Word Order

Introduction

The word order of sentences in Esperanto is relatively flexible compared to English because the object in a sentence is marked by the ending -n (or a preposition). Therefore, it is always clear what is the subject and object in a sentence, even when the word order changes.

Example

The dog catches the ball.

In Esperanto, there is more than one way to order the words in this sentence:

Hundo kaptas pilkon.
Pilkon kaptas hundo.

English is more fixed. If we change the order of the words, we also change the meaning of the sentence.

The ball catches the dog.

Pilko kaptas hundon.
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Notes on Sentence Structure

Even though the word order in Esperanto is flexible, we usually put the subject first and then the object. This makes the content easier to understand.

Subject and Object?

It’s hard to talk about sentence structure without using grammatical terminology. So here’s a short explanation:

NameExplanationExample
subject

Nouns in their basic form, they are used without prepositions and do not have the -n ending.

Knabo donas pilkon al la hundo.A boy gives the dog a ball.
direct
object
Nouns with the accusative -n ending (and without a preposition) Knabo donas pilkon al la hundo.
indirect
object
Nouns used with the preposition al. Knabo donas pilkon al la hundo.