In saying something like "It is what he said that she [also] said", what is the difference, both semantically and grammatically, between something like "Tio/Tiu estas tio, kion li diris, ke ŝi diris" and "Tion li diris, ke ŝi diris"?

  • Por mi ambaŭ estas malfacile kompreneblaj. Ĉu ne simple: "Li diris ke ŝi tion diris"? Aŭ "Laŭ li, ŝi tion diris". Commented Oct 21, 2019 at 15:36
  • One situation that I can think of is when I want to emphasize that it is some specific thing that he said that she also said. The actions needn't match, either. For example "it is that [idea/thing] that he said that she agreed with [and not something else]". Maybe I could have said "tiu" here. Commented Oct 21, 2019 at 15:44
  • Of course, I could have been simple and said "She agreed with what he said", but in the case that I want to emphasize the object, can this work, somehow? Commented Oct 21, 2019 at 15:45
  • Maybe. If you say "Laŭ li, tion ŝi diris" aŭ "Tion ŝi diris, laŭ li". But that does not remotely mean something like "She agreed with what he said". Maybe you can tell us what you want to translate, and what needs to be emphasized. Then you can choose between the answers. Commented Oct 21, 2019 at 15:49
  • I have a habit of conjuring contrived and often convoluted situations as to further develop my intuition and understanding of languages, my bad. I have no specific text that I wish to translate, but perhaps I would like to express something like "It is this [specific] idea that he said, that she had agreed with [and not something else]", with an emphasis on said idea. I think my English was ambiguous above, as I didn't mean to say that he said that she said something. Commented Oct 21, 2019 at 16:10

2 Answers 2


'Tio estas tio, kion li diris' is literally 'That is that which he said'; 'Tion li diris, ke ŝi diris' is literally, 'He said that — that she said'.

Both sentences sound similar, but they are actually different. The 'tio, kion' structure is like saying 'that which' or 'what' as in the sentence 'That's what I said' (Tio estas tio, kion mi diris). 'Ke' marks a subordinate clause — a sentence within a sentence. So even though both words mean 'that', one is a demonstrative structure and the other a subordinate clause marker.


In an other language the formulation often shifts in form, either a preposition laŭ, or whatever. Construct in parts with more meaning:

  1. Central part: Li diris, ke ŝi diris tion.
  2. Tio estas la sama, kion li diris, ke ŝi diris.
  3. Estas tio, kion - laŭ li - ŝi diris. (It is that ...)

Sentence 2 reduces a bit the usage of correlatives, though whether entirely grammatically pure is dubious. I find it acceptable.

Sentence 3 throws away that he was saying it, but at least estas tio is fine.

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