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Personal pronouns

Somewhat like in English, the personal pronouns are used to refer to human beings only.
The personal pronouns in Finnish in the nominative case are listed in the following table:

Personal pronouns

Finnish English

Singular

minä I

sinä you

hän she or he

Plural

me we

te you

he they

Polite

te you

Since Finnish verbs are inflected for person, personal pronouns are not required for sense
and are usually omitted in standard Finnish except where used for emphasis. In spoken
Finnish, all pronouns are generally used. In the third person, the pronoun is needed: "hän
menee" = he goes, "he menevät" = they go. This applies to both colloquial and written
language.

In colloquial Finnish, the pronouns se and ne are very commonly used as the singular and
plural third person pronouns, respectively. Use of hän and he is mostly restricted to
writing and formal speech.

In common with some other languages, the second person plural can be used as a polite
form when addressing one person. This usage is diminishing in Finnish society.

[edit]

Demonstrative Pronouns

The demonstratives are used of non-human animate entities and inanimate objects.
However, se and ne are often used to refer to humans in colloquial Finnish. Furthermore,
the demonstratives are used to refer to group nouns and the number of the pronoun must
correlate with the number of its referent.

Demonstrative pronouns

Finnish English

Singular

tämä this

tuo that

se it/that

Plural

nämä these
nuo those

Interrogative pronouns

Interrogative pronouns

Finnish English

kuka who, which (of many)

mikä what, which (of many)

ken who, which (of many) - (old or dialectal word)

kumpi which (of two)

kumpainen which (of two) - (old or dialectal word)

"Ken" is now archaic, but its inflected forms are used instead of those of "kuka": "ketä"
instead of "kuta" ("whom"). "Ketä rakastat?" = "Whom do you love?"

Relative pronouns

Relative pronouns

Pronoun Example English

"hän on ainoa, jonka "s/he is the only one who


joka (refers to preceding word)
muistan" (I) remember"
mikä (refers to preceding clause/
"se on ainoa asia, "it is the only thing that
sentence or to a pronoun or a
minkä muistan" (I) remember"
superlative that refers to a thing)

Reciprocal pronouns

Reciprocal pronouns

Pronoun Example English

"he rakastavat toisiaan" "they love each other" (plural)


toinen
"he rakastavat toinen toistaan" "they love one another" (double singular)

Reflexive pronouns

Reflexive pronouns

Pronoun Suffix Example English

plus corresponding possessive "keitin itselleni "(I) made myself some


itse
suffix teetä" tea"

Indefinite pronouns

A large group that entails all of the pronouns that do not fall into any of the categories
above. Notice that there are no negative pronouns, such as "nobody", but the positive
pronoun has to be negated with the negative verb "ei". No double negatives are possible.

Indefinite pronouns
Finnish English

joka (uninflected) every, each

jokainen every, everyone

joku some, someone (person)

jompikumpi either one

jokin some, something (animal, thing)

kukin each one

kumpainenkin both (old or dialectal)

kumpikin both

mikin each thing (dialectal)

kenkään anyone (old or dialectal)

kukaan (nom.), kene+..+kään


anyone
(oblique)

-> ei kukaan not anyone

kumpikaan either one


-> ei kumpikaan not either one

mikään anything -> ei mikään = nothing

the ordinal pronoun (representing first, second,


mones (nom.), monente- (oblique)
etc.)

Each pronoun declines. However, the endings -kAAn and -kin are clitics, and case endings
are placed before them, e.g. mikään "any", miltäkään "from any". It should be noted that
there are irregular nominatives. As indicated, kukaan is an irregular nominative; the
regular root is kene- with -kään, e.g. kukaan "(not) anyone", keneltäkään "from (not)
anyone".

English lacks a direct equivalent to the pronoun mones; it would be "that-th", or "which-
th" for questions. For examples, Palkkio riippuu siitä monentenako maaliin tulee "The
reward depends on as-which-th one comes to the finish", or explicitly "The reward
depends on in which position one comes to the finish". It would be difficult to translate
the question Monesko?, but, while far from proper English, the question How manyeth
may give an English-speaking person an idea of the meaning.

Some indefinite adjectives are often perceived as indefinite pronouns. These include:

Indefinite adjectives

Finnish English

ainoa only

eräs some, certain, one

harva few

itse (non-reflexive) self


kaikki all, everyone, everything

molemmat both

moni many

muu other

muutama some, a few

sama same

toinen (non-reciprocal, non-numeral use) another

Noun forms
The Finnish language does not distinguish gender in nouns or even in personal pronouns:
'hän' = 'he' or 'she' depending on the referent. This causes some unaccustomed Finnish
speakers to muddle "he" and "she" when speaking languages such as English or Swedish,
which can be a source of confusion.

Cases

Finnish has fifteen noun cases: four grammatical cases, six locative cases, two essive
cases (three in some Eastern dialects) and three marginal cases. Notice that the word in a
given locative case modifies the verb, not a noun. Please see the article Finnish language
noun cases for details.

Finnish cases

Case Suffix English prep. Sample Translation


Grammatical

nominatiivi - talo house

genetiivi -n of talon of (a) house

akkusatiivi - or -n - talo or talon house

partitiivi -(t)a - taloa house (as an object)

Locative (internal)

inessiivi -ssa in talossa in (a) house

elatiivi -sta from (inside) talosta from (a) house

illatiivi -an, -en, etc. into taloon into (a) house

Locative (external)

adessiivi -lla at, on talolla at (a) house

ablatiivi -lta from talolta from (a) house

allatiivi -lle to talolle to (a) house

Essive
essiivi -na as talona as a house

(eksessiivi; dialectal) -nta from being talonta from being a house

translatiivi -ksi to (role of) taloksi to a house

Marginal

instruktiivi -n with (the aid of) taloin with the houses

abessiivi -tta without talotta without (a) house

komitatiivi -ne- together (with) taloineni with my house(s)

Plurals

There are three different 'plurals' in Finnish:

Nominative plural

The nominative plural is the definite, divisible, telic plural. The suffix is -t; it may not be
infixed.

Nominative plural

Finnish English

"koirat olivat huoneessa" "the dogs were in the room"

"huoneet olivat suuria" "the rooms were large"

Following numerals
After numerals greater than one in the nominative singular, the noun is put in the partitive
singular. Otherwise the noun agrees with the numeral in number and case. (Please refer to
the separate article on numerals for an explanation of plural numerals.)

Following numerals

Finnish English

"huoneessa oli kaksi koiraa" "there were two dogs in the room"

"talossa oli kolme huonetta" "the house had three rooms"

"ostin tietokoneen tuhannella eurolla" "I bought a computer for a thousand euros"

Inflected plural

This uses the stem of the partitive plural inflected with the same set of endings as for
singular nouns. The infix is -i-, and it suppresses long vowels; it may only be infixed.

