I began learning using Esperanto in 12 Days.

I had to translate this : "What is on the work-bench in our room?"

What I initially thought : Kio estas sur la laborotablo en nia ĉambro.

real answer : Kio estas sur la labortablo en nia ĉambro.

Why doesn't labor take an -o at the end? Basing myself on the text example of the webpage, it seems like compound words (even if they are are verbs) take an -o.

  • They don't have to have an O. It's optional for pronunciation.
    – Airvian
    Dec 31, 2016 at 21:35

3 Answers 3


I'm not familiar with the site Esperanto.com and can't speak for its general reliability. Airvian is correct that the O is optional in compounds and the decision whether to include it usually comes down to how easy it is to pronounce without it. In this case, you probably would leave it out. That is labortablo is more common.

In turn, stablo is more common than labortablo - but the course rejects this answer.

  • Where did you learn by the way ?
    – copper
    Dec 31, 2016 at 23:06
  • 1
    I learned using the same course I am teaching here. youtube.com/playlist?list=PLl5PRFz0DHxZFcwSHcLDDkVzVq553ULx3 Dec 31, 2016 at 23:31
  • Please add the relevant information of the link you posted directly in your answer. It saves time, and it avoids the problem of the resource going away / moving / ceasing to exist in the future. Thanks!
    – grooveplex
    Jan 4, 2017 at 23:42

In word compounds one can add a vowel in the middle to make the pronunciation easier, but it's always optional. But that means that labor·tabl·o and labor·o·tabl·o are equally correct.

For more on that I highly recommend the article in English “Word formation in Esperanto”.


The -o is usually omitted unless its presence eases pronunciation (in the opinion of the speaker).

Source: http://pages.ucsd.edu/~dkjordan/eo/colloq/colloq040.html#sec4-1-2

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