In English, the word in is used fairly commonly, as opposed to my native language. You can say sentences like The book is written in Esperanto. where in refers to the text's language (Esperanto). Google translator says it would be La libro estas skribita en esperanto. (I used translator because I just started learning. I mean, skribita as an adjective?)

On the other hand, in English it can also be used as in The cat is in the house. which means the cat is currently inside, similarly to La kato estas en la domo. However, it can also be used as The cat went in the house. which could be either La kato iris en la domo. or La kato eniris la domo. The second seems better, as it gives the direction, kinda like German with accusative/dative.

As a non European language speaker, can I expect to use always uses en where I would use in in English, or are there exceptions?

1 Answer 1


I'm curious about your choice of examples and learning materials. Google Translate is not a good source to learn from and two of the three examples you have about cats and houses are grammatically wrong. If you need help finding good materials to learn from, please do ask.

With regard to your question about en, PIV (the most definitive Esperanto dictionary) list 8 different meanings for en.

  1. In a location
  2. Into a location (used with -n ending)
  3. Metaphorically in a certain time period
  4. Duration (I did it in three days.)
  5. To be "in" a certain state
  6. In the name of
  7. The result of action, for example in two pieces
  8. The thing identified with something else (To see yourself in someone.)

So, yes, there are many uses where "in" and en are the same, but for sure this is not the case 100% of the time. Esperanto doesn't have an expression like "the in crowd". There are also fairly common cases where you will use en in Esperanto where you use a different word in English.

  • En la kvara de julio = on the fourth of July

Better, though, at this point not to get distracted by these fine points. Learn a little more Esperanto first and if you find an example that doesn't make sense, dig into it a little and ask questions.

  • In the case of 7, do you mean like Cut in two pieces. ? Trancxita en du pecoj.
    – kry
    Oct 11, 2017 at 8:47
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    As for your question, I use this one for start: learn.esperanto.com/en The question was more like, Esperanto uses en as both in the house, and into the house, but as your reply, into the house would be like 'Mi iras en la domon.' as accusative.
    – kry
    Oct 11, 2017 at 8:58
  • "...en du pecojn" Oct 11, 2017 at 11:19
  • Why does it need accusative? ... Obviously, because it's the rule... I'm retarded....
    – kry
    Oct 11, 2017 at 11:32
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    @kry – No need to feel retarded! :-) I think ”en du pecojn” needs accusative because it is the end result of the action. It’s a bit like you cut something into something. Before, it was one piece, after the cut, it turned into two pieces. ”tranĉita en du pecoj” would be more like the place you were while cutting (”la granda kuko estis tranĉita en du diversaj ĉambroj” – the big cake was cut in two different rooms). As Tomaso said, don’t focus on these finer details now. When you’ve learnt a bit more Esperanto, you should get a ”natural” feel for these kinds of things (in my XP!)
    – Bjørn
    Oct 12, 2017 at 12:31

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