• 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]
  • Estonian pronouns

    In grammar, a pronoun is defined as a word or phrase that may be substituted for a noun or noun phrase. How is this possible? Briefly, it’s because pronouns can do everything that nouns can do. A pronoun can act as a subject, direct object, indirect object, object of the preposition, and more.

    In Estonian there are 6 different types of pronouns. 

    1. Personal pronouns

    Personal pronouns have two forms in Estonian - a long form which is used when you want to emphazise the pronoun and a short form which is used when you don't. 

    English Estonian Short form
    I Mina Ma
    You (singular) Sina Sa
    He/She/It Tema Ta
    We Meie Me
    You (plural) Teie Te
    They Nemad Nad


    Declension of personal pronouns

    In the following tables you can see how the personal pronouns are declined.


      I Short You Short He/She/It Short
    Nominative mina ma sina sa tema ta
    Genitive minu mu sinu su tema ta
    Partitive mind - sind - teda -
    Illative minusse musse sinusse susse temasse tasse
    Inessive minus mus sinus sus temas tas
    Elative minust must sinust sust temast tast
    Allative minule mulle sinule sulle temale talle
    Adessive minul mul sinul sul temal tal
    Ablative minult mult sinult sult temalt talt
    Translative minuks - sinuks - temaks -
    Terminative minuni - sinuni - temani -
    Essive minuna - sinuna - temana -
    Comitative minuga - sinuga - temaga -
    Abessive minuta - sinuta - temata -


      We Short You Short They Short
    Nominative meie me teie te nemad nad
    Genitive meie me teie te nende -
    Partitive meid - teid - neid -
    Illative meisse - teisse - nendesse neisse
    Inessive meis - teis - nendes neis
    Elative meist - teist - nendest neist
    Allative meile - teile - nendele neile
    Adessive meil - teil - nendel neil
    Ablative meilt - teilt - nendelt neilt
    Translative meieks meiks teieks teiks nendeks neiks
    Terminative meieni - teieni - nendeni -
    Essive meiena - teiena - nendena -
    Comitative meiega - teiega - nendega -
    Abessive meieta - teieta - nendeta -


    2. Reflexive pronouns

    A reflexive pronoun indicates that the person who is realizing the action of the verb is also the recipient of the action.

    There are two of them in Estonian:

    1. The pronoun 'ise'

    The pronoun ise is equivalent to '(one)self' in English.

      -self (singular) short -selves (plural) short
    Nominative ise - ise -
    Genitive enese enda eneste endi
    Partitive ennast end endid -
    Illative enesesse endasse enestesse endisse
    Inessive eneses endas enestes endis
    Elative enesest endast enestest endist
    Allative enesele endale enestele endile
    Adessive enesel endal enestel endil
    Ablative eneselt endalt enestelt endilt
    Translative eneseks endaks enesteks endiks
    Terminative eneseni endani enesteni endini
    Essive enesena endana enestena endina
    Comitative enesega endaga enestega endiga
    Abessive eneseta endata enesteta endita

    enlightened There are compound pronouns for all the forms of ise except the nominative: gen. iseenese, part. iseennast, ill. iseenesesse etc. They mean the same thing as simpler forms but add an element of emphasis.

    • Ta austab ennast rohkem kui teisi. --- He respects himself more than the others. 
    • Alati tuleb endaks jääda. --- You should always be yourself.
    • Me küsisime endilt, kas see oli tõesti õige otsus. --- We asked ourselves whether this was really the right decision.


    2. The pronoun 'oma'

    The pronoun oma is used to indicate possession by the subject of the sentence. It corresponds to the possessive pronouns in English, like 'my (own)' or 'mine' etc.

      Singular Plural
    Nominative oma omad
    Genitive oma omad
    Partitive oma omasid / omi
    Illative omasse omadesse
    Inessive omas omades
    Elative omast omadest
    Allative omale omadele
    Adessive omal omadel
    Ablative omalt omadelt
    Translative omaks omadeks
    Terminative omani omadeni
    Essive omana omadena
    Comitative omaga omadega
    Abessive omata omadeta

    However, the pronoun oma is normally not declined!

