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In Esperanto there are 45 particles called tabelvortoj (or correlatives) because they can be arranged in a table according to similar forms and similar meanings.

You can say that each correlative consists of two parts, a beginning and an ending, but these correlatives should not be regarded as compound words. These 'tableword' units comprise a separate and closed system and they are usually not mixed together with ordinary word elements in the language.

Beginnings

KI-
question word, relative word, exclamation
TI-
demonstrative word
I-
undefined word
ĈI-
all-encompassing word
NENI-
negating word

Endings

-U
individual, individual thing, individual matter
-O
thing
-A
quality, type
-ES
possession, owner (object or subject, according to context)
-E
place
-AM
time, occasion (event, condition)
-AL
cause
-EL
manner, grade
-OM
quantity (emphasis of degree)

Several of the table word endings are similar to ordinary endings, but the meanings are not the same:

  • The usual O-ending for nouns and the table word O-part have almost the same meaning, but the table words with O normally do not accept the plural J ending.
  • The ordinary U ending is a verb ending for the volitive/imperative, whereas the U-ending in table words shows individuals (or individual things) — totally different things.
  • The ordinary A ending for adjectives is a general descriptive ending. It often shows attributes and qualities, but it can also show belonging, relationship, individuality, and so forth. The A-part of a table word only shows quality and type.
  • The ordinary adverb ending E can show manner, time, location, measure, occasion, and other meanings. The E-ending on table words always and only shows location.

KI-words

The table words with KI are mainly used as interrogative words and as relative pronouns , but also as exclamations:

  • Kio estas tio? - What is that?

    Interrogative kio.

  • Kiu kuraĝas rajdi sur leono? - Who has the courage to ride on a lion?

    Interrogative kiu

  • Kiel vi fartas? - How are you? (lit. How do you fare?)

    Interrogative kiel

  • Fremdulo, diru, kiu kaj el kie vi estas. - Foreigner, say who you are and where you're from.

    Interrogative kiu and kie.

  • La fera bastono, kiu kuŝis en la forno, estas nun brule varmega. - The iron rod, which is lying in the furnace, is now burning hot.

    Relative kiu.

  • Kiam mi venis al li, li dormis. - When I came to him he was sleeping.

    Relative kiam.

  • Li estas tiu, kies monon vi prenis. - He is the one whose money you took.

    Relative kies

  • Kia granda brulo! - What a big conflagration!

    Exclamatory kia.

  • Fi, kiel abomene! - For shame, how abominable!

    Exclamatory kiel.

  • Kion mi vidas! - What am I seeing!

    Exclamatory (and interrogative) kio.

The particle ajn

The adverbial word ajn emphatically shows indefiniteness or indifference. Ajn is used mainly with relative KI-words, but it is also used with I-words and ĈI-words, and occasionally with NENI-words. Ajn is always placed after the table word it concerns:

  • Mi kondukos vin al ŝi, kie ajn ŝi estos trovebla! - I will drive you to her wherever she may be found! (lit. wherever she is findable)

    It doesn't matter where she can be found. (lit. where she is findable)

  • Kiu ajn ŝi estos, mi deziras al ŝi feliĉon! - Whoever she may be, I wish her happiness! (lit. whoever she will be)

    It doesn't matter who she turns out to be. (lit. who she will be)

  • Mi donis solenan promeson, ke mi silentos, ĝis mi revenos, kiam ajn tio ĉi fariĝos. - I gave a solemn promise that I would be silent until I come back, whenever that may be.
  • Ĉiam ajn vi estas bonvena ĉe mi. - You are always welcome at my place.

    Come when you want.

  • Kial ŝi forlasis tiun lokon, en kiu ŝi havis ian ajn eblon, por ion ajn laborenspezi? - Why did she leave that place, where she had some kind of possibility for some kind of earnings?

    Without this place, the possibility is totally lacking.

  • Nenion ajn mi diros. - I will say nothing whatsoever.

    Absolutely nothing.

Zamenhof, due to influence from national languages, sometimes used a relative KI-word before ajn, when it would be more logical to use a ĈI-word or an I-word. Unless a subclause is being introduced, a ĈI-word or an I-word is preferable. Mi konsentas akcepti kian ajn pagon. (I agree to receive any which kind of payment). Better: ...ĉian ajn pagon (every kind of payment) or ...ian ajn pagon (any kind of payment).

