Estonian: Partitive Case

Discussion in 'Other Languages' started by konsta, Mar 10, 2014.

  1. konsta

    konsta New Member

    English - USA
    I'm having trouble figuring out when to use the partitive case
    most others are self explanatory, but the partitive is tricky

    can anyone help in layman's terms please?
  2. DrWatson

    DrWatson Senior Member

    Finland (North)
    There's no quick answer, but I can try and give a short summary.

    Partitive is generally the most common case of the object of a verb. Other cases of the object are the nominative and genitive. Cf.
    Ma sõin leibaPART. = "I was eating bread" ~ "I ate bread" (general statement)
    Ma sõin leivaGEN (ära). = "I ate the bread" (the action was completed: the bread was eaten)

    Söö leibaPART! = "Eat (some) bread!
    Söö leibNOM! = "Eat the bread!"

    Ma ostan õunuPL.PART. = "I'll buy (some) apples." (in general)
    Ma ostan õunadPL.NOM (ära). = "I'll buy the apples." (a definite number)

    There are verbs that can only take an object in the partitive case, like armastama 'love', nägema 'see', teadma 'know' etc.

    Partitive has some other uses, too, like in expressions of quantity.
    neli autot = "four cars"
    liiter piima = "a liter of milk"
    palju inimesi = "a lot of people"
  3. konsta

    konsta New Member

    English - USA
    thank you!

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