Estonian: mitte and ma-infinitive

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Tere!

If I've understood correctly, ei is only used with finite verbs (eg. ma ei taha, ta ei räägi etc.) and mitte with non-finite verb forms and other parts of speech (eg. mitte suitsetada) and apparently sometimes as a prefix too (eg. mitteõppimine).

I started wondering about the following example sentence: Kas sa võid mitte vastata? Would it be possible to rephrase it using the ma-infinitive like this: Kas sa võid olla vastamata? In Finnish this would be correct (= "Voitko olla vastaamatta?"). In case this is not acceptable in Estonian, could you please give me an example on how the mata-infinitive is actually used?

Tänan juba ette!
 
  • astlanda

    Senior Member
    Estonian maamurre
    Tere!

    If I've understood correctly, ei is only used with finite verbs (eg. ma ei taha, ta ei räägi etc.) and mitte with non-finite verb forms and other parts of speech (eg. mitte suitsetada) and apparently sometimes as a prefix too (eg. mitteõppimine).

    I started wondering about the following example sentence: Kas sa võid mitte vastata? Would it be possible to rephrase it using the ma-infinitive like this: Kas sa võid olla vastamata? In Finnish this would be correct (= "Voitko olla vastaamatta?"). In case this is not acceptable in Estonian, could you please give me an example on how the mata-infinitive is actually used?

    Tänan juba ette!
    Your example is perfect. Or we can say "Kas sa võid jätta vastamata?" or more likely just "Ära parem vasta!".

    The word itself comes to us probably from ancient Greek: μητε via Christianity.

    This "mitte" thing is mostly raw translation from Russian, English or German and I personally dislike that.
    It's really badly abused by half educated people. Sometimes those constructions look even ridiculous. They may be very much "mitte midagi ütlevad", which is difficult to say without using "mitte". :)

    E.G.
    It's more natural to say "Ärge suitsetage!" or "Suitsetamine on keelatud!" instead of "mitte suitsetada".
     
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