Thursday, December 24, 2015

nähdä - katsoa

These verbs are often easily mixed although they surely exist in other languages, too. Nähdä is to see. Katsoa is to look or to watch.

Nähdä (näen, näin, nähnyt)
  • Näitkö sinä tuon? - Did you see that? (Spoken language: Näiksä ton?)
  • Minä en näe mitään. - I don't see anything.
  • Täällä ei ole mitään nähtävää. - There's nothing to see here.
  • Oletko nähnyt tätä elokuvaa? - Have you seen this movie?
  • Mä en nähnyt siellä ketään. - I didn't see anyone there.
  • Nähdään välipäivinä! - See you during the days between Christmas and New Year's Eve.

Katsoa (katson, katsoin, katsonut)

Dictionaries also give you katsella, but I only use that verb in  Ei kiitos, mina vain katselen when I'm shopping and don't need any help.

p.s. Do you remember the difference between Minä en nähnyt siellä ketään and Minä en nainut siellä ketään? Check out my post about näyttää, näkyä, nähdä and naida.

Friday, December 18, 2015

How to look forward in Finnish

Looking forward to something is a phrase that doesn't really exist in Finnish. Forward is eteenpäin, but it doesn't work in this case. Here are some expressions with the same idea:

  • Mä odotan sitä innolla. - I'm waiting for it with enthusiasm.
  • Mä oon siitä tosi innoissani. - I'm really excited about it. 
  • Vähän mä oon innoissani! - I'm REALLY excited! (Vähän sometimes means the opposite.)
  • En malta odottaa! - I don't have the patience to wait!
  • On tosi hauska mennä sinne. - It's really nice to go there. 
  • Onpa kiva mennä sinne! - So nice to go there!


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.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Private Finnish Lessons

I've been giving private lessons since 2008. At the same time, I've taught Finnish for adults at the university language centre, summer university, open university, and recently at a vocational school for cooks and cleaners. I've realized that I like teaching private students so much that I want to do it as my main job. The timing is perfect, as my contract in the school is coming to an end.

Last spring I had a really pleasant experience with a student who came to Jyväskylä for two weeks as a tourist and took daily Finnish lessons with me. Inspired by that and in addition to the private lessons, I would like to arrange mini courses for small groups. If you want to suggest a Finnish course of your dreams or try out private lessons, please visit my super neat website and leave me a message at the end of the page.  If you work for a Finnish company, you could suggest that your boss would pay for the lessons! :)

Monday, December 7, 2015

vain - vasta

Someone suggested this topic in another postKiitos ideasta! Vain is only. Vasta can mean many different things but usually is not until or not yet. It is also vihta, the thing in the sauna.


  • Minulla on vain kaksi euroa. - I have only two euros. 
  • Ei kiitos, en tarvitse apua. Minä vain katselen. - No thank you, I don't need any help. I'm just looking around. 
  • Miksi sinulla on vain sukat jalassa? - Why are you wearing nothing but socks?

Notice that in spoken language, vain is often vaan:

  • Mulla on vaan kaks euroo. - I have only two euros. (Don't mix it with the other vaan.)


  • Minulla on vasta kolme Muumimukia. -  I have only three Moomin mugs. (But I'm going to get more!)
  • Oletko sinä vasta 30? - Are you only thirty years old?
  • Tulin kotiin vasta neljältä. - I didn't come home until four o'clock.
  • Miksi tänään on vasta maanantai eikä perjantai! - Why is it Monday today and not already Friday!

p.s. Feel free to follow my Facebook page!

Past tenses in Finnish

Here's a post about the past tense and the perfect tense in Finnish. Usually Finnish learners use too much imperfekti in situations where they should use perfekti.

Imperfekti is used when something happened in the past and is now finished. Sometimes there is a word expressing when it happened, but not necessarily. In all these examples, the verb is ostaa, to buy.

  • ostin eilen uuden auton. - I bought a new car yesterday. 

Here's when to use perfekti:

1. When the exact time is not so important:

  • Kalle on ostanut uuden auton. - Kalle has bought a new car. (It doesn't matter or I don't know when it happened.)
  • Joku on ostanut kukkia! - Someone has bought flowers! (I can see that there are flowers on the table.)
  • Oletko koskaan käynyt Lontoossa? - Have you ever been to London?

2.  When the action started in the past and still continues, or at least somehow affects the present time:

  • Mitä sä olet ostanut tällä viikolla? - What have you bought this week? (The week is not over yet.)
  • Kuinka kauan sinä olet opiskellut suomea? - For how long have you studied Finnish?

