• Estonian grammar
  • 1 Estonian sentence structure [0/2]
  • 2 Estonian nouns [0/3]
  • 3 Estonian pronouns [0/3]
  • 4 Estonian cases [0/11]
  • 5 Estonian verbs [0/8]
  • 6 Estonian adjectives [0/1]
  • 7 Estonian prepositions and postpositions [0/1]
  • 8 Estonian adverbs [0/1]
  • Adessive case in Estonian

    When to use the adessive case in Estonian?

    The adessive case (alalütlev kääne in Estonian) indicates location on top of something.

    In its basic sense, the adessive indicates the object on the surface of which something is found. It answers the questions kus? 'where (at)?', kellel? 'on (top of) whom?' and millel? 'on (top of) what?'.

    • Naine istub pingil. --- The woman is sitting on the bench.
    • Mees töötab põllul. --- The man is working in (on) the field. 
    • Raamat on laual. --- The book is on the table.


    The adessive is often used in expressions of time. In many cases, the English equivalent would rather involve the preposition 'in' instead of 'on'. 

    • Suvel --- In summer
    • Õhtul --- In the evening
    • Õigel ajal --- At the right time
    • Järgmisel aastal --- Next year


    Another special use is to indicate possession or ownership of something. Estonian lacks a verb which would be the exact counterpart of 'to have' in English. Instead, it uses the adessive case and on 'is/are' (from the verb olema 'to be'). In the negative, ei ole or pole is used.

    • Minul on telefon. --- I have a phone. (lit: On me there is a phone).
    • Minul ei ole arvutit. --- I do not have a computer.
    • Mu õel on homme sünnipäev. --- My sister has a birthday tomorrow.
    • Hobusel on pikk saba. --- The horse has a long tail.
    • Kellel on auto? --- Who has a car?


    How to form the adessive case in Estonian?

    The ending -l is added to the genitive form of a word.

    Nominative   Genitive   Adessive  English
    Staadion Staadioni Staadionil Stadium
    Sügis Sügise Sügisel Autumn
    Laud Laua Laual Table
    Sein Seina Seinal Wall
    Laura Laura Laural Laura (name)