Estonian/Everything and Nothing

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In this lesson we'll go over some important determiners in Estonian.

What are Determiners?[edit | edit source]

Determiners are a class of words that span over several types of words, such as pronouns and adjectives, which are used to specify nouns. These primarily act like adjectives in general, and include words like my, this, every, no, each, as well as question determiners that can be used to begin interrogative sentences and specify nouns in declarative sentences, such as what, which and who.

Common determiners in Estonian[edit | edit source]

Estonian English Corresponding
Question in English Declension?
iga each/every ~ mitmes? which one? (ordinal num.) iga - iga - iga(t)
mõni some missugune? which one? (ordinal num.) mõni - mõne - mõnda
paar a couple (of) mitu? how many? (cardinal num.) paar - paari - .paari
see this missugune? which one? (adjective) see - selle - seda
selline like this missugune? what kind? (adjective)
like what?
selline - sellise - sellist
kumb which missugune? which one? kumb - kumma - .kumba
some, some kind of
(mingi can refer to both nouns or adjectives)
missugune? which one?
what kind?
mingi - mingi - mingi(t)
mingisugune - mingisuguse - mingisugust
  • milline - informal short form of missugune

Non-Determiner Vocabulary[edit | edit source]

The following words are included in this lesson, but are not Determiners because they are standalone words. However, some may be composed of determiners.

Estonian English
keegi someone
mitte not
mitte midagi
mitte keegi
(mitte) kumbki neither (subject)
(mitte) kumbagi neither (object)
  • kõik - kõige - .kõike - all, everything, everyone
  • inimene - inimese - inimest - person, human
  • elu - elu - elu - life
  • kiri - kirja - .kirja - letter

Verbs (shorthand)[edit | edit source]

  • nägema - näe - ei näe - to see

Enumeration of nouns[edit | edit source]

Nominative Nouns preceded by an ordinal determiner (1st, 2nd, 3rd, first, last, every etc.) are written in the Nominative. The determiner (e.g. number) will decline along with the noun in all other cases.

The Accusative case (III) marks the partitive in Estonian, and the partitive is used when talking about several (plural) of something (preceded by a cardinal determiner). In this case, the Nominative becomes the Accusative, but all other cases remain the same:

  • paar + kass = kolm .kassi (kass becomes Accusative)
  • paari + kassi = kolme kassi
  • .paari + .kassi = .kolme .kassi

Phrases[edit | edit source]

Iga inimene teab midagi


Every person knows something

Siin on paar õuna


Here are a couple of apples

Mõni kass oskab seda


Some cats know how to do this

Selline on elu


That's life
That's what life is like

Mitte keegi ei tea seda


Nobody knows this

Ma ei taha kumbagi


I don't want either one

Ma kuulen mõnda inimest


I hear some people

Kumba sa tahad?


Which one do you want?

Kas see peab selline olema?


Does it have to be like that?

Ma ei näe kumbagi kirja


I see neither letter

Kõik on siin


Everything is here
Everyone is here