Inflected plural

Finnish English

'huone' -> 'huoneita' '(some) rooms'

-> 'huoneissa' 'in rooms'

As a combined example of plurals

Inflected plural
Finnish English

'lintu on puussa' 'the bird is in the tree'

-> 'linnut ovat puissa' 'the birds are in the trees'

Inflection of pronouns

The personal pronouns are inflected in the same way as nouns, and can be found in most
of the same cases as nouns. For example:

Inflection of pronouns

Finnish Case Example English

'minä' nominative 'I'

('my, mine')

'tämä talo on
'minun' genitive 'this house is mine '
minun '

'tämä on minun
'this is my house'
taloni '

'minut' accusative 'hän tuntee minut' 's/he knows me'

'hän rakastaa
'minua' partitive 's/he loves me'
minua'
'tämä herättää
'minussa' inessive 'this provokes (lit. awakens) anger in me'
minussa vihaa'

's/he was talking about/ of me'. Also used


'minusta' elative 'hän puhui minusta'
idiomatically to mean 'in my opinion'.

'minuun' illative 'hän uskoi minuun' 's/he believed in me'

'minulla' adessive 'minulla on rahaa' 'I've got some money'

'hän otti minulta


'minulta' ablative 'he took some money from/ off me'.
rahaa'

'anna minulle
'minulle' allative 'give me some money'
rahaa'

'sinuna' essive 'If I were you' (lit. 'as you')

'häntä luullaan
'minuksi' translative 's/he is often mistaken for me'
usein minuksi'

Noun/adjective stem types

Vowel stems

This section is a stub. You can help by adding to it.

Vowel stems are generally invariable. However, the ending vowel can change.

sg. sg. pl. pl.


singular plural notes
gen. part. gen. part.
kala kalan kalaa kalat kalojen kaloja Mutation a → o

Historically *tee, later diphthongized, but


tie tien tietä tiet teiden teitä
the original vowel survives in other forms.

A long vowel is simplified to add the


maa maan maata maat maiden maita
oblique plural -i-.

An exception is the word ending -i, which is elided under agglutination to produce the
stem, e.g. nimi ~ nim-. In singular, an epenthetic -e- is inserted, e.g. nime-. In plural, the
plural marker -i- is added, followed by the aforementioned -e-, e.g. nimie-. This is used
e.g. in this manner: nimi "name", nimen "of the name", nimien "of the names".

Failure to elide the -i changes meanings. For example, the genitive case will be mistaken
for the instructive case, e.g. nimen "of the name" → nimin "using names". Another good
example is the accidental production of a plural, e.g. nimiä "(at the) names", as contrasted
to the nimeä "at the name".

Recent loanwords are an exception to this elision, but the plural is unchanged. (Often the
-i is added to nativize a word as Finnish nouns generally don't end in consonants.) For
example, the singular stem of taksi is taksi-, but the plural stem is taksie-. The usage is as
such: taksin "of the taxi", taksien "of the taxies". Likewise, applying the elision rule to
the recent loans produces unintended meanings.

Consonant stems

This section is a stub. You can help by adding to it.

In general, Finnish does not borrow new consonant stems, but employs paragoge.
However, older consonant stems are retained, if the consonant is not an obstruent (p, t, k),
e.g. tanner "solid ground". Also, all consonant stems ending in obstruents have been
abbreviated, but they still behave like consonant stems. In some dialects, -t stems have
been assibilated instead of abbreviated, e.g. standard vene, in Pohjanmaa venes ← venet.
By analogy, all words ending in 'e' behave as former -t stems. The illative case also
changes form with a consonant stem, where the ending -hen is assibilated to -seen, as -
hen is the genitive.

Nouns ending in -s
Vocalization or lenition is found in addition to any possible consonant gradation, e.g.
kuningas (nominative) ~ kuninkaan (genitive), or mies ~ miehen. The illatives are marked
thus: kuninkaaseen, mieheen.

-nen nouns

This is a very large class of words which includes common nouns (for example 'nainen' =
'woman'), many names, and many common adjectives. Adding -nen to a noun is a very
productive mechanism for making adjectives ('muovi' = 'plastic' -> 'muovinen' = 'made of
plastic'). It can also function as a diminutive ending.

The form behaves like it ended in -s, with the exception of the nominative, where it is -
nen. Thus, the stem for these words removes the '-nen' and adds '-s(e)' after which the
inflectional ending is added:

Finnish English

'muovisessa pussissa' 'in the plastic bag'

'kaksi muovista lelua' 'two plastic toys'

'muoviseen laatikkoon' 'into the plastic box'

Here are a few of the diminutive forms that are still in use:

Finnish From word English

'kätönen' käsi 'a small hand' (affectionate)

'lintunen' lintu 'birdie', 'a small bird'

'veikkonen' veikka 'my friend' (used in some sayings, like the English form)

'kirjanen' kirja 'booklet'


'kukkanen' kukka 'little flower'

'kalanen' kala 'little fish'

The diminutive form mostly lives in surnames which are usually very old words to which
most Finns have forgotten the meaning. Some of the most common:

Finnish From word English

'Rautiainen' rautio blacksmith (of a blacksmith's family)

'Korhonen' korho 'deaf' (of a deaf man's family)

'sorrowful, melancholic'; alternatively male


'Leinonen' leino
name Leino as short for Leonard

'Virtanen', 'Jokinen', virta, joki, 'the family from by the stream (virta), river
'Järvinen', 'Nieminen'... järvi, niemi (joki), lake (järvi), peninsula (niemi)'

[A family name assimilated from the name of


'Mikkonen' the farmhouse, after the householder's name
'Mikko']

possible origin Martikka, a South Karelian


'Martikainen'
surname, identical to Russian surname Martika

from 'Lyytikkä', originating to Germanic male


'Lyytikäinen'
name 'Lydecke'

Occasionally such nouns become placenames. For example, there is a peninsula called
"Neuvosenniemi" in one lake. "Neuvonen" means "a bit of advice/direction"; at this
peninsula people rowing tar barrels across the lake would stop to ask whether the weather
conditions would make it unsafe to continue to the other side.
Bold text=====-e nouns===== These nouns look as though they should behave like
vowel stem nouns, but in fact behave like consonant stem nouns due to the historical loss
of a final consonant. There are some common nouns in this class, for example 'huone' =
'room', 'kirje' = 'letter'

The result is that the partitive singular adds a 't' followed by the partitive ending
appropriate to a consonant stem 'ta'. Likewise, the illative case ending assibilates. Other
case forms add an 'e' followed by the case ending:

-e nouns

Finnish English

'kaksi huonetta' 'two rooms'

'huoneessa' 'in the room'

'huoneeseen' 'into the room'

Adjectives
Adjectives in Finnish are inflected in exactly the same way as nouns, and an adjective
must agree in number and case with the noun it is modifying.

For example, here are some adjectives:

Finnish English

'iso' 'big'

'pieni' 'small'

'punainen' 'red'
And here are some examples of adjectives inflected to agree with nouns:

Finnish English

'iso''|''n talo''|''n edessä 'in front of the big house'

'kaksi pien''|''tä talo''|''a' 'two small houses'

'punaise''|''ssa talo''|''ssa' 'in the red house'

Notice that the adjectives undergo the same sorts of stem changes when they are inflected
as nouns do.