TI-words

The table words with TI are demonstratives. They usually show something previously mentioned or something to be mentioned shortly. They can also point to something being directly seen, heard, or similar:

  • Mi volas, ke tio, kion mi diris, estu vera. - I want that what I said to be true.

    Tio indicates a previously mentioned matter.

  • Tio estas mia hejmo. - That is my home.

    Tio shows something that is seen (perhaps by pointing).

  • Li estas tiel dika, ke li ne povas trairi tra nia mallarĝa pordo. - He is so fat that he can't go through our narrow door.

    Tiel points to a following ke-clause.

  • Kio estas, kio vin tiel afliktas? - What is it that distresses you so?

    Tiel shows something seen or heard.

  • Ŝi estis en tiu momento tre bela. - She was, at this moment, very beautiful.

    Tiu indicates a moment previously mentioned.

  • Tiu ĉi malfreŝa pano estas malmola, kiel ŝtono. - This stale bread is as hard as rock.

    Tiu (that, that one) indicates a thing that is present (the stale bread).

The particle ĉi

The particle ĉi can be added to TI table words, to show proximity to the speaker. Ĉi can be placed either before or after the table word. Ĉi can't receive an ending. A simple TI word always shows something that isn't especially close to the speaker. A TI word + ĉi shows some proximity to the speaker:

  • tie = in that place → tie ĉi, ĉi tie = in this place close to me
  • tiu domo (away from me) → tiu ĉi domo, ĉi tiu domo (close to me)
  • tio = that matter (away from me) → tio ĉi, ĉi tio = this matter
  • tiel = in that manner → tiel ĉi, ĉi tiel = in this manner (which I am showing)

Ĉi tiam (this time) or tiam ĉi aren't used in practice. Instead, the word nun (now) is used.

Ĉi is a separate word. Do not use a hyphen. Don't write: ĉi-tiu, tiu-ĉi, ĉi-tie, tie-ĉi, ĉio-ĉi etc. Write:ĉi tiu, tiu ĉi, ĉi tie, tie ĉi, ĉio ĉi etc.

But often we make an adjective or adverb from a sentence element which contains the particle ĉi. Then the whole expression becomes one word . Normally the TI-word disappears. For clarity it is then customary to place a hypen after ĉi: ĉi tieĉi-tiea, en tiu ĉi noktoĉi-nokte, sur ĉi tiu flankoĉi-flanke, la somero de tiu ĉi jarola ĉi-jara somero.

I-words

Table words with I represent things that are unspecified, imprecise, or unknown:

  • Ŝi ricevis ion por manĝi kaj por trinki. - She got something to eat and to drink.

    It is not mentioned what she received.

  • Venis iuj personoj, kiujn mi ne konas. - Some people came, whom I don't know.

    It is not known who the people were..

  • Ili iam revenos. - They will return sometime.

    The point in time is unknown.

  • Hodiaŭ estas ies tago de naskiĝo. - Today is somebody's birthday.

    It is not mentioned whose birthday it is.

ĈI-words

Table words with ĈI indicate something universal or all-encompassing, corresponding to English words with "every":

  • Li faris ĉion per la dek fingroj de siaj manoj. - He did everything with the ten fingers of his hands.

    Ĉio (everything) expresses the entirety of the thing he did.

  • Ĉiu homo amas sin mem. - Every human being loves himself.

    No person exists for which this is not valid.

  • Tiuj ĉi du amikoj promenas ĉiam duope. - These two friends are always walking together. (duope -in twos, as a couple, in pairs etc)

    Ĉiam (always) shows that there is not a time when they don't go together.

  • Ĉie regis ĝojo. - Joy ruled everywhere.

    There was no place where joy didn't rule.

Sometimes the particle ĉi is used before or after a table word in ĈI: ĉio = all things → ĉio ĉi, ĉi ĉio = all these things, all that here.

NENI-words

Table words with NENI have a negative meaning:

  • La tempon venontan neniu ankoraŭ konas. - The time to come nobody yet knows.

    Neniu means that no person exists who knows about the future.

