Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Finnish sentence types

You've probably heard of the verb types and the noun types, but how about the Finnish sentence types? If you want to have a full lesson about them, I recommend reading Leila White's grammar book, pages 300-323. Here's my short version of the most useful sentence types.

The ones where the verb conjugates according to the person:

  1. Minä asun tuossa kerrostalossa. - I live in that apartment building. (The simple sentence. Nothing special here.)
  2. Me olemme opiskelijoita. - We are students. (A predicative sentence. Might cause confusion because of the occasional plural partitive.)
  3. Minä juon nyt kahvia. - I'm drinking coffee now. (A sentence with an object.)
  4. Minä tykkään opiskella suomea.  - I like to study Finnish. (Two verbs, the second one in the basic form.)
  5. Minä menen nyt nukkumaan. - I'm going to sleep now.  (Two verbs, the second one in ma-infinitive.) (Oh, you might like my post about the English -ing form.)

The ones where the verb is always in the same (3rd person singular) form. It's the personal pronoun that changes:

  1. Minulla on kokous neljältä. -  I have a meeting at four o'clock. (Having something.)
  2. Baarissa oli paljon ihmisiä. - There were many people in the bar. (An existential clause, as in There is something somewhere. Again, you might need plural partitive.)
  3. Minun täytyy maksaa tämä lasku. -  I have to pay this bill. (Having to do something.)
  4. Sinun kannattaa nyt lähteä. - You should leave now. (A sentence with kannattaa.)
  5. Tämä elokuva itkettää minua. - This movie makes me cry. (Sentences with feeling verbs.)

The sentences that express a change or a result can be in either category:

  1. Tulin äidiksi 31-vuotiaana. - I became a mother when I was 31 years old.
  2. Minusta tuli äiti 31-vuotiaana. - I became a mother when I was 31 years old.

These ones have no personal pronoun at all:

  1. Ota lisää! - Take more! (This verb form is called imperative.)
  2. Saako täällä syödä omia eväitä? - Is it ok to eat your own food here? (A generic sentence, the subject could be anyone.)
  3. (On) tosi tylsää, että teidän pitää jo lähteä. - (It's) super lame, that you have to leave already. (Expressing your opinion with an adjective in the beginning of the sentence.)
  4. Suomessa juodaan paljon kahvia. - They drink a lot of coffee in Finland. (A passive sentence.)

If you want to read about forming questions, which you can do with all the sentence types, I have a post about the question words and another about the questions ending with ko or .

Lue lisää: 

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. 


MBLAH_op said...

Thanks for your blog and for that kind of round up.
I could definitely read and use a post about those sentences that have a 'kind of subject' in the genitive (though I feel it's more a dative complement than a genitive subject) + modal verb + verb in 1st infinitive. Like «Ulkomaalaisten kannattaa opiskella suomea.» A short list or more example of modal verbs that require that construction would be great ! :-)

Random Finnish Lesson / Hanna Männikkölahti said...

Tässä postauksessa on joitain sellaisia verbejä: (Pahoittelen, että vastaan 3,5 vuotta myöhässä.:))

Unknown said...

Ive read countless blogs and chapters and wrote down countless of my own charts but im still struggling with creating my own sentences. Would you give me a few quick and simple tips on how to translate an english sentence to finnish? I have alot of finnish in me and would love to learn it but im terrible. You can email me at the provided email i usei used to post this.

Random Finnish Lesson / Hanna Männikkölahti said...

Challenge accepted! Give me a couple of English sentences that you'd like to say in Finnish and I'll write a blog post about them. I'm pretty sure that figuring out the sentence type is the key.