Comparative formation

The comparative of the adjective is formed by adding '-mpi' to the inflecting stem. For
example:

Finnish English Finnish English

'iso' 'big' 'iso''|''mpi' 'bigger'

'pieni' 'small' 'piene''|''mpi' 'smaller'

'punainen' 'red' 'punaise''|''mpi' 'more red'

Since the comparative adjective is still an adjective, it must be inflected to agree with the
noun it modifies. To make the inflecting stem of the comparative, the '-mpi' ending loses
its final 'i'. If the syllable context calls for a weak consonant, the '-mp-' becomes '-mm-'.
Then '-a-' is added before the actual case ending. This should become clear with a few
examples:

Finnish English
'iso''|''mma''|''n talo''|''n edessä' 'in front of the bigger house'

'kaksi piene''|''mpä''|''ä talo''|''a' 'two smaller houses'

'punaise''|''mma''|''ssa talo''|''ssa' 'in the redder house'

Superlative formation

The superlative of the adjective is formed by adding '-in' to the inflecting stem. For
example:

Superlative formation

Finnish English Finnish English

'iso' 'big' 'iso''|''in' 'biggest'

'punainen' 'red' 'punais''|''in' 'reddest'

Note that because the superlative marker vowel is an 'i', the same kind of changes can
occur with vowel stems as happen in verb imperfects, and noun inflecting plurals:

Finnish English Finnish English

'pieni' 'small' 'pienin' 'smallest' (not *'pienein')

Since the superlative adjective is still an adjective, it must be inflected to agree with the
noun it modifies. The '-in' becomes either '-imma-' or '-impa-' depending on whether the
syllable context calls for a weak or strong consonant. Here are the examples:
Finnish English

'iso''|''imma''|''n talo''|''n edessä' 'in front of the biggest house'

'kaksi pien''|''in''|''tä taloa' 'the two smallest houses'

'punais''|''imma''|''ssa talo''|''ssa' 'in the reddest house' (if that makes sense...)

Irregular forms

The most important irregular form is:

Main irregular form

Finnish English

'hyvä, parempi, paras' 'good, better, best'

(though Finns understand 'hyvempi' :-) [used mainly by small children]

Notice also:

More irregular forms

Finnish Hypothetic regular English

'pitkä, *pitkämpi,
'pitkä, pidempi, pisin' 'long, longer, longest'
*pitkin'

'lyhyt, lyhyempi, lyhyin' 'short, shorter, shortest'


'lyhyt, lyhyempi,
(although the standard forms are also
lyhin' used)

There are a small number of other irregular comparative and superlative forms, such as:

Finnish English

'uusi' 'new'

Where the inflecting stem is 'uude-' but the superlative is 'uusin' = 'newest'.

Postpositions and prepositions


Postpositions are more common in Finnish than prepositions. Both postpositions and
prepositions can be combined with either a noun or a possessive suffix to form a P-
positional phrase.

Postpositions

Postpositions indicate place, time, cause, consequence or relation. In postpositional


phrases the noun is usually in genitive:

Postpositions

Finnish English

'pöydän alla' 'under the table'

'joulun jälkeen' 'after Christmas'

'lasten tähden' 'for the sake of the children'

'jonkun puolesta' 'on behalf of somebody'


The noun (or pronoun) can be omitted when there is a possessive suffix:

Finnish English

'(I) am next to (you)' or


'olen _ ''vierellä|si' ''
'(I) am by (your) side'

[EDIT: As with verbs, the pronoun can not be omitted in third person (singular or plural):
"Olin __ mukanasi" -> "I was with you" vs. "Olin hänen mukanaan" -> "I was with
him/her"
"Tulen __ mukaanne" -> "I will come with you (plural or polite)" vs. "Tulen heidän
mukanaan" -> "I will come with them"]

Prepositions

There are few important prepositions in Finnish. In prepositional phrases the noun is
always in the partitive:

Prepositions

Finnish English

'ennen joulua' 'before Christmas'

'ilman sinua' 'without you'

Some postpositions can also be used as prepositions:

Prepositions

Finnish Equal Finnish English

'kylän keskellä ' ' keskellä kylää' ' in the middle of the village'
Verb forms
Finnish verbs are usually divided into six groups depending on the stem type. All six
types have the same set of endings, but the stems undergo (slightly) different changes
when inflected.

There are very few irregular verbs in Finnish. In fact, only 'olla' = 'to be' has an irregular
form on "is"; other forms follow from the stem ol- with an epenthetic 'e' and consonant
cluster abbreviation if necessary; e.g. olet ← ol+t "you are", ovat ← ol+vat "they are". A
handful of verbs, including 'nähdä' = 'to see', 'tehdä' = 'to do/make', and 'juosta' = 'to run'
have rare consonant mutation patterns which are not derivable from the infinitive.

Finnish does not have a separate verb for possession. Possession is indicated in other
ways, mainly by genitives and existential clauses. For animate possessors, the adessive
case is used with 'olla', for example 'koiralla on häntä' = 'the dog has a tail' - literally 'on
the dog is a tail', or in English grammar, "There is a tail on the dog". This is similar to
Irish forms such as "There is a hunger on me".

Tenses

Finnish verbs have present, imperfect, perfect and pluperfect tenses.

• Present: corresponds to English present and future tenses. For the latter, a time
qualifier may need to be used to avoid ambiguity. The present is formed with
using the personal suffixes only. For example, otan "I take" (from ottaa, "to
take").
• Imperfect: actually a preterite tense, but called "imperfect" for historical reasons;
corresponds to English past continuous and past simple, indicating a past action
which is complete but might have been a point event, a temporally extended
event, or a repeated event. The imperfect is formed with the infix -i- in addition to
the personal suffixes, e.g. otin "I took".
• Perfect: corresponds to the English present perfect ("I have eaten") in most of its
usages, but can carry more sense than in English of a past action with present
effects. The form is Germanic of origin, and uses the verb olla "to be" in the
present tense as an auxiliary verb. Personal suffixes are added to the auxiliary,
while the main verb is in the -nut/-nyt participle form. For example, olen ottanut
"I have taken", where ole- is the auxiliary verb stem, -n is the personal suffix for
"I", otta- is the stem for the main verb, and -nut is the participle marker.
• Pluperfect: corresponds to the English past perfect ("I had visited") in its usage.
Similarly to perfect, the verb olla is used in the past tense as an auxiliary verb. For
example, olin ottanut "I had taken".

Voices
Finnish has two possible verb voices: definite and indefinite. The definite voice
corresponds with the active voice of English, but the indefinite voice has some important
differences from the passive voice.

Indefinite voice

The Finnish indefinite would best be described as a "fourth person", since there is no way
of connecting the action performed with a particular agent and hence there is only one
form of the indefinite. This should become clear through an example: talo maalataan
"the house will be/is being painted".

The time when the house is being painted could be added: talo maalataan marraskuussa
"the house will be painted in November". The colour and method could be added: talo
maalataan punaiseksi harjalla "the house is being painted red with a brush". But nothing
can be said about the person doing the painting; there is no simple grammatical
mechanism to say "the house is being painted by Jim". There is a calque, evidently from
Swedish, toimesta "from the action of", that can be used to introduce the agent: Taloa
maalataan Jimin toimesta, approximately "One paints the house from Jim's action". This
expression is grammatically incorrect, but it may be found wherever direct translation
from Swedish, English, etc. has been attempted, especially in legal texts.

