• 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]
  • Moods in Estonian

    There are five different grammatical moods (kõneviis) in Estonia:

    1. Kindel 'Indicative'
    2. Tingiv 'Conditional'
    3. Käskiv 'Imperative'
    4. Kaudne 'Oblique'
    5. Möönev 'Jussive'



    The indicative mood is the most commonly used mood and found in all languages. It is used for factual statements and positive beliefs.

    • Ma käisin eile poes. --- I went to the shop today.
    • Mari on ilus tüdruk. --- Mari is a pretty girl.
    • Pall maksab 5 eurot. --- The ball costs 5 euros.



    The conditional mood indicates that, according to the speaker, the event is unreal and its realization is dependent upon another condition. It can also be used for making commands more polite. It corresponds to expressions with 'would' in English.

    In Estonian, there are two conditional markers: ksi and ks.

    Present conditional tense

        Marker Example (tahtma 'to want')
    Positive Ma (I) ksin tahaksin
      Sa (You) ksid tahaksid
      Ta (He/She/It) ks tahaks
      Me (We) ksime tahaksime
      Te (You) ksite tahaksite
      Nad (They) ksid tahaksid
    Negative Ma ... Nad ei + ks ei tahaks
    • Ma tahaksin sinuga tantsida. --- I would want (like) to dance with you.
    • Ta oleks meiega tulnud, aga tal polnud aega. --- He would have come with us, but he didn't have the time.
    • Sa ei loeks seda raamatut, kui see poleks huvitav. --- You would not read this book if it wasn't interesting.

    Perfect conditional tense

    The conditional perfect is a compound form consisting of the present conditional tense of the verb olema 'to be' + -nud participle. 

        Marker Example (tahtma 'to want')
    Positive Ma (I) oleksin + nud oleksin tahtnud
      Sa (You) oleksid + nud oleksid tahtnud
      Ta (He/She/It) oleks + nud oleks tahtnud
      Me (We) oleksime + nud oleksime tahtnud
      Te (You) oleksite + nud oleksite tahtnud
      Nad (They) oleksid + nud oleksid tahtnud
    Negative Ma ... Nad ei oleks + nud ei oleks tahtnud
    • Ma oleksin tahtnud sinuga eile tantsida. --- I would have liked to dance with you yesterday.
    • Kui ta oleks seda varem teadnud, ei oleks ta peole tulnud. --- If he had known that before, he wouldn't have come to the party.
    • Te ei oleks pidanud kiirustama, meil on ikka piisavalt aega. --- You shouldn't have hurried, we still have enough time.



    The imperative form of a verb expresses a command or request. 

    There are two different ways for forming the imperative:


    1. When speaking to a familiar person (who may be addressed with the 2nd person singular), the imperative is derived from the stem of the present tense of the verb, minus the personal ending. 

    Examples of forming the imperative:

    English Present tense English Imperative
    I come Ma tule/n Come! Tule!
    I speak Ma räägi/n Speak! Räägi!
    I wait Ma oota/n Wait! Oota!
    • Palun tule siia! --- Please come here!
    • Räägi mulle mis sa eile tegid! --- Tell me what you did yesterday!
    • Oota 10 minutit väljas! --- Wait outside for 10 minutes!


    2. When speaking to two or more people, or to someone for whom some social distance or respect must be shown, the 2nd person plural form is used. The imperative form is derived from the stem of the -da infinitive, by adding the correct personal suffix.

    If the -da infinitive actualy ends in -da, the imperative takes the ending with -g-. If it ends in -ta instead, it takes the ending with -k-

        Marker Example (sõita 'to drive') Example (laulda 'to sing)
    Positive Ma (I) - - -
      Sa (You) Ø sõida laula
      Ta (He/She/It) gu, ku sõitku laulgu
      Me (We) gem, kem sõitkem laulgem
      Te (You) ge, ke sõitke laulge
      Nad (They) gu, ku sõitku laulgu
    Negative Ma (I) - - -
      Sa (You) ära + Ø ära sõida ära laula
      Ta (He/She/It) ärgu + gu, ku ärgu sõitku ärgu laulgu
      Me (We) ärgem + gem, kem ärgem sõitkem ärgem laulgem
      Te (You) ärge + ge, ke ärge sõitke ärge laulge
      Nad (They) ärgu + gu, ku ärgu sõitku ärgu laulgu
    • Sõitke aeglaselt! --- (You [pl.]) drive slowly!
    • Joogem pruutpaari terviseks! --- Let's drink (we) for the newlyweds!
    • Ärge laulge nii kõvasti! --- Don't (you [pl.]) sing so loudly!



    The Estonian language has a special verb form which indicates an action or situation of which the speaker only has indirect knowledge. That means, the speaker retells something heard from someone else. Usually the oblique form is used together with an introductory phrase, such as 'They say that...', 'I heard that...' etc. Even if the oblique mode is used without an introductory phrase, it is there implicitly and the verb reflects the speaker's lack of direct knowledge.

    Present oblique tense

    The oblique mode is made from the stem of the -ma infinitive, by adding the suffix -vat. It is same for all the persons, both singular and plural. 

        Marker Example (tahtma 'to want') Example (tulema 'to come')
    Positive Ma...Nad (I...They) vat tahtvat tulevat
    Negative Ma...Nad (I...They) ei + vat ei tahtvat ei tulevat
    • Ma kuulsin, et ta olevat tore inimene. --- I heard that she is a nice person.
    • Maria ütles, et Marko tahtvat Lauraga välja minna. --- Maria said, that Marko (supposedly) wants to go out with Laura.
    • Martin minevat homme reisile. --- Martin is (reportedly) going on a trip tomorrow.


    Past perfect oblique tense

    The past perfect tense is formed with the auxiliary verb olevat + -nud participle.

        Marker Example Example
    Positive Ma...Nad (I...They) olevat + nud olevat tahtnud olevat tulnud
    Negative Ma...Nad (I...They) ei olevat + nud ei olevat tahtnud ei olevat tulnud
    • Louis XV olevat ütlenud, et ... - Louis XV supposedly said that ....
    • Poiss olevat püüdnud suure kala. --- The boy (reportedly) had caught a big fish.
    • Ma ei olevat peole tulnud isiklikel põhjustel, aga tegelikult olin ma haige. --- (Reportedly) I didn't come to the party because of personal issues, but actually I was ill.



    The jussive, similarly to the imperative, expresses orders, commands, exhortations, but particularly to a third person not present. 

    The jussive mode has evolved from the 3rd person imperative form of the verb. It has also two markers gu and ku which are added to the stem of the -da infinitive.

    • Isa ütles, et tulgu Kristjan homme meile külla. --- Father said that Kristjan (should come) visit us tomorrow.
    • Poiss lugegu voodis lambaid, kui tal und ei tule. --- The boy should count the sheep in bed if he can't sleep. 
    • Söögu siis järgmine kord tervislikumalt, kui tal kõht valutab. --- He should eat healthier the next time, if he has a stomach-ache.


    Exercise: conditional sentences

    Exercise: imperative sentences

    Exercise: oblique sentences