Compound Tenses

Introduction

Compound tenses are more precise. They express whether – at a particular time – an action is taking place, has already taken place or will soon take place. We use the active participle to create compound tenses.

Hodiaŭ Luka estas biciklanta de Hanovro al Herzberg. Li estas biciklinta jam 100 kilometrojn kaj nun estas alvenonta al sia celo.

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Usage

A simple tense is usually enough to express yourself well when speaking Esperanto. For that reason, compound tenses are not used very often. However, it’s worth noting that with compound tenses we can express finer nuances.

-ant-

We stress that an action is taking place at a certain moment in time. We can compare -ant- with progressive tenses in English (present progressive, past progressive, future progressive).

Example:
Hodiaŭ Luka estas biciklanta de Hanovro al HerzbergToday, Luka is cycling from Hanover to Herzberg.

-int-

We stress that an action has already taken place by a certain moment in time. We can compare -int- with perfect tenses in English (present perfect, past perfect, future perfect).

Example:
Li probable estas biciklinta jam 100 kilometrojn.He has probably already ridden 100 kilometers.

-ont-

We stress that an action is about to take place at certain moment in time.

Example:
Luka estas alvenonta al sia celo.Lukas is about to reach his destination.

Construction

We can create present, past, future and conditional compound tenses. In order to do so, we use the corresponding form of esti and the active participle.

Active participles must match their subject in number. So, if the subject is plural, we use the plural form of the active participle.

Example:
Luka kaj Mario estas farantaj ekskurson per bicikloj.Luka and Mario are riding their bikes.
La amikoj estas farantaj ekskurson per bicikloj.The friends are riding their bikes.

Present

At a certain moment in the present an action is in progress, has already taken place or is about to take place.

estas + active participle

ContructionMeaningExample
estas + -ant- action is in proress Luka estas faranta ekskurson per biciklo.Luka is riding his bike.
estas + -int- action has already taken place Li estas biciklinta jam 80 kilometrojn.He has already ridden 80 kilometers.
estas + -ont- action is about to take place Li estas alvenonta al sia celo.He is about to arrive at his destination.

Past

At a certain moment in the past an action was in progress, had just taken place or was about to take place.

estis + active participle

ConstructionMeaningExample
estis + -ant- action was in progress Hieraŭ je la kvina Luka estis faranta ekskurson per biciklo.Yesterday at 5 o’clock, Luka was riding his bike.
estis + -int- action had taken place Tiam li estis biciklinta jam 80 kilometrojn.At that time he had already ridden 80 kilometers.
estis + -ont- action was about to take place Li estis alvenonta al sia celo.He was just about to arrive at his destination.

Future

At a certain time in the future an action will be in progress, will have already taken place or will be about to take place.

estos + active participle

ConstructionMeaningExample
estos + -ant-

action will be in progress

Morgaŭ je la kvina Luka estos faranta ekskurson per biciklo.At five o’clock tomorrow Luka will be riding his bike.
estos + -int- action will have taken place Tiam li estos biciklinta jam 80 kilometrojn.At that time he will have already ridden 80 kilometers.
estos + -ont- action will be about to take place Li estos alvenonta al sia celo.He will be about to arrive at his destination.

Conditional

Under different circumstances, the action would be in progress, would already have taken place or would be about to take place.

estus + active participle

ConstructionMeaningExample
estus + -ant- action would be in progress Se li ne estus malsana, Luka estus faranta ekskurson per biciklo hodiaŭ.If he wasn’t sick, Luka would have been riding his bike today
estus + -int-

action would already have taken place

Li estus biciklinta jam 80 kilometrojn.He would have alreadey ridden 80 kilometers.
estus + -ont-

action will be about to take place

Li estus alvenonta al sia celo.He would be just about to reach his destiniation.