Hence the form maalataan is the only one which is needed. Notice also that the subject of
the verb (that is, the object of the action) is in the nominative case. Verbs which govern
the partitive case continue to do so in the indefinite, and where the subject is a personal
pronoun, that goes into its special accusative form: minut unohdettiin "I was forgotten".

It can also be said that in the Finnish indefinite the agent is always human and never
mentioned. A sentence such as the tree was blown down would translate poorly into
Finnish if the indefinite were used, since it would suggest the image of a group of people
trying to blow the tree down.

Because of its vagueness about who is performing the action, the indefinite can also
translate the English one does (something), (something) is generally done, as in sanotaan
että… "they say that…"

In modern colloquial Finnish, the indefinite form of the verb is used after me to mean "we
do (something)", for example, me tullaan "we are coming", and on its own at the
beginning of a sentence to make a suggestion, as in Mennään! "Let's go!". In case of the
former, the me cannot be omitted without risk of causing confusion with the latter, unlike
with the "standard" form tulemme.

Formation of the indefinite will be dealt with under the verb types below.

[edit]
Moods

Indicative

The indicative is the form of the verb used for making statements or asking simple
questions. In the verb morphology sections, the mood referred to will be the indicative
unless otherwise stated.

Conditional

The conditional mood expresses the idea that the action or state expressed by the verb
may or may not actually happen. As in English, the Finnish conditional is used in
conditional sentences (e.g. "I would tell you if I knew") and in polite requests (e.g. "I
would like some coffee").

In the former case, and unlike in English, the conditional must be used in both halves of
the Finnish sentence:

"ymmärtäisin jos puhuisit hitaammin" = *"I would understand if you would speak more
slowly".

The characteristic morphology of the Finnish conditional is 'isi' inserted between the verb
stem and the personal ending. This can result in a 'closed' syllable becoming 'open' and so
trigger consonant gradation:

'tiedän' = 'I know', 'tietäisin' = 'I would know'.

cf. 'haluan' = 'I want', 'haluaisin' = 'I would like'.

Conditional forms exists for both definite and indefinite voices, and for present and
perfect tenses.

[edit]

Imperative

The imperative mood is used to express commands. In Finnish, there is only one tense
form (the present-future). The possible variants of Finnish imperatives are:

• 1st, 2nd or 3rd person


• singular or plural (only plural for 1st person)
• definite or indefinite
• positive or negative

[edit]
Definite, 2nd person imperatives

These are the most common forms of the imperative: "Do this", "Don't do that".

The singular imperative is simply the verb's present tense without any personal ending
(that is, chop the '-n' off the first person singular form):

Definite, 2nd person imperatives

Finnish English

'tule!' 'come!'

'syö!' 'eat!'

'huomaa!' 'note!'

To make this negative, 'älä' (which is the definite imperative singular 2nd person of the
negative verb) is placed before the positive form:

Finnish English

'älä sano!' 'don't say!'

'älä mene!' 'don't go!'

'don't lie!'
'älä valehtele!'
(from 'valehdella' = 'to lie', type II)

To form the plural, add '-kaa' or '-kää' to the verb's stem:

Finnish English
'tulkaa!' 'come!'

'juokaa!' 'drink!'

'measure!'
'mitatkaa!'
(from 'mitata' = 'to measure', type IV)

To make this negative, 'älkää' (which is the definite imperative present plural 2nd person
of the negation verb)is placed before the positive form and the suffix '-ko' or '-kö' is
added to the verb stem:

Finnish English

'älkää sanoko!' 'don't say!'

'älkää menkö!' 'don't go!'

'älkää tarjotko!' 'don't offer!'

Note that 2nd person plural imperatives can also be used as polite imperatives when
referring to one person.

The Finnish language has no simple equivalent to the English "please". The Finnish
equivalent is to use either 'ole hyvä' or 'olkaa hyvä' = 'be good', but it is generally omitted.
Politeness is normally conveyed by tone of voice, facial expression, and use of
conditional verbs and partitive nouns. For example, voisitteko means "could you", in the
polite plural, and is used much like English "Could you..." sentences: voisitteko auttaa
"could you help, please?"

Also, familiar (and not necessarily so polite) expressions can be added to imperatives,
e.g. menes, menepä, menehän. These are hard to translate exactly, but extensively used
by Finnish speakers themselves. Menes implies expectation, that is, it has been settled
already and requires no discussion; menepä has the -pa which indicates insistence, and -
hän means approximated "indeed".

Indefinite imperatives
Indefinite imperatives

Finnish English

tehtäköön let (sth) be done

älköön tehtäkö let (sth) not be done

olkoon tehty let (sth) have been done

älköön olko tehty let (sth) not have been done

3rd person imperatives

3rd person imperatives

Finnish English

'olkoon' 'let it (him, her) be'

'tehkööt' 'let them do'

'älköön unohtako' 'let him not forget', 'he better not forget'

'älkööt unohtako' 'let them not forget'

1st person plural imperatives

1st person plural imperatives


Finnish English

'menkäämme' 'let us go'

'älkäämme tehkö' 'let us not do', 'we better not do'

The 1st person imperative sounds archaic, and a form resembling the indefinite indicative
is often used instead: 'mennään!' = 'let's go!'

Optative

The optative mood is a variant of the imperative mood. It expresses hopes or wishes.
Archaic and/or poetic.

Optative

Finnish English

'kävellös' 'oh, please walk'

Potential

The potential mood is used to express that the action or state expressed by the verb is
likely but not certain, and is rare in modern Finnish, especially in speech. It has only the
present and perfect tenses. The potential has no counterpart in English.

The characteristic morphology of the Finnish conditional is -ne- inserted between the
verb stem and the personal ending. Furthermore, continuants assimilate progressively
(pes+ne- → pesse-) and stops regressively (korjat+ne- → korjanne-). The verb "lie"
always replaces the verb "olla" "to be" in the potential mood, e.g. the potential of on
haettu "has been fetched" is lienee haettu "may have been fetched".

Potential forms exists for both definite and indefinite voices, and for present and perfect
tenses:
Potential

Finnish English

lie|ne|n I may be / it's possible that I am

pes|se|e s/he may wash

korjan|ne|e s/he may fix

sur|re|vat it is possible that they are mourning/ will mourn

se pes|tä|ne|en it may be washed (by sbd.)

lie|ne|tte nähneet you may have seen

ei lie|ne annettu possibly may not have been given (by sbd.)

In some dialects 'tullee' ('may come') is an indicative form verb ('tulee' = 'comes') but
grammatically it is a potential verb.

Eventive

The eventive mood is used in the Kalevala. It is a combination of the potential and the
conditional. It is also used in dialects of Estonian.

