The basis of the Ido grammar is the system of different endings for the various parts of speech. This works as follows:
Nouns (words for objects or states) end in -o in the singular, for example: kat-o = cat, dom-o = house.
In the plural the -o ending is changed to -i, so kat-i = cats, puer-i = children.
Adjectives (words for describing things) end in -a, and do not change in the plural. Examples: rapid-a = fast, brun-a kato = brown cat, grand-a domi = big houses.
Adjectives may also follow the noun: domi grand-a = big houses.
Adverbs (words which describe how something happens) may be formed from adjectives by changing the -a to -e: felic-a = happy, felic-e = happily. So -e often corresponds to English -ly.
Verbs (words for actions) end in -ar in the "infinitive", so for example: parol-ar = to talk, speak, kur-ar = to run. A very important verb in Ido is es-ar = to be.
To form the present tense, -ar is changed to -as. So we have: es-as = is, are, am, parol-as = talk(s). Here the -a- indicates that the action is taking place in the present.
To form the past tense, -a- is changed to -i-: es-is = was, were, kur-is = ran.
To form the future tense, -a- is changed to -o-: parol-os = will speak.
There is no indefinite article in Ido, so that the English a, an are not translated: hundo = a dog, pomo = an apple.
The definite article is la = the: la domo = the house. This does not change in the plural: la pomi = the apples.
We can now form some simple sentences:
La kato esas bruna = The cat is brown.
La granda hundo kuras rapide = The big dog runs fast.
La puero parolis felice = The child talked happily.
To ask a question, we start the phrase with the question-word ka:
La pomo esas verda = The apple is green.
Ka la pomo esas verda? = Is the apple green?
Ka la kato kuros? = Will the cat run?
We could answer such questions with yes = yes or no = no.
To make a sentence negative, we place ne = not before the verb: La kato ne kuros = The cat will not run.
The personal pronouns are:
me = I, me, vu/tu = you (singular: formal/familiar), il(u), el(u), ol(u) = he, she, it
ni = we, us, vi = you (plural), li = they.
There are also on(u) = one, "you", people and su = reflexive pronoun (herself etc.). The male, female and neuter forms of they are ili, eli, oli.
To form possessive adjectives we simply add -a: me-a = my, mine, vi-a = your(s). The ilu, elu etc. forms are used for this: ilua, elua = his, hers.
Conjunctions join phrases together, for example e = and, o = or, ma = but. So La kato esas mikra e bruna, ma la hundo esas granda e nigra = The cat is small and brown, but the dog is big and black.
Prepositions are useful little words like en = in, sur = on, sub = under. So for example: La hundo esis en la domo, sub la tablo = The dog was in the house, under the table.
The use of distinguishing endings (-o, -a etc.) allows easy derivation of one type of word from another.
In direct derivation, one ending is simply swapped for another, as we did above to turn adjectives into adverbs.
For instance we can derive a noun directly from any verb, and the noun will mean the action or state implied by the verb:
parol-ar = to talk, parol-o = a talk, speech.
kur-ar = to run, kur-o = a run.
dorm-ar = to sleep, dorm-o = a sleep.
Indirect derivation uses affixes, which are either suffixes, such as:
-oz = full of: kuraj-o = courage, kuraj-oza = courageous
-al = relating to: nacion-o = nation, nacion-ala = national
-il = tool: pekt-ar = to comb, pekt-ilo = a comb
or prefixes, such as:
pre- = pre-, before: dicar = say, tell, pre-dicar = predict, foretell
ri- = re-, again: aplikar = apply, ri-aplikar = re-apply
ex- = ex-, former: ministro = minister, ex-ministro = ex-minister.
You can learn more about Ido grammar at these webpages:
Kaj por Esperantistoj:
Specially prepared by James Chandler