    • Ma armastan oma sõpra. --- I love my friend.
    • Ma kirjutan oma sõbrale. --- I write to my friend.
    • Me rääkisime oma sõbrast. --- We talked about our friend

    enlightenedThe pronoun oma is declined for special emphasis. Adding an emphatic 'own' would be the equivalent in English. 

    • Need on ju omad inimesed. --- These are our own people.
    • Omal vastutusel. --- At your own risk.
    • Ta elab omas majas. --- She lives in her own house.

    enlightenedThe pronoun oma is also declined when it stands alone, without an accompanying noun.

    • Sinu lapsed on juba suured, aga minu omad on veel väiksed. --- Your children are already big but mine are still small.
    • Tema arvutil on puutetundlik ekraan, aga minu omal pole. --- He's computer has a touchscreen but mine doesn't.
    • Maria vihikusse on kirjutatud palju, aga Leila omasse väga vähe. --- A lot has been written to Maria's notebook but very little to Leila's.  


    3. Reciprocal pronouns

    Reciprocal pronouns are used for expressing mutual actions or relationship; i.e. one another, each other.

    There are two of them in Estonian: üksteise 'each other's' (of more than two people) and teineteise 'each other's' (of two people). Both of them lack the plural forms and the singular nominative. 

    • Näib, et kõik need inimesed on kuidagi üksteisega seotud. --- Seems like all of these people are somehow connected to each other.
    • Marta ja Jaan vaatasid teineteisele otsa. --- Marta and Jaan looked at each other.
    • Laurale ja Martinile meeldib teineteisega aega veeta. --- Laura and Martin like spending time with each other.


    4. Demonstrative pronouns

    Demonstrative pronouns are used to point to something specific within a sentence. 

    In the table below you can find the most used demonstrative pronouns declined in the first 3 cases. (The other 11 cases are declined regurarly, by adding the appropriate endings to the genitive)

    English Nominative Genitive Partitive
    This see selle seda
    That too tolle toda
    These need nende neid
    Those nood nonde noid
    That kind (of) selline sellise sellist
    This kind (of) niisugune niisuguse niisugust
    Such (a) seesugune seesuguse seesugust
    • Selle raamatu loed sa ühe õhtuga läbi. --- You will finish this book in one night.
    • Panin lauale vihiku. Võta see homme kaasa! --- I put a notebook on the table. Take this with you tomorrow!
    • Tollel aastal oli kevad väga külm. --- The spring was very cold that year.


    5. Interrogative-relative pronouns

    Interrogative-relative pronouns are those which refer to nouns mentioned previously, acting to introduce an adjective (relative) clause or those which introduce a question.

    English Nominative Genitive Partitive
    Who kes kelle keda
    What mis mille mida
    What kind of / which one missugune missuguse missugust
    Who or which (of the two) kumb kumma kumba
    Which kind (of) milline millise millist
    • See mees, kes seal kõnnib, on ilmselt purjus. --- That man who is walking there is probably drunk.
    • Vaadake kutsikad üle ja otsustage, missugust te tahate. --- Look at all the puppies and decide which one do you want.
    • Kumba sa rohkem armastad, kas mind või teda? --- Whom do you love more, me or him?


    6. Indefinite pronouns

     Indefinite pronouns refer to one or more unspecified objects, beings, or places.

    English Nominative Genitive Partitive
    Someone keegi kellegi kedagi
    Something miski millegi midagi
    Either kumbki kummagi kumbagi
    A single (something) ükski ühegi ühtegi
    Everyone, everything, all (singular) kõik kõige kõike
    Everyone, everything, all (plural) kõik kõigi kõiki
    Both mõlemad mõlema mõlemat
    All of, the whole of kogu - -
    Every iga iga iga
    • Mati on mõlema poja isa. --- Mati is the father of both sons.
    • Ma tahan seda öelda kogu maailmale. --- I want to tell it to the whole world.
    • Kas sa tead kedagi, kes töötab pangas? --- Do you know someone who works in the bank?


    yes Continue to the exercises to practice pronouns in Estonian!


    Exercise: declension of personal pronouns

    Exercise: reflexive pronouns

    Exercise: choose the correct pronoun