Researching the in-depth usages of Esperanto verbs, I came across this Wikipedia entry.

In short, the entry claims that for compound tenses such as "mi estas kuranta" (present tense progressive, "I am running"), the usage can be shortened, resulting in "mi kurantas."

I see their line of logic -- assuming that adjectival participles can function as adjectives; like how "mi estas malsata" can take on a stative verb form "mi malsatas" -- however, I haven't seen this specific usage for participles often. Is this conversion grammatically correct? How common is this construction? For instance, if I were to use this in conversation, would I be understood (and not criticized)?

Here's an example sentence, before and after applying this method:


La rapida kato estis kuranta for de la hundo. "The quick cat was running away from the dog"


La rapida kato kurantis for de la hundo.

Thanks for your help!

4 Answers 4


The short forms are correct, and I would not blink if someone used kurantis ("was running") or irontis ("was about to go"). However, ordinary Esperanto style tends to avoid compound tenses, and I think to most people the heavy use of short forms will sound bookish, even arcane. They are certainly used in speech in situations in which the standard form seems cumbersome, particularly for compound conditionals:

Mi estus devinta fari tion. I should have done that. → Mi devintus fari tion.

Zamenhof did not use or recommend them himself, but he did not try to prevent their adoption, instead referring the question to the Lingva Komitato. (See Pri la participa sufikso antaŭ verba finiĝo, 1907, in Lingvaj Respondoj.)

The short forms are discussed in PMEG here, with the remark that

Unforunately in practice they are very hard to understand. A word like legintos ["will have read"] seems to contain too much information in too compact a form.

Similar comments appear in PAG (§102). I am not sure that I agree completely with this idea, as the entirely colloquial English sentence "I'll have read it" is actually more compact than Mi legintos ĝin. However, since Esperanto is not the native language of nearly everyone using it, most writers prefer to simplify, and avoid compound tenses where possible:

Mi estis leginta ĝin. Mi legintis ĝin. I had read it. → Mi jam legis ĝin.

  • That makes sense, thanks! In non-conversational situations, such as in translating literature, would the compact usage be understood/appropriate, and not too cumbersome? I'd like to translate a certain book in a cohesive, grammatically correct way, while still maintaining the author's style of writing. Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 15:49

There are many good reasons not to use a word like kurantas, many of which have been addressed in other questions (or would be worthy of their own thread if not).

Off the top of my head:

  • -as is not the same as estas and adjectives that transform into verbs without changing meaning (like soifa) are rare.

  • PMEG advises against it for reasons of clarity.

  • A simple verb (kuras) means the same thing and is ... simpler.

Given the number of reasons not to do it, it seems pretty likely that you would be criticized.


As far as I know contracting those is not very common, but it is certainly grammatically correct. You will find the contractions povintus and devintus relatively often. They mean could have and should have, respectively. Here are two examples:

You should have helped her. = Vi devintus helpi ŝin.
You could not have known that. = Vi ne povintus scii tion.

I highly doubt anyone would criticize you for using contractions. It is generally easier to understand the uncontracted form though, since the contracted form isn't very common. Participles aren't all too common in common speech anyway though.


Are there any good reasons to use this besides it's shorter? Most of the time the simple verbs work fine or just adding a word clarifies such as jam, or even rephrasing how you say something using clearer word choices. Although they are correct I don't find them to be very useful.

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