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The grammatical ending N is called an accusative ending or simply an accusative. It can be added as an ending to words of various types:

The N-ending is always placed after a J-ending, where one is present: domojn, hundojn, virinojn, ruĝajn, grandajn, virinajn, kiujn, kiajn.

If a noun has the N-ending, then all adjectives and table words in U and A forms, which are epithets to that noun (that is, which describe the noun) should also have the N-ending.

  • grandan domon
  • domon ruĝan
  • tiun domon
  • tiajn domojn
  • tiun domon grandan
  • tian malgrandan domon antikvan
  • la malgrandajn domojn
  • domojn sen ĉiu ajn dubo tre antikvajn

Objective predicatives, however, should not have the N-ending: Mi refarbis la flavajn seĝojn blankaj.

The N-ending can show:


An object is the thing that is directly influenced by an action. The direct object is shown using the accusative N-ending. That enables use of various word orders.

Each of the following sentences has basically the same meaning: kato mordas hundon; kato hundon mordas; mordas kato hundon; mordas hundon kato; hundon kato mordas; hundon mordas kato (in each case the cat is the one who is biting while the dog is suffering the bite. On account of the N-ending each one of the equivalent variants is clearly understood. The word order only depends on style and taste.

Mi amas vin; mi vin amas; vin mi amas; vin amas mi; amas mi vin; amas vin mi. All six variants basically have the same meaning: The action amas originates with "mi", and the love goes to "vi".

A sentence with an object can be transformed into a passive sentence. Then the object becomes a subject.

Esti (to be) and similar verbs are not actions directed towards something. The part of the sentence which relates to esti is not an object but a predicative, which never has an N-ending: Tio estas tri seĝoj. Mi estas kuracisto. Ŝi fariĝis doktoro. Mia patro nomiĝas Karlo.

The subject of a verb can be placed after the predicate. This word order is used very frequently with some verbs. The N-ending shouldn't be used with these subjects:

  • Hieraŭ okazis grava afero. - Yesterday an important matter occurred.

    The subject of the action okazis (happened) is grava afero (an important thing). Don't say: Hieraŭ okazis gravan aferon. When hearing that expression, the listener must ask, "what happened the important thing". But "okazi" (to happen) isn't an action that goes from the performer of the action to something affected by that action. The verb "to happen" only has one (primary) actor: that which happens. This actor always appears as a subject, and therefore should not have an N-ending.

  • Restis nur unu persono. - Only one person remained.

    The person is the one who performed the action "resti". Don't say: Restis nur unu personon.

  • Aperis nova eldono de la libro. - A new edition of the book came out.

    Don't say: Aperis novan eldonon de la libro.

  • Mankas al ni mono. - We are out of money.

    Don't say: Mankas al ni monon.


Adjects and supplements of measure often have an N-ending.

Measurement of time

An N-ending on an expression involving time can show measurement of length of time, duration, or frequency. These expressions answer the questions: kiel longe? (how long?), (dum) kiom da tempo? (for how long?), kiel ofte? (how often?), and so forth.

An N-clause measuring time is usually an adject of a verb:

  • Mi veturis du tagojn kaj unu nokton. = ...dum du tagoj kaj unu nokto. - I travelled two days and one night. = for two days and one night.
  • Li estas morte malsana, li ne vivos pli, ol unu tagon. - He is deathly ill. He will not live for more than one day.
  • La festo daŭris ok tagojn. - The festivity lasted eight days.
  • Ŝi aĝis tridek jarojn. - She was thirty years old.
  • La horloĝo malfruas kvin minutojn. - The clock is five minutes slow.

An N-clause measuring time can also be a supplement to an adjective or an adverb:

  • Li estis dudek du jarojn aĝa. = dudek du jaroj aĝa. - He was twenty-two years old.
  • La parolado estis du horojn longa. - The speech was two hours long.
  • Tiu ĉi vojo estas milojn da kilometroj longa. - This road is thousands of kilometers long.
  • Unu momenton poste ŝi malaperis malantaŭ ili. - One moment later she disappeared behind them.

