Wednesday, March 5, 2014

How to use the Finnish words 'joku', 'eräs' ja 'yksi'

Joku is someone.  You don't really know joku that well, or it doesn't matter who she or he is.

  • Joku on varastanut mun pyörän! - Someone has stolen my bike!
  • Meneekö joku vielä saunaan? - Is someone still going to the sauna?
  • Ottaako joku vielä maksalaatikkoa? - Is someone still taking liver casserole?
  • Se oli vain joku puhelinmyyjä. - It was just some telemarketer. 
  • Tuolla rannalla makaa joku mies! - There's some guy lying on the beach!

(Notice that joku is also used in spoken language when talking about jokin, something. I have a whole post about those two.)

Eräs is actually not so common in everyday spoken language. It's much more formal and old-fashioned than yksi.

  • Eräänä päivänä Punahilkka lähti käymään isoäidin luona. - Once upon a time Little Red riding Hood went to visit her grandmother. 
  • Minulla on sinulle eräs mielenkiintoinen projekti. - I have an interesting project for you.

Eräs in plural can be used in an ironic tone of voice: 
  • Minä osaan sentään pukeutua, toisin kuin eräät. - At least I now how to dress, unlike a certain someone.

Finally, here are some everyday sentences with yksi. In spoken language, it's often just yks.

  • Se on vaan yks mun vanha tyttöystävä. - She's just an old girlfriend of mine.
  • Se on yks mun kurssikaveri. - S/he's a course friend of mine.
  • Me nähtiin eilen yks tosi hyvä elokuva. - We saw a really good movie yesterday. 
  • Mä olin eilen yhdessä uudessa ravintolassa. - I went to a new restaurant yesterday.

Read more: 

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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. You can contact me through You can subscribe to this blog from the right-hand banner. 


Nick O. said...

Kiitoksia :)

Random Finnish Lesson / Hanna Männikkölahti said...

Eipä kestä.:)

Anonymous said...

The reason "eräs" is used in ironic tones is that it is used to mean "someone", "a person", etc. (or "a certain someone" - no definite/indefinite separation, remember?), whereas "yksi" isn't. Then again "yksi" means "one" in a numerical sense (it's a numeral) and also "a"/"an", whereas "eräs" (a noun) does not, so "eräs" can be used separately, whereas "yksi" tends to beg the question "one what?", even though that isn't grammatically required.
I think the very few people using "yksi" separately in place of "eräs" is mostly Swedish or foreign influence.