Monday, December 31, 2012

Being happy in Finnish

Just like in other languages, there are different words for expressing different happiness in Finnish:


  • Minä haluan vain olla onnellinen. - I just want to be happy. 
  • Oletteko te onnellisia yhdessä? - Are you happy together?
  • En ollut onnellinen edellisessä suhteessani. - I wasn't happy in my previous relationship.


  • Sait mitä halusit. Oletko nyt tyytyväinen? - You got what you wanted. Are you happy now?
  • En ole tyytyväinen tähän tulokseen. - I'm not content with this result. 
  • Oletko tyytyväinen uuteen työpaikkaasi? - Are you satisfied with your new job?

Happiness is onni or onnellisuus. Luck is also onni, but in spoken language, it is often säkä or tuuri.

  • Mitä onni on? - What is happiness?
  • Olipa onni, että lompakko löytyi. - What a luck that the wallet was found.
  • Onni onnettomuudessa. -  Luck in an accident; Every cloud has a silver lining. 
  • Onnea tenttiin! - Good luck with the exam!
  • Miten sulla on aina noin hyvä säkä!? - How come you always have such a good luck!?

Congratulating in Finnish:

If you'd like to be happier in life, check out The Happiness Project. It's really, really good.

Onnellista uutta vuotta kaikille tämän blogin lukijoille!  Happy new year to all the readers of this blog!

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Here's a post about laatikko, an awesome 3-in-1 word!  If you are having a traditional Finnish Christmas dinner, you just cannot avoid it. Or them. These are the three most common meanings for laatikko:

a box

  • Mitä tuossa laatikossa on? - What's in that box?
  • Voitko viedä tuon pahvilaatikon kellariin? - Can you take that cardboard box to the basement?

a drawer

a casserole, a hot dish baked in the oven

  • Oletko tehnyt tämän laatikon itse? - Did you make this casserole yourself?
  • Kaikkia laatikoita pitää maistaa. - One has to taste all casseroles. (Not true.)
  • Tykkäätkö maksalaatikosta rusinoiden kanssa vai ilman? - Do you like the liver casserole with or without raisins? (This is a weirdly big deal for some people.)

Typical Christmas casseroles:

Other favourites:

  • liha-makaronilaatikko - casserole with macaroni and ground beef
  • kaalilaatikko - cabbage casserole
  • liha-perunasoselaatikko - a hot dish with leftover mashed potatoes and groud beef

Hyvää ruokahalua! - Bon appétit!

p.s. Here's another post about the names of Finnish containers.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Dating Finns

Finnish media is always very excited when a foreign celebrity is publicly smooching with a Finn. At the moment, the most famous miniä, daughter-in-law, seems to be Paris Hilton, and the most popular ex-vävy, ex-son-in-law, Adam Lambert. I wonder if they have found this blog yet!

Anyway, here's how to talk about relationships:

  • Lähtisitkö mun kanssa kahville? - Would you like to go out for coffee with me?
  • Olemme tapailleet muutaman kerran.  - We've been seeing each other for a couple of times.
  • Seurusteletteko te? - Are you two dating?
  • Kuinka te tapasitte? - How did you meet?
  • Onko se vakavaa? - Is it serious?
  • Muutetaanko yhteen? - Shall we move in together? 
  • Me ollaan kihloissa! - We're engaged!
  • Mennään naimisiin! - Let's get married!
  • Miten kauan te olette olleet naimisissa? - How long have you been married?
  • Oliko se rakkautta ensi silmäyksellä? - Was it love at first sight?

Feel free to add more useful sentences in the comments. :)

Related post:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Verb type 4

Type 4 verbs have always two vowels before the personal ending in the present tense and si in the past. You can also create them yourself, which is nice.  Most of these verbs end with ata, but also other endings with a vowel + ta or tä are possible. Drop the and add the personal ending to make the present conjugation.

  • Minä haluan - I want
  • Sinä haluat - You want
  • Hän / Se haluaa - S/he wants
  • Me haluamme / halutaan - We want
  • Te haluatte - You want
  • He haluavat / Ne haluaa - They want

to play: pelata, pelaan, pelasin, pelannut
  • Oletko pelannut mölkkyä? - Have you played mölkky?

to hug: halata, halaan, halasin, halannut

to want: haluta, haluan, halusin, halunnut
  • Mitä te haluatte syödä tänään? - What do you want to eat today?

to clean: siivota, siivoan, siivosin, siivonnut
  • Miksei kukaan ole siivonnut täällä? - Why hasn't anybody cleaned up here?

to wake up: herätä, herään, heräsin, herännyt
  • Mihin aikaan sinä heräsit tänään? - At what time did you wake up today?

Just like in verb type 3, if there is a consonant change,  the basic form has a weak grade and all the persons have a strong grade. Here the example is tykätä, to like.

  • Minä tykkään - I like
  • Sinä tykkäät   - You like
  • Hän / Se tykkää - S/he likes
  • Me tykkäämme / tykätään - We like
  • Te tykkäätte - You like
  • He  tykkäävät / Ne tykkää -  They like

  • to climb: kiivetä, kiipeän, kiipesin, kiivennyt

    to be afraid: pelätä, pelkään, pelkäsin, pelännyt
    • Miksi sinä pelkäät minua? - Why are you afraid of me?

