10.25. Explicit magnitudes

It is a limitation of the VA and ZI system of specifying magnitudes that they can only prescribe vague magnitudes: small, medium, or large. In order to express both an origin point and an exact distance, the Lojban construction called a termset is employed. (Termsets are explained further in Section 14.11 and Section 16.7.) It is grammatical for a termset to be placed after a tense or modal tag rather than a sumti, which allows both the origin of the imaginary journey and its distance to be specified. Here is an example:

Example 10.189. 

la .frank. sanli zu'a nu'i la .djordj.
That-named Frank stands [left] [start-termset] George
la'u lo mitre be li mu [nu'u]
[quantity] a thing-measuring-in-meters the-number 5 [end-termset].

Frank is standing five meters to the left of George.

Here the termset extends from the nu'i to the implicit nu'u at the end of the sentence, and includes the terms la .djordj. , which is the unmarked origin point, and the tagged sumti lo mitre be li mu , which the cmavo la'u (of selma'o BAI, and meaning with quantity ; see Section 9.6) marks as a quantity. Both terms are governed by the tag zu'a

It is not necessary to have both an origin point and an explicit magnitude: a termset may have only a single term in it. A less precise version of Example 10.189 is:

Example 10.190. 

la .frank. sanli zu'a nu'i la'u
That-named Frank stands [left] [termset] [quantity]
lo mitre be li mu
a thing-measuring-in-meters the-number 5.

Frank stands five meters to the left.