  • Mi neniel povas kompreni, kion vi parolas. - In no way can I understand what you are saying.

    Neniel shows that in no manner can I understand you.(compare "neniel" to "nohow")

  • Kiam mi ien veturas, mi neniam prenas kun mi multon da pakaĵo. - When I travel somewhere I never take a lot of baggage.

    Neniam shows that there is no time when I take a lot of baggage on a trip.

A NENI-word is sufficient to negate the whole sentence.

Table words ending in U

kiu
Asks about the identity of one out of many known people, things or matters.
tiu
Indicates one certain person, thing or matter out of several known entities.
iu
Indicates an unknown or undefinable individual person, thing or matter.
ĉiu
Shows one at a time and without exception individuals of a group of people, things or matters.
neniu
Negates the individuals of a group of people, things or matters.

The U-words show individuality and identity. They are the most basic of all table words.

The table words with U can receive an N-ending and a J-ending. With a J-ending, they show several individual people, ideas, or things.

Table words with U are definers. Therefore, la may not be used with them.

Table words with U are normally epithets (definers) of a noun, but the noun is often understood only through context. If nothing in the context shows otherwise, it is assumed that the word "persono(j)(n)" (person/people) is being referred to:

  • Kiu libro estas via?Kiu estas via? - Which book is yours? {1} Which is yours?
  • Tiu seĝo ŝajnas bona.Tiu ŝajnas bona. - That chair seems good. {1} That one seems good.
  • Ĉiu homo devas pensi mem.Ĉiu devas pensi mem. - Every human being must think for themselves. {1} Everyone must think for themselves.
  • Kiu persono venis?Kiu venis? - Which person came? {1} Who came?
  • Ĉu estas iu [persono] en la kuirejo? — Jes, Paŭlo estas tie. - Is there anyone in the kitchen? — Yes, Paŭlo is there.
  • Jen kelkaj bonaj libroj. Kiun [libron] vi volas legi? — Mi volas tiun [libron]. - Here are some good books. Which [book] do you want to read? — I want this one.
  • Ĉu vi havas krajonon? — Neniun [krajonon] mi havas. - Do you have a pencil? — Not a single one.

Ĉiu(j) is always plural in meaning, but a distinction is drawn between singular ĉiu (every) and plural ĉiuj (all).

  • The word ĉiu is used when considering the individuals separately.
  • Ĉiuj is used when thinking about the whole group taken together.

Sometimes this distinction isn't important, but in other cases, the difference is significant.

  • Por ĉiu tago mi ricevas kvin eŭrojn. = Por ĉiu aparta tago... - For each day I get five euros. = For each single day...
  • Ĉiu amas ordinare personon, kiu estas simila al li. = Ĉiu aparta homo amas... - Everyone usually loves a person who is similar to himself. = Each individual person loves...
  • Kvinope ili sin ĵetis sur min, sed mi venkis ĉiujn kvin atakantojn. = ...mi venkis la tutan grupon. - The five of them threw themselves on me, but I beat all five attackers. =I beat the whole group. (Note: "kvinopo"=any group of five, comp: quintet)

    Here J is necessary because the number five is mentioned. But alternatively you can say:...mi venkis ĉiun el la kvin atakantoj. But then we are not talking about a fight against a whole group, but about five more or less separate fights.

  • Post la kurado ĉiuj estis terure lacaj. - After the run, all were terribly tired.

    We are talking about the entire group of runners. One can also say: ...ĉiu estis terure laca. (each one was terribly tired)

  • El ĉiuj miaj infanoj Ernesto estas la plej juna. = El la tuta grupo de miaj infanoj... - Out of all my children Ernesto is the youngest. = Out of the whole group of my children...
  • Nun mi legas, vi legas kaj li legas; ni ĉiuj legas. - Now I am reading, you are reading and he is reading; we are all reading.

    Ni is plural. Therefore ĉiuj must have a J.

Neniu is normally used alone with a J-ending:

  • La tempon venontan neniu ankoraŭ konas. Neniu = neniu persono. - The time to come nobody yet knows. Neniu (nobody) = not any person.
  • Mi konas neniun en tiu ĉi urbo. - I don't know anyone in this city.