    Notice that sometimes the consonant change can cause a huge difference!

    If you have no idea what a certain verb is in Finnish, you can take  a foreign verb, add ata and maybe you have the correct word, or at least something that most Finns would understand. This is also very common way to make new verbs in colloquial Finnish.

    to pack: pakata, pakkaan, pakkasin, pakannut
    • Miksi sinä et ole vielä pakannut? - Why haven't you packed yet?

    to print: printata, printtaan, printtasin, printannut (also tulostaa)
    • Voinko printata äkkiä yhden jutun? - Can I quickly print something?

    to (crazy) party: bailata, bailaan, bailasin, bailannut (yes, from the Spanish bailar.) 
    • Me bailattiin koko yö! - We partied the whole night!

    p.s. More verb type 4 verbs in my Memrise course.

    Monday, December 17, 2012

    mukana - mukaan

    These two words can both be translated as with or along.

    Mukana is often used with minulla on construction and with verbs that don't express direction.

    • Onhan sinulla varmasti passi mukana? - Are you sure you have your passport along?
    • Mitä ihmettä sinulla on mukana? - What on earth do you have with you? (ihme = wonder, miracle)
    • Oletteko tässä mukana vai ette? - Are you in with this or not?
    • Älä mene niin lujaa, minä en pysy mukana! - Don't go so fast, I cannot keep up with you!
    • Laula vain muiden mukana. - Just go ahead and sing along with the others.

    Mukaan is often used with verbs tulla and ottaa.  As you can see from the illative ending (long vowel + n), there's the idea of to somewhere.

    • Tulkaa mukaan ensi kerralla! - Come along the next time!
    • Minä en ota mitään muuta mukaan kuin kännykän ja lompakon. - I'm not going to take anything else with me but my phone and my wallet.
    • Otatko minut mukaan seuraavalla kerralla, kun menet teatteriin? - Will you take me along next time you're going to theatre?
    • Eihän haittaa, että otin meidän kissat mukaan? - I hope it doesn't bother that I took our cats along.

    In written language, add the possessive suffixes:

    • Muista ottaa mukaasi tarpeeksi vessapaperia. - Remember to take along enough toilet paper.
    • Miksi teillä on aina mukananne tuo iso matkalaukku? - Why do you always have that big suitcase with you?

    Mukaan can also mean according to somebody or something, and mukana can also be involved in.

    • Mun siskon mukaan tämä on tosi hyvä kirja. - According to my sister, this is a really good book.
    • Keitetään lisää kahvia tarpeen mukaan. - Let's make more coffee if needed
    • Älä vain sano, että sinäkin olet mukana tässä jutussa! - Please don't say that you are also involved in this case!
    • Haluaisin olla mukana tämän yhdistyksen toiminnassa - I'd like to be involved in this association.

    The difference between mukana and kanssa? I'd say that kanssa is being or doing something with somebody in a more active way, and mukana is more like being there, but observing or tagging along.

    • Tulin tänne Elinan kanssa. - I came here with Elina.
    • Tulin tänne Elinan mukana. - I came here with Elina. (She's the one who has something going on in here, I just came along because she was so kind and took me with her.) Terveisiä Elinalle! :)

    Related posts:


    About the author of this blog:  

    My name is Hanna Männikkölahti, and I am a native Finn who gives private lessons via Skype and simplifies books into easy Finnish. Please leave a comment, if you have something to ask about Finnish or novels in easy Finnish.

    Monday, December 10, 2012

    What to wear in winter in Finland

    Well, first of all, not this:

    This picture of Bogart Co. makes me smile every time I look at it. It was voted to be one of the worst band pictures ever, but I think that's too mean. Here's a great song from 1985 and a snowy music video.

    Anyway, when it's freezing outside, try at least these:

    1. pipo - a cap / a beanie
    2. villasukat - wool socks
    3. pitkät kalsarit - long underwear
    4. kauluri - the thing around your neck, kind of like a one piece scarf. What is in English?
    5. toppahousut - quilted pants / thick winter pants
    6. toppahame - a quilted skirt to pull over everything else. This one is my favourite!!

    Also, remember the importance of kerrospukeutuminen, layered clothing. 

    Sunday, December 9, 2012

    Words ending with 'in'

    These words are often some sort of tools or machines, and they are usually derived from a verb. Actually, a lot of times they are homonyms with the first person singular past: pakastin means both a freezer and I froze. The basic form of the verb is pakastaa.

    These are the four important forms of avain:

    • basic form avain: Kenen avain tämä on? - Whose key is this?
    • genitive avaimen: Mihin mä olen laittanut mun avaimen? - Where have I put my key?
    • partitive avainta: Et tarvitse avainta.- You won't need a key.
    • plural partitive avaimia: Oletko nähnyt mun avaimia? - Have you seen my keys?

    In plural form, the e disappears before the i.

    • elative: Haluaisin teettää näistä avaimista lisäkappaleita. - I'd like to have extra copies made of these keys. 
    • adessive: Mihin näillä avaimilla pääsee? - Where can you get with these keys?

