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I saw a sentence

Kien Adamo volas iri?

Here I guess the 'n' in the 'Kien' makes 'to where' rather than 'where'.

Is it the same 'n' as in the objective of a verb, like "Mi manĝas pomon."?

If there is no n like 'Kie Adamo volas iri?', does it make different meaning or is it syntactically incorrect?

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  • Kien? Al la butiko. Kie? En la parko.
    – Joop Eggen
    Jul 21, 2023 at 15:42

2 Answers 2

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La finaĵo -n havas plurajn rolojn. Tiu de kien ne estas tiu de pomon.

  • Kien Adamo volas iri?

Tio demandas pri la direkto kaj iri povas signifi Moviĝi direkte al iu aŭ io (PIV).

  • Kie Adamo volas iri?

Tio demandas pri la ejo kaj iri signifas Moviĝi per la tiucelaj membroj, piedoj,... (PIV). Iel kvazaŭ temus pri la ago marŝi.

La plej ofta signifo de iri estas iri ien, do la dua frazo aspektas iomete strange, sed ĝi bonas, se vi ne konsideras la agon iri alcela. Jen ekzemplo.

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I saw a sentence

Kien Adamo volas iri?

Here I guess the 'n' in the 'Kien' makes 'to where' rather than 'where'.

Don't let the English language confuse you. "where" has (at least) to meanings in English, which have to be distinguished by context:

  • location ("At what place?")
  • destination ("To what place?"), sometimes expressed as "where to" (almost never "to where"), but often just also as "where".

Is it the same 'n' as in the objective of a verb, like "Mi manĝas pomon."?

That depends on what you consider "the same". It's the same letter (lower case N). It's there due to accusative case in both sentences. But the reasons for using accusative a different:

  • In "Kien Adamo volas iri?" it's an accusative marking a location ("Kie") as a destination (of the movement "iri" itself of of its direction.)
  • In "Mi manĝas pomon.", the accusative marks "pomo" as the direct object of the action "manĝi".

If there is no n like 'Kie Adamo volas iri?', does it make different meaning or is it syntactically incorrect?

It'd be syntactically and grammatically perfectly correct, but indeed have a different meaning: It'd be a question about where (at what location) the movement "iri" takes place, rather than about its direction or destination.

Examples for location:

  • Kie Adamo volas iri? (At what place does Adamo want to go?)
  • Li volas iri en la strato. (He wants to go on the road / street. That's where the going takes place, not what its destination is.)
  • Kie Sofia marŝas? (Where (at what place) is Sofia walking?)
  • Ŝi marŝas en la montaro. (She walks in the mountains. (Not through tunnels, probably, but in a mountain range area, e.g. in the Alps.))

Examples for destination:

  • Kien Adamo volas iri? (Where(-to) does Adamo want to go?)
  • Li volas iri al Torino. (He wants to go to Turin. "al" is already a preposition of destination/direction rather than of location, so no accusative here.)
  • Kien Sofia marŝas? (Where(-to) is Sofia walking?)
  • Ŝi marŝas sur monto-pinton. (She walks towards (or onto) a mountain top.)

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