Wednesday, February 27, 2013

tykätä - pitää

When you like something in Finnish, you can choose between two verbs, tykätä and pitää. In general, tykätä is slightly easier to use and more used in the spoken language. Pitää has also other meanings.

tykätä, tykkään, tykkäsin, tykännyt

  • Tykkäätkö sä oliiveista? - Do you like olives?
  • Tykkäsitkö sä siitä taidenäyttelystä? - Did you like the artshow? (se=it, siitä=about it)
  • Mä tykkään leipoa. - I like to bake. 
  • Mä tykkään leipomisesta. - I like baking. 

pitää, pidän, pidin, pitänyt

  • Pidätkö sinä oliiveista? - Do you like olives?
  • Piditkö sinä siitä taidenäyttelystä? - Did you like the artshow?
  • Minä pidän leipomisesta.  - I like baking. (Notice that you cannot say Minä pidän leipoa, and that's why tykätä is nicer.)

also means many other things. Here are just a few examples:

  • Voitko pitää mun laukkua sillä aikaa kun käyn vessassa? - Can you hold my bag while I use the bathroom?
  • Pidä lujasti kiinni! - Hold on tight!
  • Voit pitää sen. - You can keep it. 
  • Aiotko pitää puheen? - Are you going to give a speech?
  • Minä en enää pidä näitä housuja. - I don't wear these pants anymore. 

In addition to this, pitää is used in the necessity structure:

  • Minun pitää mennä nyt. - I have to go now. 
  • Pitääkö teidän muuttaa? - Do you have to move?
  • Mikon piti soittaa minulle kahdeksalta. - Mikko was supposed to call me at eight.

If this was usedful, check out my posts Pitää and Liking in Finnish.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Practicing Finnish with your friends and family

I'm guessing that quite many of my readers are in some sort of a relationship with a Finnish man or a woman.  A lot of times the challenge seems to be that the Finns prefer speaking in English or other languages instead of Finnish. And since speaking English is easier, the foreigners don't bother insisting on using Finnish either. Here are the most typical excuses for this unproductive situation:

  • "We got to know each other in English, so it would feel weird to change the language now." 

Yes, it feels weird, but you'll get used to it. It's just adding a new aspect to your relationship! You might even learn something new about each other, and if you learn something that you don't like, it's good to know now than later, right?

  • "I'm afraid s/he'll make fun of me and my Finnish."

Well, s/he shouldn't. But if that happens, make it stop, unless it's actually really funny and worth the laugh. Don't take it too seriously. It's just Finnish.

  • "My partner doesn't have the patience to listen to my Finnish."

S/he should. I'm guessing that his/her English (French, Spanish..) isn't always music to your ears, either, so it's just fair that you both get to practice.

  • "I cannot express myself fully in Finnish and I don't feel like myself when speaking Finnish." 

You'll get used to it, and over it, and will learn to love your Finnish personality!

Add the Finnish gradually: Start texting in Finnish. Decide one hour a day or afternoon a week when you only use Finnish, or a room in your home where English is not allowed. Ask your friends to send you messages and emails in Finnish, or in both languages at the same time. If your partner doesn't know the answers to you grammar questions, ask your teacher or send them to me! It is quite common that regular Finns cannot explain why something is like it is even if they can say whether something is correct or not. Also, be active and ask help with your Finnish.

If you have a Finnish speaking child, take advantage of it! There is so much you can do bilingually: read picture dictionaries together, play memory games, watch childrens' programmes and movies in Finnish - and keep on making sure that you both know the words in both languages. Just be careful that you don't get too excited about it and make your kid annoyed by your Finnish studies.:)

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. Click here to see all my courses.

Monday, February 25, 2013


If you are going to have a mini vacation in Tampere, according to a 3,5-year-old, this is what you should be concerned about:
  1. Milloin me mennään Tampereelle?
  2. Onko Tampereella leluja?
  3. Onko Tampereella yläkerta?
  4. Onko Tampereella jääkaappi, jossa on lihapullia?
  5. Olenko minä Tampereella neljä?
  6. Onko Tampereella Jaffa-keksejä?
How well do you understand these questions? Check out the translations in the comments box!

Saturday, February 23, 2013


Here are some expressions with the word aika, time. Hauskaa viikonloppua!

