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Some dishes have long names with multiple parts. As an example, take 'noodles with vodka sauce'.

In Esperanto (unless I am mistaken) this would become something like 'nudeloj kun saŭco de vodko' or 'nudeloj kun vodka saŭco'.

The question is, how would such a name of a dish be written when it is the object of a sentence?

Which of these two example sentences is correct?

  • a) Mi manĝas nudelojn kun saŭco de vodko
  • b) Mi manĝas nudelojn kun saŭcon de vodko

Looking at earlier questions like When should you use the accusative case? seems to indicate (a) is correct. But this feels weird, since it reads to me like we are somehow using the sauce as a tool to eat the noodles with, rather than eating a 'noodles + sauce' dish.

What is correct here?

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I confirm that A is correct. When the accusative is used to mark the object of the sentence, only the part without any prepositions gets the accusative. The accusative and the prepositions are used to mark the case of parts of the sentence. Using both of them at the same time is like trying to mark two different cases and it doesn’t make sense. The exception is when the accusative is used to mark direction along with a preposition (like mi iras ĉe mian avinon), but in that case the accusative isn’t marking the object.

If you wanted to mention a tool that you are eating with, it is better to use the word per, like:

Mi manĝas la supon per kulero.

I guess there is still a sort of ambiguity because it’s not technically specified whether the sauce is with the noodles or somehow with the person eating as if they have their own place at the table. At the end of the day, Esperanto isn’t 100% unambiguous, like most languages, and it’s normal that the sentence only has meaning together with the context.

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  • To add to what Neil said… English has just one "with" both for the comitative and instructive use, i.e. "together with" resp. "by means of". While there are languages with cases for those, Esperanto has opted for prepositions kun resp. per. Dec 29 '21 at 15:35

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