3. With the future tense:

  • Mä soitan kun olen saanut tämän valmiiksi. - I'll call when I've finished this. 
  • Mä lähetän sulle kuvan sitten kun mä olen ostanut uuden takin. - I'll send you a picture after I've bought a new jacket. 

4. When something hasn't happened, but it is still possible to happen:

  • Mä en ole koskaan ostanut ruokaa netistä. - I've never bought food online (But I might do it some day.)
  • Mä en ole vielä lukenut tätä kirjaa. - I haven't read this book yet.

Here's how to make the NUT form, and here are more examples to demonstrate the difference:

  • Mä asuin Helsingissä viisi vuotta. - I lived in Helsinki for five years. (I don't live there anymore.)
  • Mä olen asunut Helsingissä viisi vuotta. - I have lived in Helsinki for five years. (And I still live here.)

  • Ostitko sä maitoa? - Did you buy milk? (You just came from the store.)
  • Oletko sä koskaan ostanut netistä ruokaa? - Have you ever bought food online? (In general)

  • Missä sä olit eilen? - Where were you yesterday? (Exact time)
  • Missä sä olet ollut? - Where have you been?

  • Mitä sä söit? - What did you eat?
  • Mitä sä olet syönyt? - What have you eaten? (Your face is a mess and I can see that you have definitely eaten something.)

  • en lukenut tätä kirjaa eilen. - I didn't read this book yesterday. (And yesterday is over so obviously I can't read it yesterday anymore.)
  • Mä en ole lukenut tätä kirjaa. - I haven't read this book. (But it is still possible for me to read it.)

Other things that you might be interested in:


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. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Talking about tv shows in Finnish

Here are two important words that you need when talking about tv series:

  • Jakso is an episode. 
  • Kausi is a season.

Small talk sentences:


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.

Monday, November 23, 2015

sitten - jälkeen - myöhemmin

Here's a small post about sitten, jälkeen and myöhemmin. I hope that this is helpful, not confusing.

Sitten is then, among other things.

  • Sitten on mun vuoro. - Then it's my turn.
  • Sitten lähdetään ulos! - Then let's go out!

Jälkeen is after something. Notice the word order and the genitive.

  • Soitan sinulle viiden jälkeen. - I'll call you after five. 
  • Kuka oli mun jälkeen? - Who was after me?
  • Mitä sä teet sen jälkeen? - What will you do after that?

Myöhemmin is later compared to something else.

  • Soitan sinulle myöhemmin. - I'll call you later. 
  • Aloitetaan huomenna puoli tuntia myöhemmin kuin normaalisti. - Let's start tomorrow half an hour later than normally. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Spoken language words that my kids use

Here are some spoken language words that my 3- and 6-year-old children use. Do you know what they mean?

  1. futis
  2. hyvis
  3. jäbä
  4. koklata
  5. lippis
  6. mäsä
  7. pahis
  8. papru
  9. peba
  10. polttis
  11. säbä
  12. sykky
  13. teeppari
  14. vaklata

Here are the translations and the origins of the spoken language words:

  1. futis < football - football
  2. hyvis < hyvä - a good character
  3. jäbä < jätkä - a dude
  4. koklata < kokeilla - to try
  5. lippis < lippalakki - a cap
  6. mäsä < (I have no idea what's the origin is!) - broken
  7. pahis < paha - a bad guy
  8. papru < paperi - a paper
  9. peba < peppu - a butt
  10. polttis < polttopallo - dodge ball
  11. säbä < sähly - floor ball
  12. sykky < syli - a lap
  13. teeppari < t-paita - a t-shirt
  14. vaklata < vakoilla - to spy

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Arranging a playdate in Finnish

Here's what to say or text when you want to arrange a playdate with the parent of your child's friend.

  • Haluaisiko Mikko tulla joskus meille leikkimään? - Would Mikko like to come over to play sometime?
  • Meille sopii mikä päivä tahansa paitsi maanantai. - Any day but Monday is good for us.
  • Esimerkiksi ensi viikon tiistaina viideltä olisi kiva. - For example next week's Tuesday at five  would be nice. 
  • Meidän osoite on Koulukatu 20. - Our address is Koulukatu 20.
  • Terveisin Leena, Mikon äiti / isä. - Regards, Mikko's mom/dad
  • p.s. Onko Mikolla mitään allergioita? - p.s. Does Mikko have any allergies?

