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All nouns, adjectives, pronouns and numbers in Estonian have 14 different case forms, in both the singular and plural. However, beginners shouldn't feel intimidated by this fact. There are only a few basic case forms, upon which the rest of the case sysem is based. You will see, that the case system is regular. The endings are constant and are added to the word stems without change, so it is easy to distinguish between the stem and the ending.
The first and the easiest case is called the nominative. It answers the questions 'who?', 'what?' or 'what kind?'.
|What is this?||Mis see on?|
|This is a table.||See on laud.|
The second case is called the genitive. It is mainly used to show possession or ownership of something.
|Whose book?||Kelle raamat?|
|Father's book.||Isa raamat.|
The partitive case answers the questions 'whom?' and 'what?'. In it's basic meaning, it indicates an indeterminate whole, of which only a part is under consideration.
|The boy is eating (some) bread.||Poiss sööb leiba.|
|It is snowing (some snow is falling).||Lund sajab.|
There are three inner locative cases in Estonian, all of which indicate location with reference to the interior of something.
|Illative||I am going home.||Ma lähen koju.|
|Inessive||I am home.||Ma olen kodus.|
|Elative||I am coming from home.||Ma tulen kodust.|
Estonian has also three outer locative cases, which like the inner locative cases, indicate location or movement. However, they do it in relation to the surface or the environment of something.
|Allative||Put the glass on the table.||Pane klaas lauale.|
|Adessive||The glass is on the table.||Klaas on laual.|
|Ablative||I took the glass from the table.||Ma võtsin klaasi laualt.|
The translative case indicates what someone or something is turning into.
|I want to become a doctor.||Ma tahan saada arstiks.|
|The child has grown up (big).||Laps on kasvanud suureks.|
The terminative case is used for showing the time or place which ends (or limits) the action.
|It's 2 weeks until Christmas.||Jõuludeni on 2 nädalat.|
|From here it's 5 km to my home.||Siit on mu koduni 5 km.|
The essive case indicates in what capacity or form something/someone performs an action.
|I work as a teacher.||Ma töötan õpetajana.|
|She was really pretty as a child.||Ta oli lapsena väga ilus.|
The comitative case corresponds to the English preposition 'with' and the abessive case, on the opposite, corresponds to 'without'.
|Comitative||I am going there with my friend.||Ma lähen sinna oma sõbraga.|
|Abessive||It's impossible to live without air.||Ilma õhuta ei saa elada.|
|1 Nominative case in Estonian|
|2 Genitive case in Estonian|
|3 Partitive case in Estonian|
|4 Inner locative cases in Estonian|
|5 Outer locative cases in Estonian|
|6 Translative case in Estonian|
|7 Terminative case in Estonian|
|8 Essive case in Estonian|
|9 Abessive and comitative cases in Estonian|
|10 Plural declension in Estonian|
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