceptions is the danish word "hygge" which is usually translated into english as "coziness" even though the danish word has a much broader meaning and in some senses has nothing to do with neither comfort nor intimacy.


for some reason i can't reply to your question mark but that is fine with me.

I actually made up the sentence as there have been several attempt in this thread on replacing donu with doni or donis.

To show that you sometimes have to translate from something that may sound a bit odd in your own language.


"For some reason" = comments can only be nested so deep. I found that frustrating at first. More recently, I've started taking it as a hint from Duolingo that the conversation has gone on too long. Sometimes I'll edit a comment further up thread so it answers the questions below. My thought is always to leave a trail that later readers can follow to get their questions answered.


The giving of the gift is in the past, right? Why isn't it "... ke li donis donacon al ŝi"?


That part of the sentence is about what her will, not about what or when it happened.


Wow! thank you, I understood from your post in the next question. Would the phrase "Ŝi ne volis, ke li donis al ŝi donacon." still be correct? or, by expressing the desire, the time of the event loses all meaning?


No, it would be donu not donis.

We do something similar in English. I just found the following sentence more or less at random. It's from Principles of Microeconomics - Page 188

  • She would be willing to give up as many as 2 days of skiing to gain an extra day of horseback riding; the market demands that she give up only one.

Notice that there is no normal tense indicator on the word "give." We can say any of the following.

  • She gives up one day when she needs to.
  • She is giving up one day for this.

But we're not making a statement about what is or is not giving. We're saying what the market demands that she give. In English this is called the subjunctive. For this, in this situation, we use the -u ending in Esperanto.


Thank you very much! :D


He was probably Greek.


Is 'ke' necessary here?


Can I say: Ŝi ne volis lin doni al ŝi donacon?


No, you can't. In your translation "lin" and "donacon" play equal role, whereas in English it's him making a gift, not gift making him - obviously unequal.


What about Ŝi ne volis lin doni al ŝi donaco

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