    Be aware of the possible consonant change:

    • Minulla on uusi levysoitin! - I have a new record player!
    • Mistä sinä ostit tuon levysoittimen? - Where did you buy that record player?
    • Meillä ei ole levysoitinta. - We don't have a record player.
    • Onko teillä levysoittimia? - Do you have record players?

    You probably already know puhelin (a phone) and kirjain (a letter as in abc), but how about these ones?

    Keittiössä - in the kitchen:

    • pakastin, kahvinkeitin, leivänpaahdin, sauvasekoitin, sähkövatkain - a freezer,  a coffee maker,  a toaster, a stick blender / an immersion blender, an electric mixer

    Toimistossa - in the office:

    • teroitin, viivotin, rei'itin - a sharpener, a ruler, a hole punch (Notice the cool spelling with the apostrophe!)

    Autossa - in the car:

    • kytkin, kaasupoljin, varashälytin - a clutch, an accelerator pedal, a burglar alarm

    The superlative forms of the adjectives also end with in, but that's another story and the declension follows a slightly different pattern. (Instead of in>ime, it's in>imma, in case you wonder.)

    • huono: Tuo oli vuoden huonoin idea! - That was the worst idea of the year!
    • kallis: Tämä oli kallein suklaarasia, minkä löysin Prismasta. - This was the most expensive box of chocolates that I found in Prisma.

    Saturday, December 8, 2012

    Words ending with 'nen'

    I haven't written anything about the noun types, so let's start from somewhere. Just like Finnish has verb types, we also have noun types. That matters when you have to add an ending after a word, because sometimes the word stems change. I've written about the four important verb forms before.  I'd say that these are the four important noun forms that are worth memorizing by heart:

    • nominative suomalainen: Minä olen suomalainen. - I am Finnish.
    • genitive suomalaisen: Tänään on suomalaisen musiikin päivä. - Today (8.12.) is the Finnish music's day, the day of Finnish music.
    • partitive suomalaista: Älä pakota minua kuuntelemaan suomalaista musiikkia. - Don't force me to listen to Finnish music.
    • plural partitive suomalaisia: Onko sinulla suomalaisia kavereita? - Do you have Finnish friends? 

    Once you know the genitive, just drop the n and add the ending you need.

    • essive: Pidätkö itseäsi suomalaisena? - Do you consider yourself Finnish?
    • elative: Tykkäätkö suomalaisesta ruoasta? - Do you like Finnish food? 

    With plural, you also have to put an i between the word stem and the ending. Sometimes the i will cause the previous vowel to change or disappear. (And certain plural forms can be even trickier.)

    • adessive: Miksi suomalaisilla hevibändeillä on niin paljon faneja Saksassa ja Etelä-Amerikassa? - Why do the Finnish heavy bands have so many fans in Germany and South America?

    All the nationalities, some colours and a lot of adjectives end with nen. Here's my random list of words that belong to this group:

    • nainen, ihminen, lautanen, lapanen - a woman, a human being, a plate, a mitten
    • punainen, sininen, keltainen, valkoinen - red, blue, yellow, white
    • iloinen, surullinen, onnellinen, erikoinen, erityinen,  tyytyväinen, viimeinen - glad, sad, happy, exceptional, particular, content, the last
    • kreikkalainen, mongolialainen, ghanalainen, kongolainen - Greek, Mongolian, Ghanaian, Congolese

    Also, if you make a verb into a noun, it ends with nen.

    • leipoa > Leipominen on hauskaa! - Baking is fun!
    • siivota > Vihaan siivoamista. - I hate cleaning.
    • imuroida > Tykkäätkö imuroimisesta? - Do you like vacuuming?

    Tuesday, December 4, 2012

    viime - viimeinen

    Viime means last.

    Viimeinen is the ultimate last, the final, after which there's nothing.

    • Oliko tämä viimeinen esitys? - Was this the last show?
    • Kuka söi viimeisen piparin? - Who ate the last gingerbread cookie?
    • Tulen viimeisellä junalla. - I'll take the last train. (of the day)
    • Viimeisenä mutta ei vähäisimpänä - Last but not least
    • Oli kyllä viimeinen kerta kun lähdin sun kanssa mihinkään! - This was the last time that I went anywhere with you!


    About the author of this blog:  

    My name is Hanna Männikkölahti, and I am a native Finn who gives private lessons via Skype and simplifies books into easy Finnish. Please leave a comment, if you have something to ask about Finnish. Click here to see all my courses.

    Monday, December 3, 2012

    kysyä - pyytää

    I'm kind of addicted to checking out the daily views of this blog (approximately 100 on a postless day, double when I post something new and toot my horn about it)  and especially the search keywords. Here's a post for the person who searched for pyytää. In short, kysyä is to ask and pyytää is to ask for something, to request.

    • Kysyitkö jotain? - Did you ask something?
    • En kehtaa kysyä. - I don't dare to ask, it's too embarrassing.
    • Minä kysyn Annalta, voiko hän auttaa. - I'll ask Anna if she can help. 

