Saturday, May 31, 2014

Ihan

Ihan is a tricky word because it means either quite or really. The easiest solution is to avoid the whole word. If you want to say that something is quite something, use aika:

  • Tämä kurssi vaikutttaa aika mielenkiintoiselta. - This course seems quite interesting. 

If you want to say that something is really something, use todella or tosi:

  • Tämä kurssi vaikuttaa tosi mielenkiintoiselta! - This course seems very interesting!

However, here's how I'd explain the use of ihan:

With positive or neutral words, it means quite, just. I think the most important thing is that you don't say that ihan kiva or ihan hyvä when you really mean tosi kiva or tosi hyvä.

  • Se on ihan ok opettaja. - She's an ok teacher. 
  • Se oli ihan kiva näytelmä. - It was a quite nice play.
  • Mun isäpuoli on ihan mukava. - My stepfather is quite nice. 
  • Mun tentti meni ihan hyvin. - My exam went fine. 

If you are not sure whether to use ihan or not, tosi or todella always means very.

  • Tämä oli todella halpa. - This was really cheap. 
  • Meillä oli tosi kivaa. - We had a really good time.

With negative and super positive words, ihan means absolutely:

  • Se elokuva oli ihan mahtava! - The movie was absolutely awesome!
  • Tämä on ihan uskomattoman hieno asia! - This is an unbelievably great thing!
  • Tämä paita on ihan liian pieni. - This shirt is absolutely too small.
  • Se mun deitti oli ihan kamala! - The person I met on a date was absolutely horrible! 

Ihan is also used in several vulgar expressions:

  • Tää puhelin on ihan paska. - This phone is a total piece or crap.
  • Tää on ihan perseestä. - This totally sucks.
  • Tää oli ihan helvetin huono idea. - This was a very bad idea. 

Here are some common expressions with ihan:

  • Mä tuun ihan pian. - I'll come in a minute.
  • Ollaan ihan hiljaa. - Let's be quiet.
  • Ihan sama! - Whatever!
  • Ihanko totta? - Really?

Oh, in case you wonder: ihana means lovely and wonderful, and I don't think it has anything to do with ihan. 

7 comments:

  1. "Ihan" is about the same as "aivan", even "täysin". It sort of conveys the exact level, the completeness of statement. Without it, there could be more to say about it.
    "Se meni ihan hyvin" says that "it" did not "go" badly nor did "it" "go" exceptionally well. (It can also indicate that you had misgivings about how it would go, but that it went ok.) "Ihan" is a way of saying things matter-of-factly. In some uses it compares to the word "completely" in English.
    It went well. - Se meni hyvin.
    It went completely well. - Se meni ihan hyvin.
    It broke. - Se meni rikki.
    It completely broke. - Se meni ihan rikki.

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  2. How about todella and tosi? Are those words synonyms or is there any difference between them? sometimes I feel I have to be careful with tosi... :) Kiitos!

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    1. 'Tosi' is less formal than 'todella'. I usually say 'tosi', but if I'm writing something official, I use 'todella'.

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    2. "Tosi" is probably also wrong grammatically.

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  3. Kiitos taas tästä! Osaat niin hyvin selittää nämä hankalat tapaukset! :)

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