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Osastav kääne

As we'll try to cover the first three cases as heavily as possible before moving on, in this lesson we'll talk about accusing partitive and total direct objects. The English language uses "of" to mark part of a noun, for instance it can be used to form the direct object "part of a noun", used with the verb "mark" earlier in this sentence.

The Estonian Accusative case is actually partitive in some verbs. In other verbs the partitive makes no sense, but the Accusative remains the only option despite talking about the whole of something:

  • Ma tean seda - I know this/that

With some verbs, the Genitive is used to mark the total or final of a direct object.

This clearly does not happen with teadma:

  • Ma tean selle - this is incorrect

The partitive can talk about part of a direct object (such as uncountable nouns like water) or that of an unfinished action.


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Here are the verbs we'll be using in this lesson:

English -ma Infinitive mina sina tema meie teie nemad
to want tahtma tahan tahad tahab tahame tahate tahavad
to take võtma võtan võtad võtab võtame võtate võtavad
to paint värvima värvin värvid värvib värvime värvite värvivad

Keep in mind that when using the Genitive case, the question determiner for the noun will always be mille? or kelle? (persons).


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  • sein - seina - .seina (n) - wall
  • vesi - vee - vett (n) - water
  • ära (adv) - perfective situation marker
  • ära (positional) - away. This sometimes substitutes the adverbial "ära" entirely
  • .kaasa (adv) - along with (implied Comitative (with-saying, XIV) noun)


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Sa tahad seda


You want that (that one)

Ma värvin .seina


I'm painting the wall

Ma värvisin seina ära


I painted the wall (entirely)

Ma võtan vett


I'm taking some water

Ta võtab lapse kaasa


He/She takes the child along

Me tahame maja


We want a house

Ma värvisin seda


I was painting this
Note: here the finished action would require "ära" with the Genitive

Ta võtab vee ära


He/She takes the water away
He/She cuts off the water supply

Ta võtab selle


He/She takes this one