Lative case

Lative (abbreviated LAT) is a case which indicates motion to a location.[1] It corresponds to the English prepositions "to" and "into". The lative case belongs to the group of the general local cases together with the locative and separative case. The term derives from the Latin lat-, the participle stem of ferre, "to bring".

The lative case is typical of the Uralic languages and it was one of the Proto-Uralic cases. It still exists in many Uralic languages, e.g., Finnish, Erzya, Moksha, and Meadow Mari.

It is also found in the Northeast Caucasian languages, such as Tsez, Bezhta, and Khwarshi, as well as in the South Caucasian languages, such as Laz or Lazuri (see Laz grammar).


In Finnish, the lative case is largely obsolete. It still occurs in various adverbs: alas "down", kauas/kauemmas "(moving) far away/farther off", pois "(going) away", and rannemmas "towards and closer to the shore". The lative suffix is usually -s.[1]

In modern Finnish, it has been superseded by a more complicated system of locative cases and enclitics, and the original -s has merged with another lative or locative suffix and turned into the modern inessive, elative, illative and even translative suffixes.


In the Northeast Caucasian languages, such as Tsez, the lative also takes up the functions of the dative case in marking the recipient or beneficent of an action. By some linguists, they are still regarded as two separate cases in those languages although the suffixes are exactly the same for both cases. Other linguists list them separately only for the purpose of separating syntactic cases from locative cases. An example with the ditransitive verb "show" (literally: "make see") is given below:

Кидбā ужихъор кIетIу биквархо.
"The girl shows the cat to the boy."

The dative/lative is also used to indicate possession, as in the example below; there is no such verb for "to have":

Кидбехъор кIетIу зовси.
"The girl had a cat."

The dative/lative case usually occurs, as in the examples above, in combination with another suffix as poss-lative case; it should not be regarded as a separate case, as many of the locative cases in Tsez are constructed analytically. They are actually a combination of two case suffixes. See Tsez language#Locative case suffixes for further details.

Verbs of perception or emotion (like "see", "know", "love", "want") also require the logical subject to stand in the dative/lative case, note that in this example the "pure" dative/lative without its POSS-suffix is used.

ГIалир ПатIи йетих.
"Ali loves Fatima."


  1. 1 2 Mäkinen, Panu. "Finnish Grammar - Adverbial Cases". University of Jyväskylä. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
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