Esperanto/Lesson 8

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Ordinal numbers

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Ordinal numbers are "first", "second", "third", etc.. In Esperanto, ordinal numbers are formed by tacking on the adjective ending -a onto the cardinal numbers and, if, necessary to combine the words using hyphens. If written with numerals, the ending is tacked on with a hyphen (1-a, 2-a, 11-a, etc.)

Cardinal number Ordinal number Meaning Audio
unu unua first
du dua second
sep sepa seventh
dek unu dek-unua eleventh
tridek kvar tridek-kvara thirty-fourth
ducent kvindek naŭ ducent-kvindek-naŭa 259th


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Several suffixes are most commonly used with numbers, although they can be used with other words, too.


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The suffix "-obla"/"-oble" indicates a multiple of the number, e.g. "double"/"twice", "five times", etc.

Derived word Meaning Audio
five times
twelve times

The suffix "-ono" indicates a fraction of the number, e.g. "half", "fifth", etc.

Derived word Meaning Audio
a half
half of
kvinono a fifth
dek-duono one twelfth

The suffix "-ope" indicates a group of the size of the number, e.g. "duo", "quartet", etc.

Derived word Meaning Audio
a duo
by twos
kvinopo a quintet
dek-duope every twelve, in groups of twelve
gutope drop-by-drop

po is a preposition that roughly means "each". It is, however, placed near what is divided, unlike English "each", which is placed near the word over which it is divided.

Sentence Meaning Audio
Mi donis po tri pomojn al la knabinoj. I gave the girls each three apples.
But the English need not parallel Esperanto po:
I gave each of the girls three apples.
Mi aĉetos po kvar librojn jare. I will buy four books each year.
Tiuj floroj kostas po kvin eŭrojn. Those flowers cost five euros each.
Ĉirkaŭ iliaj tabloj sidas po naŭ personoj, sed ĉirkaŭ miaj (tabloj) sidas neniu, sed po du personoj staris en tiuj. Nine people each sit around their tables, around mine (my tables), however, no one sits, but two people each stand on them.
Ni manĝos po kvarono de la kuko. We will each eat a quarter of the pie.

po can also be used with a phrase:

Sentence Meaning Audio
Mi donis al ŝi pomojn po skatolo. I gave her apples per box.
Li portos al ni la akvon po granda botelo. He will carry the water to us in big bottles.

Like other prepositions, po can be used in compounds, especially in adverbials:

Compound Meaning Audio
popece per piece
pogute drop-wise
poskatole box-wise


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Word Audio Meaning
guto drop (of a liquid)
nombro number (seen abstractly)
cifero figure, a number expressed in digits
numero number identifying one object from another
kvanto quantity
jaro year
kosti to cost
eŭro euro
persono person
neniu no one
kuko pie, cake
skatolo box
peco piece


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