In Esperanto, there is no strict ordering in regards to adjectives and nouns. Saying "afero beleta" is just as valid as saying "beleta afero" in terms of the rules. However, the de facto convention seems to be that adjectives precede the nouns which they describe (see the answer to "Adjective + noun" or "noun + adjective"?).

My question is thus whether it would be strange of me in practice to always, or mostly, have adjectives follow nouns. It's certainly not against the rules, but it does seem noticeably uncommon. I don't necessarily intend to be different; I just think that things like "lingvo internacia" look/sound better (in my subjective opinion) than "internacia lingvo" (possibly due to interference from my slight background in Romance languages).

2 Answers 2


You'd probably sound completely normal to some Esperanto speakers (some might not even notice the difference), unusual to other Esperanto speakers and correct but strange to yet others. (Maybe you'd even sound "wrong" to some, even though being completely within the rules of the language.)

How the relative size of these 3 (or 4) groups would be, I can only guess.

However, this shouldn't bother you. The reason why the rules of Esperanto allows both word orders w.r.t. adjectives is exactly so that speakers of languages where adjectives typically follow the noun (or whatever they're applied to) can feel just as "at home" in Esperanto as speakers of languages where it's the other way around. (And because leaving this open generally doesn't hamper comprehensibility.)

This accepting approach is deeply ingrained in the community of Esperanto speakers: Keep true to the rules that are "set in stone" in the Fundamento (and maybe some that have otherwise been agreed upon and formalized by the Akademio de Esperanto), but accept everything as correct Esperanto that is within the boundaries of those rules.

This doesn't mean that Esperanto doesn't have phrasings that can be more idiomatic than others. (As you've correctly noticed, having the adjective before the noun is more common.) But it's also part of the Esperanto culture and tradition to use the language creatively and actually make use of the flexibility that Esperanto offers over most national languages. (Though some of that is also frowned upon by parts of the Esperanto community, e.g. the tendency to verb every adjective instead of using them with "esti".)


My question is thus whether it would be strange of me in practice to always, or mostly, have adjectives follow nouns.

There is nothing strange about it. If you like it better this way, do it this way. The question is not, if it is uncommon. The question is: is the meaning clear or not.

As long as there is no doubt what noun an adjective refers to, I don't see a problem.

Since Esperanto is not a community but a (living) language, who could claim to know, what is common or strange.

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