Special Esperanto adverbs

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A limited number of Esperanto adverbs do not end with the regular adverbial ending -e. Many of them function as more than just adverbs, such as hodiaŭ "today" (noun or adverb) and ankoraŭ "yet" or "still" (conjunction or adverb). Others are part of the correlative system, and will not be repeated here.

The word class "adverb" is not well defined in any language, and it is sometimes difficult to say whether a word is an adverb. The Esperanto suffix -e is restricted to words that are clearly adverbial.

Adverbs and the suffix -aŭ[edit]

Alongside dedicated part-of-speech suffixes of Esperanto, such as adverbial -e, adjectival -a, and nominal -o, the language has a grammatically neutral suffix -aŭ that has no defined part of speech. Words ending in -aŭ may be used for multiple grammatical functions. They are typically words whose part of speech is difficult to identify in other languages. The suffix -aŭ is not lexically productive: it is limited to a closed class of only a few words. To specify the part of speech of these words, the dedicated suffixes may be added to the -aŭ. For example, anstataŭ "instead of" (preposition and conjunction) is the base of the adverb anstataŭe "instead", the adjective anstataŭa "interim" or "deputy", the verb anstataŭi "to take the place of", and the noun anstataŭo "replacement" or "substitution". Most -aŭ words have inherent adverbial uses; anstataŭ is one of the few that do not.[1] The adverbial -aŭ words are:[2]:121

Esperanto English parts of speech
almenaŭ at least conjunction and adverb
ambaŭ both adjective and adverb
ankaŭ also adverb
ankoraŭ still, yet conjunction and adverb
apenaŭ barely adverb
baldaŭ soon adverb
ĉirkaŭ around preposition and adverb
hieraŭ yesterday noun and adverb
hodiaŭ today noun and adverb
kvazaŭ as if conjunction and adverb
morgaŭ tomorrow noun and adverb
preskaŭ almost adverb

Because this -aŭ is a suffix, it may be dropped or replaced by a productive grammatical suffix. For example, alongside anstataŭ and anstataŭe there are anstat' and anstate,[3] but this is rare and in practice does not occur outside poetry.

'In 1892 Zamenhof proposed the following change: "Instead of the ending '-aŭ' in various words one can use an apostrophe [e.g. ankor', apen']... This will increase sonorousness, while not introducing any confusion (because '-aŭ' does not belong to the root, but is only a conditional ending, and thus as easy to leave off as the '-o' of the noun)." But this elision of "-aŭ" from adverbs was not put into practice; only in recent years have a few poets attempted to use it in verse.'[2]:121
"There have already been attempts to use these words in simple adverbial form (morge, apene, anke, ankore, almene, etc.), which would certainly bring along the simple adjectival form (ankora, almena, apena) and the nominal form (hiero, hodio, morgo). These attempts are even officially tolerated by the Academy [since 1910]."[2]:409, note iv

Bare-root adverbs[edit]

Other (so-called) adverbs occur as bare roots, without any suffix. Some of these bare-root words are grammatical particles, in which case true adverbs may be derived from them by adding the suffix -e. They are:[2]:121

Esperanto English notes
for away cf. the derived adverb fore
jam already, yet
ĵus just now
nun now noun and adverb
nur only
plej most cf. the derived adverb pleje "at most" or "most often"[4]
pli more pronoun and adverb; cf. the derived adverb plie
plu beyond, further cf. the derived adverb plue
tre very
tro overly, too much cf. the derived adverb troe
tuj at once, immediately

Occasionally grammatically redundant forms such as nune and tree are seen in poetry.[2]:409


  1. ^ Others are adiaŭ "goodbye", an interjection, and the three prepositions antaŭ "before", kontraŭ "against", and malgraŭ "despite". The preposition laŭ "along" or "according to" is not one of these words: it is a bare root, and only coincidentally contains the sequence .
  2. ^ a b c d e Kalocsay, Kálmán; Waringhien, Gaston (1985). Plena analiza gramatiko de Esperanto [Complete Analytical Grammar of Esperanto] (in Esperanto). Rotterdam: Universala Esperanto-Asocio. ISBN 92-9017-032-8. 
  3. ^ An exception is the preposition antaŭ "before". Etymologically this is derived from a root ant, but this root is different from the active present participle suffix -ant-. In antaŭ the suffix -aŭ is obligatory, due to the likelihood of confusion with the participle.
  4. ^ "plej". Reta Vortaro (in Esperanto). Archived from the original on 2015-07-21. Retrieved 2015-07-26. at most, maximally ... most often 

See also[edit]