Conditional Sentences in Ateso

Types of conditional sentences

In a sentence ”If you go, I shall accompany you” —  ” llot ijo, enyamari eong ijo” there are two parts. The first part is conditional, ”if” clause, posing the condition, and the second is the cosequent clause, resulting from the condition. The condition in this example is simple and capable of fulfilment. There is a second type of conditional sentence in which the condition is capable of fulfilment or unlikely to be fulfilled. ”If you were to go, I would accompany you” —- ”Arai ijo olosi, ti eong anyama ijo”…it implies you are unlikely to go and that it is therefore unlikely or impossible that I shall accompany you.

Simple conditional sentences

Ateso, like English, uses indicative tenses for simple conditional sentences.

E.g.     Arai ilosi ijo, abuni aupar ke ijo. — If you are going, I shall accompany you.

            Arai kibwaikin amunyu toma akipi, esubi bala ememeun. — If salt is put in water, it appears like it vanishes.

Unfulfilled conditions

A special form of the verb in this type of sentence. The personal prefixes in both the conditional and the consequent clauses are those of the indicative with the addition of k; ka-, ki-, ke-, ki-, ki-, and ke– in ko class verbs and ke-, ki-, ki-,  ki-, ki-, and ki– in ki class verbs.

The verb in the conditional clause, though it has these conditional personal prefixes, may have the endings of the present, past or perfect tenses. The verb in the consequent clause is, however, invariable form. It is formed by prefixing the conditional personal prefixes to the root of the verb in the singular persons and first person plural, and to the root plus the suffix –oto and –ata in the remaining two sentences. The particle ti is used with the verb in the consequent clause.

The full form of the conditional verb in the consequent clause is therefore as follows;

Aiduk (ko) – To build                                             Ailip (ki)— To ask

Ti … kaduk — I would have built                       ti—kelip — I would have asked

Kiduk — when you build                                     kilip — when you ask

Keduk — when they build                                  kilip

Kiduko (to) — When you build                          Kilipa(ta) — When you ask

Keduko(to) —- when they bulit                         Kilipi(to) — They were asking

E.g.     Arai kalot eong moi, ti kadum apesan. — If I were to go tomorrow, I would get money.

          Arai kebunit, ti kiduk. — If he had come, we would have built.

          Arai kigirit ijo, ti eong kerengia ijo. — If you had refuse, I would have chased you away.

          Arai kelosit ngesi otaun, ti ijo kirengia ngesi. — If he had gone to town, you would have chased him away.

Note: the position of the subject of the verb in the cosequent clause. It follows the ti and precedes the verb.

Should, ought etc.

The particle ti can be used with indicative tenses and without an antecedent clause to express the idea of ”should” or ”ought”;

E.g.     Ti ijo ikonit kwngin — You could have acted that way.

            Ti mam ekonit kwangin — I ought to have not acted that way.

            Ti mama abunit. — I should not have come.


            Adaun(ko) —- it has finished, it suffices

          Atamakin (ko) — to try

          Ailot (ki) — to wash

          Toto — mother

          Ecupa (icupai) — bottle(s)

          Egoye(igoyen) — cloth(es)

          Asabunyi — Soap

          Lolo   —- today

          Tupuruc — in the morning, early in the day


  • If you had gone yesterday, I would have been able to help my mother.
  • I would have brought the oil today, if I had had a bottle.
  • If you drink a lot of beer, you will not be able to go home today.
  • You would have been able to work, if you had tried to learn.
  • If they we here early, they did not wait.
  • We shoul have come yesterday to greet you.
  • The students would have carried the things if I had told them to.
  • I would have washed my clothes, if i had had some soap.
  • If you were to help me today, we could finish my house.
  • You would have been able to work, if you had tried to learn