I'm having a real problem to detect the accusative case and to know when to use the -n final.
Of course there is the same with my native language (Portuguese), but it is something so natural to me that when it comes up to think about it, I don't really know.
I'm missing a lot of questions, can you guys give me any hint about the accusative case and when to use the -n? Thanks
I'm also learning here, but I can give you a quick explanation to see if that helps.
But, before I start, have you seen the "Notes Tips" section for the Accusatives lesson? It's really good and makes the rules very clear, so please read or review it for more information (you have to access Duolingo from the website to see this "Tips" section).
Anyway, here's my explanation:
In grammar, a sentence normally has a "subject", "verb" and an "object".
Adam eats an apple
So, in this example:
Subject = "Adam" [this is the person doing the action]
Verb = "eats" [this is the action]
Object = "an apple" [this is the thing/person that has the action done to it]
In grammar, the "object" is also called the "accusative". So in that example, "an apple" is the accusative.
Now, in Esperanto, the accusative in the sentence gets an "n" at the end of the word to make it very clear which one is the "object" of the "verb".
So, in Esperanto, the same sentence is:
Adamo manĝas pomoN
Since in Esperanto you mark the accusative with an "N", this allows you to change the word order without affecting the meaning of the sentence.
The man eats an apple
In Esperanto, this sentence can be said in more than one way:
a) la viro manĝas pomoN [pomo is the "object" of this sentence so it gets "N" at the end]
or, you can say
b) pomoN manĝas la viro [pomo is still the "object" here, that's why it has the "N"]
That's all for the most basic rule for accusative, I hope that was clear.
Once you understand that fully, here are some additional rules to remember:
1) an "adjective" is used to describe the "subject" or the "object".
For example: "the handsome man eats a tasty apple"
"handsome" is an adjective describing the "subject", which is "man"
"tasty" is an adjective describing the "object" of this sentence, which is "apple"
In Esperanto, the adjective of the "object" should also get the accusative case.
So, in Esperanto, the same sentence would be:
La bela viro manĝas bongustaN pomoN"
2) in grammar, there's something called a "preposition", which is words like "to", "from", "for", "with", ...etc.
When you use a preposition with the "object", you DON'T use the "accusative" N.
So, for example:
Adamo iras al la parko [Adam goes TO the park]
Notice in that example that you DON'T add the "N" at the end of "parko", because of the "al", which in Esperanto is the preposition for "to", as in "to the park".
Here's another example:
a) Adamo amas meksikoN [Adam loves Mexico] (you should add the "N" to meksiko because it is the "object" of this sentence)
b) Adamo loĝas en meksiko [Adam lives IN Mexico] (you don't add the "N" to meksiko here because you are using the preposition "en", which means "in")
This rule is important to remember, because beginners like me learn the accusative N rule, and start to apply the "N" everywhere, but you have to remember that you DON'T add the "N" if you are using a preposition.
Note: there are some more rules and exceptions for the accusative, but don't worry about those for now, if you understand the above basic rules, and apply them to the duolingo exercises, you should be able to get the majority of the tree easily, and you will be able to learn the additional rules as you go.
Hope that helps,