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  5. "I want to change my dollars …

"I want to change my dollars into euros."

Translation:Mi volas ŝanĝi miajn dolarojn en eŭrojn.

July 4, 2015



Why should we say "en eŭrojn" instead of "en eŭroj"? "Dollars" is indeed in the accusative position, since it is the direct object of "ŝanĝi", so we should say "dolarojn", but why "eŭrojn"? I would appreciate your explanation :)


There are a number of prepositions that can take either nominative or accusative depending on whether they express location or movement (similar to German). Accusative is used for movement.

Here, you have metaphorical movement of the dollars INTO euros (not that in English we use the movement form "into" rather than the location form "in"), hence the use of the accusative with "en".



I didn't realize that "the directional -n" also applies to abstract directions, like "from dollars to euros". I think this should be added to the notes of the module "Prepositions".


Wait, can en also be replaced with al in this sentence?


The choice of preposition has been discussed here quite a lot.

For en + acc. speaks the metaphorical movement, cf. translate to another language, e.g. traduki en la germanan .

Kontraŭ is an established way to express a change

  • Oni ne povas ŝanĝi ĝin kontraŭ vazoj el pura oro (by Z)

My reading of PIV is that ŝanĝi al denotes transformation, as if the bank notes themselves would undergo a change, old print would be erased and replaced with a new one. See ŝanĝi 3.


Hm... I see. Ŝanĝi means to transform if it is used with al, while it means something like to switch if it is used with en and the accusative. Am I right?


That is my understanding.


I though these are the exact situations to use je as the preposition.

Dollars into Euros is an idiom


My top-of-the-head reply (i.e. without looking for model sentences or checking reference books) is that you will see "en euxrojn" and "al euxroj" -- and maybe even "per euxroj" or "por euxroj" ... but not "je euxroj."


Al euxroj makes sense, the sentence used en euxrojn


So, I got curious and started looking things up. Here are some sentences from a translation by Lydia Zamenhof.

  • ŝangis en polvon la potenco de la “Monstro”
  • Dum la vivo ankoraŭ li ŝangiĝis en estaĵon preskaŭ senkorpan,


Yes, I see that. Again, off the top of my head, I agree that "en euxrojn" is not how I would say it, but I wouldn't go out on a limb and call it wrong.


Jes, "al" ankaŭ al mi. Temas denove pri translativo: kazo, kiu indikas ŝanĝon de iu antaŭ stato al iu nova. Do E-o malhavas precizan kazon por ĉi tiu, oni uzu "al".


Seems to me that ŝanĝi logically takes the preposition en + accusative, just like in English "change into". In the commonly found "change to", the "to" is really just short for "into" (sense 4 and not 1 in the Wiktionary entry for "to" https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/to#Preposition )

Thus, it really should not be "al" in Esperanto.


E-o "en" carries an idea of inside-ness, you can't be in euros, in a coin or a note. Look at my answer above, the grammatical case here is translative: something becomes something else.


Are you sure you're not applying your own grammar on Esperanto with your idea of translative? Most languages express translative not with a case, but with prepositions. Why should that necessarily be "to" and not "into"? Translative in English is certainly expressed with into, and if it uses to, it is in sense 2 (into) in Wiktionary, not 1 https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/in#Preposition

"Al", on the other hand, unlike English "to" isn't a shortening of "into", and should not be used in cases where English can replace "to" with "into".

While Zamenhof uses "en" for inside whether a physical location or a length of time, he also uses it for an outside location which doesn't have any inside-ness, just a location-ness. He also uses it for abstract things like being in a certain mood — more an in-the-state-of than an inside-ness.

Also, the sentence does not speak of moving anything into a Euro coin or note. Money is an abstract concept. The perceived value of money can be in the abstract of the currency Euros or Dollars.

I know I prefer my money to be in pounds.

So, why "al"? I still haven't seen any good arguments why "al" should be more correct than "en".

If anything, if it were to be anything else than "en" + accusative, should it not then be "je" since it seems to be unclear which preposition is best suited, thus invoking rule 14?

Anyway, it's an interesting point to be aware of, and if there are different established and frequently used alternatives that are accepted, then the most important thing might be to be consistent in which option to use in one's own writing.


No, I'm not sure :-) I would hesitate to say, that most languages express the translative with prepositions, but that's not the point. Anyway the question is, how to express the translative in E-o.

I checked PIV. It says for "ŝanĝi" item "3 Aliformigi: la feino ŝanĝis la citrolon en kaleŝon ; ili ŝanĝis maron en polderojn", i.e. en + accusative. Furthermore for "en" it says "(I- Prep. montranta:) La finan staton de ŝanĝiĝinta objekto, la rezulton de aliiĝo" with an example "traduki libron en alian lingvon".

I stand corrected.


Thanks for checking. I didn't think to check the PIV myself, though I have been reading the Fundamento to see how Uncle Zam =) does it.

I did know about the PIV a few weeks ago, just after I started learning, but the first few weeks of learning Esperanto a bilingual dictionary is a bit more useful (if often very confusing when it tries translating things into the inconsistencies of English).

Since it has been almost five weeks now, however, it is about time I start using the PIV instead.


Here are a couple of online dictionaries, which you might find useful.

The bilingual dictionary of Lernu (E-o ↔︎ several languages) gives you a rough a translation. By "rough" I mean, that the dictionary contains errors and there are no examples of use.

