Skip to the content

Understanding 'kun'

by TimothyHD, August 8, 2022

Messages: 9

Language: English

TimothyHD (User's profile) August 8, 2022, 7:02:45 PM

I'm confused by 'kun'. I find it translated absolutely as 'with' or 'when', but never both. Can someone help me understand? Mi tre komencanto.

Metsis (User's profile) August 9, 2022, 10:06:51 AM

First of all do not translate words but ideas. That is, see the whole message and translate it, and not word by word.

When it comes to translating kun, it means "with, together, in company of", and is almost always followed by a reference to people.
  • Mi konstruis ĝin kun miaj amikoj : I built it with my friends.
So kun has the comitative sense.

Unfortunately English uses the same preposition "with" also with the instructive sense, i.e. when using an instrument. For this purpose Esperanto uses a different prepostion, per.
  • Mi konstruis ĝin per martelo : I built it with a hammer.
Thus if you say Mi konstruis ĝin kun martelo, it means that you have a magical living hammer who(?) helped you to build something.

TimothyHD (User's profile) August 11, 2022, 3:44:35 PM

Dankon. How would kun be understood as meaning 'when'?

Metsis (User's profile) August 11, 2022, 11:02:30 PM

Where did you see such translation?

As I do not speak English natively, I do not come up with an example where kun could get translated to ”with”.

Altebrilas (User's profile) August 15, 2022, 12:59:11 PM

Estas alia ebleco: "mi banas kun bankostumo"
= surhavante bankostumon, "malsen" bankostumo.

Tie bankostumo estas nek ilo nek akompananto homa.

Altebrilas (User's profile) August 15, 2022, 1:03:13 PM

En la franca oni povas diri "les hirondelles viennent avec le printemps" = hirundoj venas kun (?) printempo, hirundoj venas samtempe kiel printempo.

Metsis (User's profile) August 16, 2022, 6:40:12 AM

In order to be universally intelligible the prepositions in Esperanto should usually be understood very literally.

You can group the use cases of kun to three (see PIV).

1. doing something with another person, e.g. kun kiu vi festas, tia vi estas
2. a permanent detail of something, e.g. vazoj el kristalo kun arĝenta garnaĵo
3. a person or an object as an object to an action, e.g. la ambasadoro ne sciis kion fari kun sia persono

When it comes to the third group, nowadays it is recommended to use a more precise preposition if possible (al, pri, kontraŭ…). Therefore ŝi rekomendis al la infano esti singarda kun la fajro → …pri la fajro.


Mi naĝas en mia naĝkostumo. (one is inside a suit)

Metsis (User's profile) August 16, 2022, 6:54:03 AM

If you want to express that two things do something together, at the same time or for the same reason, they you use the adverb kune.

Ili foriris kune.
Patro kaj patrino kune estas nomataj gepatroj.
Al ĉiuj kune ni esprimas dankon.

If you need to connect two things when they do something together, at the same time or for the same reason, they you use the adverbial phrase kune kun.

La junulo kuraĝe batalis kune kun ni kontraŭ niaj malamikoj.
La Fundamento devas resti severe netuŝebla eĉ kune kun siaj eraroj.
Hirundoj venas kune kun printempo.

Altebrilas (User's profile) August 16, 2022, 9:28:11 AM



Mi naĝas en mia naĝkostumo. (one is inside a suit)
Pardonon pri malaligatorado. ("Aligatori" means "to speak the other person's language instead of esperanto"). My 2 preceding messages were in Eo.

In french "je nage dans mon maillot de bain" means metaphorically: "my swimming suit is too large for me"

"Kun" is convenient because it is both simple and understandable.

Generally, it is better for beginners to make errors than to remain silent, because it allows the other person to ask for explanations and to correct you.

Back to the top