Eventive

Finnish English

'kävelleisin' 'I probably would walk'


Infinitives

Finnish verbs are described as having four, sometimes five infinitives:

First infinitive

The first infinitive short form of a verb is the "dictionary entry" form. It is not unmarked;
its overt marking is the suffix -ta, which is however radically changed more often than
not. First, vowel harmony has 'a' for back-vowel and 'ä' for front-vowel words.
Intervocalically, the 't' elides, e.g. sano|a, kirjoitta|a. The cluster '-k+ta' is changed to '-
hda', e.g. *näk+tä → nähdä. Consonant gradation is not used; the root for this form is the
strong form. This corresponds to the English 'to' form, for example:

Finnish English

'sano|a' 'to say'

'tietä|ä' 'to know'

'teh|dä' 'to do'

'luke|a' 'to read'

The first infinitive long form is the translative plus a possessive suffix.

Finnish English

'...soitti sano|a|kse|en...' '...(s/he) phoned in order to say...'

'tietä|ä|kse|mme' (idiomatic use:) 'as far as we know'

'voi|da|kse|ni lukea' ' in order for me to be able to read'

The first infinitive only has active form.


Second infinitive

This corresponds to the English verbal noun (-ing form), and behaves as a noun in
Finnish in that it can be inflected, but only in the inessive and the instructive. In the
inessive it has both definite and indefinite forms. The instructive has only a definite form.
A possessive suffix can be added to the definite inessive. The second infinitive is
relatively rare, especially in the spoken language, except in certain set phrases (for
example 'toisin sanoen' = 'in other words').

The second infinitive is formed by replacing the final 'a'/'ä' of the first infinitive with 'e'
then adding the appropriate inflectional ending. If the vowel before the 'a'/'ä' is already an
'e', this becomes 'i' (see example from 'lukea' = 'to read').

The cases in which the second infinitive can appear are:

Second infinitive

Finnish English

Definite Inessive (while someone is in the act of)

'teh|de|ssä' '(as one is) doing'

'sano|e|ssa' '(as one is) saying'

Definite Inessive + Possessive Suffix (while themselves in the act of)

'luki|e|ssa|an' '(while s/he is) reading'

'sano|e|ssa|si' '(while you are) saying'

Indefinite Inessive (when or while in the act of something being done)

'sano|tta|e|ssa' 'when saying'


'teh|tä|e|ssä' 'when doing'

'lue|tta|e|ssa' 'when reading'

Active Instructive (by means of/ while in the act of)

'teh|de|n' 'while/by doing'

'sano|e|n' 'while/by saying'

'luki|e|n' 'while/by reading

Third infinitive

This corresponds to the English verbal noun (-ing form), and behaves as a noun in
Finnish in that it can be inflected, but only in a limited number of cases. It is used to refer
to a particular act or occasion of the verb's action.

The third infinitive is formed by taking the verb stem with its consonant in the strong
form, then adding 'ma' followed by the case inflection.

The cases in which the third infinitive can appear are:

Case Finnish English

'lukemassa' '(in the act of) reading'

inessive
Example: 'hän on lukemassa
's/he's reading in the library'
kirjastossa'

elative 'lukemasta' '(from just having been) reading'


'(about to be / with the intention of)
illative 'lukemaan'
reading'

adessive 'lukemalla' '(by) reading'

abessive 'lukematta' '(without) reading'

A rare and archaic form of the third infinitive which occurs with the verb pitää:

Case Finnish English

instructive 'sinun ei pidä lukeman' 'you must not read'

The third infinitive instructive is usually replaced with the first infinitive short form in
modern Finnish.

Note that the '-ma' form without a case ending is called the 'agent participle' (see
'participles' below). The agent participle can also be inflected in all cases, producing
forms which look similar to the third infinitive.

Fourth infinitive

The fourth infinitive has the stem ending -MINEN and indicates obligation, but it is quite
rare in Finnish today. This is because there are other words like pitää and täytyy that can
convey this meaning.

For example

Fourth Infinitive

Finnish English

'Sinne ei ole menemistä' 'There is no going there' i.e. 'One must not go there'
Though not an infinitve, a much more common -MINEN verbal stem ending is the noun
construct which gives the name of the activity described by the verb. This is rather
similar to the English verbal noun -ING form, and therefore as a noun, this form can
inflect just like any other noun.

-MINEN noun formation

Finnish English

'lukeminen on hauskaa' 'reading is fun'

'vihaan lukemista' 'I hate reading'

'nautin lukemisesta' 'I enjoy reading'

Fifth infinitive

This is a fairly rare form which has the meaning 'on the point of ...ing / just about to ...'

Fifth infinitive

Finnish English

'olin lukemaisillani' 'I was just about to read'

Verb Conjugation

For full details of how verbs are conjugated in Finnish, please refer to the Finnish verb
conjugation article.

Participles

Finnish verbs have past and present participles, both with passive and active forms, and
an 'agent' participle. Participles can be used in different ways than ordinary adjectives and
they can have an object.
Past passive participle

Finnish English

'after you went home'


'lähde|tty|ä|si kotiin'
[pass. II participle sg. ess.+ poss.suff.]

This section is a stub. You can help by adding to it.

Past active participle

Basically this is formed by removing the infinitive ending and adding '-nut/nyt'
(depending on vowel harmony). For example:

From To

'puhua' 'puhunut'

'syödä' 'syönyt'

However, depending on the verb's stem type, assimilation can occur with the 'n' of the
ending.

In type II verbs, the 'n' is assimilated to the consonant at the end of the stem:

From To To

'mennä' ('men-') 'mennyt'

'harjoitella' ('harjoitel-') 'harjoitellut'

In verbs of types IV-VI, the 't' at the end of the stem is assimilated to the 'n':
From To To

'haluta' ('halut-') 'halunnut'

'tarvita' ('tarvit-') 'tarvinnut'

'rohjeta' ('rohjet-') 'rohjennut'

Present passive participle

Present passive participle

Finnish English

'minun on nuku|tta|va' 'I must sleep' [pass. I participle sg. nom.]

This section is a stub. You can help by adding to it.

Present active participle

Present active participle

Finnish English

'nukku|va koira' 'sleeping dog'

'häikäise|vä valo' 'blinding light'

'olin luke|v|i|na|ni' 'I pretended to be reading'


[act. I participle pl. essive + poss. suff.]

This section is a stub. You can help by adding to it.

Agent participle

The agent participle is formed in a similar way as the third infinitive (see above), adding -
ma or -mä to the verb stem. It allows the property of being a target of an action to be
formatted as an adjective-like attribute. Like adjectives, it can be inflected in all cases.
For example, ihmisen tekemä muodostelma "a man-made formation". The party
performing the action is indicated by the use of genitive, or by a possessive suffix. This is
reflected in English, too: ihmisen tekemä — "of man's making", or kirjoittamani kirja
"book of my writing". For example:

Agent participle

Finnish English

'tytön lukema kirja' the book read by the girl

'tytön lukemaa kirjaa' (partitive) the book read by the girl

'tytön lukemassa kirjassa' in the book read by the girl

etc.

It is not required for the action to be in the past, although the examples above are. Rather,
the construction simply specifies the subject, the object and the action, with no reference
to time. For an example in the future, consider: huomenna käyttämänänne välineenä on -
- "tomorrow, as the instrument you will be using is --". Here, käyttämä "that which is
used" describes, i.e. is an attribute to väline "instrument". (Notice the case agreement
between käyttämä-nä and välinee-nä.) The suffix -nne "your" specifies the person
"owning" the action, i.e. who does it, thus käyttämänne is "that which was used by
you(pl.)", and käyttämänänne is "as that which was used by you".