Neniu, without a J, is also normally used followed by a noun:

  • Ŝi ne vidis eĉ la ĉielon, ĉar ĝi estis kovrita de nuboj kaj neniu stelo en ĝi brilis. - She did not even see the sky, because it was covered with clouds and no star was shining (in it).

However, the word neniuj may be used to show contrast with the idea "more than one", but that is normally done only when the word is followed by a noun:

  • Ĉe la fenestro restis plu neniuj floroj. - At the window there are no longer any flowers remaining.

    Before there were many flowers there.

Table words ending in O

kio
"which matter, what kind of matter"
tio
"that; that matter"
io
"something,some matter, some kind of affair"
ĉio
"each matter, every kind of matter"
nenio
"no matter, no kind of matter"

Table words ending in O indicate indicate a thing, idea, or matter that cannot be precisely named by a noun. Here the general word "thing" is used as an explanation, but the meaning is even more general. The table word in O is also used to represent something which was expressed by a whole sentence.

Table words in O can take the N-ending, but normally not the J-ending, because they express a general whole.

An epithet accompanying a table word in O always stands after the table word: io bona, kion novan, ĉio grava etc.

Table words in O are independent sentence elements. They cannot describe a noun. They answer to a U-word + matter:

  • Kio estas tio? = Kiu afero estas tiu afero? - What is that? = What thing is this thing?
  • Tio estas speco de meblo. = Tiu afero estas speco de meblo. - That is a type of furniture. = This thing is a kind of furniture.
  • Ĉio restis kiel antaŭe. = Ĉiu afero restis kiel antaŭe. - Everything stayed as before. = This matter stayed as before.
  • Kion bonan vi trovis tie? = Kiujn bonajn aferojn vi trovis tie? - What good did you find there? = Which good things/matters did you find there?
  • Nenion interesan mi trovis. = Neniun interesan aferon mi trovis. - I found nothing interesting. = I found no interesting matter.

Sometimes one might hesitate between tio and ĝi. Normally we use tio for something undefined which we cannot or don't want to name with an exact noun. Without exception use tio to indicate something which was mentioned by an entire sentence. We use ĝi for something defined, which was previously expressed through a noun and which one can repeat with la or another determiner:

  • Ŝi rakontis belan fabelon. Tio estis tre amuza. - She told a beautiful tale. That was very amusing.

    What was amusing was that she told a tale. Tio represents the whole previous sentence.

  • Ŝi rakontis belan fabelon. Ĝi estis tre amuza. - She told a beautiful tale. It was very amusing.

    It was the tale that was amusing. Ĝi represents the sentence element la (bela) fabelo.

Table words ending in A

kia
"of which type, having which quality"
tia
"of that type, having that quality"
ia
"of some type, having some quality"
ĉia
"of every kind, having every quality"
nenia
"of no type, having no quality"

Correlatives ending in A act adjectivally, i.e. they take the J-ending and N-ending just as adjectives do. But correlatives in A always show a quality or type, whereas real adjectives (with a real A-ending) can have multifarious meanings.

Correlatives ending in A are determiners. Therefore one can't use la with them.

  • Kia li estas? Ĉu li estas maljuna aŭ juna? - What is he like? Is he old or young?
  • Kian aĝon vi havas? - What age are you? (lit. what kind of age)
  • Kia estas via nomo? - What is your name?

    Or: Kiu [el ĉiuj nomoj] estas via nomo? Or more frequently:Kio estas via nomo? Zamenhof also used: Kiel estas via nomo? However we usually say: Kiel vi nomiĝas?

  • Be! li staris senhelpe, tian respondon li ne atendis. - Huh! He stood there helpless, that kind of answer he didn't expect.
  • Estis tia ventego, ke la tegoloj deflugis de la tegmentoj. - The gust of wind was such, that the tiles flew off the roof.
  • Restu ĉiam tia, kia vi estas! - Always stay as you are!

    Tia points to a following kia-clause. If after tia there is not a whole sentence (with a predicate),but only a clause, then we do not use kia, but the comparative kiel: Li estas tia kiel mi.

  • Mi ne volis trinki la vinon, ĉar ĝi enhavis en si ian suspektan malklaraĵon. - I didn't want to drink the wine because it had in it some kind of suspicious opaqueness.
  • Maldiligenteco estas la radiko de ĉia malbono. - Sloth is the root of all evil.
  • Nenia konstruo povas esti sen bruo. - No construction can be without noise.

