9

For example:

  1. Mi ne povas decidi kio(n) paroli pri. (not sure about the accusative)

  2. Mi ne povas decidi kion priparoli.

I've said something similar to #1 before not knowing whether it was okay or not. Someone pointed out to me that it probably would be better to say #2, but he wasn't completely sure either, as we are both newer Esperantists.

So, are either of these even correct? Is it wrong to end a sentence with the word pri? Is there a better way to say something like this?

12

That's a clear anglicism. Some people from scandinavian countries also sometimes speak like that, because their languages also know these grammar structures. But in Esperanto it is clearly wrong. A preposition (PMEG terminology "rolvorteto") stands before the noun or pronoun.

So the correct sentence is:

Mi ne povas decidi pri kio paroli.

Alternatively you can use the preposition as a prefix, which is inparticularly popular for pri:

Mi ne povas decidi kion priparoli.

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  • I am Scandinavian, and I made that mistake just yesterday, so I can definitely verify that part! – Antonia Montaro Oct 7 '16 at 21:06
8

No. 1 is incorrect. No. 2 is okay but evades the problem by using a different verb.

Your intention is probably:

Mi ne povas decidi, pri kio paroli.

A preposition cannot appear at the end of a sentence (except of course for sentence fragments like Ĝis!). This can sometimes be fixed by adding -e to make an adverb:

Mi parolis anstataŭe.

In your sentence, the thing you are deciding must appear straight after decidi, but without severing the connection to the verb; I added a comma to make it clearer. And of course if you don't like how it sounds, you could just say something like:

Mi ne povas decidi la temon de mia parolado.

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5

My opinion is that this is an English grammar rule in an Esperanto sentence:

I cannot decide what to talk about.

As far as I know, that is not correct in Esperanto (please correct me if I am wrong). I think prepositions should go with the thing they refer to. I would use either option 2 or (maybe because of my native Bulgarian influence):

Mi ne povas decidi pri kio paroli.

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  • “(please correct me if I am wrong)” → I think you are right, looking at other answers and my own lingva sento. – marcus Oct 6 '16 at 14:35
3

Remember that prepositions are, by definition, in the pre-position. That means they need to come before a word. (English bends that rule a lot, but Esperanto does not.)

It's not just pri, but this is true for all Esperanto prepositions. They should never be used at the end of a sentence.

Here is a list of prepositions and other particles that you should never find at the end of a sentence.

pri, super, trans, post, kontraŭ, de, inter, ĉirkaŭ, ĉe, antaŭ, post, sub, apud, preter, per, malgraŭ, dum, krom, for, por, pro, el, en, sur, ekster, super, per, po, ol, tra, ĝis, al, sub, kun, sen, laŭ, krom, anstataŭ, ekster, malgraŭ, da

The only possible exception is da - at that only in informal spoken Esperanto when there are no children or vulnerable adults within earshot.

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