In English, when using two or more words as attributive I join them with hyphens.

If you're desperate for dual-GPU performance, the 18.4-inch Alienware 18 has a dual-GeForce GTX 880M option

That was a I-know-what-I-do remark.

How do I use a group of words as attributive, in Esperanto?
I know the translation of solar system is sunsistemo, but how do I make a phrase like solar system an attributive? How does it work with, for example, three words?

  • Sorry, I don't understand what you mean by "attributive". Can you give an example for the attributive phrase of "solar system"? Oct 6, 2016 at 9:43
  • Those are hyphens: - (hyphen), – (n-dash), — (m-dash). One does not join words with n-dashes, but with hyphens ;). Oct 6, 2016 at 11:53
  • @JohannesMueller "(of an adjective or noun) preceding the word it qualifies or modifies and expressing an attribute, as old in the old dog (but not in the dog is old) and expiration in expiration date (but not in date of expiration)"
    – apaderno
    Oct 6, 2016 at 13:13
  • @Joffysloffy Yes, that's correct. I noticed that after I wrote the question.
    – apaderno
    Oct 6, 2016 at 20:48

1 Answer 1


I think the system would basically be the same as in English except that you would need to add a -a at the end to make sure it is an adjective if the last word isn’t already adjectival. The hyphens would be optional unless it would make the meaning unclear because Esperanto naturally combines words like this anyway. Here are some example usages:

From Monato:

Dum tiu ĉi unua etapo neniu prezidanta kandidato gajnis pli ol duonon de la voĉoj, kaj do en dua etapo devis batali la 76-jaraĝa ŝtatprezidanto Valdas Adamkus […]


Tiamaniere, mi estis ekskomunikita tiel de la por- kiel de la kontraŭ-Albault-a skolo.

From La Ondo de Esperanto:

Foje angla ĵurnalisto pro mi-ne-scias-kia ekstravaganca scivolemo intervjuis min pri mia naskiĝloko kaj pri aliaj distaj aferoj.

From Ĉu vi kuiras ĉine?:

Mi mense vidas ŝin miksi siajn venenajn fungojn aŭ mi-ne-scias-kiun mortigan likvaĵon.

There is even an example using the word sunsistemo in Monato:

Pleje fascinis min (la unua artikolo) la klopodoj malkovri ekster-sunsistemajn planedojn.

  • In mi-ne-scias-kiun mortigan likvaĵon mi-ne-scias-kiun is not marked as adjectival. Is there any exception to except that you would need to add a -a at the end to make sure it is an adjective?
    – apaderno
    Oct 7, 2016 at 14:41
  • @kiamlaluno My understanding of grammar is probably too limited to say this with any authority but my assumption was that correlatives ending in -u could be considered adjectival because they are used to describe a noun. That is what I meant by "unless it isn't already adjectival".
    – Neil Roberts
    Oct 7, 2016 at 14:46
  • Isn't -u just used with correlatives? In that case, doesn't it mean related to person/people? That is the only particular example, since the other ones obey to the rule you described. (One of those examples even ends in kia: mi-ne-scias-kia ekstravaganca.)
    – apaderno
    Oct 7, 2016 at 16:14

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