Correlatives ending in A show quality or type, while correlatives ending in U show identity. With kia/kiu and tia/tiu the difference is normally clear. With ia/iu, ĉia/ĉiu and nenia/neniu there is somtimes just a small difference:

  • Kia homo li estas? - What kind of a person is he?

    Here a characterization of the person is wanted.

  • Kiu homo li estas? - Which person is he?

    We are asked, for example, about the name of the person to discover his identity.

  • Tia opinio estas tute erara. - That type of opinion is completely erroneous.

    All opinions of that type are erroneous.

  • Tiu opinio estas tute erara. - This opinion is entirely erroneous.

    The opinion being discussed is erroneous. Other similar opinions are possibly right.

  • Ni devas enloĝiĝi en ia hotelo. = ...en hotelo de iu el la diversaj specoj de hoteloj. - We have to check into some kind of hotel. = into one of the various types of hotels.
  • Ni devas enloĝiĝi en iu hotelo. = ...en iu el la diversaj individuaj hoteloj, kiuj troviĝas ĉi tie. - We have to check into some hotel. = into any one of the several hotels that are to be found here.

    Usually we simply leave out iu in this kind of sentence.

Table words ending in ES

kies
"whose"
ties
"that person's"
ies
someone's, somebody's
ĉies
everybody's, everyone's
nenies
"nobody's, no-one's"

An ES-word, which is an epithet of a noun, adds a defining meaning. ES-words are determiners- just like possessive pronouns - so we can't use la with them. If we replace an ES-word with a de-expression, we normally have to add la.

Just as in possessive pronouns the ES-words stand before the noun, while the equivalent de-expression has to come after: ties libro = la libro de tiu (persono).

ES-words do not take the J-ending nor the N-ending:

  • Kies filino vi estas? - Whose daughter are you?
  • Mi efektive ne scias, kies kulpo ĝi estas. - I, in fact, don't know whose fault it is.
  • Ili ekvidis virinon, kies vizaĝon ili en la krepusko ne rekonis. - They spotted a woman whose face they didn't recognize in the twilight.
  • Kies gasto mi estas, ties feston mi festas. - Whoever's guest I am, that person's feast I'll celebrate.

    Ties is not often used. We prefer to use possessive pronouns (lia, ŝia, ĝia or ilia).

  • La infano ludis kun sia pupo, kiam subite ties kapo frakasiĝis. - The child was playing with its doll when suddenly its head broke.

    Ties shows that we're talking about the head of the doll. If it were the head of the child, one would say ĝia kapo. (its head)

  • Kiu ĝojas pri ies malfeliĉo, tiu ne restos sen puno. = ...pri la malfeliĉo de iu persono... - Whoever finds joy in another's misfortune will not rest unpunished. = about the misfortune of another person...

    Ies (someone's, anyone's) is usually used to refer to only one unknown person (not things, nor several matters or people).

  • Tio estis la koro de riĉa fama viro, kies nomo estis sur ĉies lipoj. = ...sur la lipoj de ĉiuj personoj. - That was the heart of a rich, famous man, whose name was on everyone's lips. = ...on the lips of every person.

    Ĉies is customarily used only with reference to people, not to things.

  • Memoru, ke Esperanto estas nenies propraĵo. - Remember that Esperanto is nobody's property.

    Nenies (nobody's) is usually used only about people, not about things.

Table words ending in E

kie
"where, in which place"
tie
"there, in that place"
ie
"somewhere, in some place"
ĉie
"everywhere, in each place, in every place"
nenie
"nowhere, in no place"

