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Esperanto has two similar prepositions, “de” and “da,” that mean two different things but are similar enough to trip up students of other languages. Having studied Spanish as my first excursion into foreign language, “de” and “da” manage to confuse me on occasion. We shall have a look at them here today.
“De” roughly means “from” or “of” in English. You use it in Esperanto to express origins, causes, properties of items (including possession), and on rare occasion, time.
Glaso de lakto – Glass of milk
Hundo de mi – My dog (literally, “dog of me” or “dog of mine”)
Li venas de la urbeto – He comes from the suburbs
“Da,” on the other hand, is used to express quantities and units of measurement. This is where students of Spanish might trip up. In my mind, when I hear “pint of water,” I jump to the Spanish word “de” due to its similarity to the Esperanto word. However, the preposition “da” is the appropriate one in this context.
Litro da akvo – Liter of water
Kilogramo da sukero – Kilogram of sugar
Practice using these two prepositions, and they’ll be easy to remember in no time at all!