Sunday, August 12, 2012

Imperative mood in Finnish

The imperative mood, in singular, is a piece of cake (helppo nakki in Finnish) if you know how to conjugate a verb in minä-form. Just drom the n and there's your command. Add älä in front, and you'll  have a negative command.

Giving orders to one person

  • Tule! - Come!
  • Älä tule! - Don't come!

Giving orders to more than one person or being polite

This one is a little bit trickier.  Here are some examples using the different verb types:

  • Antakaa se minulle. - Give it to me.
  • Syökää lisää! - Eat more!
  • Opiskelkaa yhdessä. - Study together.
  • Pelatkaa ilman minua. - Play (a game or sports) without me. 
  • Valitkaa yksi. - Choose one.

In the negative form, just add älkää  in front of the verb and change the kaa/kää ending to ko/kö

  • Älkää antako periksi! - Don't give up!
  • Älkää syökö liikaa ennen peliä. - Don't eat too much before the game.
  • Älkää opiskelko liian väsyneinä. - Don't study while being too tired.
  • Älkää pelatko koko yötä. - Don't play the whole night.
  • Älkää valitko tätä. - Don't choose this.

So how do you make this plural imperative form, then? The secret is the basic form. You have to drop a letter or two from the end and then add the imperative ending kaa or kää, like this:

  • Verb type 1: (to give) antaa: anta + kaa > älkää anta + ko
  • Verb type 2: (to eat) syödä: syö + kää > älkää syö + kö
  • Verb type 3: (to study) opiskella: opiskel + kaa > älkää opiskel + ko
  • Verb type 4:  (to play) pelata: pelat + kaa > älkää pelat + ko
  • Verb type 5: (to choose) valita: valit + kaa > älkää valit + ko

This post was requested by a friend of mine who was wondering about the ko/kö ending in the sentence Älkää herättäkö minua.  Notice, that this ko/kö has nothing to do with the similar looking question ending such as in sentences Onko sulla rahaa?  or Mennäänkö taksilla?  (=Do you have money? Shall we go by taxi?) I hope this post was clarifying, not confusing! :)

About the author of Random Finnish Lesson: 

My name is Hanna Männikkölahti. I am a professional Finnish teacher who gives private online lessons and simplifies books into easy Finnish. Please read more in and follow this blog, if you want to be the first one to know when I post something new.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There are also third person imperatives -koon, -köön and -koot, -kööt which could be translated as let her/him/them ..., e.g. let them eat cake.