Monday, November 9, 2015


Just like laatikko, kappale is a word with many meanings. You can check it out from Kielitoimiston sanakirja, but I'd say that these are the most common meanings:

A piece of music

A part of a text

  • Missä kappaleessa me ollaan? - In which paragraph are we?
  • Voitko lukea ensimmäisen kappaleen? - Can you read the first paragraph, please?

An object,  a copy of something

  • Tämä on ylimääräinen kappale. - This is an extra piece.
  • Kuinka monta kappaletta sinä tarvitset? - How many do you need?

Friday, November 6, 2015

Selkosanomat - a magazine in easy Finnish

Here's a small post to promote Selkosanomat. I've always been a big fan of Selkouutiset, but somehow I had forgotten that Selkosanomat also exists. A new issue is released every two weeks, and in addition to reading easy Finnish, you can also listen to the articles.

  • Etusivu - Front page
  • Kotimaa - Domestic news
  • Ulkomaat - Foreign news
  • Viihde - Entertainment
  • Teema - Theme
  • Sarjakuva - Comics
  • Tehtävät  - Exercises 
  • Uutisarkisto - News archives

p.s. If you're taking the Yki exam in the near future, I'd advice you to relax and boost your confidence by listening to easy Finnish from Selkosanomat.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Figuring out Finnish men

A foreign female friend asked me to write about Finnish men. Being married to an American, I'm clearly not an expert on this topic, but yes, I know what she's talking about. The problem seems to be that it is hard to figure out whether certain Finnish men just want to hang out as friends, or be your serious partner in life. I'd say that it is all about avoiding conflicts, so Finnish men (unless they are the clingy type) don't usually bring up the topic themselves. In general, Finnish men are quite low maintenance, but it also means that you cannot expect great romantic gestures from them, either.

Anyway, to freak out your potential Finnish boyfriend, you could see what happens if you ask these questions:

Oh, here's a related post about dating Finns. Feel free to share your valuable experiences!


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. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Confusingly similar words

Here are some words that are annoyingly similar, especially if you're taking a certain exam and there is a risk that you will spend all your time talking about a wrong topic. I'll keep adding to this list as I notice more words that might be confusing.

  • Eläin is an animal. Elämä is life.
  • Liikenne is traffic. Liike is a movement or a store or a shop. Liikunta is sports.
  • Aika is time. The genitive of aika is ajan, which is also the first person conjugation of ajaa, to drive.
  • Luonto is nature. Luento is a lecture. Luonne is a personality, a temperament.
  • Kylä is a village, but it's also used in the expression käydä kylässä, to visit someone. 
  • Menestys is a success. Menetys is a loss.
  • Ohjelma is a programme. Ongelma is a problem.
  • Terveellinen is healthy. Turvallinen is safe. 
  • Patient is eihter a noun potilas or an adjective kärsivällinen.
  • Liha is meat, lihava is fat, lihas is a muscle. Lihaksikas is muscular. Don't confuse that with lihasika, which is a pig that is raised for its meat.
  • Valita is to choose. Valittaa is to complain. Välittää is to care or to pass on. 
  • Varata is to book or to reserve. Varastaa is to steal.

p.s. If you like my blog, you might also like my Facebook page and my Instagram account. If you are looking for something to read in easy Finnish, you can reserve an easy Finnish novel simplified by me from you local library!

"Read a book in easy Finnish. It will help you learn more Finnish."

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Life after the Yki test

So you have passed the Yki test. Onneksi olkoon!

Mitä sitten? Mitä seuraavaksi? - Then what?

I don't know for sure, but I have this feeling that many people study like crazy to pass the exam and then forget about their Finnish studies. Usually the reason is that they don't have the time or the professional need to learn more, or that there simply aren't so many courses above the intermediate level. Also, self-studying is often more motivating if you have a clear goal to reach, but the advanced test is so difficult that you might feel that it's not very realistic to reach the level 5 any time soon.

Anyway, here are my tips for keeping up with Finnish even after you have passed the Yki.


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.

"Read a novel in easy Finnish. It might be surprisingly fun and easy!"