    Friday, November 30, 2012


    Here's a post about kestää, a topic that was requested a couple of days ago. I actually had to make a phone call to figure out the history behind Eipä kestä. Kotimaisten kielten keskus is all about Finnish, and you can easily spend hours on their site. However, if you're in a hurry, you can just call Kielitoimiston neuvontapuhelin and ask anything. Save that number on your phone. Now.

    Here are some examples of the most common use of kestää: (kestän, kestin, kestänyt)

    to last

    • Kuinka kauan tämä kestää? - How long will this last?
    • Kylläpä se kesti! - Man, that took a long time!
    • Mikä sulla kestää? - What's taking you so long?

    to stand, to tolerate, to cope, to hold up

    • Kuinka te kestätte toisianne? - How can you stand each other?
    • Mä en kestä tätä enää! - I cannot take this anymore.
    • Kestä vielä vähän aikaa. - Hold up for a while.

    to be strong enough

    • Kestääkö tämä tuoli minua? - Can I sit on this chair or will it break?

    These words are derived from kestää:

    Finally, here's the explanation for Eipä kestä:

    Back in the old days, one of the meanings of kestää was to deserve. Maybe it's still like that in some dialects, but I cannot think of an example. When we answer Ei kestä or Eipä kestä to Kiitos, we actually mean Ei kestä kiittää. = Whatever I said or did wasn't so special that it would deserve a thank you.

    Thursday, November 29, 2012

    Terveisiä Suomesta!

    In the honour of reaching over 10 000 views since I started this blog in August, I decided to learn how to add pictures. I just adore bad characteristic postcards from Finland, and these two are my gems. What kind of people design postcards like this?! And who wants to pose in them? This one I bought in Saariselkä:

    Obviously, these hot hunks have probably never been to Finland, let alone posed in a yellow speedo (or nude!) by a Finnish lake. Where do you think they're from? Young and desperate for money, did they know that their pictures would end up in a postcard with a Finnish sunset? Anyway, this postcard totally says Tervetuloa Suomeen. - Welcome to Finland.

    The other card portraits three naked ladies enjoying the kesämökki life. (Or is there a woman hidden somewhere in the upper right corner?) The upper left picture looks like it was taken by a stalker neighbour. The lady throwing löyly seems quite happy with the situation, even though the sauna is probably cold and the photographer didn't bother giving her a pefletti. However, my favourite is the lady hiding her face in her perm while trying to avoid sliding into a May-cold lake. Is this good PR for Finland or what?

    Here are some typical post card phrases:

    • Terveisiä Suomesta! - Greetings from Finland!
    • Täällä on ihanaa. - It's lovely in here. 
    • Olisitpa sinäkin täällä. - I wish you were here, too.
    • Terveisiä Pirkolle! - Say hi to Pirkko!
    • Terveisiä Markulta! - Greetings form Markku!
    • Terveisin - With greetings
    • Rakkaudella - With love

    Update in June 2013: I just made a short trip to Helsinki and found a perfect place for buying inspiring sauna post cards!

    Sunday, November 25, 2012

    Käyttää - Käydä

    Every now and then I hear people mixing these two verbs. Käyttää is to use. Käydä has many meanings, but in everyday speech it's usually to visit.

    Käyttää, käytän, käytin, käyttänyt

    • Kuka on käyttänyt mun hammasharjaa? - Who's been using my toothbrush?
    • Minä käytin sitä eilen. - I used it yesterday.
    • Käytätkö maitoa tai sokeria? - Do you use milk or sugar?

    Käydä, käyn, kävin, käynyt

    • En ole koskaan käynyt täällä aikaisemmin. - I've never been here before. 
    • Voisitko käydä kaupassa töiden jälkeen? - Could you go to the grocery store after work?
    • Kävitkö aamulla suihkussa? - Did you take a shower in the morning? 
    • Mun täytyy käydä vessassa. - I have to use the bathroom.
    • Se käy mulle hyvin. - That's ok with me.
    • Miten sun työhaastattelussa kävi? - How did your job interview go?
    • Käykö pankkikortti? - Can I pay with my bank card?

    Visiting a friend in Finnish:

    • Tulkaa käymään meillä joku päivä! - Come and visit us some day! (Just a quick visit.)
    • Tulkaa mun luokse kylään. - Come to my place for a visit. (A nice, long visit.) 
    • Tervetuloa meille! - Welcome to our place!
    • Kävin niillä eilen. - I was at their place yesterday.
    • Mä olin koko päivän Elinalla. - I spent the whole day at Elina's.
    • Mennään Heidin luokse! - Let's go to Heidi's place!
    • Oletko sä käynyt Mikon luona? - Have you been to Mikko's place?


    About the author of this blog:  

    My name is Hanna Männikkölahti, and I am a native Finn who gives private lessons via Skype and simplifies books into easy Finnish. Please leave a comment, if you have something to ask about Finnish or novels in easy Finnish.

    Vain elämää

    Vain elämää is absolutely the best thing on Finnish television for a long time. It's entertaining, touching and full of great Finnish music. Seven Finnish singers spending a week together and performing their own versions of each other's hit songs. The show ended last Friday, but you can watch the episodes online, buy the album and became a huge fan of all the artists.  This performance was voted the best by the viewers. Nothing like a depressive song on a rainy and grey November evening, that's what we Finns like. :)

    Saturday, November 24, 2012

    Verb type 2

    This is probably the easiest of the verb types: no consonant change, just dropping the da or before the personal endings.

