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Esperanto has most of the verb forms found in western languages, and some more. All forms are regular. The forms used more often are created synthetically using suffixes, the rest is created analytically using auxiliary verb esti β ‘to be’ and participles.
Infinitive (infinitivo) is formed from the stem by adding the ending i.
esti β to be, sidi β to sit, kapti β to catch, marteli β to hammer, skribi β to write, bezoni β to need.
Infinitive has the same meaning as in many other
All tenses (relative and absolute) are formed uniformly using three vowels:
Indicative (indikativo) is formed by adding the appropriate tense vowel followed by s to the stem:
The form of the verb is the same for all persons:
Conditional (kondicionalo) is formed by adding the ending us to the stem.
mi kapt-us β I would catch
Imperative (volitivo) is formed by adding the ending u to the stem:
kapt-u β catch
ni kapt-u β let’s catch
Volitive is used also as subjunctive:
Mi petas, ke li venu.H β I ask that he comes.
Mi deziras al vi, ke vi resaniΔ?u.H β I wish you to get healthy again.
Mi alportis la libron, por ke vi Δ?in tralegu.H β I brought the book for you to read.
There are three types of active and three types of passive participles β present, past (perfect) and future (predicative).
Active participle is created from the stem by adding a vowel of tense, followed by nt, followed by adjective ending a.
Passive participle is created from stem by adding a vowel of tense, followed by t, followed by adjective ending a.
Gerunds are formed from participles by replacing the adjective ending a by the adverbial ending e.
Promentante ili kantas.H β Walking, they are singing.
Reveninte hejmen, ŝi komencis legi.H β Having came home, she started to read.
Pagonte li foriris.H β He left before paying.
Persekutate ili saltis en riveron.H β Being persecuted, they jumped into the river.
Kaptite ŝi vane provas liberiΔ?i.H β Having been caught, she is trying to free herself.
Jam kaptote, li eskapis.H β Nearly caught, he escaped.
Verbal nouns are formed from participles by replacing the adjective ending a by the noun ending o.
Active verbal nouns:
vojaΔ?anto β one who travels, voyager, lernanto β one who learns, pupil, aŭskultanto β one who listens, listener, abonanto β one who subscribes something, subscriber, vizitanto β one who visits, visitor; mortinto β one who died, the deceased, savonto β one who will save, savior, messiah, parolanto β one who speaks, speaker
Passive verbal nouns:
sendito β one who was sent, messenger, juΔ?oto β one who will be judged
“Verbalized participles” are formed from participles by replacing the adjective ending a by the verbal ending i and using it as a normal verb (of course not forming participle). These forms are quite rare, they are equivalents of complex verbal forms (see Β§3.8.7 below)
kaptanti = esti kaptanta β to be (in state of being) catching
mi kaptintus = mi estus kaptinta β I would have caught
Complex verbal forms are created using the auxiliary verb esti + participle. This way are expressed secondary active tenses, passive voice, and nuances of conditional and imperative.
These complex forms are not so often used. Very often if you use complex form in English you can use simple form in Esperanto.
Imperfect (Imperfekto) is expressed by the auxiliary verb esti + active present participle.
Imperfect is used when you want to express that the process was occurring in the same time as another process or that the process was continuous.
Li mortis. β He died.
Li estis mortanta. β He was dying.
Imperfect is not so often as English progressive tense, because it is often possible to use nonmarked simple verbal form.
Perfect (perfekto) is expressed by the auxiliary verb esti + active past participle.
Perfect is used when you want to express that the process was already finished before some point in the present, past, or future.
Predicative (predicativo) is expressed by the auxiliary verb esti + active future participle.
Predicative is used when you want to express that the process was going to happen after some point in the present, past, or future. Predicative is very often replaced by modal verbs with infinitive:
Mi estas kaptonta. β I am going to catch.
Mi volas/devas/intencas kapti. β I want to/must/am going to catch.
Complex active infinitives are formed from the infinitive of the auxiliary verb esti + active participle.
More precise forms of conditional or imperative can be expressed by combining of the auxiliary verb esti in simple form conditional/imperative with active participles.
Passive voice (pasiva voĉo) is expressed by the auxiliary verb esti + passive participle.
Passive voice is very often expressed by different, simpler means:
La kato estis persekutata de la hundo. = La katon persekutis la hundo. β The cat was chased by the dog.
La cervo estis pafita. = Oni pafis la cervon. β The deer was shot.