I still don't get the meaning of the preposition po

Could you give me some examples where it is used ?

1 Answer 1


That preposition could have been taken from Bulgarian, which has the same preposition:

  • Po kvar personoj sidas ĉe la (3) tabloj.

Every time 4 persons sit at the (3) tables = 12 persons. 4 Persons are sitting at each table.

I have taken this weird example by choice: po here functions more like an adverb, and even Zamenhof also used the accusative with po.

There is a corresponding per in English - at the other place. So po means each time, by. German has jeweils, Dutch telkens.

It expresses a quantitative unit repeated: each time.

  • La intervjuoj prenis po du personoj en ĉiuj ĉambroj.
    The interviews each took two persons in every room.

  • Ŝi veturis po ducent kilometrojn en horo.
    She drove two hundred kilometres per hour.

In fact, one could (semantically) combine po with a preposition:

La intervjuoj okazis kun po du personoj en ĉiuj ĉambroj.
The interviews happened with two persons each in the rooms / per room.

I would personally see it as an adverb before a numeral.

  • 4
    I'm not sure whether po came from Bulgarian or some other Slavic language (maybe Zamenhof's native Polish has such) but it is true that in Bulgarian it is exactly the same word and used with the same rules. Being a native Bulgarian speaker, „po“ feels intuitive to me, and I think everytime is not a perfect translation, as po is not related to time, only to quantity. I would translate your example of Po kvar personoj… as On each table, there are 4 people. Conicidentally, po in Bulgarian is used for multiplication too: 3 по 4 = 12 Also, isn't that ĉiu ĉambro (singular)? Sep 16, 2016 at 10:52
  • 1
    The Lyubomir's description is also valid for the Russian language.
    – Aviadisto
    Sep 16, 2016 at 11:09
  • Regarding po as an adverb before numerals, other prepositions have this kind of thing as well: Mi havas ĉirkaŭ cent pomojn. Here ĉirkaŭ describes just cent rather than the entire direct object. Sep 16, 2016 at 11:45

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