    • Minä syön. - I eat.
    • Sinä syöt. - You eat. 
    • Hän syö. - S/he eats. (Notice how you don't add anything to the stem.)
    • Me syömme. - We eat. 
    • Te syötte. - You eat. 
    • He syövät. - They eat.

    to drink: juoda, juon, join, juonut
    • Oletko juonut tarpeeksi? - Have you drunk enough?

    to eat: syödä, syön, söin, syönyt
    • Miksi sinä et syönyt aamulla? - Why didn't you eat in the morning?

    to get, to receive, to have permission to do something: saada, saan, sain, saanut

    to vacuum: imuroida, imuroin, imuroin, imuroinut
    • Imuroitko jo keittiön? - Did you already vacuum the kitchen?

    to wrap up : paketoida, paketoin, paketoin, paketoinut
    • Minä haluan paketoida sen! - I want to wrap it up!

    The past tense is kind of fun to make: Notice how the first vowel is dropped when the past tense i is added in between the verb stem and the personal ending:

    • Juon kahvia ja syön pullaa. - I'm drinking coffee and eating pulla.
    • Join kahvia ja söin pullaa. - I drank coffee and ate pulla. 

    If there is an i before the infinite ending da or , the present and past tenses are the same, but only in a positive sentence.

    to slice:  viipaloida, viipaloin, viipaloin, viipaloinut
    • Kalle viipaloi kurkun. - Kalle slices the cucumber. / Kalle sliced the cucumber. 
    • Kalle ei viipaloi kurkkua. - Kalle doesn't slice the cucumber. 
    • Kalle ei viipaloinut kurkkua.  - Kalle didn't slice the cucumber.

    Tehdä and nähdä have an exceptional conjugation and features from both verb type 1 (consonant gradation) and verb type 3 (adding the e).

    to do, to make: tehdä, teen, tein, tehnyt

    minä teen         me teemme (me tehdään)
    sinä teet           te teette
    hän tekee         he tekevät (ne tekee)

    • Mitä te teitte eilen? -What did you do yesterday?
    • Voitko tehdä minulle palveluksen? - Can you do me a favour?

    to see: nähdä, näen, näin, nähnyt

    minä näen         me näemme (me nähdään)
    sinä näet           te näette
    hän näkee         he näkevät (ne näkee)

    • Oletko nähnyt tätä elokuvaa? - Have you seen this movie?
    • Minä en näe mitään! - I cannot see anything!

    Related posts:

    Friday, November 23, 2012

    Urbaani sanakirja

    If you feel like the traditional dictionary isn't enough, try Urbaani sanakirja. You can also subscribe to the word of the day!

    kuinka - miten

    I was asked to explain the difference between kuinka and miten. They both mean how, and they are used the same way.

    • Kuinka se tapahtui? - How did it happen?
    • Miten tälle kurssille ilmoittaudutaan? - How do you sign up for this course?
    • Kuinka paljon tuo maksoi? - How much did that cost?
    • Miten kauan tämä kestää? - How long does this last?
    • Kuinka painava sun matkalaukku on? - How heavy is your suitcase?
    • Miten vanha sä oot? - How old are you?

    In spoken language, kuinka is often shortened to kui or kuin.

    • Kui vanha se on? - How old is s/he?
    • Kuin kauan se kestää? - How long does it last? (Actually the n isn't pronounced, but instead, there's äng.)

    Monday, November 19, 2012

    Minulla on

    Having something in Finnish requires using a special possessive structure. The verb is always on (or oli in the past tense), but you have to remember to have the personal pronoun or the proper name in the adessive form, the one with the lla or llä ending.

    • Minulla on -  I have
    • Sinulla on - You have
    • Hänellä on - He or she has
    • Meillä on - We have
    • Teillä on - You have
    • Heillä on - They have

    Here's what happens if you forget the adessive ending:

    • Jussilla on koira. - Jussi has a dog.
    • Jussi on koira. - Jussi is a dog. 

    Here are some everyday sentences with the possessive structure. The first one is in written language, the other one in spoken language.

    • Minulla on nälkä. Mulla on nälkä. - I'm hungry.
    • Kenellä on jano? - Who's thirsty?
    • Mitä sinulla on tänään? Mitä sulla on tänään? - What do you have today?
    • Mitä asiaa hänellä oli? Mitä asiaa sillä oli? - What did s/he have to say?
    • Meillä on tänään kaalilaatikkoa. - We're having cabbage casserole today. (The word is in partitive, because it is an uncountable food word.)
    • Onko teillä ensi viikonloppuna jotain? - Do you have something going on next weekend? 
    • Heillä on tosi hieno asunto. Niillä on tosi hieno kämppä. - They have a really nice apartment.

    If you don't have something, the verb is ei ole and whatever you don't have is in partitive.

    • Minulla on avain. - I have a key.
    • Minulla ei ole avainta. - I don't have a key. 
    • Meillä on auto.  - We have a car. 
    • Meillä ei ole autoa. - We don't have a car.

    (... except for things like nälkä, jano, kuuma and kylmä; hunger, thirst, hot and cold.)

