Friday, November 30, 2012

How to use the Finnish verb 'kestää'

Kestää is one of those vebs with multiple meanings.  The four important forms are kestää, kestän, kestin and kestänyt.

to last

  • Kuinka kauan tämä kestää? - How long will this last?
  • Kylläpä se kesti! - Man, that took a long time!
  • Mikä sulla kestää? - What's taking you so long?

to stand, to tolerate, to cope, to hold up

  • Kuinka te kestätte toisianne? - How can you stand each other?
  • Mä en kestä tätä enää! - I cannot take this anymore.
  • Kestä vielä vähän aikaa. - Hold up for a while.

to be strong enough

  • Kestääkö tämä tuoli minua? - Can I sit on this chair or will it break?
  • Jää ei kestä enää. - The ice is not strong enough (for people to walk on it) anymore. 

These words are derived from kestää:

Finally, here's the explanation for Eipä kestä:

Back in the old days, one of the meanings of kestää was to deserve. Maybe it's still like that in some dialects, but I cannot think of an example. When we answer Ei kestä or Eipä kestä to Kiitos, we actually mean Ei kestä kiittää. = Whatever I said or did wasn't so special that it would deserve a thank you.

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.


tigareth said...

Aha, so it's like the English expression "no need to thank", sometimes also shortened to just "no need"

Laura said...

Quite often I use "Mikä maksaa?" when meaning what is taking you so long. If you would say "Mitä maksaa?" it would mean "how much does it cost?". Just my comment slightly off topic.

Hanna said...

Totta. Hyvä lisäys, Laura!