It is also possible to give the actor with a pronoun, e.g. sinun käyttämäsi "that which was
used by you". In standard language, the pronoun sinun "your" is not necessary, but the
possessive suffix is. In inexact spoken usage, this goes vice versa; the possessive suffix is
optional, and used typically only for the second person singular, e.g. sun käyttämäs.

Negation of verbs

Present indicative

Verbs are negated by using a 'negative verb' in front of the stem from the present tense (in
its 'weak' consonant form):

Present indicative

Finnish English Finnish English

Singular

'tiedän' 'I know' -> 'en tiedä' 'I don't know'

'tiedät' 'you know' -> 'et tiedä' 'you don't know'

'tietää' '(s)he knows' -> 'ei tiedä' '(s)he doesn't know'

Plural

'tiedämme' 'we know' -> 'emme tiedä' 'we don't know'

'tiedätte' 'you know' -> 'ette tiedä' 'you don't know'

'tietävät' 'they know' -> 'eivät tiedä' 'they don't know'

Note that the inflection is on the negative verb, not on the main verb, and that the endings
are regular apart from the 3rd person forms.

Present indefinite
The negative is formed from the third-person singular "negative verb" - 'ei' - and the
present indefinite with the final '-an' removed:

Finnish English

'ei puhuta' 'it is not spoken'

'ei tiedetä' 'it is not known'

Imperfect indicative

The negative is formed from the appropriate part of the negative verb followed by the
nominative form (either singular or plural depending on the number of the verb's subject)
of the active past participle. So for 'puhua' the pattern is:

Imperfect indicative

Finnish English

Singular

'en puhunut' 'I did not speak'

'et puhunut' 'you did not speak'

'ei puhunut' '(s/he) did not speak'

Plural

'emme puhuneet' 'we did not speak'


'ette puhuneet' 'you did not speak'

'eivät puhuneet' 'they did not speak'

Note one exception: when the 'te' 2nd person plural form is used in an honorific way to
address one person, the singular form of the participle is used: 'te ette puhunut' = 'you (s,
polite) did not speak'.

Imperfect passive

The negative is formed from the third-person singular negative verb - 'ei' - and the
nominative singular form of the passive present participle (compare this with the negative
of the imperfect indicative):

Imperfect passive

Finnish English

'ei puhuttu' 'it was not spoken'

'ei tiedetty' 'it was not known'

Note that in the spoken language, this form is used for the first person plural. In this case,
the personal pronoun is obligatory:

Finnish English

'me ei menty' 'we did not go'

Interrogatives (questions)

There are two main ways of forming a question - either using a specific question word, or
by adding a '-ko/kö' suffix to one of the words in a sentence. A question word is placed
first in the sentence, and a word with the interrogative suffix is also moved to this
position:

Interrogatives (questions)

Finnish English

'mikä tämä on?' 'what is this?'

'tämä on kirja' 'this is a book'

'onko tämä kirja?' 'is this a book?'

'tämäkö on kirja?' 'is this a book?'

'kirjako tämä on?' 'is this a book?'

'is this not a book?'


'eikö tämä ole kirja?'
(note the '-kö' goes on the negative verb)

Adverbs
A very common way of forming adverbs is by adding the ending '-sti' to the inflecting
form of the corresponding adjective:

Adverbs

Finnish English

'nopea, nopeasti' 'quick, quickly'


'kaunis, kauniisti' 'beautiful, beautifully'

'hidas, hitaasti' 'slow, slowly'

'helppo, helposti' 'easy, easily'

The great thing about adverbs is that because they are modifying verbs, not nouns, they
don't inflect!

Comparative formation

The comparative form of the adverb has the ending '-mmin'

Comparative formation

Finnish English

'nopea, nopeasti, nopeammin' 'quick, quickly, more quickly/faster'

'kaunis, kauniisti, kauniimmin' 'beautiful, beautifully, more beautifully'

'hidas, hitaasti, hitaammin' 'slow, slowly, more slowly'

'helppo , helposti, helpommin' 'easy, easily, more easily'

Superlative formation

The superlative form of the adverb has the ending '-immin'.

Superlative formation
Finnish English

'helppo, helposti, helpommin, helpoimmin' 'easy, easily, more easily, most easily'

Because of the '-i-', the stem vowel can change, similarly to superlative adjectives, or to
avoid runs of three vowels:

Finnish English

'nopea, nopeasti, nopeammin,


'quick, quickly, more quickly/faster, fastest'
nopeimmin'

'kaunis, kauniisti, kauniimmin, 'beautiful, beautifully, more beautifully, most


kauneimmin' beautifully'

'hidas, hitaasti, hitaammin, hitaimmin' 'slow, slowly, more slowly, most slowly'

Irregular forms

There are a number of irregular adverbs, including:

Irregular forms

Finnish English

'hyvä, hyvin, paremmin, parhaiten' 'good, well, better, best'

Numbers
Please refer to the separate numbers article for details of how numbers work in Finnish.

Sentence structure
Since Finnish is an inflected language, word order within sentences can be comparatively
free - the function of a word being indicated by its ending.

The most usual neutral order, however, is subject-verb-object:

Finnish English

'koira puri miestä' 'the dog bit the man'

or:

Finnish English

'koira on puutarhassa' 'the dog is in the garden'

although puutarhassa "in the garden" is not grammatically an object, as well as:

Finnish English

'minulla on rahaa' 'I have money'

where minulla is not considered the subject.

Word order can be varied for emphasis:

Finnish English

'miestä puri koira' 'the man was bitten by a dog'

and:
Finnish English

'rahaa minulla 'money is something I do have' (although I may not have something
on' else)

'rahaa on
'I, for one, have money'
minulla'

'minulla rahaa
'it is I that have money' (and not someone else)
on'

'on minulla
'I do have money' (if my having money is doubted)
rahaa'

and finally, a classic example:

Finnish English

'minä olen valtio' 'I am the state' (matter-of-fact)

'valtio olen minä' l'etat, c'est moi

Besides the word-order implications of turning a sentence into a question, there are some
other circumstances where word-order is important:

Existential sentences

These are sentences which introduce a new subject - they often begin 'there is' or 'there
are' in English.

Finnish English
'huoneessa on sänky' 'there is a bed in the room'

The location of the thing whose existence is being stated comes first, followed by its
stative verb, followed by the thing itself. Note how this is unlike the normal English
equivalent, though English can also use the same order:

Finnish English

'siellä seisoi mies' '(in/out) there stood a man'

Note what happens to the verb in the the English and Finnish versions when the meaning
is plural.

Finnish English

'huoneessa on kaksi sänkyä' 'there are two beds in the room'

'huoneessa on kaksi sänkyä' 'in the room there are two beds'

These are the ordinary counting numbers: here are 1 to 10:

Cardinal numbers

Finnish English

yksi one
kaksi two

kolme three

neljä four

viisi five

kuusi six

seitsemän seven

kahdeksan eight

yhdeksän nine

kymmenen ten

To get 'teen's, 'toista' is added to the base number: yksitoista, kaksitoista ...
yhdeksäntoista. ('Toista' actually means 'of second [decade]'. Formerly it has been used
for numbers over 19, too: e.g. 35 would be 'viisineljättä', 'five-of-fourth'.)

