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Finnish for Beginners - Part II

This is a continuation course from Finnish course part 1. If you missed the first part of this course, or just need to review, you should see Finnish for Beginners, Part I.


As a refresher, translate the following into Finnish: - Hello!
- Hi!
Are you English?
No, I'm from Germany. And you?
I'm from Finland. I'm a Finn. Do you live in Berlin? (Berliini)
Yes. Do you live in Helsinki?
Yes. I live in Kallio.
I'm sorry! I don't understand. Speak slowly, please!
I live in Kallio.
Do you speak English?
Yes. (I speak)
Oh good! I'm still a beginner in Finnish!

Oletko englantilainen?
En, olen saksasta. Entä sinä?
Olen Suomesta. Olen suomalainen. Asutko Berliinissä?
Asun. Asutko Helsingissä?
Asun. Asun Kalliossa.
Anteeksi! En ymmärrä. Puhu(kaa) hitaasti, Ole(olkaa) hyvä!
Asun Kalliossa.
Puhutko englantia?
Oh good! I'm a beginner in Finnish!

Lesson 6: The Genitive


The genitive is the case you use to show possession. In English this is done with the 's ending and with personal pronouns such as ”my, yours, his, hers” etc.

In Finnish the genitive case is formed by adding an -n to the end of words. This is the same ending that the accusative sometimes uses. The forms of the pronouns are as follows:

 Minun  My, mine  -ni*
 Sinun  your, yours  -si *
 Hänen/Sen  his, hers/it's  -nsä*
 Meidän  our, ours  -mme*
 Teidän  your, yours  -nne*
 Heidän  their, theirs  -nsa*

*You can add possessive suffixes in written Finnish (see below) but these are omitted in general speech.

Note that there are no separate words for ”my” and ”mine”. Minun encompasses both meanings. Some examples:

Minun auto(ni) on punainen. = My car is red.
Sinun koira(si) on iso. = Your dog is big.
Meidän talo(mme) on vanha = Our house is old.

When you have personal names then adding the genitive often causes consonant compression, for example:

Pekan talo = Pekka's house.
Matin auto = Matti's car.
Sadun kirja = Satu's book.

Note: There are some exceptions to this rule; ”Jyrki” is conjugated as ”Jyrkin” for example. This also applies to Mika. For now, I'll go with the rule that if there is only one k in someone's name, then it does not disappear. For all other nouns, it conjugates normally:

Puvun väri = The suit's colour. (puku)
Härän liha = Ox meat (härkä)

Harjoitellaan! / Exercises

1) My shop
2) Your town
3) His car
4) Mikko's dog
5) Our house


1) minun kauppa(ni)
2) sinun kaupunki(si)
3) hänen auto(nsa)
4) Mikon koira
5) Meidän talo(mme)

Lesson 7: The Imperative (or, how to tell someone what to do)


Occasionally in Finnish, as in all languages, you will want to boss someone around. This is done by using the imperative, the equivalent to ”Look!” ”Be (quiet)!” ”Go!” in English.

The imperative in Finnish is formed in both the formal and the informal. We'll start with the informal, since it's easier!


To conjugate this form, you use the negative form of the verb which is formed by conjugating the verb in the first person present, and then removing the -n. This is the same form as the negative.Well, if you want to tell someone to ”be” in Finnish then you say exactly that:

”Ole hiljaa” (Be quiet!)
”Ole hyvä” (lit. Be good, used commonly for ”You're welcome”/”Here you are” and in other contexts)

Some more examples:

 Mene!  Go!  (from mennä, to go. En mene = I don't/won't go)
 Lue!  Read!  (from Lukea, to read)
 Tule!  Come!  (from tulla)
 Avaa!  Open!  (from avata)
 Pese!  wash!  (from pestä)
 Katso!  look  (from Katsoa)
 Tee!  Make, do  (from Tehdä)

It takes a bit more brainwork to conjugate this form. It is conjugated in much the same way as above; for verb types 1, 2, and 6, you take the first person form, and remove the -n, but then add -kaa. For verb type 3 you do the same, but remove the extra e. For verb types 4 and 5 you minus the -a and add -t. For verb type 6 you remove the -ne and add t.

Verb types 1, 2 (add kaa to stem)

Verb type 3 (as above, remove the e, add kaa)

Verb types 4 and 5 (as with types 1 and 2, remove the -a, add kaa)

Verb type 6 (as in types 1 and 2, but remove the -ne, add t and kaa)

Harjoitellaan! / Exercises

1) Read this!
2) Come here!
3) Look at me!
4) Be quiet
5) Do it


1) Lue, lukekaa tämä!
2) tule, tulkaa tänne
3) Katso, katsokaa minua!
4) Ole, olkaa hiljaa
5) Tee, tehkää se!