    The past tense form is oli: 
    • Minulla oli eilen tosi kivaa! - I had a great time yesterday!

    If the name of a person ends with a consonant, add an i before the ending.
    • Haraldilla on liput ensi-iltaan. - Harald has the tickets to the premiere. 

    When the name ends with as or us, the s becomes kse before the ending.
    • Matiaksella on kiire. - Matias is busy.

    Notice the consonant change:

    • Martilla on upea kesämökki. - Martti has a fabulous summer cottage.

    If you are talking about many things, you might need a partitive, t-plural or plural partitive:

    • Minulla on viisi avainta. - I have five keys.
    • Minulla on avaimet. - I have the keys.
    • Minulla on avaimia. - I have a random amount of keys. 
    • Minulla ei ole avaimia. - I don't have (the) keys.

    Here are two questions that look almost the same, but the meaning is very different. Mikä is the basic form of what, and mitä is the partitive form.

    • Mitä sinulla on? - What do you have?
    • Mikä sinulla on? - What's wrong with you?

    Another way of asking is with the ko/kö question:

    • Onko sinulla aikaa? - Do you have time?
    • Oliko sulla kivaa? - Did you have fun?

    p.s. Check out this post about the adessive ending LLA. It's one of my favourite endings.:)

    Sunday, November 18, 2012

    auttaa - apu

    To help in Finnish is auttaa. The noun help is apu.

    auttaa, autan, autoin, auttanut

    • Minä autan sinua. - I'll help you.
    • Miksi sinä et auttanut omaa veljeäsi? - Why didn't you help your own brother?
    • Anteeksi, mutta voisitko auttaa vähän? - Excuse me, but could you help a little?
    • Kiitos kun autoit meitä. - Thanks for helping us.
    • Auttakaa! - Hey people, help!


    • Apua!! - (Give me some) help!!
    • Tarvitsetko apua? - Do you need help?
    • Kiitos avusta tosi paljon. - Thanks a lot for the help.
    • Tästä oli todella paljon apua. - This was really helpful.
    • Toivottavasti tästä oli apua. - I hope this was helpful.

    Saturday, November 17, 2012


    It's never too early to think about Christmas cards! Just make sure that you write them correctly, and unlike so many Finns and card companies, do NOT capitalize every single word in your greeting, like this: Hyvää Joulua Ja Onnellista Uutta Vuotta. It's just wrong no matter how pretty and artistic it might look like.

    Are you familiar with this old poem about the Finnish minuscules?

    Viikonpäivät, kaikki kuut, 
    joulu ynnä juhlat muut
    pienellä ne kirjoitamme
    virkkeen keskellä jos on ne.

    = The days of the week, all the months / Christmas and other festivities / we spell them with a small letter / if they are in the middle of a sentence. (Same goes for nationalities and languages.)  If you want to know more about this topic, check out the Institute for the Languages of Finland and Kielitohtori.

    Here are the most typical Christmas greeting phrases and their literal translations:

    • Hauskaa joulua - Merry Christmas
    • Iloista joulua - Joyous Christmas
    • Hyvää joulua - Good Christmas
    • Rauhallista joulua - Peaceful Christmas
    • ja onnellista uutta vuotta - and a Happy New Year

    Feel free to mix and be creative! You can leave your greeting to the comment box and I'll add it to the list.

    P.S. Here are some interesting sites for alternative Christmas presents:

    Sunday, November 11, 2012

    YKI test

    Many foreigners end up taking the YKI test at some point of their lives. Most often the test level is intermediate, because that is one of the ways to prove your language skills when applying for the Finnish citizenship.

    There are a couple of websites and books that you can use when practicing for the test:

    Here's a blog post about taking the YKI test. The grammar isn't part of the exam anymore, but otherwise your YKI experience will be pretty much like described. Here's another blog by a student who prepared for the YKI test in the spring 2015. (Yes, she passed the exam!)

    This is my rough translation of the instructions for the test participants, with some additions of my own. 

    Before the exam:

    • Listen and speak Finnish as much as you can. Practice and review the basics.
    • Be aware that the instructions of the exam are in Finnish.
    • Choose the date of the test, where you want to take it and sign up. Fill in the application and send it to the test organizer. 
    • Pay the exam fee. (I couldn't find instructions for this, but I'm sure you'll find it out later.)
    • Make sure you'll have a pencil, eraser and an official ID document with you in the test. No dictionaries.
    • Rest and eat well before the exam. It will be a long day, though you will be able to eat and use the bathroom between the parts of the exam.
    • You might want to take a wrist watch with you to the exam, if it makes you comfortable to know exactly how many minutes or seconds you have left to speak or prepare for the task. 

    In the exam:

    • Be on time. If you arrive late, you cannot attend the exam. Show your ID to the supervisor. The basic and intermediate level exams take 3,5 - 4 hours and the advanced level test will be about 5-6 hours.
    • The exam takes place in two parts: Reading comprehension and writing in a classroom, and speaking and listening comprehension in a language studio.
    • Don't be shy in the language studio. Speak clearly and loudly. Avoid short yes/no answers, though it is important to always say something. An actual human being will listen and evaluate your performance a couple of weeks later, so it's important that s/he can hear your voice instead of the person sitting next to you.
    • Listen and read the instructions carefully and do what you are asked to do. Use your time wisely so that you'll have time to do all the tasks.
    • Do the easy tasks first so you'll have time for the difficult ones.  Don't leave any blanks.

