Terminative case in Estonian
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When to use the terminative case in Estonian?
The terminative case (rajav kääne in Estonian) indicates the time or place which ends or limits an action. It answers the questions kelleni? 'as far as who?', milleni? 'as far as what?' and mis ajani? 'until when?'.
The terminative is often used with the preposition kuni 'until, up to, as far as'.
- Suveni on jäänud 3 kuud. --- 3 months are left until summer.
- Siit on mu majani 2 kilomeetrit. --- From here it's 2 km to my house.
- Tüdruk seisis kaelani vees. --- The girl stood in water up to her neck.
- Ma vaatasin filmi lõpuni. --- I watched the movie until the end.
How to form the terminative case in Estonian?
The ending -ni must be added to the genitive form of the word.
The terminative often occurs together with the elative case (ending -st) which indicates the starting point of an action.
- Tallinnast Tartuni on 186km. --- From Tallinn to Tartu is (a distance of) 186 km.
- Ma magasin täna hommikust õhtuni. --- Today I slept from morning to evening.
- Kool on kaheksast kolmeni. --- School is from eight o'clock until three.
An adjective which modifies a noun does not agree with the noun. Instead it takes the genitive form.
- Meil tuleb oodata homse (gen.) õhtuni (term.). --- We must wait until tomorrow evening.
- Suure (gen.) linnani (term.) on siit 50 km. --- It's 50 km from here until the big city.
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