Correlatives ending in E can't take a J-ending, but you can add an N-ending showing direction:

kien
"to which place, in which direction"
tien
"to that place, in that direction"
ien
"to some location, in some direction"
ĉien
"to each place, in every direction"
nenien
"to no place, in no direction"
  • Kie estas la libro kaj la krajono? - Where is the book and the pencil?
  • Mi montris al la infano, kie kuŝas ĝia pupo. - I showed the child where its doll lay.
  • Sonorado al li venas, sed de kie — li ne komprenas. - A ringing comes to him, but from where — he doesn't understand.
  • Mi volis resti tie, kie mi estis. - I wanted to stay there where I was.
  • Se li scius, ke mi estas tie ĉi, li tuj venus al mi. - If he knew that I am here, he would immediately come to me.
  • Ĉu vi loĝas ie? = Ĉu vi loĝas en iu loko? - Do you live somewhere? = Do you live in some place?
  • Malsaĝulo ĉie sian nomon skribas. - A fool writes his name everywhere.
  • Pli bela reĝidino ol ŝi troviĝis nenie en la mondo. - A princess more beautiful than she was found nowhere in the world.
  • Kien vi iras? — Mi iras en la ĝardenon. - Where are you going to? — I'm going into the garden. (Note:English used to distinguish between "where" and "whither" [kie-kien].)
  • Rigardu tien ĉi. - Look over here.
  • Mi nenien plu iros hodiaŭ. - I'm not going anywhere else today. (lit. I to nowhere further will go today.)

Table words ending in AM

kiam
"when, at which time, on which occasion"
tiam
"then, at that time, on that occasion"
iam
"at some time, on some occasion"
ĉiam
"always, at all times, each time"
neniam
"never, at no time, on no occasion"

AM-words don't take the J-ending nor the N-ending.

  • Sed kiam tio okazis? - But when did this happen?

    When asking about the precise time (clock time), we don't use kiam, but the interrogative used for determining sequence kioma .

  • Li skribis al mi, ke li intencas ĝin eldoni, sed li ne skribis ankoraŭ kiam li ĝin eldonos. - He wrote to me, that he intends to publish it, but he hasn't written yet to say when he will publish it.
  • En unu tago, kiam ŝi estis apud tiu fonto, venis al ŝi malriĉa virino. - One day when she was by this fountain, a poor woman came up to her.
  • Tubeto, en kiun oni metas cigaron, kiam oni ĝin fumas, estas cigaringo. - A little tube in which you put a cigar, when you smoke it, is a cigar holder.
  • De kiam vi loĝas ĉi tie? - Since when do you live here?
  • Li vekiĝis nur tiam, kiam la suno leviĝis. - He woke up only when the sun had risen.
  • Ŝajnas al mi, ke ĉi tiun vizaĝon mi jam iam vidis. - It seems to me that I already saw this face at some point.
  • Ŝi estis ja la plej bela knabino, kiun li iam vidis. - She was the most beautiful girl that he had ever seen.

    Iam represents some time in the past.

  • Oni diras, ke la vero ĉiam venkas. - They say that truth will always out. (lit. truth will always conquer)
  • Bona koro neniam fariĝas fiera. - A good heart never becomes proud.
  • La maljunulo fermos por ĉiam siajn okulojn. - The old man will close his eyes for ever.

    The expression por ĉiam shows that the consequences will always remain. Closing the eyes is only momentary, but what follows, the eyes being closed, will be forever.

Table words ending in AL

kial
"why, an account of what cause or motive"
tial
"therefore, for that motive, because of that"
ial
"for some reason, for some motive, because of something"
ĉial
"for every cause, for every motive, because of everything"
nenial
"for no reason, for no motive, for nothing"

AL-words can't take the J-ending or the N-ending.

  • Kial vi ploras? - Why are you crying?
  • Mi komprenas, kial vi faris tion. - I understand why you did that.
  • Hodiaŭ estas bela frosta vetero, tial mi prenos miajn glitilojn kaj iros gliti. - Today we have beautiful frosty weather, therefore I'll take my skates and go skating.

    Note the difference between tial (therefore,that's why) and ĉar. Tial represents the cause, but ĉar (because) introduces a clause which shows the cause: Mi prenos miajn glitilojn kaj iros gliti, ĉar hodiaŭ estas bela frosta vetero.

  • Mi vin ial ankoraŭ ne konas. - I, for some reason, still don't know you.
  • Vi demandas, kial mi amas vin. Mi respondas: ĉial! - You ask, why do I love you. I answer: for every reason!

