Present tense (olevik) in Estonian
How to conjugate verbs in present tense?
Every present tense form consists of a present-stem (which remains unchanged for all persons) and various personal endings for both the singular and plural.
In the present tense, an Estonian verb has the following endings:
|1st person singular (I)||-n|
|2nd person singular (you)||-d|
|3rd person singular (he/she/it)||-b|
|1st person plural (we)||-me|
|2nd person plural (you)||-te|
|3rd person plural (they)||-vad|
If you know one of the present tense forms, you can build the rest from it. Usually in the word lists, the first person singular is given for you.
Personal pronouns can often be omitted, since the verb form itself indicates which person is the subject.
- Tulen sulle homme külla. --- I will visit you tomorrow.
- Laulame tihti karaoket. --- We often sing karaoke.
The following is an example of a verb laulma 'to sing' in the present tense:
|I sing||Mina laulan|
|You sing||Sina laulad|
|He/She/It sings||Tema laulab|
|We sing||Meie laulame|
|You sing||Teie laulate|
|They sing||Nemad laulavad|
Present tense of the irregular verb 'to be'
The present tense of the verb olema 'to be' is irregular in the third person singular and plural.
|I am||Mina olen|
|You are||Sina oled|
|We are||Meie oleme|
|You are||Teie olete|
|They are||Nemad on|
Negation in Estonian
The negative form in the present tense consists of the negative particle ei 'not' and a verb's present-stem (without any endings). This construction is used for all persons in both singular and plural.
Example: verb jooksma 'to run'
|I am not running||Mina ei jookse|
|You are not running||Sina ei jookse|
|He/She is not running||Tema ei jookse|
|We are not running||Meie ei jookse|
|You are not running||Teie ei jookse|
|They are not running||Nemad ei jookse|
As an alternative form for ei ole 'am/are/is not', the word pole is often used. It has exactly the same meaning.
- Ma ei ole valmis = Ma pole valmis --- I am not ready.
- Ta ei ole õnnelik = Ta pole õnnelik --- He is not happy.
Practice conjugating the verbs in present with our exercises!
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