Twenty is simply 'kaksikymmentä' = 'two tens' (with kymmenen appearing in the partitive
after a number as is normal for nouns). Then the decades are kolmekymmentä,
neljäkymmentä ... yhdeksänkymmentä.

100 is 'sata', 200 is 'kaksisataa' and so on.

1000 is 'tuhat', 2000 is 'kaksituhatta' and so on.

So, 3721 = 'kolme-tuhatta-seitsemän-sataa-kaksi-kymmentä-yksi' (actually written as one


long word with no dashes in between).
Long numbers (like 32534756) are separated in three numbers sections with space
beginning from the end of the number (for example 32 534 756). Writing it with letters
follow the spacing, in the example (in numbers over one million, 'miljoona' ('million') is
written separately) 'kolme-kymmentä-kaksi miljoonaa viisi-sataa-kolme-kymmentä-neljä-
tuhatta seitsemän-sataa-viisi-kymmentä-kuusi'. (No dashes, they are only to make the
number look clear.)

Numbers can be inflected in cases; all parts of the number except 'toista' are inflected. For
example:

Finnish English

kahtena päivänä on/during two days

kahdessatoista maassa in twelve countries

kolmellekymmenelleviidelle hengelle for thirty-five persons

Numerals have also plural forms, which usually refer to things naturally occurring in
pairs or other similarly well-defined sets, such as body parts and clothing items. Also
names of celebrations are usually in the plural. For instance:

Finnish English

kahdet saappaat two pairs of boots

kolmet jalanjäljet three sets of footprints

Neljät häät ja yhdet hautajaiset Four Weddings and a (One) Funeral

Ordinal numbers
These are the 'ordering' form of the numbers - first, second, third and so on. Ordinal
numbers are generally formed by adding an '-s' ending, but 'first' and 'second' are
completely different, and for the others then stems are not straightforward:
Ordinal numbers 1-10

Finnish English

ensimmäinen first

toinen second

kolmas third

neljäs fourth

viides fifth

kuudes sixth

seitsemäs seventh

kahdeksas eighth

yhdeksäs ninth

kymmenes tenth

For teens, you change the first part of the word; however note how 'first' and 'second' lose
their irregularity in 'eleven' and 'twelve':

Ordinal numbers 11-19


Finnish English

yhdestoista eleventh

kahdestoista twelfth

kolmastoista thirteenth

neljästoista fourteenth

viidestoista fifteenth

kuudestoista sixteenth

seitsemästoista seventeeth

kahdeksastoista eighteenth

yhdeksästoista nineteeth

For twenty through ninety-nine, all parts of the number get the '-s' ending. 'First' and
'second' take the irregular form only at the end of a word. The regular forms are possible
for them but they are less common.

Ordinal numbers 20-

Finnish English

kahdeskymmenes twentieth
kahdeskymmenesensimmäinen twenty-first (also 'kahdeskymmenesyhdes')

kahdeskymmenestoinen twenty-second (also 'kahdeskymmeneskahdes')

kahdeskymmeneskolmas twenty-third

100th is 'sadas', 1000th is 'tuhannes', 3721st is 'kolmas-tuhannes-seitsemäs-sadas-kahdes-


kymmenes-ensimmäinen'. (Again, dashes only included here for clarity; the word is
properly spelled without them.)

Like cardinals, ordinal numbers can also be inflected:

Finnish English

kolmatta viikkoa for (already) the third week

viidennessätoista kerroksessa in the fifteenth floor

tuhannennelle asiakkaalle to the thousandth customer

The 'toista' in the 'teens' is actually the partitive of 'toinen', which is why 'toista' gets no
further inflection endings. (Literally 'yksitoista || one-of-the-second'.)

Long ordinal numbers in Finnish are typed in almost the same way than the long cardinal
numbers. 32534756 would be (in numbers over one million, 'miljoona' ('million') is
written separately) 'kolmas-kymmenes-kahdes miljoonas viides-sadas-kolmas-
kymmenes-neljäs-tuhannes seitsemäs-sadas-viides-kymmenes-kuudes'. (Still, no dashes.)

Names of numbers
This is a feature of Finnish which doesn't have an exact counterpart in English. These
forms are used to refer to the actual number itself, rather than the quantity or order which
the number represents. This should be clearer from the examples below, but first here is
the list:
Names of numbers

Finnish English

nolla nil, number zero

ykkönen number one

kakkonen number two

kolmonen number three

nelonen number four

viitonen number five

kuutonen number six

seitsemän number seven (vernacular: 'seiska')

kahdeksan or kahdeksikko number eight (vernacular: 'kasi')

yhdeksän or yhdeksikkö number nine (vernacular: 'ysi')

kymmenen number ten (vernacular: 'kymppi', 'kybä')

satanen number hundred


Also, 'kahdeksikko' refers to the shape of the number. Some examples of how these are
used:

The 'number three tram' is the 'kolmonen' — when you are riding it, you are
'kolmosella' (Yes, these inflect too!)
A magazine has the title '7' and is called 'Seiska'
My car, a '93 model, is an 'ysi kolmonen' when buying spare parts
The '106' bus is the 'sata kuutonen'
A 5 € bill may be called "vitonen", a 10 € bill "kymppi", a 20 €
"kaksikymppinen", a 100 € bill "satanen",

VERVOS CONJUGACIONS

Type I verbs
These are verbs whose infinitive forms end in vowel + 'a' (or 'ä' for front-vowel
containing stems), for example 'puhua' = 'to speak', 'tietää' = 'to know'. This group
contains a very large number of verbs. Here is how 'tietää' conjugates in the present
indicative:

minä tiedän = I know


sinä tiedät = you (singular) know
hän/se tietää = (s)he/it knows
me tiedämme = we know
te tiedätte = you (plural/formal) know
he tietävät = they know

The personal endings are thus -n, -t, -(doubled vowel), -mme, -tte, -vat. The inflecting
stem is formed by dropping the final '-a', and has a strong consonant in the third-person
forms and weak otherwise. Note that for third person plural, this is an exception to the
general rule for strong consonants.

Imperfect indicative

In the simple case (which applies to most type I verbs), the imperfect indicative is formed
by inserting the charateristic 'i' between the stem and the personal endings, which are the
same as in the present tense except that the vowel does not double in the 3rd person
singular:
'puhun' = 'I speak', 'puhuin' = 'I spoke'
'puhut' = 'you speak', 'puhuit' = 'you spoke'
'puhuu' = '(he) speaks', 'puhui' = '(he) spoke'
'puhumme' = 'we speak', 'puhuimme' = 'we spoke' and so on.

However, the insertion of the 'i' often has an effect on the stem. Of type I verbs, one
notable exception is 'tietää':

'tiedän' = 'I know', 'tiesin' = 'I knew'

'ymmärtää' = 'to understand' also follows this pattern. Changes of stem for other verb
types will be discussed in the relevant sections below.

