Sometimes I get confused on when I should be using an adverb or an adjective. What's a good rule set?

For example, one can respond to a question with "bona" or "bone" - but when do I use which?

  • Any examples?...
    – miĥaŭ
    Nov 12, 2016 at 16:40
  • @michau Well I'm looking for a rule set that can work in all scenarios.
    – Keir
    Nov 12, 2016 at 16:42
  • 2
    You said you sometimes got confused. Can you give some examples of cases when you get confused?
    – miĥaŭ
    Nov 12, 2016 at 16:44
  • @michau Such as when the word is on its own.
    – Keir
    Nov 12, 2016 at 17:13
  • The general rule is that when you want to modify the meaning of a noun, you use an adjective, and when you want to modify the meaning of something else, you use an adverb. If you want a more precise answer, you need to give examples of specific sentences that make you confused whether an adverb or an adjective should be used.
    – miĥaŭ
    Nov 12, 2016 at 18:50

2 Answers 2


Adjectives describe nouns; that's basically all they do. So if there isn't a noun or pronoun to modify, you use the adverb form.

  • Mi estas freneza; freneza describes mi
  • Kia freneza virino mi estas!; freneza describes virino
  • Mi parolas freneze; freneze describes the verb parolas, not a noun or pronoun
  • Estas freneze, ke mi parolis tiel al li; freneze describes the ke phrase, not a noun or pronoun
  • Kiel freneze!; freneze describes an unspecified situation, again, no noun or pronoun.

Note that adjectives can describe nouns through linking verbs:

  • Mi batis lin senkonscia (mi batis lin tiel, ke li estis senkonscia)
  • Mi batis lin senkonscie (senkonscie, mi batis lin)

Note the two different meanings!

  • Bona = a certain thing is good.
  • Bone = a situation is good.

It is more common to use Bone by default. You can say Bona if you are referring to a noun. Example, your friend bought a new videogame and you say Bona because you like the game. However, Bone would work in that situation as well.

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