Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sentence types

You've probably heard of the verb types and the noun types, but how about the Finnish sentence types? If you want to have a full lesson about them, I recommend reading Leila White's grammar book, pages 300-323. Here's my short version of the most useful sentence types.

The ones where the verb conjugates according to the person:

  • Minä asun tuossa kerrostalossa. - I live in that apartment building. (The simple sentence. Nothing special here.)
  • Me olemme opiskelijoita. - We are students. (A predicative sentence. Might cause confusion because of the occasional plural partitive.)
  • Minä juon nyt kahvia. - I'm drinking coffee now. (A sentence with an object.)
  • Minä tykkään opiskella suomea.  - I like to study Finnish. (Two verbs, the second one in the basic form.)
  • Minä menen nyt nukkumaan. - I'm going to sleep now.  (Two verbs, the second one in ma-infinitive.)

The ones where the verb is always in the same (3rd person singular) form. It's the personal pronoun that changes.

The sentences that express a change or a result can be in either category.

These ones have no personal pronoun at all:

  • Saako täällä syödä omia eväitä? - Is it ok to eat your own food here? (A generic sentence, the subject could be anyone.)
  • (On) tosi tylsää, että teidän pitää jo lähteä. - (It's) super lame, that you have to leave already. (Expressing your opinion with an adjective in the beginning of the sentence.)
  • Suomessa juodaan paljon kahvia. - They drink a lot of coffee in Finland. (A passive voice.)

If you want to read about forming questions, which you can do with all the sentence types, I have a post about the question words and another about the question ending ko or kö.


  1. Thanks for your blog and for that kind of round up.
    I could definitely read and use a post about those sentences that have a 'kind of subject' in the genitive (though I feel it's more a dative complement than a genitive subject) + modal verb + verb in 1st infinitive. Like «Ulkomaalaisten kannattaa opiskella suomea.» A short list or more example of modal verbs that require that construction would be great ! :-)

  2. Tässä postauksessa on joitain sellaisia verbejä: (Pahoittelen, että vastaan 3,5 vuotta myöhässä.:))