  • Onko sinulla aikaa? - Do you have time?
  • Muista tulla ajoissa. - Remember to come on time.
  • Mitä sinä teit sillä aikaa kun minä nukuin? - What did you while I was sleeping?
  • Mihin aikaan me tavataan? - At what time shall we meet?
  • Ei niin aikaisin! - Not so early!
  • Minä voin tulla aikaisintaan yhdeksältä.- I can come at nine o'clock at the earliest.
  • En ole nähnyt Mattia pitkään aikaan. - I haven't seen Matti for a long time.
  • Me olimme samaan aikaan armeijassa. - We did our service in the army at the same time.
  • Unohdin varata ajan hammaslääkärille! - I forgot to book an appointment with the dentist!
  • Voisitko tyhjentää astianpesukoneen mainoskatkon aikana? - Could you empty the dishwasher during the commercial break?
  • Oli hauska jutella pitkästä aikaa. - It was fun to talk, it had been a long time. 
  • Neljä tuntia on pitkä aika. - Four hours is a long time. 

If you liked this, you might also like my post Kuinka usein? Milloin viimeksi? I've also written a post about aika, melko and melkein.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Uusi kielemme - Finnish for busy people

This is one of my favourite Finnish teaching websites. Check out these impressive lists of grammar topics and vocabulary lists!

purra - purkaa

These two verbs are probably not in your everyday vocabulary, but in case you have to talk about biting and tearing down in Finnish, here's how it goes:

purra, puren, purin, purrut - to bite

  • Älä pelkää, ei se pure. - Don't be afraid. He won't bite.
  • Ville puri mua! - Ville bit me!
  • Ei saa purra! - No biting! (It is not allowed to bite.)

purkaa, puran, purin, purkanut - to tear down and many other things

  • Miksi kaikki vanhat rakennukset aina puretaan? - Why do people always tear down all the old buildings?
  • Tämä villasukka on aivan liian pieni. Sun täytyy purkaa kaikki ja aloittaa alusta. - This wool sock is way too small. You have to unravel everything and start all over. 
  • Miksi te puritte teidän saunan? - Why did you tear down your sauna?

Notice the four important forms: in the positive past tense, the only difference is the third person consonant changepurkaa: hän purki, he purkivat. purra: hän puri, he purivat.

Kind of close to these two verbs are the nouns purkka (chewing gum) and purkki (a can, a carton).

  • Haluatko purkkaa? - Do you want some gum?
  • Missä tämän purkin kansi on? - Where's the lid to this can?

Friday, February 15, 2013

oppia - opettaa - opiskella - opetella

I've noticed that these verbs are easy to mix. Here are some simple sentences and the four important forms of each verb.

oppia, opin, opin, oppinut - to learn

  • Opin lukemaan neljävuotiaana. - I learned to read when I was four.
  • Mitä me voimme oppia tästä? - What can we learn from this?
  • Etkö sinä koskaan opi? - Don't you ever learn?

opiskella, opiskelen, opiskelin, opiskellut - to study

  • Kuinka kauan sinä olet opiskellut suomea? - How long have you studied Finnish?
  • Haluaisin opiskella oikeustiedettä. - I'd like to study law.
  • No niin, opiskellaan! - Well then, let's study!

opettaa, opetan, opetin, opettanut - to teach

  • Saanko minä opettaa sinulle jotain? - Can I teach you something?
  • Oletko koskaan opettanut suomalaisia teini-ikäisiä? - Have you ever taught Finnish teenagers?
  • Kuka opetti sinut ajamaan autoa? - Who taught you how to drive a car?

opetella, opettelen, opettelin, opetellut - to learn without a teacher, to teach oneself

  • Voisitko opetella syömään suu kiinni? - Could you learn how to eat with you mouth shut?
  • Tänä kesänä opettelen soittamaan kitaraa! - This summer, I will teach myself to play the guitar!
  • Missä välissä sinä olet opetellut japania? - When have you had time to teach yourself Japanese?


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.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Hyvää ystävänpäivää! - Happy Valentine's day!

In Finland, the Valentine's day isn't just for lovers but it's for all friends. You can say or text Hyvää ystävänpäivää to anyone and they won't think that you have a secret crush on them.

Ystävä is a very, very dear friend.

  • Sinä olet maailman paras ystävä! - You are the best friend in the world!
  • En olisi selvinnyt viime talvesta ilman ystäviä. - I wouldn't have survived the last winter without friends.
  • Koira on ihmisen paras ystävä. - A dog is a man's best friend.
  • Kolme sanaa sinulle: Ole ystävä minulle.- Three words to you: be a friend to me. (A classic verse to write in your friend's verse book in the 1900's.)

Kaveri is also a friend, but the word is not as strong as ystävä. (I usually call all my friends kaveri without emphasizing anyone.) Sometimes kaveri can mean just a person in general.

