I would like to know how to correctly compose very complicated verb tenses (more complex than esti+participle). Because their usage is so rare, this is a curiosity question rather than a practical one.

For example, could someone show me (and explain the reasoning behind) the Esperanto equivalent of:

"She will have been about to go to the house, when..."

This is future->past->future again, the best I can think of in Esperanto is:

Ŝi estos estis ironta al domo, kiam... or Ŝi estos estinta ironta al domo, kiam...

Is it better to use two verbs, two particles, or something else entirely? (My apologies if both are awful, I'm fluent in only English, so the lack of so many auxiliaries throws me off)

2 Answers 2


Using two participles as in your second suggestion, ŝi estos estinta ironta al domo, is correct. The first suggestion with estos estis doesn’t make sense.

There is an example of this in PMEG:

Kiam li alvenis, mi estis estinta leganta la libron dum kelka tempo.

Note however that PMEG says this is more theoretical and hardly used in practice because it’s difficult to understand and it would probably be better to express it more verbosely.

  • I have to agree with PMEG, because when I read "estos estinta ironta" my first thought was "what?"
    – Mutre
    Mar 14, 2018 at 9:44

Esperanto only has three tenses.

  • -as
  • -is
  • -os

This doesn't mean that it can't express complex ideas. I would suggest rewording sentences such as the one you asked about. It's difficult to understand in any language.

"She will have been about to go to the house, when..."

When what? "When you see her tonight" perhaps? What does that even mean? Best I can figure is that at the time that you see her, she will have thought about going into the house, but she will have already changed her mind by then.

Kiam vi vidos ŝin, ŝi estos jam pensinta pri... sed ŝi jam estos ŝanĝinta la ideon.

Always aim for clear style.

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