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I often encounter prepositional phrases such as sen rigardi:

Mi forlasis ŝin sen rigardi dorsen. (From a story by J. Camacho.)

Are other preposition+infinitive combinations possible? For example: kun rigardi, per rigardi, je rigardi and so on.

If not, why?

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Sen, por, anstataŭ —i are all very common, and it is easy to invent examples for some other prepositions:

Vi faris al mi komplezon per peti lin telefoni. You did me a favour by asking him to ring.

Ni diskutis pri aĉeti novan aŭton. We discussed buying a new car.

However, Zamenhof did not like this form (excepting only por and anstataŭ). Many verbs are constructed by using a preposition as a prefix to another verb, e.g. priparoli, kunhavi, alproksimiĝi, and the presence or absence of a space is not audible in speech.

It isn't hard to rephrase those sentences:

Vi faris al mi komplezon petante lin telefoni. You did me a favour asking him to ring.

Vi faris al mi komplezon kiam vi petis lin telefoni. You did me a favour when you asked him to ring.

Vi faris al mi komplezon per via peto al li telefoni / ke li telefonu. You did me a favour by your request to him that he ring.

Ni diskutis, ĉu aĉeti novan aŭton. We discussed whether to buy a new car.

Ni diskutis, ĉu ni aĉetu novan aŭton. We discussed whether we should buy a new car.

Here's Zamenhof's comment on sen —i:

Kiel ni diras «mi vidis lin sana» (= «ke li estas sana») tiel laŭ mia opinio ni povas ankaŭ diri «mi vidis lin kuri» (= «ke li kuras»), «mi aŭdis lin paroli» (= «ke li parolas»); sed la esprimojn «li faris ĉion sen ridi» aŭ «li restis du tagojn sen manĝi» mi ne konsilus al vi uzi. Prepozicion antaŭ verbo mi konsilus uzi nur en okazo de neceseco, se alie ni ne povas bone esprimi nian penson. Sed anstataŭ «sen ridi» aŭ «sen manĝi» ni povas ja tre bone diri «sen rido», «sen manĝo» aŭ «neniom ridante», «nenion manĝante». Respondo 20, La Revuo, 1907, Junio

See also Respondo 37, which is even more emphatic. In practice I think that people just find it easier to say sen rigardi than ne rigardante, or at least find that it flows more naturally.


I noticed your question about Dankon pro veni. The problem with that sentence is that veni is floating unattached to a subject, but is not meant absolutely; and for that reason, in my personal opinion, Dankon por veni is better phrased as Dankon por via veno. The specific form por —i is almost always used to express the purpose of the action of the main verb, and is therefore attached to the subject of the main verb: e.g. after the sentence Mi telefonos lin por kontroli we may ask Kiu kontrolos? Mi kontrolos. But in Mi dankas vin por veni the word veni is confusingly attached to vin, not mi. Compare with, say, Mi telefonis kaj varme dankis ŝin por fliki nian rilaton iomete. ("I telephoned and warmly thanked her in order to patch up our relations a bit.")

As to por/pro, they are both correct, although I think pro is more common; the expression danki por is legitimate (and Zamenhofian) because it suggests an exchange: Li pagis por mia abono, kaj mi dankis lin por lia pago.

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They're all possible but some are more common than others. Common prepositions used with infinitives are por, sen, and anstataŭ. I've always just ascribed this to tradition.

If you want to use a preposition with an infinitive, you can often use ol (antaŭ ol paroli) or a different preposition. (Dankon pro via venado / dankon por veni).

Some cases are considered less than ideal by some, but they're well established. My advice is to avoid the patterns that are not well established. (e.g. Miaj esperoj pri lasi tiun-ĉi insulon is probably questionable.) You'll find stray examples with antaŭ followed by a preposition. Generally it's better with "ol".

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  • Would it be wrong to say Dankon pro veni? Or is it just untraditional? – Bjørn Aug 27 '17 at 9:31
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    What's the difference between wrong and untraditional? Language is defined by how it's used, is it not? I would never say "dankon pro veni" and I would consider it wrong because it is non-traditional. – Tomaso Alexander Aug 27 '17 at 15:08
  • I have been corrected for using "por" and told that "pro" is always the preposition to use after "Dankon" – Antonia Montaro Aug 29 '17 at 7:10
  • @AntoniaMontaro - without more context, I would say that the people who corrected you and told you that "pro" is "always the preposition" - are simply wrong. A simple search in Tekstaro shows that "dankon por" is less common that "dankon pro" - but it's also zamenhofa. A simple search doesn't show the whole picture, however, because they mean different things and are used in different ways. A more sophisticated search (e.g. \bdank\FI .{0,25}\bp\w\w\b) shows numerous examples of "dank-" with "por" - and in other ways. – Tomaso Alexander Aug 29 '17 at 10:49
  • @AntoniaMontaro- It looks like this is already a question in our database - esperanto.stackexchange.com/questions/187/… – Tomaso Alexander Aug 29 '17 at 11:10

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