Lesson 8: The Comparative


You may be the kind of person who likes to compare their possessions with others. If so, then the comparative is the case for you! With it you can have a bigger car, better house and fewer bills to pay.
This is usually formed by adding -MPI to an adjective.
Some useful adjectives are:

 isobig  isompi - bigger
 pienismall  pienempismaller*
 mukava - nice  mukavampi - nicer
 pahabad(evil)  pahempi(worse, more evil)
 hyvä - good  parempi - better**
 huonobad  huonompiworse
 Punainenred  punaisempiredder
 Kallis - expensive  kalliimpi - more expensive
 väsynyt - tired  väsyneempi - more tired

NB: if a word has two syllables and ends in -a, the a mutates to -e. (paha, halpa (cheap))
* - this is because pieni is an old word. Older words ending in -i in Finnish usually change their i to -e in conjugations (cf. Kivi – kiven = rock, of the rock)
** As in English, good, better (and not gooder).

Auto on nopeampi kuin ihminen = A car is faster than a person.
(this can be said in another way by putting the thing that has been outdone into partitive, eg ”Auto on ihmistä nopeampi”)

€100 on parempi kuin €20! = €100 is better than €20!

Koira on kalliimpi kuin hamsteri = A dog is more expensive than a hamster.

Tomaatti on punaisempi kuin appelsiini = A tomato is redder than an orange.
(Tomaatti on appelsiiniä punaisempi)

Harjoitellaan! / Exercises

1) Mikko is taller than Pekka
2) Pekka is shorter than Mikko
3) Gold is more expensive than silver
4) I'm better than you!
5) But (mutta) I'm nicer than you!


1) Mikko on pidempi kuin pekka (Pekkaa pidempi)
2) Pekka on lyhyempi kuin Mikko (Mikkoa lyhyempi)
3) Kulta on kalliimpi kuin hopea (hopeaa kalliimpi)
4) Minä olen parempi kuin sinä (sinua parempi)
5) Mutta minä olen mukavampi kuin sinä! (sinua mukavampi)

Lesson 9: The Superlative


Naturally, if you're going to go around stating how much better your stuff is than everyone else's, at some point you'll move on to just saying that you're best ;) So here's how you say it in Finnish, with rules for the vowels:

 -a/ä/e + in = in  mukava = mukavin (the nicest)
 ikävä =ikävin
 sininen = sinisin (the bluest)
 o + in = oin  huonoin (the worst)
 ö + in = öin  hölmöin (the most stupid)
 u + in = uin  hassuin (the funniest)
 i + in = ein  kiltti = kiltein (the nicest)
 ii + in = ein  kallis = kallein (the most expensive)
 two vowels = in = vowel+in  rakas = rakkain ( the dearest)
 rikas = rikkain ( the richest)

 uusi = uusin
 pitkä = pisin
 hyvä = paras
(like how ”best” looks nothing like ”good")

 Kuka on paras hiihtäjä (skier)? = Who is the best skier?
 Mikä on maailman nopein auto? = What is the world's fastest car?
 Järvi on sinisin kesällä. = The lake is bluest in summer.
 Isoäiti on meistä vanhin. = Grandma is the oldest of us all.

Harjoitellaan! / Exercises

1) I'm nicest
2) You're funniest
3) He is tallest
4) Pekka is the newest pupil (oppilas)
5) Mikko is my oldest brother


1) Minä olen mukavin
2) Sinä olet hassuin
3) Hän on pisin.
4) Pekka on uusin oppilas.
5) Mikko on minun vanhin veli (NB! Veljeni!)

Lesson 10: How to say what your stuff looks like


This is achieved by using the ablative case (-lta/-ltä) added to the verb ”näyttää” which means show, or ”looks like”, depending on the transitivity of the verb. For example:

 Sinä näytät mukavalta. - You look nice.
 Talo näyttää vanhalta. - The house looks old.
Other verbs which use this construction are:  kuulostaa (to sound like),  maistua (to taste like) and  tuntua (to feel like):

 Kuulostaa hyvältä! - sounds good
 Tuo ääni kuulostaa isältä. - That voice/noise sounds like dad.
 Tämä ruoka maistuu kauhealta! - This food tastes awful!
 Kana maistuu hyvältä. - Chicken tastes good.
 Tuntui pahalta! - It felt horrible!

