The simple past (lihtminevik in Estonian) indicates an action that was completed at an earlier time.
The simple past is derived from the -ma infinitive by adding an element between the stem and the suffix which identifies the person doing the action. There are two different ways:
Most Estonian verbs have the following endings in the past tense:
Notice that the past endings for 'you (singular)' and 'they' are the same.
The past tense endings are added to the stem of the -ma infinitive. For instance, you start with the infinitive tantsima 'to dance', drop the -ma and you have the stem tantsi-.
|I danced||Ma tantsisin|
|You danced||Sa tantsisid|
|He/She/It danced||Tema tantsis|
|We danced||Meie tantsisime|
|You danced||Teie tantsisite|
|They danced||Nemad tantsisid|
When the stem ends in a consonant, an -i- is inserted before the -s ending of the 3rd person singular. This makes it easier to pronounce.
|I knew||Mina teadsin|
|She knew||Tema teadis|
If the stem has a single p or t after a short vowel, the 3rd person singular form doubles this consonant.
|I cried||Mina nutsin|
|She cried||Tema nuttis|
If the stem already ends in -s, the s in the past is omitted. (Except the 3rd person singular, where an -i- is also inserted.)
|I stood||Mina seisin|
|She stood||Tema seisis|
The verb minema 'to go' is irregular. The stem doesn't come from the -ma infinitive, but is related to the present tense form of lähen 'I go'.
|I went||Mina läksin|
|You went||Sina läksid|
|He/She/It went||Tema läks|
|We went||Meie läksime|
|You went||Teie läksite|
|They went||Nemad läksid|
For some verbs, the past tense is made with an element -i- instead of -si-. The 3rd person singular adds nothing to the -i.
Two types of verbs are conjugated in this manner:
Some verbs with two-syllable stems ending in -e-
Example: olema 'to be'
|I was||Mina olin|
|You were||Sina olid|
|He/She/It was||Tema oli|
|We were||Meie olime|
|You were||Teie olite|
|They were||Nemad olid|
Some verbs with stems ending in aa, ää, oo, öö. In these cases, the double vowel becomes a single vowel and oo or öö changes to õ.
Example: jooma 'to drink'
|I drank||Mina jõin|
|You drank||Sina jõid|
|He/She/It drank||Tema jõi|
|We drank||Meie jõime|
|You drank||Teie jõite|
|They drank||Nemad jõid|
In the simple past tense, the negative form does not have personal endings. It consists of the negatory word ei 'not' and a form of the verb with a -nud suffix.
Example: verb tantsima 'to dance'
|I did not dance||Ma ei tantsinud|
|You did not dance||Sa ei tantsinud|
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