Saturday, June 21, 2014

Making a verb into a noun

Making verbal nouns with the ending minen is quite simple and useful to know.

  • Leipominen on kiva harrastus. - Baking is a nice hobby.
  • Opiskeleminen on ihanaa! - Studying is wonderful!

Here's how to form it:

  1. Take a verb.  > leipoa, opiskella (to bake, to study)
  2. Make the third person plural form. > he leipovat, he opiskelevat  (they bake, they study)
  3. Drop the ending vat in order to get the correct stem. > leipo-, opiskele-
  4. Add minen. > leipominen, opiskeleminen (baking, studying)
  5. Ta-daa, you have a verbal noun!

It seems relatively easy in the beginning, but the more you want to say, the crazier grammar you'll encounter. First of all, notice the flipped word order:

  • Syödä ulkona: Ulkona syöminen on kallista. - Eating out is expensive. 
  • Nukkua teltassa: Teltassa nukkuminen on hauskaa. - Sleeping in a tent is fun. 
  • Asua kämppiksen kanssa: Kämppiksen kanssa asuminen on mukavaa. - Living with a flatmate is nice. 
  • Juosta järven ympäri: Järven ympäri juokseminen kestää tunnin. - Running around the lake takes an hour. 

In addition, if the verb expression has an object, the object has to be in genitive. 

  • Soittaa kitaraa: Kitaran soittaminen on helppoa. - Playing the guitar is easy.
  • Saada opiskelupaikka: Opiskelupaikan saaminen on vaikeaa. - Getting a study place is difficult. 

Sometimes even in plural genitive:

  • Harjata hampaat: Hampaiden harjaaminen kestää vain kolme minuuttia.  - Brushing the teeth takes only three minutes.
  • Tehdä muistiinpanoja: Muistiinpanojen tekeminen on tärkeää. - Taking notes is important.

The minen nouns belong to the category of words that end with nen. Partitive and elative cases are usually the confusing ones, so pay attention to these examples:


  • Mä rakastan siivoamista! - I love cleaning! (siivoamis + ta)
  • Mä inhoan imuroimista! - I hate vacuuming! (imuroimis + ta)
  • Mä harrastan tanssimista. - I dance. Dancing is my hobby. (tanssimis + ta).


  • Mä  tykkään siivoamisesta. -  I  like cleaning. (siivoamise + sta)
  • Mä en tykkää imuroimisesta. - I don't like vacuuming. (imuroimise + sta)
  • Oletko kiinnostunut tanssimisesta? - Are you interested in dancing? (tanssimise + sta)

Notice that there are also other ways to turn verbs into nouns. (Scroll down to 7) Teonnimet to find out other possible endings. The minen one is the most productive of them all, and you can apply it to any Finnish verb.)


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.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Helppo ja hyvä suklaakakku

My niece asked me to share a recipe for a chocolate cake that I once made. I think the recipe is originally from a free postcard promoting Fazer chocolate. You can use any chocolate you want, and even experiment with different types of flour.

Make sure you have these:

  • esiliina - an apron
  • kattila tai mikroaaltouuni - a saucepan or a microwave oven
  • kulho tai kaksi - a bowl or two
  • veitsi - a knife
  • vaaka - a scale (Unless you can read the Finnish butter packages.)
  • mitta-astia - a measuring cup
  • siivilä - a sieve (You can also survive just fine without it.)
  • nuolija - a scraper
  • sähkövatkain - an electric mixer
  • kakkuvuoka - a cake form (Mine is round, with a diameter of 24 cm.)
  • uuni - an oven
  • hammastikku - a toothpick
  • uunikinnas - an oven mitten
  • kakkuvati - a cake plate
  • kakkulapio - a cake server

These are the ingredients:

  • 175 g (tummaa) suklaata - 175 g (dark) chocolate
  • 175 g voita  - 175 g butter
  • 4 munaa - 4 eggs
  • 2 dl sokeria - 2 dl sugar
  • 1 dl vehnäjauhoja - 1 dl wheat flour
  • tomusokeria, karkkeja, marjoja, kukkia - mitä tahansa kakunkoristeeksi sopivaa! - powdered sugar, candies, berries, flowers - whatever you can use for decorating the cake!