  • Tässä on mun kaveri Daniel. - This (here) is my friend Daniel.
  • Kuka sun paras kaveri on? - Who's your best friend?
  • Mä menen mun kavereiden kanssa leffaan. - I'm going to the movies with my friends.
  • Kalle on terävä kaveri. - Kalle is a smart guy.

Tuttu is someone that you know.

  • Tuolla on mun tuttu sukelluskurssilta. - Over there is my acquaintance from a diving course.
  • Mä en tiennytkään, että se on sun tuttu. - Oh,  I didn't know that s/he is your acquaintance.  

Yks tyyppi 

  • Kuka toi oli? Yks tyyppi joogasta vaan. - Who was that? Just a guy from my yoga class. 
  • Älä katso. Tuolla on yks kamala tyyppi. - Don't look. There's this horrible guy over there. 

When introducing new friends to old friends, kaveri is the safest word to use. Here are some other words you might need when talking about the people around you:

  • lapsuudenystävä - a childhood friend
  • koulukaveri - a friend from school
  • (vanha) työkaveri - a (old) colleague
  • opiskelukaveri - a friend from the studies
  • naapuri - a neighbour
  • kuntosalituttu - a person I say Hei to because we go to the same gym
  • tyttöystävä - girlfriend
  • (entinen) poikaystävä - (ex) boyfriend


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. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The adessive ending lla/llä

The ending lla or llä, also known as the adessive case, can mean so many different things! If I had to name my favourite case ending, it would definitely be this one.:)

1. On top of something:

  • Miksi tämä veitsi oli pöydällä? - Why was this knife on the table?
  • Meidän katolla on ainakin puoli metriä lunta. - There's at least half a meter of snow on our roof.

2. Outside, around, close, by:

  • Kadulla oli paljon ihmisiä. - There were a lot of people in the street.
  • Nähdään kirjastolla. - See you at the library. (Perhaps in front of it or somewhere in the lobby.)
  • Odota minua altaalla. - Wait for me by the pool.

3. On an island, and in Russia:

  • Oletko käynyt Jamaikalla? - Have you been to Jamaica?
  • Mun sisko asuu Venäjällä. - My sister lives in Russia. 

4. At somebody's home:

  • Mä olin koko päivän Minnalla. - I spent the whole day at Minna's place. 
  • Oletko käynyt Räikkösillä? - Have you been to the Räikkönen's?

5. Having something, Minulla on:

  • Olisiko sinulla aikaa lukea tämä? - Would you have time to read this?
  • Meillä oli vieraita koko viikonlopun. - We had guests the whole weekend.

6. With or by something:

  • Kirjoita lyijykynällä. - Write with a pencil.
  • Mennään bussilla. - Let's go by bus.

7. Manner, style:

  • Puhu kovalla äänellä. - Speak loudly, with a loud voice.
  • Muistakaa kirjoittaa hyvällä käsialalla! - Remember to write with a good handwriting!

8. Time expressions that involve the times of the day or the seasons of the year:

  • Mihin aikaan sä heräsit aamulla? - At what time did you wake up in the morning?
  • Onko sinulla kesällä lomaa? - Do you have vacation in the summer?

    • aamulla - in the morning
    • päivällä - during the day
    • iltapäivällä - in the afternoon
    • illalla - in the evening
    • yöllä - at night
    • keväällä - in the spring
    • kesällä - in the summer
    • syksyllä - in the fall / autumn
    • talvella - in the winter

Kesällä on mukava käydä festareilla
Tämä keikka oli päivällä.
 Lavalla on Kasmir. 
Taivaalla ei ole pilviä.

If you liked this one, you might also like my post about the eleven most useful cases and How to say with in Finnish.


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.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Negative ko/kö-questions

I wrote a post about the ko/kö-questions a couple of days ago. Here's how to make negative questions with the same ending. At first, pay attention to the difference between the tenses:

Present tense:
  • Sinä syöt. - You eat. 
  • Syötkö sinä? - Do you eat?
  • Sinä et syö. - You don't eat.
  • Etkö sinä syö? - Don't you eat?

Past tense:
  • Sinä söit. - You ate. 
  • Söitkö sinä? - Did you eat? 
  • Sinä et syönyt. - You didn't eat. (Remember the ending nut or nyt!)
  • Etkö sinä syönyt? - Didn't you eat?

Perfect tense: 
  • Sinä olet syönyt. - You have eaten.
  • Oletko sinä syönyt? - Have you eaten?
  • Sinä et ole syönyt. - You haven't eaten.
  • Etkö sinä ole syönyt? - Haven't you eaten?

