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I have a text to correct seems to be often translated into Mi havas tekston por korekti by English Esperanto speakers. I find the translation weird and confusing since a correction is not a goal of the text, but only the goal of me having it. Is it better to translate it as Mi havas tekston por esti korektata, since it refers to the object just before "por", or there are no difference between the two translations?

(Note: I also don't like this translation because it does not convey the idea of obligation the English sentence has)

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The first sentence with por korekti is commonly understood and I would argue correct. "I have a text [in order] to correct". The goal is to do the correction, and in order to do that you have a text.

I would interpret the second sentence as "I have a text [in order] to be corrected". The goal is to be corrected, and in order to do that you have a text.

If you really don't like the first sentence, you can say something like Mi havas tekston, kiun mi korektos/devas korekti.

According to the examples at PMEG, it is common for por following the object to nonetheless describe the goal of the subject or verb:

  • De du tagoj ŝi ricevis absolute nenion por manĝi - "To eat" is the goal of "she", not "nothing".
  • malbona loko... kie ne ekzistas akvo por trinki - "To drink" is not the goal of the water
  • Li tuj sendos al vi en vian domon tutan regimenton por enloĝigi - "To house" is not the goal of the regiment
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    Another alternative is to use the -end ending: “mi havas korektendan tekston”. – Neil Roberts Sep 27 '16 at 15:00
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I am a native English speaker, but I am confident that Mi havas tekston por korekti is correct, based on the model mi havas multon por fari. (Which, by the way is one of the more common phrases than needs por before the infinitive but fails the "in order to" test taught to English learners.)

It may seem odd to you because there are many sentences of the form "A havas B-on por C-i" which do not have the same semantic relationship as mi havas multon por fari.

  • mi havis gravan kaŭzon por ŝpari
  • [li] ne havas monon por pagi
  • mi ne havos tempon por zorgi

Still, there are many which do follow the pattern. That is, in which the object of havi is also the object of the infinitive after por.

  • ili havis nenion por manĝi, (ili povas manĝi nenion.)
  • mi ne havis tempon por perdi (ili ne volis perdi tempon.)
  • Mi havas nenion por diri, (Li diros nenion.)

Mi havas tekston por korekti follows this pattern. (Mi korektos la tekston.)

Finally Mi havas tekston por esti korektata is not an expression I would use.

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