Useful building blocks

There are a bunch of useful and important words, which take the place of words or phrases and answer the questions: who, what, where, when, how, how much, why, whose and what kind. In Esperanto, these words a constructed from two parts. One part indicates the type of question  (e.g. are we talking about why, or where, or who?), the other part indicates how the question is being addressed.

Here’s some examples:

  • “Ki-” is a first part (indicates how the question is being addressed), it shows that the question is being addressed with a question!
  • “I-” is a first part too, it shows that the question is being addressed with an indefinite answer.
  • “-e” is a second part (indicates the type of question), it indicates a question of place (where?).
  • “-el” is also a second part, it indicates a question of manner (how?).

Having learnt these four, you can make various different words.

“Ki-” shows the actual question, so putting it with the second parts we get:

  • Kie =  where
  • Kiel = how

But “I-” shows an indefinite answer to the question.

So “ie” answers “where” with “somewhere”, and “iel” answers “how” with “somehow/in some way”.

  • Ie = somewhere/in some place
  • Iel = somehow/in some way

Say we learnt just one more second part “-al” which indicates a question of reason (why?). Now we can make another two words!

  • Kial = why
  • Ial = (for) some reason

Take a look at the table forming all the possible words:

Esperanto correlatives

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