The word nenial (for no reason) is in practice little used, but when it is used, it negates the entire sentence (just as all other NENI-words do):

  • Tian Regularon por nia Ligo mi nenial povus aprobi. = ...mi pro neniuj motivoj povus aprobi. - No reasons would permit me to approve that kind of regulation for our league. = ...I could not approve for any reason.
  • Vi povus inciti lin kiom ajn. Li nenial kolerus. = ...li pro neniu kaŭzo kolerus. - You could tease him to any extent. He would not get angry for any reason.= ... no cause would anger him.

If you want to give it a more positive interpretation then use sen kaŭzo, senkaŭze, senmotive or something similar: Ŝi ridis senkaŭze. (She laughed without a cause.) = Ŝi ja ridis, sed sen motivo.. (She did laugh, but for no reason or motive.)

Table words ending in EL

kiel
"how; in which manner or to which degree"
tiel
"in that manner or to that degree"
iel
"in some manner, to some degree"
ĉiel
"in every way"
neniel
"in no manner" (the colloquial English "no way" might best be translated as "certe ne" although literally it means in no manner.)

The EL-words are general adverbial correlatives which are used when we are not talking about a time/occasion (AM-words), location (E-words), cause (AL-words) or quantity/number (OM-words). The EL-words pretty well cover all other meanings which an adverb can express. Mainly it addresses degree and manner.

EL-words can't take a J-ending or an N-ending.

  • Kiel li aspektas? - How does he look?
  • Kiel vi fartas? - How are you? (lit. how do you fare?)
  • Rakontu al mi per malmulte da vortoj, kiel tio okazis. - Tell me in a few words how this happened.
  • Mi zorgas pri ŝi tiel, kiel mi zorgas pri mi mem. - I take care of her in the same way that I take care of myself.
  • Kiel alta estas tiu turo? - How high is that tower?
  • Kiel longe tio ankoraŭ daŭros? - How long will that still last?
  • Tiu ĉi malfreŝa pano estas malmola, kiel ŝtono. - This stale bread is as hard as stone.
  • Bojas hundido, ĉar tiel faras la hundo. - A puppy barks, because that's what the dog does.
  • Ne faru tiel, faru tiel ĉi! - Don't do it that way, do it this way!
  • Ili ambaŭ estis tiel malagrablaj kaj tiel fieraj, ke oni ne povis vivi kun ili. - They were both so disagreeable and so proud, that one could not live with them.
  • Mi estas tiel forta, kiel vi. - I am as strong as you.
  • Iel ni sukcesos. - Somehow we will succeed.
  • Ili ĉiel helpis al mi. - They helped me in every way.
  • Mi neniel esperis sukceson. - I did not hope for success in any manner.

Table words ending in OM

kiom
"how much, what number of, what quantity of"
tiom
"that much, that amount, that quantity"
iom
"not very much but also not little"
ĉiom
"the entire amount"
neniom
"no kind of number, no kind of quantity, no kind of measure"

OM-words can not take a J-ending nor an N-ending.

  • Kiom vi volas, ĉu du aŭ tri? = Kiel multajn vi volas... - How many do you want, two or three? - Kiom- how much, how many
  • Ŝi pripensis, kiom kostos al ŝi la nokta restado. - She considered how much an overnight stay would cost her.
  • Ho, kiom pli bona estas via amo, ol vino! - Oh, how much better is your love than wine!
  • Kiom mi vidas, vi havas nur unu filon. = Laŭ tio, kion mi vidas, vi havas... - From what I see, you have only one son. = (lit. "as much as I see") According to what I see, you have...

    Maybe you have more sons, but I can't see any more.

  • Sendi 100 ekzemplerojn mi ne povis, ĉar mi nun tiom ne havas. - I could not send 100 copies, because I don't have that many now.
  • Mi havas tiom multe, ke mi ne bezonas ŝpari! - I have so much that I don't need to save!

    Often kiom and tiom are used together with multe (aŭ multaj). Multe can be left out, but it reinforces the meaning somewhat. You can also use kiel multe, tiel multe, but then there is no special emphasis.

  • Ŝi aĉetis iom da butero. = ...kvanton da butero ne tre grandan sed tamen konsiderindan. - She bought some butter. = not a large amount of butter but still considerable.

