"La historio de Esperanto estis skribita antaŭ multaj jaroj."

Translation:The history of Esperanto had been written many years ago.

July 4, 2015



Kaj nun la historio de Esperanto estas skribanta!

July 4, 2015


Did you mean "skribanta" or "skribata"?

July 5, 2015


"Skribanta" sounds like a much more interesting scenario.

July 18, 2015


Can 'estis skribita' mean both 'was written' and 'had been written'? (I got away with the former.) If so, is there a way to distinguish between the two?

July 24, 2015


"Was written" and "had been written" are two different ways to say the same thing, are they not? It's like "to the left" vs. "on the left". Why would one need to differentiate the two English phrases?

July 24, 2015


No; "was written" indicates that something took place then, while "had been written" indicates that something had already taken place before then.

"When I came home, my mother was cooking dinner." - She was still doing it at the time when I came.
"When I came home, my mother cooked dinner." - She started doing it when I arrived.
"When I came home, my mother had cooked dinner." - The cooking was already finished before I arrived.

"Had been written" is like the "had cooked dinner" sentence - it indicates that the writing was completed before the time that we are talking about, before the time "many years ago".

"Was written", on the other hand, is like the "was cooking dinner" or "cooked dinner" examples - it indicates that the writing took place at the time we are talking about (not before), so during the time "many years ago".

July 24, 2015


Nah, mate. "Was written" and "was cooking" are not the same. The equivalent with "to write" would be "was being written".

July 24, 2015


That's not was mizinamo was talking about here, though. Jamthom8 is talking about active versus passive, and mizinamo is talking about the simple past tense (in the passive, in this case) versus the past perfect.

Here's an alternative example to try to make it clearer:

  1. "was written" is simple past (in the passive), e.g. "The history of Esperanto was written many years ago." (This sentence stands alone and does not imply anything else.)

  2. "had been written" is past perfect (in the passive), e.g. "The history of Esperanto had been written many years ago, but Joan hadn't discovered the language until she was 65." (The past perfect often pops up in fiction-style past-tense writing such as in this second sample sentence, in order to indicate what the "actual past" is for characters whose present moment is already being described – thanks to the conventions of fiction – with the past tense.)

June 17, 2017


Fine. But "was written" (finite verb in the simple past) and "cooked dinner" (finite verb in the simple past).

July 24, 2015


I don't know about linguistic terms, but "was written" and "cooked dinner" are still not the same. "Was written" would go with "was cooked" and you could say something like "pheasant was cooked that way for many years before the new chef arrived" or "pheasant had been cooked that way for many years before the new chef arrived" and both mean the exact same thing. Both forms are covered by the same form in Esperanto: "estas [ ]-ita".

July 24, 2015

[deactivated user]

    "No, "was written" is not the same as "had been written". "The history of Esperanto was written many years ago" means that many years before now, someone wrote the history of Esperanto. "The history of Esperanto had been written many years ago" means that many years before now, the history of Esperanto had already been written. I think that is what is known as the pluperfect tense.

    March 16, 2017


    I don't get it. What's the difference between the sentences you wrote?

    December 12, 2017


    Yes, it can mean either.

    I suppose if you really want to distinguish them you could use "estis estinta skribita" for "had been written" (the first "esti" being auxiliary for establishing time, the second "esti" being auxiliary for passive, and then the main verb), but that seems really clumsy to me.

    I'm not sure of a good alternative for "was written"; "estis estanta skribita" seems to be the wrong tense.

    July 24, 2015


    Esperanto doesn't distinguish between "was written" and "has been written".

    No offence, but you're still thinking in English and not in Esperanto.

    Edit: I should clarify, it will make sense when you start to think in Esperanto.

    January 15, 2016


    Are you sure that Esperanto doesn't distinguish between "was written" (estis skribata?) and "has been written" (estas skribita"?

    February 8, 2017


    How would one say "The history has been written for many years."?

    July 25, 2015


    My guess would be: "La historio estas skribata jam dum multaj jaroj."

    July 25, 2015


    Just for the sake of practice, what about La historio estas skribita dum multaj jaroj? I think the sentence you wrote should be translated as “By now, the history is being written for many years”.

    August 2, 2016


    Se oni volas paroli specife pri la fino de ago, oni povas paroli per "fini."

    La historio finite skribis jam antaŭ multoj jaroj.

    ... jam finis skribiĝi...

    September 22, 2016
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