Thursday, October 8, 2015


Ulkoilla is one of those verbs that I never used before I had children. It means being outside, usually with children. The idea is to get fresh air and make the children tired so that they'll sleep at night. Ulkoilu is definitely more than just standing outside, but you're not necessarily doing anything productive either. If you were, you could use verbs such as

  • kävellä - to walk
  • juosta - to run
  • pelata - to play games or sports
  • leikkiä - to play (as a child)
  • käydä lenkillä - to go for a walk or a run
  • tehdä puutarhatöitä - to do garden work
  • haravoida lehtiä - to rake leaves
  • tehdä lumitöitä - to shovel snow

A typical phrase at a Finnish daycare (and in some families, but not in mine) is Ulkoilemme säällä kuin säällä, which means that they'll go outside no matter how cold or wet it is. In Finland, children are expected to have an extra rain gear at the daycare. That would include at least

  • kumisaappaat - rubber boots
  • sadetakki - rain coat
  • kurahousut - rain pants, or literally mud pants
  • kurarukkaset - rubber mittens

When it gets colder, you' might also need

  • sukkahousut - stockings
  • pitkät kalsarit - long underwear
  • toppahousut - winter pants (you know, the really thick ones)
  • toppahaalari - winter overalls
  • pipo -  I still haven't found a perfect translation, but you know, pipo.
  • lapaset - mittens
  • rukkaset - really thick mittens, often leather
  • villasukat - wool socks
  • talvikengät - winter boots
  • kauluri - a neck warmer

Anyway, ulkoilu is fun even at this time of the year, if you have the right clothes and a sauna waiting for you. If this was useful, you might also like my post What to wear in winter in Finland and giving birth in Finnish.

p.s. Check out my new Memrise course!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Talking about having questions

Here's how to say that you have a question or questions. Notice that you can use three different endings!

Singular partitive:

  • Minulla on pari kysymystä. - I have a couple of questions.
  • Minulla on monta kysymystä. - I have many questions.

Plural partitive:

  • Minulla on paljon kysymyksiä. - I have a lot of questions.
  • Minulla on muutamia kysymyksiä. - I have a few questions.
  • Minulla on joitain kysymyksiä. - I have some questions.

Sometimes it's ok to use singular nominative: 

  • Minulla on muutama kysymys. - I have a few questions. (Yes, very strangely, this means exactly the same as muutamia kysymyksiä.)
  • Minulla on vain yksi kysymys. - I have only one question.

Onko jotain kysyttävää?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Finnish at work

This is a post written by my students! I gave them a list of different situations at work and asked them to think what to say in Finnish. Here's what they came up with:

When you didn't understand something:

  • Voisitko neuvoa minulle, kuinka tämä tehdään? - Could you advise me how this is done? (Spoken language: Voisiksä neuvoa mulle, kuinka tää tehään?)
  • Anteeksi, mutta voisitko selittää, mitä tarkoitat? - Excuse me, but can you explain what you mean? (Spoken language: Voisiksä selittää mitä sä tarkotat?)
  • Anteeksi, voisitko toistaa? - Excuse me, can you please say it again? (Spoken language: Voisiksä sanoa uudelleen?)
  • En ymmärtänyt tehtävää. Voitko selittää sen uudelleen? - I didn't understand the task. Can you please explain it again? (Spoken language: Mä en ymmärtänyt. Voiksä selittää uudelleen?)


  • Mielestäni tämä asia pitäisi tehdä eri tavalla.- In my opinion, this thing should be done differently. (Spoken language: Mun mielestä tää juttu pitäis tehä eri tavalla.)
  • Anteeksi, mutta voinko sanoa jotain? Sinä teit tuon väärin. - Excuse me, but can I say something? You did that wrong. (Spoken language: Anteeks mutta saanko mä sanoa jotain? Sä teit ton väärin.)
  • Oletko varma että se tehdään noin? - Are you sure that it's done like that? (Spoken language: Ooksä varma, et se tehään noin?)


  • Sinä olet aina myöhässä. Sinun pitäisi tulla ajoissa. - You are always late. You should come on time. (Spoken language: Sä oot aina myöhässä. Sun pitäis tulla ajoissa.) 
  • Voisitko tulla ajoissa töihin?- Can you please come to work at in time? (Spoken language: Voisiksä tulla ajoissa töihin?)

 What to say when your friend isn't feeling well:

  • Onko kaikki hyvin? - Is everything okay? (Spoken language: Onks kaikki hyvin?)
  •  Voinko auttaa jotenkin? - Can I help you somehow? (Spoken language: Voinksmä auttaa jotenki?) 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Cleaning verbs in Finnish

Here's a list of different cleaning and housekeeping verbs in Finnish. If you want to learn more, here's a link to a really good cleaning services material in easy Finnish.

