In Estonian, each noun and adjective declines into different forms to fit a particular case. Each case has a particular meaning. When combined, the suffixes for the last four cases form the word "ninataga" (behind the nose). Here is a full list of the 14 cases used in Estonian with examples in singular:

# Name (eng) Name (est) Example noun (singular) Question
Example adjective (singular) Question Positional Non-Positional Derived from
I Nominative Nimetav (naming) see (this) mis? selline (like this) missugune?
- subject -
II Genitive Omastav (owning) selle mille? sellise missuguse?
- having-determiner
III Partitive Osastav (partitive) seda mida? sellist missugust?
- direct object
IV Illative Sisseütlev (into-saying) sellesse millesse? sellisesse missugusesse?
into - II
V Inessive Seesütlev (in-saying) selles milles? sellises missuguses?
in - II
VI Elative Seestütlev (out-of-saying) sellest millest? sellisest missugusest?
out of - II
VII Allative Alaleütlev (onto-field-saying) sellele millele? sellisele missugusele?
onto dative/giving II
VIII Adessive Alalütlev (on-field-saying) sellel millel? sellisel missugusel?
on having II
IX Ablative Alaltütlev (off-of-field-saying) sellelt millelt? selliselt missuguselt?
off of taking II
X Translative Saav (becoming) selleks milleks? selliseks milliseks?
- - II
XI Terminative Rajav (establishing) selleni milleni? selliseni missuguseni?
up to/until - II
XII Essive Olev (being) sellena millena? sellisena missugusena?
as - II
XIII Abessive Ilmaütlev (without-saying) selleta milleta? selliseta missuguseta?
without - II
XIV Comitative Kaasaütlev (with-saying) sellega millega? sellisega missugusega?
with - II

Some examples:

English Nominative Genitive Partitive
this see selle seda
home kodu kodu kodu
house maja maja maja
curtain kardin kardina kardinat
machine masin masina masinat
book raamat raamatu raamatut
dog koer koera .koera
cat kass kassi .kassi
I/me mina minu .mind
you (singular) sina sinu .sind
him/her tema tema teda

The last two provide an example of the Estonian Long and Overlong "quantities" or "stress". The syllables that are Overlong are marked with a dot. In Estonian, the stress in a word is usually on the first syllable. The stress on Overlong words is required (but not always incomprehensible to the listener), and the overlong syllable can be stretched 'forever' while Long syllables cannot.

.kassi can be stretched easily from the ss without becoming incomprehensible. .koera can be stretched from the e, or the oe diphtong, although the latter might be more difficult for the listener (and the speaker). Not all partitive cases infer the Overlong quantity, and this makes Estonian cases for each word more difficult to remember. The last 3 words in the table are the singular pronouns - two of these are Overlong but have only one syllable.




  • See sinine auto on minu (oma)
  • This blue car is mine
  • See uus kell oli kallis
  • This new clock was expensive


  • Selle sinise auto aken on katki
  • The window of this blue car is broken
  • Uue kella patareid on tühjad
  • The batteries of the new clock are empty


  • Ma tahan seda sinist autot
  • I want that blue car
  • Ma vajan uut kella
  • I need a new clock


  • Nad murdsid sinisesse autosse sisse
  • They broke into the blue car
  • Uude kella on vaja patareisid
  • New batteries are needed into the new clock


  • Sinises autos on valge koer
  • There is a white dog in a blue car
  • Uues kellas on nüüd patareid
  • There are now batteries in the new clock


  • Kaks meest väljusid sinisest autost
  • Two men came out from the blue car
  • Uuest kellast tulevad veidrad helid
  • Weird noises are coming from the new clock


  • Pane see kleebis sinisele autole
  • Put that sticker onto the blue car
  • Ära joonista midagi uuele kellale
  • Don't draw anything onto the new clock


  • Sinisel autol on värviline kleebis
  • There is a colorful sticker on the blue car
  • Uuel kellal on juba tolm
  • On the new clock already has dust


  • Eemalda see kleebis siniselt autolt
  • Remove this sticker from the blue car
  • Pühi tolm uuelt kellalt
  • Wipe the dust from the new clock


  • Kas sa saad selle autoks muuta?
  • Can you turn this into a car?


  • Ma saadan sind su autoni
  • I will accompany you to your car


  • Sa võid kasutada seda autona
  • You can use it as a car


  • Nüüdsest olen autota
  • From now on I am without a car


  • Mida sa teed minu autoga?
  • What are you doing with my car?