Monday, August 11, 2014

How to use the Finnish words 'tosi', 'todella' and 'oikeasti'

An anonymous reader asked me to clarify the meaning of these three words. I'll try. Kiitos ideasta!

Tosi is true and real, and it's often used in partitive:

  • Onko se totta? - Is it true?
  • Totta kai! - Of course! (Yes, the direct translation is very illogically True, I suppose)

Here are some expressions with the word tosi that kind of lose their cool in translation:

  • Tosi kuin vesi! - True as water!
  • Nyt on tosi kyseessä. - It's a serious matter now. 

Tosi is also the spoken language version of todella, which means very. 

Also oikein and hyvin mean very, but they sound more formal and old-fashioned than todella or tosi.

  • Todella hyvä asia! = Tosi kiva juttu! - A very nice thing!

Here's how to use todella (or tosi) in front of adjectives and adverbs:

  • Tämä on todella tärkeä asia. - This is a very important matter.
  • Tämä kakku on todella hyvää. - This cake is really good.
  • Se oli todella mielenkiintoinen luento. - It was a very interesting lecture. 
  • Mun piti miettiä tätä todella kauan. - I had to think about this for a really long time. 
  • Anteeksi. Mä sanoin todella rumasti. - I'm sorry. I said very uglily. 
  • Mä olen todella pahoillani. - I'm very sorry. 

Todella can also be used the same way as oikeasti - for real. 

Sometimes (very annoying) people even say aikuisten oikeasti - for adults' real. In spoken language, oikeasti becomes oikeesti.

  • Voinko mä oikeasti luottaa sinuun? - Can I really trust you?
  • Voit todellakin. - Yes, you certainly can.  (Add kin to make it even stronger.)
  • Oikeesti, mä yritin vain auttaa. - For real, I just tried to help. 
  • Lupaatko aikuisten oikeesti? - Do you promise, for really real?

If you liked this, you might also like my post about ihan.

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...

I never think about that totta is the partitiivi of tosi. Interesting.

Anonymous said...

Tosi hyvä :)

Anonymous said...

Kiitos Avusta Hanna! I knew you would help me with this one. Thanks for explaining this to me, its clear now. :)

Unknown said...

Kiitos paljon...:)

Anonymous said...

Now it's the matter of truth tarkoittaisi "Nyt on kyse totuudesta". Itse laittaisin ehkä "It is a serious matter now"

Hanna said...

Kiitos! Mä vaihdoin sen.:)

Unknown said...

Dear Hanna! I have been reading your blog intensively for the last two days as I am preparing for YKI testi with my very poor Finnish language skills, but you have done an amazing job and I can tell you are a wonderful person too :-)

Hanna said...

Oi, kiitos palautteesta ja onnea Yki-testiin!

Anonymous said...

If you have time, a post on oikeasti vs oikeastaan would also be quite helpful!

Hanna said...

Oh yes, I already have that one waiting in my drafts folder. :)

Oikein, oikeasti, oikeastaan..

In short, oikeasti is for real and oikeastaan is actually.