Skip to the content

Some particles appear in pairs or in groups with special meanings. They may be referred to as combined particles.

Kaj... kaj

Double or multiple use of kaj (and) is used to emphasize and insist. In those cases, kaj is put before all of the linked items, even before the first item. In speech, the word kaj is usually particularly accented:

  • Kaj Petro kaj Karlo laboras. - Both Petro and Karlo are working.

    Insistence that not only one but both are in fact working.

  • Kaj pluvas kaj blovas. - It is both rainy and windy.

    Insistence that both phenomena occur.

  • Petro kaj fumas kaj drinkas. - Petro both drinks and smokes.

    Insistence that he, in fact, performs both actions.

  • Kaj ilia amo, kaj ilia malamo, kaj ilia ĵaluzo jam de longe malaperis. - Both their love and their hate, as well as their jealousy disappeared long ago.

    Insistence that all three things disappeared.

Nek... nek

An ordinary use of nek means "and also not", or "neither". Multiple use of nek means "and not". The combined use of nek is therefore equal to kaj... kaj (both...and...) plus a negation; in other words, to "neither...nor...":

  • Mi renkontis nek lin, nek lian fraton. = Mi kaj ne renkontis lin, kaj ne renkontis lian fraton. - I met neither him nor his brother. = I did not meet him, and did not meet his brother.
  • Nek ĝojo, nek malĝojo daŭras eterne. = Kaj ĝojo, kaj malĝojo ne daŭras eterne. - Neither happiness nor sadness lasts forever. = Both happiness and sadness don't last forever.
  • Ŝi estis muta, povis nek kanti nek paroli. = Ŝi kaj ne povis kanti, kaj ne povis paroli. - She was mute, so could neither sing nor speak. = She both could not sing and could not speak.

Aŭ... aŭ

Multiple use of (or) shows that the alternatives presented are the only ones possible. It must be one of them, and nothing else. In these cases in spoken Esperanto, the word is normally accented emphatically.

  • Nun ni devas venki morti! - Now we have to conquer or die!

    We can't do both, and we can't do anything else outside of these two options.

  • vi faris grandan eraron, mi ĉion miskomprenis. - Either you made a big mistake, or else I misunderstood everything.

    There is no other alternative.

  • Oni povus diri, ke ŝi forgesis ĉion en la mondo, ŝi ne havis forton, por iri pluen. - One could say that either she forgot everying in the world, or she didn't have the strength to go on.

Jen... jen

Usually jen (behold; French voilà) draws our attention to something. Double or multiple jen does not have that meaning, but introduces alternatives which alternate, or possibilities whose validity alternates. Jen... jen = iufoje... alifoje:

  • Jen mi ardas de varmego, jen mi tremas de frosto. - Now I'm burning up from heat, now I'm shivering from frost.

    The two states alternate. Sometimes I'm hot, sometimes cold.

  • Ŝia vizaĝo aperigis jen mortan palecon, jen koloron de sango. - At one time her face appeared deathly pale, at another time the color of blood.

    The face continued changing.

  • Mario videble havis deziron jen koleri, jen ridi, jen premi la manon al tiu ventanimulo. - One could see that Mario had the desire, in turns, to anger, to laugh, or to shake the hand of this wind bag.
  • Li okupadis sin jen per tio, jen per alio. - He busied himself now with this, now with that.

Ju... des

Ju and des are always used together with pli (more) malpli (less). Ju and des are used together to show that one pli-expression depends on another. The ju-expression shows the thing in control. The des-expression shows what depends on the thing in control:

  • Ju pli da mono ni havos, des pli rapide kaj bone iros kompreneble nia afero. - The more money we will have, the more quickly and well our enterprise will understandably prosper.

    If the money increase, then so will the speed and quality.

  • Ju pli alte staras la lingvo, des pli rapide progresas la popolo. - The higher the language stands, the more quickly the people will progress.

    The progress of the people depends on their level of language.

  • Ju pli da bruo, des malpli da ĝuo. - The more noise, the less enjoyment.
  • Ju pli grandaj ili fariĝis, des malpli ili volis tion toleri. - The bigger they became, the less they wanted to tolerate it.

    As they grew in size, their tolerance diminished.

  • Ju pli klare vi elparolas, kaj ju malpli da malfacilaj vortoj vi uzas, des pli bone oni komprenas vin. - The clearer you pronounce, and the fewer difficult words you use, the better one will understand you.

    An increase in clarity and a decrease in difficulty will result in better comprehension.

Occasionally des appears alone, without ju. Then the ju-expression is understood through context:

  • La saloneto ne estis vasta, tial des pli frapis la okulojn la eleganteco de ĝia aranĝo. - The tiny living room was not spacious, therefore the elegance of its arrangement was all the more striking.

    The underlying idea is:Ju pli malvasta estas eleganta salono, des pli la eleganteco frapas la okulojn. (The smaller the elegant parlor, the more the elegance catches the eye.)

Des used alone can often be replaced with tiom.

In some languages you can use the same word for both expressions with pli the controlling and the dependent. This is not possible in Esperanto. Ju... ju doesn't make sense. The controlling (mal)pli-expression should have ju, and the dependent (mal)pli-expression should have des. Don't say:Ju pli rapide vi revenos hejmen, ju pli bone. Say: Ju pli rapide vi revenos hejmen, des pli bone. Of course des... des is also not possible. But it is possible to have several ju-expressions which together control one or several des-expressions (or the like): Ju pli zorge kaj ju pli malrapide vi faros la laboron, des pli kontenta kaj des pli ĝoja mi fariĝos.

Back to the top