Saturday, November 30, 2013

How to answer the question 'Missä?' in Finnish

Here's how to answer the question where? in Finnish. 

These words usually take the internal ending ssa or ssä:

  • saunassa - in the sauna
  • museossa - in the museum
  • teatterissa - in the theatre
  • oopperassa - in the opera
  • koulussa - at the school
  • kirjastossa - in the library
  • kaupassa - in the store
  • baarissa - in the bar
  • matkakeskuksessa - in the travel center
  • ravintolassa - in the restaurant
  • apteekissa - in the pharmacy
  • autotallissa - in the garage
  • uimahallissa - in the swimming hall
  • elokuvateatterissa - in the movie theatre
  • huoneessa - in the room
  • keittiössä - in the kitchen
  • hotellissa - at the hotel.
  • pubissa - in the pub
  • vessassa - in the toilet
  • päiväkodissa - in the kindergarten
  • hississä - in the elevator
  • narikassa - at the coat check
  • omakotitalossa - in a single house (own home house)
  • sairaalassa - in the hospital
  • konsertissa - at the concert
  • järvessä - in the lake (in the water)
  • joessa - in the river (in the water)

These ones are usually outside, but still take the internal ending:

  • puistossa - at the park
  • puutarhassa - in the garden
  • eläintarhassa - in the zoo
  • satamassa - at the harbour
  • keskustassa - in the city centre
  • metsässä - in the forest

These words are usually with the external ending lla or llä.

  • torilla - at the market square
  • kadulla - on the street
  • vuorella - on the mountain (but Laajavuoressa, if you live there.)
  • joella - by the river
  • yliopistolla - at the university
  • rannalla - on the beach
  • mökillä - at the summer cottage (the area, not just the cabin)
  • järvellä - by the lake, on the lake
  • parvekkeella - on the balcony
  • terassilla - on the terrace

This ending is used even if you are inside:

  • kuntosalilla - at the gym
  • klubilla - at the club
  • lentoasemalla - at the plane station
  • rautatieasemalla - at the railway station
  • huoltoasemalla - at the gas station
  • kioskilla - at the kiosk
  • kurssilla - taking a course

Of course, there has to be an exception: 

  • kotona - at home

Notice the difference between these sentences:

  • Olen töissä yliopistossa. - I work in the university. (University is an institution.)
  • Olin koko päivän yliopistolla. - I spent the whole day at the university. (University is a place.)
  • Tavataan toimistossa. - Let's meet in the office. (Inside.)
  • Tavataan toimistolla. - Let's meet at the office. (Also inside, but could also be by the coffee machine, not necessary in the actual office room.)

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About the author of this blog: 

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

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Rannassa is also possible meaning "very near the waterline" for objects on the land but most importantly it is used for boats moored or pulled at the shore.

Kodissa is also possible but means "at a home" not "at one's home".

Possible explanation for some of the -lla/-llä words listed is that the place designates a larger or a smaller area than maybe understood from translation: a station, in Finnish, includes more than just the building (which is "asemarakennus"), "kuntosali" OTOH means an "exercise hall" so you could use -ssa if you were talking about being inside that specific room, "yliopisto" is often thought of in terms of the institution: one is "yliopistossa" if he/she works or studies there (again "yliopistorakennus" is possible), etc..

-ssa/-ssä is "inside" something, -lla/-llä is "at", "on top of" or "near" something.