How many of these verbs do you know?
  1. hangata
  2. harjata
  3. huuhdella
  4. imuroida
  5. järjestää
  6. kaataa
  7. kastella
  8. kierrättää
  9. kiillottaa
  10. korjata
  11. kostuttaa
  12. kuivata
  13. laittaa uusi muovipussi
  14. lajitella
  15. lakaista lattia
  16. laskostaa
  17. liottaa
  18. mankeloida
  19. mopata
  20. nihkeyttää
  21. pedata
  22. pestä
  23. pudistella
  24. puhdistaa
  25. puristaa
  26. pyyhkiä 
  27. raaputtaa
  28. ripustaa
  29. siivota
  30. silittää
  31. taitella
  32. taittaa
  33. tampata
  34. tehdä käyttöliuos
  35. tiskata
  36. tyhjentää
  37. täyttää
  38. vaihtaa
  39. viedä ulos
Here are the translations:
  1. hangata - to scrub
  2. harjata - to brush, to sweep
  3. huuhdella - to rinse
  4. imuroida - to vacuum
  5. järjestää - to organize
  6. kaataa - to pour
  7. kastella - to water, to wet, to soak
  8. kierrättää - to recycle
  9. kiillottaa - to polish
  10. korjata - to fix, to repair
  11. kostuttaa - to moisten
  12. kuivata - to dry
  13. laittaa uusi muovipussi - to put in a new plastic bag
  14. lajitella - to sort
  15. lakaista lattia - to sweep the floor
  16. laskostaa - to fold
  17. liottaa - to soak
  18. mankeloida - to wring, to mangel
  19. mopata - to mop
  20. nihkeyttää - to dampen
  21. pedata sänky - to make the bed
  22. pestä - to wash
  23. pudistella - to shake
  24. puhdistaa - to clean, to cleanse (e.g. a stain)
  25. puristaa - to squeeze
  26. pyyhkiä  - to wipe
  27. raaputtaa - to scratch, to scrape
  28. ripustaa - to hang something
  29. siivota - to clean
  30. silittää - to iron (also to pet and to stroke)
  31. taitella - to fold (multiple times)
  32. taittaa - to fold (once)
  33. tampata matot - to beat the rugs
  34. tehdä käyttöliuos - to prepare the cleaning solution
  35. tiskata - to wash the dishes
  36. tyhjentää - to empty
  37. täyttää - to fill
  38. vaihtaa - to change
  39. viedä ulos - to take out

Useful cleaning adjectives:

  • puhdas - clean
  • likainen - dirty
  • tahmea - sticky
  • kuiva - dry
  • nihkeä - damp
  • kostea - moist
  • märkä - wet

One more thing:  Professional cleaners don't talk about rätti (a rag), but they say siivousliina instead. Also, there are two kinds of buckets: ämpäri is for picking berries, sanko is for cleaning.


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.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Everyday Finnish

I just found a new online material! It is called Arkipäivän suomea, literally weekday Finnish. It is kind of old, but definitely worth checking out.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Speeding up boring meetings in Finnish

Tylsää! - Boring!

Have you ever been at a meeting when somebody is talking about something absolutely irrelevant, stealing everyone else's valuable time? If nobody else is saying anything, here are some things that you can say while remaining calm and polite:

p.s. You might also like my post about complaining politelyfighting in Finnish and confusingly similar words.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Kitchen verbs in Finnish

Some of you might know that I'm currently working at a vocational school. My students are studying to become either cooks, facility caretakers or housekeepers. Needless to say, the food is heavenly. During a normal day at work, I get to eat four times. I have to enjoy it while it lasts, since I'm there only temporarily.

 Anyway, here's a list of cooking verbs. How many do you already know?
  1. hauduttaa
  2. hienontaa
  3. hieroa
  4. huuhdella
  5. hämmentää
  6. grillata
  7. jauhaa
  8. kaataa
  9. keittää
  10. kiehauttaa
  11. kohottaa taikina
  12. koristella
  13. kuoria
  14. kuullottaa
  15. kuumentaa
  16. kuutioida
  17. kääriä
  18. leikata
  19. leipoa
  20. lisätä
  21. maustaa
  22. nuijia
  23. paistaa pannulla
  24. paistaa uunissa
  25. paloitella
  26. perata kala
  27. pilkkoa
  28. ripotella
  29. rullata
  30. sekoittaa
  31. silputa
  32. suurustaa
  33. raastaa
  34. uppopaistaa
  35. viipaloida
  36. vatkata munat
  37. vatkata sähkövatkaimella
  38. vispata
  39. voidella
  40. öljytä

