In the Fundamenta Krestomatio (“La naskiĝo de la tabako”), I found the following sentence:

Ve al vi, kiu tiel malbone volas repagi la bonaĵon, kion oni faras al vi!

I know there are differences between the Esperanto of that time and today’s Esperanto (centjaro instead of jarcento, elrigardi instead of aspekti, pli-ol-unu instead of pluraj, bovoviro instead of virbovo, ĝi used like tio, etc.) but this struck me as particularly odd. From my understanding and from the context of the story, kion refers to la bonaĵon, not repagi la bonaĵon, so it should be kiun instead. I think. I thought it was a typo, but I’m reading from the sixth (1909) edition (p. 36), and I found it in the Tekstaro as well.

3 Answers 3


The use of kio instead of kiu with reference to a single noun here is simply wrong. There are cases that may look like such a use, but this is not the case here. In the 18th edition of the Fundamenta Krestomatio, annotated by Gaston Waringhien, kion is corrected to kiun in a footnote.

The text was translated in the first years of Esperanto, it was first published in La Esperantisto in 1893. The wrong use of the pronoun here is either due to an individual mistake of the translator or due to the fact that the norm was not totally fixed in these early days - I can't tell without a thorough study.

Please note that the Tekstaro does neither correct nor annotate texts, so it contains also linguistic errors and bad style, if they were in the original text, although most of the texts collected there are of a good quality.

  • You suggested it could be an individual mistake of the translator. Isn't it written at the beginning of the Fundamenta Krestomatio that Zamenhof corrected the texts by other authors in order to fit his own style? If that's the case, then it doesn't look likely to me that Zamenhof would have let such a mistake stay.
    – maliktunga
    Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 15:05
  • 3
    Zamenhof was very refraining and did not thoroughly correct the texts, however. If you look at the book edition of the Fundamenta Krestomatio, you will see a bunch of grammatical errors corrected in the footnotes by Waringhien (e.g. in the last text, the Iliad), which should have been corrected already by Z. Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 8:59
  • 1
    I think this additional information makes your answer the most complete there can be. Dankon!
    – maliktunga
    Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 12:50

It seems that it very well have been a typographical mistake. In this context, kiu is the only one that is appropriate, and I've never heard of kio being used in its stead in this sort of situation. Kio can be used to create dependant clauses if reflexive of tio, but in the case of actual nouns, kiu should be used.

„Ve al vi, kiu tiel malbone volas repagi la bonaĵon, kiun oni faras al vi!“ would have been more preferable.


Kiun would be a selection from several. Here probably just one bonaĵo was paid.

Simple as that, though intuitively I would have used kiun too. Compare:

Ve al vi, kiu tiel malbone volas repagi tion, kion oni faras al vi!

If one could have written

Ve al vi, kiu tiel malbone volas repagi tiun bonaĵon, kiun oni faras al vi!

the case would be different.

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