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I thought it was impossible to say Nombro de because Nombro represents a quantity and Da is supposed to be used for quantities. When would someone say Nombro de?

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See Difference between 'da' and 'de'?

The same principles apply.

When the thing being quantified is definite (preceded by la, tiu, mia, or another difinilo) you use de.

Most other times it's da to emphasize that it's a quantity.

  • duobla nombro da krieguloj

When there is less emphasis on the quantity, you can use de

  • [Malgrandigi la] nombron de regimentoj kaj la nombron de soldatoj

Da is used with answers to kiom. If you wanted to know how many soldiers there are, you wouldn't say "a number's worth" - but you could say granda nombro da ili or duobla nombro da ili. When you're talking about reducing the number of soldiers, the phrase "of soliders" explains which number you're reducing, not that you have a "number's worth" of them.

I'm working on a video answer to this question. In the meanwhile, this video covers the same material. This link will bring you right to where he discusses nombro de.

https://youtu.be/jLi3IMSZKro?t=9m30s

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  • I can't see how these two sentences differ. In both cases you talk about quantity, so you should use "da". Can you explain? – Garsia Dec 26 '16 at 11:54
  • When using the word Nombro shouldn't you always use Da because it is a quantity? – Lumo5 Dec 26 '16 at 13:47
  • On the contrary, the example I cited is not my own. It's from a translation by Kabe. "De" is correct there. Da is used with answers to kiom. If you wanted to know how many soldiers there are, you wouldn't say "a numbers worth" - but you could say *granda nombro da ili" or "duobla nombro da ili." When you're talking about reducing the number of soldiers, the phrase "of soliders" explains which number you're reducing, not that you have a "number's worth" of them. – Tomaso Alexander Dec 26 '16 at 14:18
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    If I say "I have a number of things in my shopping basket", "number" is being used as a quantity, essentially a synonym for "several" or "many." If I say "The number of things in my shopping basket is quite large", "number" is not a quantity "Number of things" is equivalent to something like "thing-number". The two sentences are quite different grammatically. Tomaso's explanation and clarification are on target. – Lee Dec 26 '16 at 15:35

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