A fish farm is a farm that farms fish. A car factory is a factory that makes cars. A dog story is a story about dogs. Point it, it looks like you can just put noun next to noun in English, and voila!

In Esperanto, sometimes there are suffixes (e.g. -ejo), but otherwise, there seem to be several ways to translate such words:

  • A de B (fabriko de auxtoj) (sometimes de la, instead of just de)
  • A-a B-o (auta fabriko)
  • A-B (autfabriko/autofabriko)

I would like to know, what is the best practice (in general) to translate such noun-noun words in English?

  • And a cough medicine is a medicine that makes you cough... :) Don't forget that the meaning of compound nouns in English is not that straight forward, as there can be a range of semantic relationships between the two nouns. May 11, 2018 at 7:59

3 Answers 3


"How do I translate" is the wrong question. The question should be "I have an idea - how do I express it?" or "how does compounding work in Esperanto."

The PMEG article on Vortfarado will be helpful as an introduction.

A garden for growing flowers is a florĝardeno. A factory for making cars is a aŭtofabriko. A story about dogs is a rakonto pri hundoj.

  • 2
    PMEG Vortfarado says it all.
    – Joop Eggen
    May 15, 2018 at 6:55
  • Yes, I thought about making that my entire reply but there seems to be a rule against link-only replies. :-) May 15, 2018 at 15:27

I think you are asking what is the general rule of compounding two nouns in Esperanto. If I am right, Plena Manlibro de Esperanta Gramatiko (or PMEG) gives the best odds of satisfying your curiosity.

As far as I recall, there are two ways to compound two Esperanto nouns: poŝo + mono = poŝomono / poŝmono

  • Would it be possible to check your recollection and edit the line about "as far as I recall"? If you're not sure, don't answer. If you're sure, say you're sure. May 15, 2018 at 15:29

There is no best-practice, general way to translate such noun-noun pairs in English into Esperanto.

But my general advice would be to always try to be more specific in Esperanto than the English is. Because the Esperanto translation will lack the English-usage context that can make the English phrase work in English.

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