    Unu momenton(one moment) shows the amount of time which passed after something.

  • Ŝi estas du jarojn kaj tri monatojn pli aĝa ol mi. - She is two years and three months older than I.

A time-indicating phrase with N can also be combined with a temporal post or a temporal antaŭ to show the time: Du tagojn post tio ŝi forveturis Norvegujon. Pasis du tagoj post "tio".

Various measures

Other measures work the same way as measures of time. It could be a measurement of spatial length, height, width, distance, depth, weight, cost, etc. They answer the questions how much?, how many?, how far?, how long?, how high?, how deep?, how heavy?, etc.:

  • Ĝi kostas dek mil vonojn. - It costs ten thousand won.

    (The won is a unit of Korean currency)

  • Vi devas kuri pli ol dek kilometrojn. - You have to run more than ten kilometers.
  • La vojo larĝis dudek metrojn aŭ iom pli. - The road was twenty meters wide or a bit more.
  • La monto Everesto estas ok mil okcent kvardek ok metrojn alta. - Mount Everest is eight thousand eight hundred and forty-eight meters high.
  • Ili staris nur kelkajn metrojn for de mi. - They stood only a few meters away from me.
  • La domo estis ducent metrojn distanca. - The house was two hundred meters away.

Measure without a role marker

A measurement can also appear in a sentence function that does not have a role marker: Dek jaroj estas tre longa tempo. (Ten years are a very long time.) Dek jaroj is the subject here. Pasis du tagoj. (Two days went by) Du tagoj acts as a subject.

Point in time

A clause with an N-ending can be a circumstantial complement (adjekto) that shows a point in time. This N-adject answers the questions: when?, on what date?, on what day?, in what year?, which time?, and so forth. One may say, that this sort of N-ending substitutes for a preposition of time, usually en (in):

  • Unu tagon estis forta pluvo. = En unu tago... - One day there was heavy rain. = On one day ...
  • Ĉiun monaton li flugas al Pekino. - Every month he flies to Beijing.
  • Georgo Vaŝington estis naskita la dudek duan de Februaro de la jaro mil sepcent tridek dua. = ...en la dudek dua tago de Februaro... - George Washington was born on the twenty-second of February in the year 1732. = on the twenty-second day of February...

With days of the week, the accusative noun indicates a specific, known day: dimanĉon = "on a certain known Sunday", even if la isn't used. The adverbial form of the weekday normally shows that we are talking about those type of days: dimanĉe "on Sundays, on every Sunday": Mi alvenos en Lyon lundon la 30-an de Aŭgusto.

In expressing time of day the word je, should be used, especially if the word horo (hour) estas is left out, to avoid confusing the hour with the date:

  • Tio okazis la dekan. = This happened on the tenth day of the month.
  • Tio okazis je la deka. = This happened at the tenth hour of the day.

Point in time without a grammatical marker

A point in time can also appear in a sentence function without a role marker: Hodiaŭ estas sabato, kaj morgaŭ estos dimanĉo. Sabato and dimanĉo are the grammatical subject of the sentence.


N-adjects and N-supplements can show direction. In those cases, they answer the questions to which place?, in which direction?, and so forth.

N-ending used alone

  • Morgaŭ mi veturos Kinŝason. = Kinŝaso. - Tomorrow I will travel to Kinshasa.
  • La vagonaro veturas de Tabrizo Teheranon. - The train travels from Tabriz to Teheran.

The directional N-ending without a preposition is used only to express going inside of something. We do not say iri muron, iri kuraciston, but rather iri al muro, al kuracisto. In effect, a directional N by itself is in most cases used only with place names (mainly names of cities).

