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Of course the accusative case is used for the Direct Object. However, this is far from the only usage of the accusative in Esperanto. When should I use it and when should I avoid it?

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    Maybe you want to ask about non-accusative usage of the "n" ending? Because the accusative case stands only for the direct object. – Aviadisto Aug 30 '16 at 11:08
  • You could edit that if you want, but as far as I know that's not actually true. If we compare with e.g. latin and other languages that have an accusative case, the case itself is used for most of the uses alongside the direct object where it is mostly associated with. Also Zamenhof refered to it as the accusative in all cases where it was used. – LaPingvino Aug 30 '16 at 14:33
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PMEG lists four main uses of the ending N:

  • Direct objects
  • Measures
  • Time points
  • Direction

For each of these uses, I will present three examples to illustrate it, and discuss some common misuses that one should avoid.

Direct objects

Mi amas vin.

De la patro mi ricevis libron.

Koncerne la muzikon [...] mi devas scii la gradon de via artisma klereco.

The third one is a bit atypical, as "muzikon" is not the direct object of a verb. The reason why the accusative is used nevertheless is that the adverb "koncerne" derives from the verb "koncerni", which takes a direct object. So "Koncerne la muzikon" means the same as "Kiam la afero koncernas la muzikon", and the accusative is retained even in the shortened form.

The direct object should not be used in predicative expressions ("perverbaj priskriboj" in PMEG), no matter whether the predicative expression is over the subject (as in the first example below) or over the object (as in the scond example):

Ŝi fariĝis doktoro.

Mi trovis la filmon tre bona.

Some people make the mistake to put the subject in accusative case when the subject appears after a verb. That mistake is especially common with "okazi", but "okazi" never takes a direct object. So you should say:

Hieraŭ okazis grava afero.

Measures

La edziĝa festo daŭris ok tagojn.

Ili staris nur kelkajn metrojn for de mi.

Li estis dudek du jarojn aĝa.

Note that in these cases, the expression of measure adds precision to the meaning of a verb (in the first two examples) or an adjective (in the third example). If a measure is used as the subject of a sentence or a predicative expression, it is of course in the nominative case:

Dek du monatoj estas longa tempo.

Pasis cent jaroj.

La longo de ĉiu tapiŝo estu dudek ok ulnoj.

Time points

Ĉiun matenon li flugis al la fenestro de la kompatinda knabino.

La sekvantan dimanĉon Knut denove iris tien.

La unuan fojon en ŝia vivo en la brusto de Marta leviĝis ondo de flamanta indigno.

Again, as a subject of a sentence or a predicative expression, a time point is of course in the nominative case:

Hodiaŭ estas sabato, kaj morgaŭ estos dimanĉo.

Tio estis la unua fojo, ke ŝi nomis ŝin sia filino.

Direction

An accusative can be used after a spatial preposition to indicate a direction instead of a position:

"sur la tablo" = "on the table"

"sur la tablon" = "onto the table"

"en la arbaro" = "in the forest"

"en la arbaron" = "into the forest"

"Li sidas sub la ponto." = "He is sitting below the bridge."

"Li kuras sub la ponton." = "He is running under the bridge.*"

(In the last example we see that in English we usually don't make this distinction for prepositions other than "in/into" and "on/onto", but in Esperanto this distinction is made equally for all spatial prepositions.)

Note that the prepositions "al" and "ĝis" already express a motion into a direction by themselves. So the accusative is not used after them, as the accusative can only be added to spatial prepositions that don't already by themselves express a motion into a direction.

The ending N can also be added to spatial adverbs in order to express a direction instead of a position:

"Mi estas hejme." = "I'm home.

"Mi iras hejmen." = "I'm going home.

"Kie vi estas?" = "Where are you."

"Kien vi iras?" = "Where are you going?"

"Restu ĉi tie!" = "Stay here!"

"Venu ĉi tien!" = "Come here!"

Finally, the accusative of direction can also be used with a noun that is not preceded by y preposition, but this is considered a rather old-fashioned use:

Morgaŭ mi veturos Parizon.

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