Here's how to make the cake:

  1. Sulata voi kattilassa tai mikroaaltouunissa. - Melt the butter in a saucepan or in the microwave oven.
  2. Pilko suklaa ja sekoita se voihin. - Break up the chocolate and mix it together with the butter. 
  3. Sekoita, kunnes suklaa on sulanut. - Stir until the chocolate is melted.
  4. Vatkaa munat ja sokeri vaahdoksi. - Beat the eggs and sugar until it's thick foam.
  5. Lisää voi-suklaaseos. - Stir in the melted butter and chocolate.
  6. Lisää jauhot varovaisesti siivilän läpi. - Add the flour carefully through a sieve. 
  7. Sekoita tasaiseksi. - Stir until smooth. 
  8. Voitele kakkuvuoka. - Butter the cake form. 
  9. Kaada kakkutaikina vuokaan. - Pour the cake batter into the cake form.
  10. Paista 160 asteessa noin 50 minuuttia. - Bake in 160 degrees Celcius for approximately 50 minutes.
  11. Voit kokeilla jo aikaisemmin hammastikulla, onko kakku kypsä. - You can check the doneness of the cake already earlier with a toothpick. 
  12. Ota kakku pois uunista ja anna jäähtyä. - Take the cake out of the oven and let cool. 
  13. Koristele kakku ihan miten haluat. - Decorate the cake as you wish. (My favourite is to put random toppings in different cups, sit down to read ladies' magazines and leave the decoration up to to my children.)
Onpa hyvää kakkua! - Man, this cake is good!

Olet runo

You are a poem!

Go to and type down your name. The machine will give you a poem about you in Finnish. If you like to compose your own poems, you'll enjoy searching for the perfect rhymes in Riimisanakirja.

Another fun thing right now is to find out which Finnish celebrity would be the most suitable summer boyfriend of summer girlfriend for you.


Jos means if and it's used quite similarly as in English:

However, you shouldn't use jos in indirect questions:

  • Tiedätkö, jos hän tulee? - Do you know if he will come?
  • Haluaisin kysyä, jos on vielä mahdollista ilmoittautua kurssille. - I'd like to know if it's still possible to sign up for the course. 

Instead of saying jos, add ko or kö to the verb:

  • Tiedätkö, tuleeko hän? - Do you know if he will come?
  • Haluaisin kysyä, onko vielä mahdollista ilmoittautua kurssille. - I'd like to know if it's still possible to sign up for the course. 

I know that many Finnish learners and even some Finns use jos in indirect questions, probably because it is so common in many other languages..  but now you know better!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Wondering in Finnish

I wonder if you know how to wonder in Finnish. The verb to wonder is ihmetellä, but it is not really used in this structure. Instead, you'll need the enclitic participle -han or -hän. If you want to emphasize the question, put a question mark in the end. If you're just hesitating,  you can leave it out.

  • Mitähän kello on?  - I wonder what time it is. 
  • Olikohan se humalassa? - I wonder if he was drunk.
  • Sataakohan juhannuksena lunta.. - I wonder if it will snow on Midsummer.. 
  • Onkohan meillä munia. - I wonder if we have eggs.

To add extra hesitation and wondering, add ko or  after the question word.

  • Mitäköhän kello on? - I wonder what time it is?
  • Minneköhän se meni? - I wonder where he went.

My son doesn't really get these kinds of questions, and quite often gives me an irritated answer when I'm not expecting him to say anything. 

  • Mitäköhän mä laittaisin tänään päälle. - I wonder what I would wear today.
  • Missäköhän mun sukat on. - I wonder where my socks are. 
  • Onkohan siellä kylmä. - I wonder if it's cold out there.
  • En minä tiedä!! - I don't know!!

Here are some sentences with ihmetellä: 

  • Mitä sinä ihmettelet? - What are you wondering about?
  • Mä ihmettelen tätä puhelinlaskua. - I'm astonished by this phone bill. 
  • Mä ihmettelin sen käytöstä. - I found his behaviour odd. 
  • Älkää enää ihmetelkö sitä. - Don't think about it any more. 

p.s. Ihme is a miracle. In Finnish, the tv show MacGyver is naturally called Ihmemies.