• 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 verbs

    In this lesson we will take a closer look at the Estonian verbs.

    Verbs in Estonian can express five grammatical categories: person, tense, mood, voice and polarity (affirmative/negative). Also, verbs can have the grammatical form of an infinitive or a participle.



    There are 4 tenses in Estonian:

    1) Olevik - Present

    • Ma olen praegu koolis. --- I am at school at the moment.

    2) Lihtminevik - Past Simple

    • Ma olin eile koolis. --- I was at school yesterday.

    3) Täisminevik - Present Perfect

    • Ma olen käinud koolis 12 aastat. --- I have been going to school for 12 years.

    4) Enneminevik - Past Perfect

    • Ma olin käinud koolis juba 5 aastat, enne kui mu õde esimesse klassi läks. --- I had been going to school for 5 years already before my sister started first grade.



    In Estonian, each verb has two kinds of infinitives:

    1) the -da infinitive

    • mängida --- to play

    2) the -ma infinitive

    • laulma --- to sing



    There are three different participles:

    1) the present -v participle 

    • jooksev poiss --- a running boy

    2) -nud participle

    • kulunud riided --- worn-out clothes

    3) -tud participle

    • keelatud vili --- forbidden fruit



    There are five different grammatical moods in Estonian:

    1) Kindel - Indicative

    • Ma lähen poodi. --- I am going to the shop.

    2) Tingiv - Conditional

    • Ma tahaksin minna poodi. --- I would like to go to the shop.

    3) Käskiv - Imperative

    • Mine poodi! --- Go to the shop!

    4) Kaudne - Oblique

    • Ta minevat poodi. --- Supposedly, he is going to the shop.

    5) Möönev - Jussive

    • Ema ütles, et Marko mingu poodi. --- Mom said that Marko should go to the shop.


    Passive and impersonal voice

    Normally, Estonian sentences are either in personal or impersonal voice (instead of active and passive like in English). However, there also exists a stative passive form, which expresses the state that the object has reached as a result of the action. It can also be used as adjective that describes what has happened to a noun.

    • Mina ehitan maja kaljule. --- I am building the house on the cliff.
    • Maja ehitatakse kaljul. --- One is building the house on the cliff.
    • Maja on ehitatud kaljule. --- The house is built on the cliff.

    Next lessons

    1 Present tense (olevik) in Estonian Learn how to conjugate verbs in the present tense (olevik) in Estonian.
    2 Past simple (lihtminevik) in Estonian Learn how to conjugate the verbs in the past simple tense (lihtminevik) in Estonian.
    3 Present perfect (täisminevik) in Estonian Learn when to use and how to conjugate verbs in the present perfect tense in Estonian
    4 The past perfect (enneminevik) in Estonian Learn when to use and how to conjugate verbs in the past perfect tense in Estonian.
    5 Infinitives in Estonian Learn when and how to use the two different infinitives in Estonian.
    6 Participles in Estonian Learn the different participles in Estonian and how to use them.
    7 Moods in Estonian Study the 5 different grammatical moods in Estonian.
    8 Passive and impersonal voice in Estonian Learn the passive and impersonal voice in Estonian.