    In theory iom should mean "some indefinite amount", but in practice it almost always signifies a small amount. The meaning is in fact even more restricted, namely: "not very much, but still enough to be considered significant". Don't confuse iom(some) with malmulte(few): Li faris iom da eraroj.(He made some mistakes.) There weren't very many mistakes, but enough that one would criticize him. Li faris malmulte da eraroj. (He made few mistakes.) The mistakes were so small in number that one must praise him.

  • Mi pensas, ke mi ĝin ankoraŭ iom memoras. = ...ne tre multe memoras, sed ankoraŭ ja memoras. - I think that I still remember it somewhat. = ...don't remember much still do remember.
  • Tie supre estingiĝis la ruĝaj koloroj, dum la suno iom post iom malaperis. - There above the red colors faded away, while the sun disappeared little by little.

    The expression iom post iom shows that something happened by many small, hardly distinguishable changes.

  • Kiom da benzino vi volas? — Mi volas ĉiom, kiom vi havas. = ...Mi volas la tutan kvanton da benzino, kiun vi havas. - How much gas to you want? — I want anything and everything that you have. = ĉiom = every quanity, the entire stock that you have.

    The meaning of ĉiom in practice is quite often quite similar to the meaning of ĉio, which is used more often.

  • Sur la mezo de la strato estas multe da radoj kaj da ĉevalaj hufoj, sed da homoj piedirantaj estas malpli, preskaŭ neniom. - In the middle of the street there were many wheels and horses' hoofs, but there were fewer pedestrians, almost none.

OM-words are used both adverbially and as nouns.

Usually to indicate degree we use kiel and tiel. But to give strong emphasis you can instead use kiom and tiom: Ĝi estis tiom bela, ke mi svenis. La Esperantistoj tute ne pretendas, ke ilia lingvo prezentas ion tiom perfektan, ke nenio pli alta jam povus ekzisti.

Can ALI-words be table words?

Many times it has been proposed to add the initial part ALI- to the table, creating the new series aliu, alio, alia, alies, alie, aliam, alial, aliel, aliom*. Some even practice this, using primarily the words aliel and alies.

In official Esperanto, ALI is an ordinary root, which can be used to make words using ordinary endings.

  • alia = "not the same, different"
  • alio = "something else"
  • alie = "on another occasion, in another manner"
  • alii = "to be of another kind, to differ" (rarely used)

Initiating use of new table words would bring drastic changes into the language. Here are just a few examples:

The regular word alie most often means "on another occasion", but it can also mean "in another manner". As a correlative, however, alie would instead mean "in another place". As a result normal sentences like Ni devas alie agi would entirely change their meaning.

Alia in normal Esperanto is not a correltive but an ordinary adjective, and it means "of another type" or "with another identity". The new correlative alia would only mean "of another type" If a correlative starting with ALI were to exist, then one would no longer be able to say,for example, la alia ĉambro estas pli granda, but rather la aliu ĉambro estas pli granda. One would also have to say: ili amas unu la aliun instead of the usual ili amas unu la alian.

Often compounds are created like: de alia specoalispeca. But users of the table words with ALI should instead say:aliuspeca, because you can't remove the latter part of the table word. Compare with:de tiu specotiuspeca (ne: tispeca).

Nobody has yet used the full table-series of ALI-words in a consistant manner. So far we see only an unconsidered and illogical use of aliel and alies, and occasionally aliu. Some use classical Esperanto and the reformed dialect interchangibly. When they say,for example, alie or alia, you never know whether to interpret it in the traditional sense or according to the new dialect. Luckily, however, the majority still use the language logically according to its traditional rules.

Therefore, use only the table words that already exist, and form other expressions using ordinary roots according to the rules of Fundamental Esperanto.

A reform to be avoided Official Esperanto
aliu alia
alia alia, alispeca, alieca
alies de alia (persono), aliula
alie aliloke
alien aliloken
aliam alifoje, aliokaze
alial alikaŭze
aliel alimaniere, alie
aliom alikvante

Note: As a "compromise" there was a proposal for the form aliio, aliiu, aliia, aliie, aliiel etc. (a compound of the root ALI with the table words in I). Although these words are regular they are totally unfit in practical use. To hear the distinction between aliie and alie, between aliia and alia, etc. is not easy. It's not enough that words be regularly compounded. They must also work in practical communication.

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