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From what I understand, they both basically mean to annoy, but is there a difference or is it just up to the speaker? Are there any situations where one is more appropriate than the other?

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I think ĝeni is a bit more general and doesn’t necessarily imply an emotional reaction. Maybe it is closer to bother or hinder in English. You could say:

La malbone parkita aŭto ĝenas la rubkolektadon.

The badly parked car causes trouble for the rubbish collection, but it doesn’t necessarily make the refuse collectors angry.

For comparison:

Ĉagrenas min ke iu ŝtelis mian biciklon.

There it is describing an emotional reaction to the problem. The bike theft made them angry.

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  • So basically "to annoy" vs "to anger"?
    – bahrta sai
    Feb 5 at 14:45
  • Well, not exactly. Personally I would say that annoy also implies an emotional reaction, but just less so than “[make] angry”. Whereas the object of ĝeni doesn’t even have to be a human, like in the example.
    – Neil Roberts
    Feb 5 at 14:53

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