Here are the same verbs with translations:

  1. hauduttaa - to simmer
  2. hienontaa - to chop or grind until something is very fine
  3. hieroa - to rub
  4. huuhdella - to rinse
  5. hämmentää - to stir (kind of slowly)
  6. grillata - to grill, to barbeque
  7. jauhaa - to grind
  8. kaataa - to pour
  9. keittää - to cook (water, coffee, tea)
  10. kiehauttaa - to bring to boil
  11. kohottaa taikina - to raise the dough
  12. koristella - to garnish, to decorate
  13. kuoria - to peel
  14. kuullottaa - to sauté, to sweat
  15. kuumentaa - to heat up
  16. kuutioida - to cube, to dice 
  17. kääriä - to wrap
  18. leikata - to cut
  19. leipoa - to bake (e.g. bread, buns and pies)
  20. lisätä - to add
  21. maustaa - to season
  22. nuijia - to pound
  23. paistaa pannulla - to fry on a pan
  24. paistaa uunissa - to bake or cook in the oven
  25. paloitella - to cut into pieces
  26. perata kala - to clean / gut the fish
  27. pilkkoa - to cut into pieces
  28. ripotella - to sprinkle
  29. rullata - to roll
  30. sekoittaa - to mix
  31. silputa - to chop
  32. suurustaa - to thicken
  33. raastaa - to grate
  34. uppopaistaa - to deep-fry
  35. viipaloida - to slice
  36. vatkata munat - to beat the eggs
  37. vatkata sähkövatkaimella - to mix with an electric mixer
  38. vispata - to whisk
  39. voidella - to grease, to butter, to spread
  40. öljytä - to oil, to grease

p.s. Dough, batter and paste can all be translated as taikina. To cook can be either kypsentää, kokata, valmistaa / laittaa ruokaa, keittää or paistaa.

Hyvää ruokahalua! -  Bon appétit!

Saturday, August 22, 2015


Sopia is one of those verbs with several meanings. The four important forms are sopia, sovin, sovin and sopinut. Notice that the positive present and past are almost the same, and remember the consonant gradation!

Here are some common uses of sopia:

  • Se sopii minulle.  - That's fine with me.
  • Se ei sovi minulle.  - That doesn't fit my schedule.
  • Sopiiko tämä sinulle? - Is this ok with you?
  • Sopiiko, että jutellaan tästä myöhemmin? - Is it ok if we'll talk about this later? 
  • Tämä paita ei sovi minulle enää. - This shirt doesn't fit me anymore.
  • Tuo väri sopii sinulle tosi hyvin. - That colour looks really good on you.
  • Te sovitte toisillenne. - You make a good match.
  • Voidaanko sopia siitä huomenna? - Can we settle it tomorrow?
  • Sovitaanko, että et tee sitä enää koskaan ? - Shall we agree that you'll never  that again?

..and here are some Finnish proverbs with sopia:

  • Sopii kuin nenä päähän. - Fits like a nose in a head.
  • Sopii kuin nyrkki silmään. - Fits like a fist in the eye.
  • Sopii kuin sialle otsatukka! - Fits like bangs on a pig!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

How to ask Finns to speak easier Finnish

This post is kind of similar to my post How to make Finns speak Finnish, not English. A friend of mine wanted to know how to make Finns speak easier Finnish. Here's what we came up with:

  • Anteeksi, mutta voisitko sanoa sen uudelleen suomeksi? - I'm sorry, but could you say it again in Finnish?
  • Voisitko puhua vähän hitaammin? - Could you speak a bit more slowly?
  • Odota vähän. - Wait a little while. 
  • Anteeksi, en ymmärtänyt. - Sorry, but I didn't understand.
  • Mikä se ensimmäinen kysymys oli? - What was the first question?
  • Voitko sanoa viimeisen lauseen uudelleen? - Can you say the last sentence again?
  • Minä en ymmärrä, mitä verenpaine tarkoittaa. Voitko selittää sen minulle? - I don't understand what blood pressure means. Can you explain it to me?
  • Voisitko kääntää tämän minulle? - Could you translate this for me?
  • Kuinka sanotaan suomeksi I wonder? - How do you say I wonder in Finnish?
  • Anteeksi, mutta mä en ihan ymmärtänyt. - I'm sorry, but I didn't quite understand. 

Check out this excellent post from Fluent in 3 months: How to convince natives to speak to you in their language.

10 vinkkiä selkokielellä puhumiseen. 10 tips for speaking easy Finnish. Print this and bring it to work.


