Introduction to Esperanto:
Lesson 35

The sentence kiel vi fartas is used in almost every Esperanto conversation, and now you know how to use it too. Well done!

You also know how to tell HOW you do things. Let’s now learn to tell WHAT exactly you are doing.

Look at any sentence. For example, cat eats Bob.

Eats is the action. What comes before "eats" is a subject (an agent) and what comes after "eats" is the object. How do you know? Well, if you switch them you get Bob eats a cat - totally opposite meaning. There is a huge difference between the cat eating Bob and Bob eating the cat. There is a difference to Bob, anyway. (Note: this course does not endorse any form of violence against pets or people or any combination thereof).

So, again, who does the action is the subject and who the action is being done to is the object. If I hold the book, I am the holder so I am the subject, and the book is the thing that is being held so it is the object.

In English, you don’t mark the difference except with words like he and him. For example, you say He sees the dog and then you say The dog sees him. He is the subject form of the word he and him is the object form (otherwise called the accusative form) of the word he. If you stop using him and start using Tim, you get The dog sees Tim and Tim sees the dog, and there is again no difference (you don’t say timm or something to mark objectivity).

Well, in Esperanto you always mark objectivity: You add the accusative ending n to the word if it is an object of a sentence in Esperanto!

This is probably the most controversial concept in Esperanto among the Esperanto community. On the one hand, such marking does not exist in some big languages of the world, so beginner learners of Esperanto sometimes find the concept a bit difficult to grasp. On the other hand, having it frees up your hands in terms of word order, because you can say both homo manĝas pomon (a person is eating an apple) and pomon manĝas homo and the meaning is exactly the same, because the n marks the object.

Esperanto for to have is havi.

Again, I am not kidding. Almost the same as in English.

The word for it was ĝi. If you want to say I have it, have is the action. So you have I and it, and there is a difference between me having it and it having me. Thus it must be the object. You mark the object by adding n to it, so, how would you say:

I have it.

Answer: Mi havas ĝin.
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