Saturday, June 21, 2014

Making a Finnish verb into a noun

Making verbal nouns with the ending minen is quite simple and useful to know.

  • Leipominen on kiva harrastus. - Baking is a nice hobby.
  • Opiskeleminen on ihanaa! - Studying is wonderful!

How to do it?

  1. Take a verb.  > leipoa, opiskella (to bake, to study)
  2. Make the third person plural form. > he leipovat, he opiskelevat  (they bake, they study)
  3. (Notice that verb types 3,4 and 6 might have a consonant change.)
  4. Drop the ending vat in order to get the stem. > leipo-, opiskele-
  5. Add minen. > leipominen, opiskeleminen (baking, studying)
  6. Ta-daa, you have a verbal noun!

Pay attention to the word order

It seems relatively easy in the beginning, but the more you want to say, the crazier grammar you'll encounter. First of all, notice the flipped word order:

  • Syödä ulkona: Ulkona syöminen on kallista. - Eating out is expensive. 
  • Nukkua teltassa: Teltassa nukkuminen on hauskaa. - Sleeping in a tent is fun. 
  • Asua kämppiksen kanssa: Kämppiksen kanssa asuminen on mukavaa. - Living with a flatmate is nice. 
  • Juosta järven ympäri: Järven ympäri juokseminen kestää tunnin. - Running around the lake takes an hour. 

Remember the genitive

  • Soittaa kitaraa: Kitaran soittaminen on helppoa. - Playing the guitar is easy.
  • Saada opiskelupaikka: Opiskelupaikan saaminen on vaikeaa. - Getting a study place is difficult. 

Sometimes even in plural.

  • Harjata hampaat: Hampaiden harjaaminen kestää vain kolme minuuttia.  - Brushing the teeth takes only three minutes.
  • Tehdä muistiinpanoja: Muistiinpanojen tekeminen on tärkeää. - Taking notes is important.

The minen nouns belong to the category of words that end with nen. Partitive and elative cases are usually the confusing ones, so pay attention to these examples:


  • Mä rakastan siivoamista! - I love cleaning! (siivoamis + ta)
  • Mä inhoan imuroimista! - I hate vacuuming! (imuroimis + ta)
  • Mä harrastan tanssimista. - I dance. Dancing is my hobby. (tanssimis + ta).


  • Mä  tykkään siivoamisesta. -  I  like cleaning. (siivoamise + sta)
  • Mä en tykkää imuroimisesta. - I don't like vacuuming. (imuroimise + sta)
  • Oletko kiinnostunut tanssimisesta? - Are you interested in dancing? (tanssimise + sta)

Notice that there are also other ways to turn verbs into nouns. (Scroll down to 7) Teonnimet to find out other possible endings. The minen one is the most productive of them all, and you can apply it to any Finnish verb.)

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.  


Unknown said...

An ordinary spell check will catch obvious errors, but does not check for context, so that if you use "knight" instead of "night" it won't catch it because both are correctly spelled words. Online grammar checkers read whole sentences, not just words. english grammar noun

jose peirano said...

Hi!Thanks a lot for this blog and free teachings! I am a beginner in learning Finnish and they are very handy! I went to Finland on vacations last year and really fell in love with the country and the language :-) About this section, I´m trying to understand the noun form of a verb + the partitive object in sentences which has an object... also English is not my mother tongue so it could make it a little harder to understand... If I would like to say in Finnish "I love throwing gasoline to the flames", it is ok to say: "rakastan bensaa liekkeihin heittämistää" ? Or I should use the akkusatiivi "bensan" instead? and another issue... it is OK to change the order in the sentence to "rakastan heittämistä" first and the object in second place? Thanks a lot!

Random Finnish Lesson / Hanna Männikkölahti said...

Moikka! I'd say "Rakastan heittää bensaa liekkeihin." or "Rakastan bensan heittämistä liekkeihin. / Rakastan bensan liekkeihin heittämistä." However, none of them sound like a very good idea. :)

jose peirano said...

Hehehe mun mielestä se ei ole hyvä idea! But this was the first example that come to my mind when mixing noun form of a verb, partitive and "mihin" case in the same sentence and also with my very limited vocabulary. Now I see that I typed an extra "ä" in "heittämistä"... I was not intended to do it. It is clear now, so there are many ways to say it, thanks a lot! :-)