    After the exam:

    • You'll get the certificate approximately in two months. There's important information on both sides of the certificate, so if you're taking copies, make sure to copy both sides. 

    Good luck with the exam! Onnea kokeeseen! 


    About the author of this blog:  

    My name is Hanna Männikkölahti, and I am a native Finn who gives private lessons via Skype and simplifies books into easy Finnish. Please leave a comment, if you have something to ask about Finnish. 

    Friday, November 9, 2012

    Finnish tv shows on the internet

    Here's a list of websites that you can use for watching Finnish tv channels online. If you don't know what to watch, this list of the most watched tv programmes might inspire you. Check out these links, find your favourite show, and have a great weekend. Unfortunately, some of the shows are only available in Finland, but I hope you'll find something entertaning and educating to watch. Don't forget to follow the Finnish subtitles!

    • Yle Areena - Yle, Finland's national public service broadcasting company's channels (These shows are available abroad.)
    • Ruutu - Nelonen, Jim and Liv
    • Katsomo - MTV 3, Ava, Sub, Canal+, MTV 3 MAX and MTV3 Junior (You can follow these shows abroad.)

    Saturday, November 3, 2012

    Material for teaching yourself Finnish

    What are your favourite self-study books or websites? Which books have you used and what made them so useful and worth the money? Did they have the correct answers? Was the audio material good? I'm updating this post as I'm getting new comments and ideas from the readers. Thanks for your help already! Kiitos avusta jo etukäteen!

    Books in English:

    Books in Finnish:

    Websites in English:

    Studying vocabulary:

    Practicing listening:

    Verb conjugation tables:

    Instagram accounts with Finnish:

    You might also like these posts:


    About the author of this blog:  

    My name is Hanna Männikkölahti, and I am a native Finn who gives private lessons via Skype and simplifies books into easy Finnish. Please leave a comment, if you have something to ask about Finnish or novels in easy Finnish.

    "Read a novel in easy Finnish. It might be surprisingly fun and easy!"

    Verb type 3

    Let's continue with the verb types. These ones are also called the e-verbs, because there's always an e in the present tense, even if you don't see it in the basic form.

    to walk: kävellä, kävelen, kävelin, kävellyt
    • Kävele minun kanssani. - Walk with me.
    to go: mennä, menen, menin, mennyt
    • Joko se meni? - Did he/she/it go already?
    to put: panna, panen, panin, pannut 
    • Mihin sinä panit sen? - Where did you put it?
    to wash: pestä, pesen, pesin, pessyt 
    • Ethän sä pessyt mun uutta villapaitaa? - You didn't wash my new sweater, did you? (Please, never ever say pestän again! :))

    The rule? To make the present tense, drop the last two letters of the basic form and add an e before the personal ending, like this: tulla > tul + e + n = tulen, I come. Forming the past tense is just changing the e into i: tulen > tulin. As you can see, the verb type 3 verbs can have a couple of different endings in  the basic form. However, there's always two consonants and an a or an ä in the end.

    To run has as exceptional conjugation: juosta, juoksen, juoksin, juossut
    • Juoksitko sinä koko matkan? - Did you run the whole way?

    Verb types 3, 4 and 6 have a consonant change, but that is different from the one with the type 1 verbs. The basic form has a weak grade, but all the persons have a strong grade. Here's the conjugation of ajatella, to think:

    minä ajattelen                me ajattelemme (me ajatellaan)
    sinä ajattelet                   te ajattelette
    hän ajattelee (se)            he ajattelevat (ne ajattelee)

    to listen: kuunnella, kuuntelen, kuuntelin, kuunnellut
    • Kuinka te voitte kuunnella tätä p*skaa? - How can you listen to this crap?
    to think: ajatella, ajattelen, ajattelin, ajatellut
    • Olin ajatellut hakea poliisikouluun. - I was thinking about applying to the Police Academy. 
    to talk, to chat: jutella, juttelen, juttelin, jutellut
    • Jutellaanko tästä myöhemmin? - Shall we talk about this later?
    to rinse: huuhdella, huuhtelen, huuhtelin, huuhdellut
    • Huuhtelenko nämä astiat ennen kuin ne laitetaan koneeseen? - Shall I rinse these dishes before putting them into the dishwasher?

    Wednesday, October 31, 2012

    mutta - vaan

    What's the difference between these two buts?


    • Laitoin herätyskellon soimaan, mutta nukuin silti pommiin. - I set the alarm clock, but I still slept in.
    • Haluaisin tulla, mutta minulla on kokous samaan aikaan. - I'd like to come, but I have a meeting at the same time.
    • En pääse, mutta olen hengessä mukana. - I cannot make it, but I'll be with you in spirit.  
    • En tilannut pihviä vaan salaatin. - I didn't order a stake but a salad.
    • Ei se ole minun vaan Kallen! - It's not mine but Kalle's!
    • Täällä ei juhlita vaan mennään aikaisin nukkumaan. - Here we don't party but go to sleep early.