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.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Verbs that are the same in present and past

Pay attention to these verbs, because sometimes it might be really confusing that they look the same when conjugated in positive present and past tenses. The list is actually quite long. Whenever there is an i before the infinitive ending, the verb conjugates (almost) the same way in present and past. The verbs are either verb type 1 or 2 verbs. Verb type 2 is always the same. With verb type 1 verbs, the only thing that makes a difference is the third person singular. In other cases, you'll just have to figure out the meaning from the context.

The present conjugation of tanssia:

  • Minä tanssin - I dance
  • Sinä tanssit  - You dance
  • Hän tanssii - S/he dances
  • Me tanssimme - We dance
  • Te tanssitte  - You dance
  • He tanssivat - They dance

The past tense conjugation of tanssia:

  • Minä tanssin - I danced
  • Sinä tanssit - You danced
  • Hän tanssi  - S/he danced
  • Me tanssimme  - We danced
  • Te tanssitte - You danced
  • He tanssivat - They danced

Here are some common verbs that behave the same way:

  • analysoida - to analyze
  • arvioida - to evaluate
  • ehtiä - to have time to do something
  • etsiä - to look for, to search
  • imuroida - to vacuum
  • miettiä - to think in order to find a solution
  • oppia - to learn
  • tanssia - to dance
  • tupakoida - to smoke
  • tutkia - to investigate, to research
  • uida - to swim
  • voida - to be able to

Check out my books:


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, July 28, 2015


Lukea is not just to read, but it is also used in expressions that would probably have the verb to say or something else in other languages. The four important forms are lukea, luen, luin and lukenut.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Finnish books for intermediate and advanced learners

I really like the Samalla kartalla book series. You can already get Samalla kartalla 1 and Samalla kartalla 2, and the third one is coming in August. I like to recommend these books for my intermediate students who already know the basic grammar and want to practice reading comprehension, structures and vocabulary. If you want to study really difficult Finnish, check out Finnish for translators.

Here's a post about more material to teach yourself Finnish.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

How to talk about nobody in Finnish

Ei kukaan is nobody. When used in a sentence, it goes like this:

  • Kukaan ei koskaan soita mulle! - Nobody ever calls me!
  • en halua puhua kenenkään kanssa. - I don't want to talk with anybody. 
  • en tunne täältä ketään. - I don't know anybody from here.
  • Minä en nähnyt ketään. - I didn't see anyone.
  • Kenelläkään ei ollut mitään sanottavaa. - Nobody had anything to say.
  • en saanut keneltäkään lahjoja. - I didn't get presents from anybody.
  • en puhunut kenellekään. - I didn't talk to anyone. 
  • Minä en antanut lahjoja kenellekään. - I didn't give presents to anybody.
  • en tykkää kenestäkään. - I don't like anybody. 
  • Mä en luota kehenkään. - I don't trust anybody.


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.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


I'm sure that you have noticed how pitää can mean many different things. Here are just some sentences that came to my mind. The four important forms are pitää, pidän, pidin and pitänyt.

  • Pidätkö punaviinistä? - Do you like red wine? (When speaking, I always use tykätä instead and ask Tykkäätkö sä punaviinistä?)
  • Pidä huolta itsestäsi. - Take care of yourself.
  • Pidätkö sinä häntä hyvänä johtajana? - Do you consider him / her as a good leader?
  • Pidä kiinni sun hatusta! - Hold on to your hat!
  • voit pitää sen. - You can keep it.
  • Aiotko pitää puheen? - Are you going to give a speech?
  • Meinaako se pitää isot juhlat? - Is he going to have a big party?
  • Pitäisitkö mun laukkua hetken? - Would you hold my bag for a moment?
  • Tämä pitää korjata. - This has to be fixed.
  • Se pitää paikkansa. - That's correct.
  • Oletko sä pitänyt koko viikon samoja alushousuja?! - Have you been wearing the same underwear all week?!

If you liked this, you might also like my post about tykätä and pitää.


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.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

How I studied Chinese and Russian

I'm almost finished with the first two weeks of my summer challenge! This is how I managed to find some time to study first Chinese and then Russian every day for a week. I'm not super proud of myself, but it's a great start.

