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Ili - Singular or Plural?

by RiotNrrd, August 20, 2007

Messages: 9

Language: English

RiotNrrd (User's profile) August 20, 2007, 6:29:52 AM

When applying an adjective to "they" or "them" (i.e., "ili"), should the adjective be given a singular or a plural ending?

For example, "They are good":

Ili estas bona (?)
Ili estas bonaj (?)

I can see doing it either way. "They", as a group, refers to a single entity, and so could be considered singular. But that single entity is composed of more than one element, and on that basis could be considered plural. Or does it simply depend on whether I am applying my adjective to the group as a unit, or to each element within the group, and in fact each example (above) is correct in the appropriate context? (This last is a more precise manner than English employs, of course).

Matthieu (User's profile) August 20, 2007, 10:52:29 AM

I would say that ili is only plural.

licx (User's profile) August 20, 2007, 10:56:30 AM

Mutesen:I would say that ili is only plural.
Yes, I would say it too. It seems very odd to me to say: "Ili estas bona"

Mendacapote (User's profile) August 20, 2007, 1:46:46 PM

Now you can imagine the perplexity of romance language speakers trying to understand why English adjectives don't "pluralize" like their plural nouns! lango.gif

pacepacapaco (User's profile) August 20, 2007, 6:33:57 PM

I had arguments with my English teacher before accepting that this sentence is grammatically correct: "30 dollars was donated." She also said that "the family are going on vacations" is correct, but implies that each member takes a different trip. I would understand if an English-speaker tried to apply this to Esperanto, but I think it would be incorrect.

irikagina (User's profile) August 21, 2007, 12:20:54 AM

Ili estas bona (?)
Ili estas bonaj (?)
I've just started learning esperanto, but I would say "Ili estas bonaj".
Taked out of "A Complete Grammar of Esperanto" :
21. Predicate nouns and adjectives agree in number with the word or words with which they are in predicate relation:
Rozoj estas belaj, roses are beautiful.
Rozoj is plural, so is belaj (concordance).
Now, if I want to replace Rozoj with a pronoun, i'll take "ili" and get: "ili estas belaj": your second option.

I also would say that ili may only be plural, and as such should be always used with plural adjectives:
Ili estas plurala
(Lernu grammar)

黄鸡蛋 (User's profile) August 21, 2007, 1:54:34 AM

I would also say ili is plural.
By the way, if you can say "Ili estas bona", it should be translated into "They is good". Very odd, isn't it?
If you want to make the word to refer to a group, you can say "La aro el ili". (a little odd, I think) Or, maybe you could use "ĝi".

RiotNrrd (User's profile) August 21, 2007, 2:43:09 AM

I also would say that ili may only be plural, and as such should be always used with plural adjectives:
Ili estas plurala
(Lernu grammar)
Ouch. I'm thinking that description should read "'Ili' estas plurala". Following the tack that "ili" is always plural, as it is written the sentence is, in theory, grammatically incorrect. ridulo.gif

I understand that they are referring to "ili" as the singular word and not concerning anything that it is referring to (which would be inherently plural). But I think it's funny that technically the sentence is making a statement about a form that it itself is not following (mainly due to lack of punctuation).

"They" is plural.
They are plural.

Those quotes make a big difference.

mnlg (User's profile) August 23, 2007, 2:23:13 AM

To avoid that you might say:

Vorto "ili" estas plurala.

In general a proper name must always follow the common name, if you want to specify the common name as well. Rivero Volga, lago Ontario, urbo Bostono, strato Main, placo Temple, ŝtato Kalifornio, provinco Alberto, nacio Brazilo, etc. Too often I hear mostly English speakers say "Washington ŝtato" or "Times placo". I understand why they use such a form, but that doesn't make it correct.

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