Language points – Using èèmelòó ni?

To find out how many times something happend or someone did something, you should use the question form èèmélòó, as in:

Èèmelòó ni Dúpé jeun lánàá? How many times did Dupe eat yesterday?

  • Dúpé jeun léèmerin lánàá Dupe ate four times yesterday

Èèmelòó ni Ògbéni Mákindé lo sí ìlú Lóndònù? How many times did Mr. Makinde go to London?

  • N kò mo oye ìgbà tí Ògbéni Mákindé lo sí ìlú Lóndònù I do not know how many times Mr. Makinde went to London.

Notice that while èèmelòó is used in a question, oye ìgbà tí is used in a statement, and both mean the same thing. You should never use èèmelòó in a statement. This phenomenon is very common in question forms in Yoruba.

Some other examples are:

Èèmelòó ni o sáré lánàá? How many times did you run yesterday?

  • Mo sáré lééméta lánàá I ran three times yesterday
  • N kò mo oye ìgbà tí mo sáré lánàá I don’t know how many times I ran yesterday.
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