This is how ei conjugates in different persons:

  • Minä en syö.
  • Sinä et syö.
  • Hän ei syö. 
  • Me emme syö. (Me ei syödä in spoken language.)
  • Te ette syö.
  • He eivät syö. (Ne ei syö in spoken language.)

Here are random negative questions in all persons:

  • Enkö minä kertonut sinulle tästä? - Didn't I tell you about this?
  • Etkö sinä muista? - Don't you remember?
  • Eikö hän tunnistanut sinua? - Didn't s/he recognise you?
  • Emmekö me ole puhuneet tästä? - Haven't we spoken about this? (Eikö me olla/oo puhuttu tästä in spoken language)
  • Ettekö te tunne toisianne? - Don't you know each other?
  • Eivätkö he ole täällä? - Aren't they here? (Eikö ne oo täällä in spoken language.)

What about eikä, then? Here are some examples of its use:

Ei - eikä = Nor - neither
  • Minulla ei ole siskoa eikä veljeä..- I don't have a sister or brother. I have neither sister nor brother.
  • Mulla ei ollut bussikorttia eikä käteistä. - I didn't have the bus card or cash. I had neither the bus card nor cash.

Eikä = ja + ei  (and + no) This one conjugates in persons!
  • En halua nähdä sinua enkä kuulla sinusta mitään. - I don't want to see you and I don't want to hear anything about you.
  • Miksi sinä et siivonnut etkä käynyt kaupassa? - Why didn't you clean or go to the store?
  • Pekka ei osaa lukea eikä kirjottaa. - Pekka doesn't know how to read or write.

No way!
  • Mä menin viime viikonloppuna naimisiin. - I got married last weekend.
  • Eikä!!! - No way!!!

Kiitos Ekaterinalle ideasta!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Free online course on Fridays at 6 p.m.

This course sounds super interesting! I found out about it yesterday when I was reading Finland Forum and it was mentioned in a discussion. Have any of you attended this online Finnish course? It seems to be open for anyone, just remember to be by your computer at six o'clock on Friday night!

Finnish Extra Online - A Finnish Help Centre on the Internet

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Making the ko/kö-questions

How to ask a question with the ending ko or ? Let's see if you can get the pattern after reading these random 10 questions and their translations:

  • Puhutko sinä suomea? - Do you speak Finnish?
  • Ymmärsitkö, mitä minä kysyin? - Did you understand what I asked?
  • Oletteko te asuneet täällä kauan? - Have you lived here for long?
  • Tuliko se autolla? - Did s/he come by car?
  • Onko Suomessa jääkarhuja? - Are there polar bears in Finland?
  • Saako täällä polttaa? - Is it ok to smoke in here?
  • Onko sinulla jano? - Are you thirsty?
  • Oliko teillä kivaa? - Did you have fun?
  • Pitääkö sinun jo mennä? - Do you have to go already?
  • Lähdetäänkö? - Shall we leave?
  • Voidaanko jutella tästä myöhemmin? - Can we talk about this later? 

Here's how to do it: 
  1. Take a verb and conjugate it in the correct person depending on the sentence type.
  2. Add the question ending ko or . (Ko if the basic form of the verb ends with a. if the basic form of the verb ends with ä.)
  3. Add the rest of the sentence. Don't stress too much about the endings.
  4. Ta-daa! Your question is ready to be asked.

How to say 'for' in Finnish

The preposition from is always either sta or stä (elative) or lta or ltä (ablative), right?

  • Tulin eilen New Yorkista. - I came from New York yesterday.
  • Sain Richardilta timantteja.  - I got diamonds from Richard. 

However, the preposition for has more options, at least six different endings:

1. Partitive

  • Minä odotan sinua. - I'll wait for you.

2. Genitive

  • Aion olla Pekingissä viikon. - I plan to stay in Beijing for a week. 
  • Se kesti tunnin.  - It lasted for an hour.

3. Elative

  • Kiitos kyydistä. - Thank you for the ride.

4. Allative

  • Tämä on sinulle. - This is for you. 
  • Mennään lounaalle. - Let's go for a lunch.

5. Translative

  • Menen kolmeksi päiväksi Helsinkiin. - I'm going to Helsinki for three days.
  • Hän tulee tänne kahdeksi viikoksi. - She will come here for two weeks. 

6. Essive

  • Älä pidä sitä itsestäänselvyytenä! - Don't take it for granted!

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.

Check out my books: