Is Mi trovis ion sur la reto a valid way to say that you found something in the Internet? Should prepositions such as en and per be prefered?

5 Answers 5


Mi kutimas diri "en la reto", same kiel "en la libro"


For sure en la reto.

A quick search of the Tekstaro only turns up one or two references to sur la reto and none of these are related to the internet.

To clarify the above. In the Tekstaro, there are the following references to en la reto:

  • Six (6) from Monato - all six refer to the internet.
  • Thirty three (33) from La Ondo de Esperanto - All the ones I've looked at closely refer to the internet.

Contrast this with sur la reto. There are only two hits total. Neither one has to do with the internet.

Further, there are two hits for en la interreto and none for sur la interreto.

So, based on my subjective impression of what expression is more common, the logic explained in other language, and actual usage as captured in the Tekstaro, my recommendation is for en la reto.

  • most of the books in Tekstaro were written before the internet existed so of course none of them are related to the internet.
    – masukomi
    Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 2:15
  • Thanks for the comment. It's interesting that this answer has gotten fewer upvotes and more down-votes (currently +2,-1) than mondano's answer which says the same thing with less justification. Would you like me to discuss the specific examples in the Tekstaro? My judgement is that they are indeed relevant to the question - and there are quite a few references to en la reto that are indeed related to the internet. For sure, the correct expression is en la reto Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 11:25
  • I downvoted when I realized the evidence was misleading.
    – masukomi
    Commented Oct 28, 2016 at 0:46
  • 1
    I have added an explanation of what I found in my "quick search of the Tekstaro" - along with some information from a more detailed search. I hope this has convinced you to change your downvote to an upvote. (Currently +3, -1.) If not, please let me know what is missing. Commented Oct 28, 2016 at 11:35

Sur la reto is perfectly fine. Just ask yourself whether the mental image is meaningful and unambiguous. If so, trust it.

This has been downvoted, so here's why it's correct: a reto is a net. Does a net have a surface? Yes it does, even as a figurative network, which is why an object caught in the net (en) is also on it (sur). The Internet is a network on the surface of the Earth, and thus anything in the net can also be visualized as on it.

If the expression sur la reto is good enough for the skilled poet Steven Brewer, it should be good enough for anyone. And please note that the Tekstaro consists of material from before 2005, the bulk of it much older.

  • 1
    I would argue that the reto part of interreto is due to the net-like structure that is the wires that connects us all (or originally rather). If something is ‘on the internet’, it is in fact contained inside those wires (and transistors etc.) that make up the internet. Therefore, I think en la reto makes more sense. Commented Oct 26, 2016 at 19:26
  • My point is that both are valid; speakers' visualizations may differ. Commented Oct 26, 2016 at 19:34
  • Right, I see. To me sur la reto doesn't make much sense, but several languages seem to have an equivalent expression; I agree that it is fine. (I didn't downvote you by the way.) Commented Oct 26, 2016 at 19:52

I think it is okay to say sur or en. I prefer saying en myself because the info is stored inside computers/servers.

Here are a few examples for sur la reto:

Esperanto sur la reto https://www.esperanto-usa.org/en/node/177

Rezultoj de KER-ekzamenoj jam aperas sur la reto! http://www.esperanto-mexico.org/eo/rezultoj-de-ker-ekzamenoj-jam-aperas-sur-la-reto

...ni klopodas pliigi nian prezenton sur la reto,... http://www.espero.com.cn/2014-02/24/content_31575257.htm

Here are some for en la reto

Esperantaj vortaroj en la reto https://eo.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esperantaj_vortaroj_en_la_reto

Lerni Esperanton en la reto http://www.esperanto.net/veb/lerni.html

La kaŝita katastrofo - Kontakto 2016:2 en la reto http://kontakto.tejo.org/2016/04/la-kasita-katastrofo-kontakto-20162-en.html


Prepositions in Esperanto should be understood quite literally.

  • en means, that something must be inside something. For instance en la tablo means, that there must be a drawer at bottom surface of the table to hold something or the thing is between the upper and lower surfaces of the tabletop. Being inside implies, that you usually cannot see it.

  • sur means, that something lays on a surface. For instance sur la tablo means, that the thing is on the table, above the tabletop touching it. Being on implies, that you usually can see it.

While one can argue, that internet is a net with a surface, on which you can have/hang things, for most people the internet is more like a box or a drawer, in which you have things. For this later metaphor speaks the fact, that the content of the internet is not visible right by looking at your device (computer, tablet or a phone) unless you go and search for it. Contrast this to a street, the "content" is there in plain sight.

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