When am I supposed to say tion, kion versus just kion?

Mi ŝatas tion, kion vi aĉetis.

Mi ŝatas kion vi aĉetis.

3 Answers 3


I've come upon a number of hard and fast answers to questions like this over the years and I think most of them are wrong. The sentences you give are essentially the same in meaning. If you think it's better without "tion" you can drop it.

I can't find the answer that I just wrote (within the last week or two) on this same question, but in short, you can generally drop the ti-correlative in sentences like this, unless there is a preposition or other function word involved.

See PMEG for additional detail.

  • It may also be worth mentioning, if I read the PMEG correctly, that you shouldn’t drop the ti-word if one is accusative and the other isn’t. e.g. Mi aĉetas tion, kio plaĉas al mi. Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 14:38
  • 3
    This "rule" is actually one of the ones I hinted at when I said I've heard many of them. If fact, the same PMEG article says that this rule is not hard and fast. Ne ekzistas absolutaj reguloj, kiam oni povas forlasi TI-vorton. Plej grava estas la klareco: Se la frazo fariĝas tro malklara, oni ne forlasu la TI-vorton. I think the examples he uses to make the point about "malsamaj rolmontriloj" is better covered by "if the sense is not clear, don't drop it." Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 18:16
  • Yes. Sentences such as "Mi ne scias kio estas tio" are common (and correct) even though you could technically argue it should be "Mi ne scias tion kio estas tio".
    – miestasmia
    Commented Dec 29, 2017 at 3:50

From the direct English translation (which is of course not always a reliable guide):

  1. I like what you bought
  2. I like that, what you bought

In the second case it's a non-obligatory relative clause, providing further information about what the speaker likes. The first case is a comment about someone's shopping.

Possible contexts:

  1. Speaker B comes back from a shopping trip, and speaker A comments on it.
  2. Speaker A points to something which in the past was bought by speaker B, eg as a present.

Note: I still see myself as a komencanto, so this explanation is mainly based on a linguistic analysis. If this is counter to common Esperanto usage, please correct me!

  • Everything I’ve every read on the subject has said that omission of the ti-word in no way changes the sense of the sentence. It is simply a convenience to omit it when doing so doesn’t obscure the meaning. Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 18:06
  • "when doing so doesn’t obscure the meaning" - this may be affected by the linguistic background of the speaker and listener.
    – ThrawnCA
    Commented Dec 20, 2017 at 1:24

There is a lot of research going on on Information Density and Linguistic Encoding, therefore a final answer is not (yet) possible. The first encoding tion, kion is less dense than the second one kion; therefore it is preferable in cases when misunderstandings can happen easily (noisy environment, the rest of the sentence is complex and/or surprising). In all other cases, we prefer the more dense encoding: it allows us to get the message across more quickly.

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