[edit]

Indefinite

Present indefinite
The present indefinite is formed by adding '-taan' to the inflecting stem of the verb
with the consonant in its weak form:
puhua -> puhu- -> puhutaan
If the vowel at the end of the stem is 'a' or 'ä' it is changed to 'e' before the '-taan'
ending:
tietää -> tiedä- -> tiede -> tiedetään
Past indefinite
This is formed in the same way as the present indefinite, except that the ending is
'-ttiin', hence 'puhuttiin' = 'it was spoken', 'tiedettiin' = 'it was known'.
Note the presence of the same 'i' marker in the past indefinite as in the imperfect
indicative. Note also the presence of the extra 't'.
Conditional indefinite
This is formed in the same way as the present indefinite, except that the ending is
'-ttaisiin', hence 'puhuttaisiin' = 'it would be spoken', 'tiedettaisiin' = 'it would be
known'.
Note the presence of the 'isi' conditional marker.
Potential indefinite
This is formed in the same way as the present indefinite, except that the ending is
'-ttaneen', hence 'puhuttaneen' = 'it may be spoken', 'tiedettaneen' = 'it may be
known'.
Note the presence of the 'ne' potential marker.
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Type II verbs
These are verbs whose infinitive forms end in two consonants + 'a', for example 'mennä'
= 'to go'. This is another large group of verbs.
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Present indicative

The stem is formed by removing the 'a' and its preceding consonant. Then add 'e'
followed by the personal endings: menen, menet, menee, menemme, menette, menevät.

Imperfect indicative

The 'i' of the imperfect is added directly to the stem formed as for the present tense, then
the personal endings are added: 'pestä' = 'to clean', 'pesen' = 'I clean', 'pesin' = 'I cleaned'
etc.

Passive

Present passive

In this group, the passive has the same '-aan' ending as for group I verbs, but no 't'; the
easiest way to form the passive is to extend the vowel on the end of the first infinitive and
then add 'n':

mennä -> mennään

All other forms of the passive are related to the present passive in the same way as for
type I verbs, including the 'extra t', except that since there was no 't' to start with, the
passive forms only have one ! Also the double consonant before the ending becomes
single.

mennä -> mennään -> mentiin, mentäisiin


olla -> ollaan -> oltiin (see below), oltaisiin

Type III verbs


Verbs whose infinitives end in vowel + 'da', for example 'juoda' = 'to drink', 'syödä' = 'to
eat'. This is a fairly large group of verbs, partly because one way in which foreign
borrowings are incorporated into the Finnish verb paradigms is to add 'oida', for example,
'organisoida' = 'to organise'.

Another important verb of this type is 'voida' = 'to be able/allowed to'.

The stem is formed by removing 'da' with no vowel doubling in the third person singular:
juon, juot, juo, juomme, juotte, juovat.
Imperfect indicative

For these verbs whose stems end in two vowels, the first of the vowels is lost when the 'i'
is added in the imperfect: 'juon = 'I drink', 'join' = 'I drank' etc.

There is an exception to this rule if the stem already ends in an 'i' - for example 'voida' or
the '-oida' verbs mentioned earlier. In this case the stem does not change between present
and imperfect indicative, so the imperfect forms are the same as the present forms, and
the distinction between them must be made from context.

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Passive

Passives in this group are formed in the same way as for group II verbs:

syödä -> syödään, syötiin, syötäisiin


juoda -> juodaan, juotiin, juotaisiin

Type IV verbs
This, and the following two groups, have infinitives ending in vowel + 'ta'. Most
commonly, type IV verbs end with 'ata', 'ota', 'uta', but the other two vowels are possible.
Examples are 'tavata' = 'to meet', 'haluta' = 'to want', 'tarjota' = 'to offer'.

The inflecting stem is formed by dropping the 'a' changing the final consonant into its
strong form:

haluta -> halut-


tavata -> tapat-
tarjota -> tarjot-

In the present indicative, the final 't' mutates into an 'a' . After this, the personal ending is
added (or the vowel doubled in the 3rd person singular) as usual:

haluan, haluat, haluaa, haluamme, haluatte, haluavat


tapaan, tapaat, tapaa etc.
tarjoan, tarjoat, tarjoaa etc.

Imperfect indicative

The same stem is used as for the present except that the final 't' becomes 's' rather than 'a'.
This is followed by the imperfect 'i' marker and the personal endings: 'halusin' = 'I
wanted', 'tapasimme' = 'we met' etc.
Passive

Passives in this group are formed in the same way as for type II verbs, except that since
the present passives will all have a 't' (from the first infinitive) the 'extra t' appears in the
other forms as for type I verbs:

haluta -> halutaan, haluttiin, haluttaisiin


tavata -> tavataan, tavattiin, tavattaisiin

Type V verbs
All the verbs in this groups have infinitives ending in 'ita'. There are not that many of
them, the most 'important' being 'tarvita' = 'to need'

The stem is formed by dropping the final 'a' and adding 'se': tarvitsen, tarvitset, tarvitsee,
tarvitsemme, tarvitsette, tarvitsevat.

Imperfect indicative

This section is a stub. You can help by adding to it.

Passive

Passives of this type are formed in the same way as for type IV verbs.

Type VI verbs
Almost all the verbs of this type have infinitives ending in 'eta'. There are not many verbs
which fall into this category of their 'own right', and these don't tend to be commonly
used. However, it is a reasonably common route for turning adjectives into verbs (for
example 'kylmä' = 'cold', 'kylmetä' = 'to get cold')

The stem for this type is formed by removing the 'ta' then adding 'ne' with the additional
change that the final consonant of the stem is in its strong form:

'rohjeta' = 'to dare'


'rohkenen' = 'I dare'
'rohkenet' = 'you dare'
'rohkenee' = 'he/she/it dares' etc.
'paeta' = 'to escape', 'pakenen' = 'I escape'
'kylmetä' = 'to get cold', 'kylmenen' = 'I get cold'
Imperfect indicative

This section is a stub. You can help by adding to it.

Passive

Passives of this type are formed in the same way as for type IV verbs.

Non-derivable and irregular stems


Standard Finnish has no other actually irregular verbs than 'olla' discussed above.
However, because the infinitive is an inflected form of the root, the consonant gradation
may obscure the root. The root of the word 'juosta' = 'to run' is juoks-; when generating
the infinitive, the pattern ks → s is applied: juoks+ta → juosta. Epenthetic 'e' is added for
personal forms, e.g. juoksen.

There is a rare pattern -hd- → nought, followed by the addition of an epenthetic 'e', e.g.:

'tehdä' = 'to do, make': tee-; teen, teet, tekee, teemme, teette, tekevät, etc.
'nähdä' = 'to see': näe-; näen, näet, näkee, näemme, näette, näkevät, etc.

Spoken language adds some more irregular verbs by assimilative deletion, e.g.:

tulla - tule - tuu


mennä - mene - mee
panna - pane - paa

The twenty most common words in the Finnish language are:

Written Spoken English


1 olla to be
2 ja and
3 se it
4 ei no
5 joka which
6 hän he, she
7 että that
8 tämä this
9 mutta but
10 voida to be able to
Written Spoken English
11 saada to get
12 kun when
13 niin so
14 kuin than
15 tulla to come
16 minä I