Näin opiskelin kiinaa - This is how I studied Chinese:

  • I was very gentle with myself. For the first couple of days, I just wanted to read about Chinese and life in China, and get accustomed to the sound of it by listening to songs in Chinese. 
  • Whenever I was doing something on the computer or building legos with my children, I was listening to Chinese songs from Youtube. (Did you know that this Finnish artist also sings in Chinese?)
  • Instead of reading Keskisuomalainen while having breakfast, I was reading a Chinese course book that I borrowed from the library. The book was also the last thing to read in bed. 
  • After realizing how pointless it was to read pinyin without really knowing how to pronounce it, I started watching various Youtube Chinese tutorials. 
  • I should learn how to study in a mess. So many times I found myself cleaning in the morning when I should have been studying, and when I was ready to study, my kids woke up.
  • I didn't manage to organize a Skype or a live chat with a real Chinese person, but I'll definitely do something about it in the near future. Chinese is fascinating, but I don't want to study it all by myself.

Näin opiskelin venäjää - This is how I studied Russian:

  • I have studied Russian before, so this week was a bit different from the previous one. I read this book about Russian language, and I also studied from a texbook with a Finnish translation next to the Russian text, which I really like.
  • During the week, I skyped twice with a lovely Russian lady who helped me with this Memrise course and with my pronunciation. 
  • A friend of mine recommended this online radio channel, and I'm planning on doing all the boring household chores while listening to Russian music. (And if you don't like the music, at least you'll do the chores faster!)
  • I totally forgot to watch Yle Novosti, but I'll try to form a habit of watching it every day, since I really want to learn Russian. I think it's actually quite lame not to know the languages of your neighbouring countries. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Mixcloud & Instagram

If you haven't noticed yet, I now have both Mixcloud and Instagram accounts. How exciting! I hope you'll find them useful. My goal is to interview more adults, and post at least one picture every day.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

How to say you're sorry in Finnish

I already have an old post about the word anteeksi, but here's what to say if you want to express symphathy and understanding. 

  • Mä oon todella pahoillani. -  I'm very sorry.
  • Otan osaa. - My condolences. (Only if someone has died.)
  • Anteeksi että häiritsen, mutta haluaisin vain tietää, onko kaikki kunnossa.  - Sorry that I'm disturbing, but I'd just like to know if everything is ok. 
  • Kuinka mä voisin auttaa? - How could I help?
  • Pärjäätkö yksin? - Are you going to be ok by yourself?
  • Haluatko seuraa? - Do you want some company?
  • Sano, jos mä voin tehdä jotain. - Please say if I can do something. 
  • Sano, jos voin auttaa jotenkin. - Please say if I can help somehow. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Expressing possibility and probability

There are several ways to express possibility and probability in Finnish.

Ehkä is maybe, perhaps.

  • tuun ehkä kuudelta. - Maybe I'll come at six.
  • Ehkä se on unohtanut. - Perhaps he has forgotten.

Kai is probably.

  • Niin kai. - I guess so.  
  • Meillä on kai ruotsin sanakoe huomenna. - I suppose we have a Swedish vocabulary quiz tomorrow. 

Kai is also used in the of course meaning in slightly irritated expressions. 

You can also use kai when you hear something positively or negatively amazing.

  • No kai mä nyt sen tiedän! - Well of course I know that!
  • Ei kai! - No way!

Varmaan also means probably.

In more official Finnish, use luultavasti.

  • Mun pitäisi varmaan opiskella. - I should probably study.
  • Niin varmaan - I guess so.
  • Hän on luultavasti oikeassa. - He's probably right. 

Varmaan  is actually kind of weird. In a negative sentence, it can be used the same way as varmasti, for sure. I'd say that the meaning depends on the tone of voice, just like in Chinese! :)

  • Tuutko sä uimaan? - En mä varmaan tuu. - I probably won't come.
  • Tuutko sä uimaan? - En VARmaan tuu! - Absolutely not!

Then the verbs. Taitaa and saattaa are almost the same. I'd say that taitaa is used when something seems or looks like something, and saattaa expresses the probability.

Taitaa (taidan, taisin, tainnut)

  • Mä taidan nyt lähteä. - I guess I'll be going now. 
  • Tämä taitaa olla rikki. - This seems to be broken. 
  • Mä taisin unohtaa kahvinkeittimen päälle. - I think I left the coffee maker on.
  • Sä taidat olla oikeassa. - I guess you're right.

Saattaa (saatan, saatoin, saattanut)

  • Se saattaa tulla myöhässä. - He might come late.
  • Tämä saattaa olla väärin. - This might be wrong. 
  • Mä saatan olla väärässä. - I might be wrong.

Oh, and here is a separate post about voida.


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.