N with en, sur and sub

A directional N-ending is most commonly used with en (in), sur (over), and sub (under), the three most important prepositions of location. When en, sur, and sub show simple position, they are used without the N-ending. But when showing that something is moving to that place, the phrase must be completed with a role marker that shows direction. In theory, prepositions like al (to) (al en, al sur, al sub) may be used, but in practice, the N-ending is always used instead:

  • sur la tablo - on the table = in a position on the tablesur la tablon - onto the table = to a position on the table, onto the table
  • sub la granda lito - under the big bed = in a position under the big bedsub la grandan liton - towards and under the big bed = to a place under the big bed, movement towards and under the big bed
  • La hundo kuras en nia domo. - The dog runs in our house.

    The dog is in the house and runs around there.

  • La hundo kuras en nian domon. - The dog runs into our house.

    The dog is outside of the house but now runs into the house.

  • Mi metis ĝin sur vian tablon. - I placed it onto your table.

    It was in another place and I moved it to the surface of the table.

With locational prepositions other than en (in), sur (on), and sub (under), the directional N-ending isn't normally used; instead, the context shows the movement in a direction. But the directional N can be with other prepositions of location, if it helps make the meaning clear:

  • La hirundo flugis trans la riveron, ĉar trans la rivero sin trovis aliaj hirundoj. - The swallow flew across the river, because across the river there were other swallows.
  • La sago iris tra lian koron.La sago plene penetris lian koron. - The arrow went through his heart. ≈ The arrow fully penetrated his heart.

    When we use the directional N-ending after tra we emphasize that the movement went completely through and passed out of the location.

  • La vojo kondukis preter preĝejon. - The road passed by a church.

    When we use a directional N-ending after preter we stress that the movement of passing by continues away from the place mentioned.

  • Siajn brakojn ŝi metis ĉirkaŭ mian kolon. - Her arms she placed around my neck.

    Sometimes we also use ĉirkaŭ + an N-ending to show movement towards a place which is reached by movement around something else: Li kuris ĉirkaŭ la angulon de la domo.

  • Li kuris kontraŭ la muron kaj vundis sin. - He ran against the wall and hurt himself.

    To show that the movement towards a place has reached its destination and made contact with it, we can use kontraŭ plus an N-ending.

  • Gardu vin, ke vi ne venu plu antaŭ mian vizaĝon. = loko antaŭ mia vizaĝo. antaŭ mia vizaĝo. - Make sure I don't see your face again. (litterally Watch yourself that you do not come anymore before my face.) a place before my face.
  • Mi estis en la urbo kaj iris poste ekster ĝin. = ekster ĝi. - I was in town and later went out of it. = ...towards outside of town.
  • Li iris inter la patron kaj la patrinon. - He walked (up to and) between his father and his mother.

    The aimed for destination of the walk was a place between his father and his mother.

  • Morgaŭ mi venos ĉe vin. - Tomorrow I'll come to you.

    Traditionally we prefer: Morgaŭ mi venos al vi.

In some cases, the directional N-ending is not normally used, because the destination of the phrase is understood only through context, but not stated. This expression would have an N-ending, if it were included in the sentence:

  • Jakob enfosis ilin sub la kverko. - Jacob buried them under the oak tree.

    The real destination is the ground: Jakob enfosis ilin en la grundon sub la kverko.

  • Oni metis antaŭ mi manĝilaron. = Oni metis sur la tablon antaŭ mi manĝilaron. - One placed before me cutlery. -Cutlery was placed on the table in front of me.

However, it would not be wrong to say sub la kverkon (under the oak) and antaŭ min (in front of me, before me), because these expressions can also be regarded as destinations in those sentences.

Prepositions of location are often used in a figurative sense. Something abstract, without a location, is expressed as a location. A directional N-ending may also be used in these cases to express a figurative direction; for example: Mi ŝanĝos ilian malĝojon en ĝojon.

Some prepositions in themselves show direction: al, ĝis, el and de. These prepositions never show position. After these prepositions don't use the N-ending: al la urbo, ĝis la fino, el la lernejo, de la komenco.