    So, usually mutta starts an explaining sentence of its own, and vaan gives an alternative, something else instead.  Notice that vaan is also the spoken language form of vain, which means only.

    • Tää on vaan tytöille! - This is only for girls!
    • Miks sä ostit vaan kaks perunaa? - Why did you buy only two potatoes?
    • Joo, ota vaan se tuoli. - Yeah, go ahead and take the chair.
    • Mene vaan. - Just go.

    Sunday, October 28, 2012

    leikkiä - pelata

    Both of these verbs translate to play in English. Leikkiä is usually what small children do, and pelata is something more serious; a sport, a game, something that has some sort of rules.

    leikkiä, leikin, leikin, leikkinyt

    • Osaatko pelata Unoa? - Do you know how to play Uno?
    • Pelataan jalkapalloa! - Let's play soccer!
    • Pelatkaa vaikka jotain. - Why don't you play some game.
    • Oletko pelannut tätä aikaisemmin? - Have you played this before?

    Sometimes olla is enough:

    • Ollaan kukkulan kuningasta! - Let's play the king of the hill!
    • Ollaan lumisotaa! - Let's have a snow fight!
    • Ollaan jotain muuta. - Let's play something else.

    The nouns are leikki and peli.

    • Minulla on leikki kesken! - I'm in the middle of playing!
    • Tämä on hauska peli. - This is a fun game.
    • Mikä peli tämä on? - What's this game?

    To play an instrument is soittaa, soitan, soitin, soittanut. A play in a theatre is näytelmä.

    • Soita meille jotain! - Play us something!
    • Toivottavasti tässä näytelmässä on väliaika. - I hope this play has an intermission.

    Thursday, October 18, 2012

    Quizlet flashcards

    Here's something awesome I found when I was looking for useful links for this blog: Finnish flashcard sets in an online learning tool Quizlet. In addition to Finnish, you can also study other languages and terminology, and create your own flashcards. Some of you have probably been using Quizlet for years, but I just found out about it five minutes ago. Exciting!

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012

    Verb type 1

    I know foreigners who have absolutely no clue of this amazing system of the verb types and who are still fluent in Finnish and live happy lives. However, if you are an analytical person and like the comfort of being able to place every single Finnish verb into one of the six categories, this one is for you. I have included the four important forms of each verb so that you can analyze the logic of how to conjugate the verbs in persons and how to talk about the past. This one is about the verb type one. I also have posts about verb type 2, verb type 3, verb type 4 and verb type 5.

    to live: asua, asun, asuin, asunut
    • Kuinka kauan te olette asuneet täällä? - How long have you been living here?
    to say: sanoa, sanon, sanoin, sanonut
    • Mitä sinä sanoit? - What did you say?
    to pay/cost: maksaa, maksan, maksoin, maksanut
    to ask: kysyä, kysyn, kysyin, kysynyt

    The rule? Drop the last vowel of the basic form before adding the personal ending, past tense i or si, or the present participle ending. The basic form has always two vowels in the end. Notice the possible consonant change:

    to read: lukea, luen, luin, lukenut (k > nothing)
    • Mitä sinä luet? - What are you reading?
    to give: antaa, annan, annoin, antanut (nt > nn)
    • Minä annoin sen sinulle eilen. - I gave it to you yesterday.
    to sleep: nukkua, nukun, nukuin, nukkunut (kk > k)
    to understand: ymmärtää, ymmärrän, ymmärsin, ymmärtänyt (rt > rr)
    • Vihdoinkin minä ymmärrän tämän! - Finally I understand this!

    The consonant change with these verbs means that there is a strong grade  in the basic form and  the 3rd person, and a weak grade in 1st and 2nd persons. Here's the whole conjugation of nukkua:

    I sleep = minä nukun                    
    You sleep = sinä nukut                      
    S/he sleeps = hän nukkuu (se nukkuu)

    We sleep = me nukumme (me nukutaan)
    You sleep = te nukutte
    They sleep =  he nukkuvat (ne nukkuu)

    (I'll have a more detailed post about consonant change consonant pairs later. Meanwhile, take a look at these examples.)

    Wait.. why does the past tense of ymmärtää have si just like the verb type 4 verbs?  If you have Leila White's Grammar book of Finnish, the rules are on page 190. The stem has a t and two vowels or n, r, or l in front of it. However, there are also exceptions such as antaa and hoitaa.  Here's my top 10 of the verbs to memorize by heart:

    1. to shout, to yell: huutaa, huudan, huusin, huutanut
    2. to fly: lentää, lennän, lensin, lentänyt
    3. to draw: piirtää, piirrän, piirsin, piirtänyt
    4. to find: löytää, löydän, löysin, löytänyt
    5. to know, to feel: tuntea, tunnen, tunsin, tuntenut
    6. to know: tietää, tiedän, tiesin, tiennyt
    7. to build: rakentaa, rakennan, rakensin, rakentanut
    8. to push: työntää, työnnän, työnsin, työntänyt
    9. to move: siirtää, siirrän, siirsin, siirtänyt
    10. to ask for: pyytää, pyydän, pyysin, pyytänyt