I seem to get ol mixed up with al a lot. There's probably an awesome explanation out there. I think I try to think of it as than, but it doesn't work exactly right in contexts like antaux ol.

1 Answer 1


Ol does translate to "than", but you can also think of it as more generally just indicating a comparison or difference. PIV lists these uses for it:

  1. por enkonduki la duan parton de neegaleca komparo -> to introduce the second part of an unequal comparison (e.g. Ŝi estas pli bela ol li)
  2. por enkonduki diferencon inter du ebloj, ecoj ks -> to introduce difference between two possibilities, qualities, etc. (e.g. Ŝi havas malsaman ĉapon ol li)
  3. por signi diferencon de tempo -> to signify difference in time (e.g. Ŝi foriris antaŭ ol li alvenis

If #3 gives you trouble, it might help to think of it as a comparison between the two times (when she left vs. when he arrived), one comes earlier than the other.

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