NB: This is quite advanced word conjugation but you can also say that your car looks more red than someone else's by using this formula:
 Auto näyttää punaisempi + lta = punaisemmalta. - The car looks redder.
 Minä näytän sinua parempi + lta = paremmaltaI look better than you.
 Talo näyttää vanhempi + lta = vanhemmalta. - The house looks older.

The mpi morphs to mma - due to consonant gradation.

You can also do this to tell people that your car is reddest by doing the same thing but by replacing the ”a” with ”i”:

 Auto näyttää punaisimmaltaThe car looks reddest.
 Minä näytän parhaaltaI look best.
 Talo näyttää vanhimmalta.The house looks oldest.


 ¨Keinäset asuvat Helsingissä. He asuvat isossa talossa. Hirvoset asuvat myös Helsingissä. He asuvat pienessä talossa. Keinästen talo on Hirvosten taloa isompi. Keinästen talo on isoin talo sillä kadulla. Keinäset ovat rikkaampia kuin Hirvoset. Keinäsillä on kaksi lasta, Mika, 12, ja Pekka, 15. Hirvosilla on yksi lapsi, Laura. Laura on 8-vuotias. Laura on Keinästen lapsia nuorempi. Keinästen auto on uudempi kuin Hirvosten auto. Senkin takia se näyttää punaisemmalta kuin Hirvosten auto, joka on myös punainen. Hirvosten auto on vanhempi. Se näyttää Keinästen autoa huonommalta. Aina kun Hirvoset saa jotain uutta, Keinästen on pakko myös ostaa samanlainen. Jos Hirvoset ostavat auton, Keinäset ostavat nopeamman. Jos Hirvoset ostavat television, Keinäset ostavat isomman. Sen takia, Hirvosilla on aina vanhempia ja huonompia juttuja kuin Keinäsillä.

 The Keinänen family lives in Helsinki. They live in a big house. The Hirvonens also live in Helsinki. They live in a small house. The Keinänens' house is bigger than the Hirvonens' house. The Keinänens' house is the biggest on their street. The Keinänens have two children, Mika 12, and Pekka 15. The Hirvonens have one child, Laura. Laura is 8 years old. Laura is younger than the Keinänen children. The Keinänens' car is newer than the Hirvonens'. For that reason it looks redder than the Hirvonens' car, which is also red. The Hirvonens car is older. It looks worse than the Keinänens car. Whenever the Hirvonens get something new, the Keinänens have to buy the same thing. If the Hirvonens buy a car, the Keinänens buy a faster one. If the Hirvonens buy a television, the Keinänens buys a bigger one. For that reason, the Hirvonens always have older and worse things than the Keinänens.

Finnish in Finland

In Finland the people speak Finnish and Swedish. However, there are three ”levels” of Finnish that you should know the difference between, even if you can't recognise them all yet.

  • written Finnish (Kirjakieli = ”book language”)
  • General Finnish (Yleiskieli, = ”General language")
  • Spoken Finnish (Puhekieli = ”speech Finnish”)

Generally, written language is only ever seen in books, and used in incredibly formal circumstancee. Even the present is likely to use Yleiskieli rather than Kirjakieli. Most Finns that you meet as a foreigner in Finland will speak Yleiskieli to you to make your life a bit easier!

Puhekieli is what nearly everyone in Finland speaks when they don't have to be on their best behaviour; ie when they're not being a president or policeman etc. Puhekieli can be intimidating as it looks different from Kirjakieli and Yleiskieli, for example:

Pääsin äsken töistä ja tulen linja-autolla kotiin. (Kirjakieli)
Pääsin juuri töistä ja tulen bussilla kotiin.(Yleiskieli)
Pääsin just töist(ä) ja tuun bussilla kotiin.(Puhekieli)

(I just finished work and I'll come home on the bus.)

And, in slangi:
Pääsin just duunist ja tuun dösäl(lä) himaa.

Slangi is spoken in Helsinki and is a mix of Finnish with Swedish, Russian and English influence. It can be awful to beginners' eyes, so we won't deal with it more in this lesson.

Harjoitellaan! / Exercises

1) That looks good
2) That looks bad
3) He sounds nice
4) Ice cream (jäätelö) tastes nice
5) Grandma looks old
6) Optional – try ”Grandma looks older than me”


1) Tuo näyttää hyvältä.
2) Tuo näyttää huonolta.
3) Hän kuulostaa mukavalta.
4) Jäätelö maistuu mukavalta.
5) Isoäiti näyttää vanhalta.
6) Isoäiti näyttää vanhemmalta kuin minä/näyttää minua vanhemmalta.

End Of Part Two

Thanks for your interest in this course! If you discovered any mistakes or you just want to say something then please let us know . We do need feedback!

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