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Compound tenses are formed by combining the auxiliary verb "esti" with a participle (e.g. "mi estis leganta" -> "mi legantis"). Is there ever such a thing as an infinitive form of a compound (e.g. "leganti")?

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esti leg(a/i/o)nta is possible in infinitive. See this sentence from the "Ekzercaro de la Fundamento de Esperanto", mainly the part between parenthesis:

... ke tio, kion mi diris, estu vera (aŭ mi volas esti dirinta la veron).

It might also come up when you really want to emphasize the time, in sentences like:

Sen esti leginta la enhavon, mi povas aserti ke tio estas rubaĵo.

That means you have not read it in the past. That you could have but didn't. If you said:

Sen legi la enhavon, mi povas aserti ke tio estas rubaĵo.

then the meaning is more like "I can tell you right now, there is no need to read it to know that ...".

leganti is something I never found in real life. Some people use forms like legantis but not everybody is going to understand those, however logical the construction seems to be.

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Plena manlibro de Esperanta gramatiko (PMEG) doesn't mention such forms at all. It takes up only A-, E- and O-forms of participles. While not officially being as high authority as Akademio de Esperanto, PMEG is for all practical purposes "the grammar book". It has lot of examples and since there are none involving any participle form with any verb ending, I would regard all those at least not-recommended, if not outright erroneous.

Remember also that the simple form mi legis is enough for most cases, and the complex form mi estis leganta is needed only, if you need to underline, to describe the state (as opposed to showing the action). E.g. Mi ĵus estis leginta pri…, kiam… okazis. : I had just read about… when… happened, but even here you can use Mi ĵus legis…

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  • In actual practice, I would simply say "mi legis", so this question is primarily to satisfy my curiosity in what is actually possible in Esperanto. – Mona the Monad Oct 30 '19 at 15:19
  • Ok, while theoretically possible and Eduardo found an example in Ekzercaro, I would say no, it's not possible in practice. – Juha Metsäkallas Oct 30 '19 at 18:38
  • It is not theorical. It is actually used in practice, from the very beginning of the language up to now. I mentioned Ezcerzaron as an example, but there are many more! Search \Westi\W\w+inta\W in tekstaro.com to see some of them. You can also search "esti vidinta" en Vikipedio. Even if there are some gramatical errors among those results, you'll see the structure is used, properly. – Eduardo Trápani Nov 1 '19 at 4:25
  • It's wrong because PMEG doesn't mention it? It's in Ekzercaro de la Fndamento but not possible in practice? That doesn't make sense. – Olafant Nov 1 '19 at 7:29
  • @EduardoTrápani, I answered the original question, whether forms like legantis exist. – Juha Metsäkallas Nov 1 '19 at 8:39

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