While in a daily conversation, you might use words like clause, phrase, proposition and statement as synonyms, they all have a slightly more accurate meaning, which is useful when you have to deal with grammatical subtleties.

If you are aware of other vocabulary for word sequences, feel free to add them in your answers.

Here are some definition from Wikipedia:

  • a clause is the smallest grammatical unit that can express a complete proposition
  • a phrase may be any group of words, often carrying a special idiomatic meaning
  • a proposition is a statement expressing something true or false.
  • a sentence is a textual unit consisting of one or more words that are grammatically linked
  • a (logical) statement is either (a) a meaningful declarative sentence that is either true or false, or (b) that which a true or false declarative sentence asserts

Another kind of group, used in programming language grammars or grammar analyses:

  • command
  • declaration
  • definition
  • directive
  • expression
  • formula
  • instruction
  • predicate
  • term
  • utterance

And here are some relevant Esperanto terms:

  • elparolo
  • frazeto
  • vortigo
  • komando
  • deklaro
  • difino
  • direktiv/o
  • esprimo
  • formulo
  • instrukcio
  • predikato
  • termino
  • eldiro
  • parolero
  • parolaĵo

This question also welcome original words using Esperanto agglutinative feature, as long as it provide enough explanation, and preferably if they contribute to a more consistent lexical set highlighting semantic relations through common lexemes.

Related documents:

  • This question was marked as "too broad". Could you try to shorten it down? Leaving it to the five original words would be good in my opinion. I think it is a valid question (I've been thinking frazo for every single one of them, with lots of doubt though), and it would be a shame if it was removed. Jan 7, 2017 at 10:38
  • Are you new in SE? I haven't been around lately, but I'm glad to see some (to me) new users ask questions. Jan 7, 2017 at 10:41
  • Ok I'll rework the question, if that may help. If you have documentation about best practices, please provide a link. Jan 9, 2017 at 8:31
  • Is there a question here? I didn't see any question marks. Can your reword the question to include at least one question mark?
    – Lumo5
    Feb 5, 2017 at 15:17
  • Unless I had forgot it and someone added in in the mid time, there is a question mark at the end of the question, in the title. Feb 5, 2017 at 19:49

4 Answers 4

  • clause is propozicio.
  • phrase is vortgrupo, sintagmo or frazeto. The last one is used in PMEG with this meaning, but is hardly used outside PMEG with this meaning, and I consider it problematic, as it can be misunderstood to mean 'short sentence'.
  • proposition is aserto or propozicio. I prefer aserto, as a proposition is something quite different from a clause, and the main meaning of propozicio is 'clause'; aserto is literally a statement, but I think there is no significant difference between "proposition" and "statement" in English (no clear distinction is made between them in the definitions from Wikipedia that you cited in your question).
  • sentence is frazo.
  • statement is aserto.
  • for anyone wondering, "frazo" is similar to "фраза" in Russian and "aserto" is similar to "assert" in English. Jan 5, 2021 at 10:41

All of these questions are things which you could check in a good dictionary, including some of the common on-line dictionaries. A good first choice would be vortaro.net and a decent choice with national language glosses is ReVo.

I would not put a lot of stock in tatoeba as those don't seem to be checked against any reliable source as far as I can tell and I frequently find mistakes in it.

If you are interested in how grammatical terms are used in Esperanto, I would suggest reading an Esperanto grammar (such as PMEG) cover to cover and drawing your conclusions there.

Finally, your goal should be to understand words like elparolo, frazeto, and vortigo, not to match them one-to-one with English words.

  • Well, as you can see in the related document section, I did check en vortaro.net but it's not very handy to find translation. ReVo is fine, and it confirmed that vortgrupo is probably the relevant translation for phrase. However regarding "clause" it only provides a translation for juridic concept, not the linguistic one. Jan 4, 2017 at 12:56
  • PMEG is a great work in which I often go for quickly find answers, however it often uses it's own self forged vocabulary when it comes to grammatical terminology. Regarding my goal, I'm currently working on a translation of a paper on Perligata to Esperanto: beta.wikiversity.org/wiki/Lingua::Romana::Perligata so I do need a consistent glossary for domain specific terms which are used in the document. Jan 4, 2017 at 13:08
  • 1
    By insisting that every term have an exact one-word translation in the other language, you are taking the wrong approach and I have voted to close this question. One approach you might consider would be to rephrase this as a short translation request, following the guidelines there. Jan 4, 2017 at 13:21
  • 1
    One problem is that grammatical terminology often depends on a particular approach to grammatical description. So I agree with Tomaso, don't just try to match them one-to-one to English terms. Phrase can mean very different things in Functional Grammar or in Phrase Structure Grammar. Jan 4, 2017 at 14:24
  • Thank you Tomaso and Olivier for your feedback. I do understand that in every language pair, you can't expect one to one matching for every word (whatever the definition you take for "word"). To give more context, I'm interesting in computer language internationalization, and localization, especially to Esperanto. So my concern is not to have a one to one matching for every word, but more to have in mind a network of concepts useful for compiler/grammatical analyze. Your feedback on my Perligata translation is also welcome, preferably on its associated talk page. Jan 5, 2017 at 15:48

Here are matchings that I think correct:

  • proposition: propozicio
  • statement: ordono
  • sentence: frazo

So I'm especially missing translations for:

  • clause: propozicio (would conflict with proposition though), frazparto?
  • phrase: frazero, frazparto, frazkomponanto, vortgrupo, vortigo?

  • command: komando

  • declaration: deklaro
  • definition: difino
  • directive: direktiv/o
  • expression: esprimo
  • formula: formulo
  • instruction: instrukcio
  • predicate: predikato
  • term: termino
  • utterance: eldiro (or parolero, parolaĵo, when specifically related to oral speech)

I like the "Keep it simple rule"

  • 1
    Phrase certainly is not frazo. That's "sentence", as you pointed out. Jan 4, 2017 at 20:38
  • @TomasoAlexander According to ReVo phrase certainly is frazo
    – Lumo5
    Jan 8, 2017 at 7:10
  • It's possible that in some other part of the English speaking world that "phrase" means the same thing as what I mean by "whole sentence", but it seems more likely that ReVo is simply wrong in this case. If I had doubts about this, I'd look it up in quite a few different dictionaries. Jan 8, 2017 at 11:14
  • I think ReVo is accurate enough here, but in a loose way, you might probably use phrase as a synonym of sentence. That's won't hold in a context that try to be accurate, but in a day to day conversation, I wouldn't be shocked about that, would you? Jan 9, 2017 at 8:29

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