A little less user-friendly is Reta Vortaro (Revo), which is basically E-o to E-o, but it contains translations to some languages. This varies from word to word. It contains a lot of examples. There is a Iphone/Ipad app called PoŝReVo, which uses the same word base.

And then there is PIV, which is the authoritative source. No other languages, but examples of use, albeit a little less than in Revo (at least IMHO).


To add to what Juha said, I think PIV is a great choice. For English to Esperanto I use this:


ReVo is OK to go the other way, but it's good to double check PIV because in some places ReVo is slightly questionable.


I think en + -n is a good way to express this idea, I note, however, the following example sentences from PIV.

  • mi konsentas esti ŝanĝita al kafmuelilo, se tio ne estas vera!
  • la cirkonstancoj ŝanĝiĝis al pli malbono


How do you change dollars into euros? Do you erase the ink from dollars and print euros on the paper?


How do you change dollars into euros?

At a bank or a bureau de change. You give them dollar bills and they give you euro bills worth more or less the same amount.

In some countries, you can also change money "on the street"; whether this is advisable depends on the country. Sometimes, you simply get a better exchange rate than if you used a regulated bank; sometimes, you get two real banknotes with worthless blank paper or low-value money from some other country sandwiched in between.

This sentence uses this meaning of "change":

https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/change_1?q=change meaning 10

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/learner-english/change_1 topic "money"

Don't stop learning English!


I was sure it was "change dollars to euros", or "for euros", and the Cambridge dictionary uses "for", not "into". Using "into" seems odd.

Anyway, the Esperanto sentence is stating that the dollars are transformed into euros.


Anyway, the Esperanto sentence is stating that the dollars are transformed into euros.


http://vortaro.net/?w=%C5%9Dan%C4%9Di&=8d00c7eb3231b1372e0f863f53568147#%C5%9Dan%C4%9Di gives as one meaning of ŝanĝi: "(speciale: doni aŭ ricevi pli malgrandajn aŭ alilandajn monerojn) ĉu vi povas ŝanĝi miajn markojn?"

So ŝanĝi can also mean "change money of one currency into money of another currency" or "change a large-denomination bill or coin into smaller-denomination bills and/or coins".


The point is that giving an example which does not use "en" is not a valid argument against someone stating that "en" is not used for that meaning.

"Ŝanĝi" when used to mean exchange something for something else uses the preposition "kontraŭ" or "por", as can be confirmed by the link you gave and by examining the usage of that verb in a corpus of text.



"Ŝanĝiĝi" means that something changes, not that you change something.

You might not see why you should use the correct preposition because the context of money makes you think it's ok to use whatever you want, but try translating some fantasy novel and you'll have to clearly make a difference between "ŝanĝi plumbon en oron" and "ŝanĝi plumbon kontraŭ oro".


Precize, highlighting that something has changed seems more direct as a way of saying that it is actually that thing that changed. Rather than leaving it as the more loose definition of change which is to be exchanged or altered.

I don't think writing a fantasy novel poses any unique challenge here with this word though. Just like in conversation, context makes things pretty clear. An exchange is not an event in a vacuum, nor is a transformation or alteration. I'm not saying in any way that "kontraŭ" shouldn't be used. I actually like using that here, but just because I like and prefer it doesn't mean that "en" is wrong.

Edit: also if I were to be noting such a change that wasn't an exchange I would actually personally say it as "ŝanĝi plumbon al oro"

Edit edit:

Ŝanĝiĝi used with an affecter:

La plumbo ŝanĝiĝis de la magio al oro

La magio kaŭzis ke la plumbo ŝanĝiĝis al oro

(Of course feel free to use 'en oron' instead of 'al oro' if you desire. )

Consider the English sentence: "I used a can", did they use a word? Did they use a metal container? Did they use a spaceship or other vehicle? In a vacuum, who knows? In context, you'd likely never question it.



You can use "ŝanĝiĝi" when you want to put the focus on what changed and leave out who or what changed it. If what you want to say is that someone changed something, you use "ŝanĝi", with "kontraŭ" for an exchange (https://tekstaro.com/?s=5dd43ce1dba5a), with "en" for a transformation (https://tekstaro.com/?s=5dd43c985eabd). I don't like the use of "por" for an exchange, or "al" for a transformation, but it's well established. As for "en" for an exchange, the only example I saw until now is in this course.

Edit: I think you have a typo in "La plumbo ŝanĝiĝis de la magio al oro". Lead cannot be changed from magic to gold. You probably meant "per magio".


Nowhere in there is an example of using the preposition "en" for that meaning.


What's your point?

There is no dolarojn in the example, either, but hopefully you do not believe that that one example sentence is the only way to use that verb in that sense, i.e. only with markojn as the object and without mentioning the other currency?


Unless you're speaking to a magician or about a magic act, the sentence would not be taken as literally transforming money.

It would be taken as exchanging, which is actually quite often what ŝanĝi is used for.

People could argue prepositional meanings all day, but usually there is no reason. It's not often that they actually cause confusion in speech.

Even if the preposition were wrong, you will usually "correct" it to something in your head and not even realize much besides that something sounded strange to you.

Also, if you were to wish to speak of actually transforming the money into other money then it'd probably be much better to use "ŝanĝiĝi" instead of "ŝanĝi".

So I'd even argue that to say the example Esperanto sentence implied physical transformation instead of exchange is just incorrect.

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