N after adverbs of location

The N ending can also be used after locational adverbs with an E-ending, and after locational table words, to show movement in the direction of a place.

  • hejme = in the home → hejmen = to home, (homeward)
  • urbe = in the city → urben = into the city
  • ekstere = outside of something → eksteren = to the outside of something
  • tie = in that place → tien = to that place, in that direction
  • kie = in which place → kien = to which place, in which direction
  • ĉie = in every direction → ĉien = to every place, in every direction
  • ie = in some place → ien = to some place, in some direction
  • nenie = in no place → nenien = to no place, in no direction

N for other meanings

N-adjects and N-supplements are most frequently used to show measure, point in time, or direction, but in some cases, the part of the phrase with the N-ending indicates another role, for which a preposition would normally be used:

  • Mi ridas je lia naiveco. = Mi ridas pro lia naiveco. = Mi ridas lian naivecon. - I laugh at his naivety.
  • Neniam ŝi miros pri/pro sia propra malaltiĝo.Neniam ŝi miros sian propran malaltiĝon. - She will never wonder about her own demotion.

Theoretically, prepositions could always be replaced with an N, if it doesn't make the meaning unclear. N is used instead of je (at) especially frequently. The rule regarding clarity, however, almost always precludes the use of N instead of the prepositions de (of) and el (from, out of), which show movement away from something, because N itself is a role marker that shows movement towards something. In some cases, however, sentences like Ili eliris la buson (They exited the bus) can be encountered. In that case, the N-ending shows an object: the bus is the object of the action "eliri" (to exit). It is much clearer, and therefore preferable, to say Ili eliris el la buso. (They exited out of the bus).

Accusative and proper names

The accusative is used with fully esperantized proper names according to all of the aforementioned rules:

  • Mi vidis Karlon. - I saw Karlo
  • Elizabeton mi renkontis hieraŭ en la urbo. - I met Elizabeth yesterday in town.
  • Tokion ni tre ŝatas. - Tokyo, we really like.

Non-esperantized proper names can appear without the O-ending. The N-ending is left off of these names, even if in principle, their role in the sentence requires this ending:

  • Ni renkontis Zminska. - We met Zminska.

    The Polish name is a grammatical object but without the N-ending.

  • Ŝi ludis la Prière d'une vierge. - She played La Prière d'une vierge.

    The French name of a piece of music is a grammatical object but without the N-ending.

  • Li admiras Zamenhof. - He admires Zamenhof.

    The name Zamenhof is a grammatical object without an N-ending.

If the name can accept an N-ending (if it ends in a vowel), then the ending can, of course, be added. The O-ending can also be added to a foreign name. If an O-ending is used, then an N-ending must also be used, if the word's role in a sentence requires it. The name may also be preceded by a title or another expression capable of receiving an N-ending.

  • Ĉu vi konas Anna? - Do you know Anna?

    The name Anna is a grammatical object without an N-ending.

  • Ĉu vi konas Annan? - Do you know Anna?

    The name Anna is a grammatical object with an N-ending.

  • Ĉu vi konas mian amikinon Anna? - Do you know my friend Anna?

    Anna is a predicate nominative of my friend, and will definitely not have an N-ending here.

  • Li renkontis Vigdís Finnbogadóttir. - He met Vigdís Finnbogadóttir.

    The Icelandic name Vigdís Finnbogadóttir. is a grammatical object without an Esperanto ending.

  • Li renkontis Vigdíson Finnbogadóttir. - He met Vigdís Finnbogadóttir.

    The first name has an O-ending and an N-ending. Often we Esperantize only a person's first name, or we add an O-ending to the non-esperantized form of the first name, and leave the last name in its original form without an Esperanto ending. The N-ending is then only used with the first name. This however is not a rule, only a custom. (One could also write Vigdís-on with a hyphen.)

  • Li renkontis prezidanton Vigdís Finnbogadóttir. - He met the chairperson Vigdís Finnbogadóttir.
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