Friday, September 28, 2012

tai - vai

Two little words, and they both mean or. What is the difference?

Vai is used when you have a certain amount of choices and you have to pick one. Vai is only used in questions. (Usually foreigners tend to overuse this one. Soon you'll know better!)

Another common use of vai is vai mitä at the end of the sentence.

  • Tavataan keskustassa, vai mitä? - Let's meet in downtown, right? (or what?)

Tai is used in commands and in affirmative sentences, but also in questions. In question, tai is used when there is a hidden idea of for example or or something else. 

  • Haluatko omenan tai appelsiinin? - Do you want an apple or an orange? (For example. Or something else to eat? You don't have to take anything.) Compare: Haluatko omenan vai appelsiinin? = I assume that you want either an apple or an orange, so now tell me which one.
  • Osta maitoa tai piimää. - Buy milk or sourmilk/buttermilk.
  • Soitan sinulle huomenna tai ylihuomenna. - I'll call you tomorrow or the day after tomorrow.

If you want to be really annoying in Finnish, end all your sentences with either vai mitä or tai jotain, which means or something. 


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. Here you can take a look at my available group courses and all my simple Finnish novels. You can also order my posts to your email. (There's a link on the right hand banner.)


Omid H. said...

Kiitoksia, vai mitä? :)

Anonymous said...

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