• 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]
  • Questions in Estonian

    Questions using interrogatives

    In Estonian the questions usually begin with a question-word or interrogative term. The word order is the same as in an ordinary sentence (especially if the subject is a personal pronoun).

    • Kus ta elab? 'Where does he live?' (lit: Where he lives?)
    • Kes see on? 'Who is that? (lit: Who that is?)
    • Millal sa jõuad? 'When will you arrive? (lit: When you will arrive?)

    Question words

    English Estonian Example
    Who? Kes? Kes sa oled? (Who are you?)
    What? Mis? Mis see on? (What is this?)
    Whose? Kelle? Kelle jakk see on? (Whose jacket is this?)
    Where? Kus? Kus pood on? (Where is the shop?)
    Where to? Kuhu? Kuhu sa lähed? (Where are you going?)
    Where from? Kust? Kust sa pärit oled? (Where are you from?)
    When? Millal? Millal pidu algab? (When does the party start?)
    How? Kuidas? Kuidas sa end tunned? (How are you feeling?)
    Why? Miks? Miks sa siin oled? (Why are you here?)
    How many? Mitu? Mitu kleiti sul on? (How many dresses do you have?)
    With who? Kellega? Kellega sa koos olid? (Who where you together with?)
    With what? Millega? Millega ma retseptis muna asendada võin? (With what can I replace the eggs in the recipe?)
    To who? Kellele? Kellele sa raha andsid? (Who did you give the money to?)
    On what? Millele? Millele sa kogu oma raha kulutasid? (What did you spend all your money on?)
    From who? Kellelt? Kellelt sa selle seeliku said? (From who did you get this skirt?)
    Which? How? Missugune?

    Missugune neist sinu oma on? (Which one of these is yours?)

    Missugune ta välja näeb? (How does he look like?)



    1) Questions which can be answered with either Jah 'Yes' or Ei 'No' and normally begin with a verb in English, begin with a special interrogative Kas in Estonian. This question-word is followed by the normal word order of a declarative sentence.

    • Poiss laulab. 'The boy is singing,'

           Kas poiss laulab? 'Is the boy singing?'


    2) In the spoken language sometimes the questions might have a reverse word order and/or lack question-words. 

    • Oled sa kodus? 'Are you at home?' 

    • Tuled sa ka? 'Are you coming as well?'  

    A declarative sentence can sometimes be turned into a question without changing the word order nor adding question-word, but by a change in tone or inflection. In English, this is done by raising the tone at the end of the sentence. In Estonian, the tone is raised in the middle (where the verb is) and it comes back to normal level at the end.

    • Sa lähed ju homme peole? 'You are of course going to the party tomorrow?'


    3) Occasionally the affirmative answer to a question is given by the verb of the question, conjugated to agree with the implied subject. Often the word Küll 'sure(ly)' is used for giving emphasis.

    • Kas te kõik tulete? 'Are you all coming?

           Tuleme küll. '(Yes,) we sure are.'

    • Kas sa arvad, et ta on ilus? 'Do you think she is pretty?'

           Arvan küll. '(Yes,) I sure do.'



    Translation exercise question words