Tuesday, November 11, 2014

How to use the Finnish expressions 'hyvä', 'hyvää' and 'hyvin'

Hyvä can be a surprisingly difficult word. It's used a lot, and many times you just want to express that something is good or great with one word. But shoud you say Hyvä or Hyvää?  I'm guessing that even if you make a mistake when using hyvä, your Finnish friends don't correct you, because...

  1. They understand what you mean. 
  2. They don't want to be impolite or make you feel bad. 
  3. They don't want to end up in the situation where they have to talk about Finnish grammar. 


Hyvä! is used when reacting to incidents and news. Unless you are eating or drinking something, this is usually the one you should use.

  • Mä jätin mun poikaystävän. - Hyvä! - I dumped my boyfriend. - Good!
  • Tämä korjataan huomenna. - Hyvä! - This will be fixed tomorrow. - Good!

(Confusingly, if you want to use any other adjective in a one word expression, they should be in partitive. Mahtavaa! Hienoa! Kamalaa! - Excellent! Great! Horrible! )


Say hyvää when you are eating or drinking something and you want to express that it tastes good. Hyvää is also used when the question word requires it. Notice that the translations are horrible on purpose.:)

  • Mitä sulle kuuluu? - Hyvää. - What (in partitive) is hearing to you? - Good.
  • Millaista ruokaa siellä oli? - Hyvää. - What kind of food  (in partitive) there was? - Good.


Hyvin is well. It's an adverb of manner and answers the question miten or kuinka

  • Miten sä voit? - Hyvin. - How are you feeling? - Well.
  • Miten menee? - Hyvin. - How's it going? - Well. 
  • Kuinka työhaastattelussa kävi? - Hyvin. - How did the job interview go? - Well. (Käydä is to happen in this context.)

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 www.linktr.ee/hannamannikkolahti and follow this blog, if you want to be the first one to know when I post something new. 


Anonymous said...

Totally different topic, but your note about käydä reminded me: what is the difference between sattua and tapahtua?

Anonymous said...

I've come across a phrase I'm having a problem translating: "hyväs ja hyväs". I was told it meant "in good and good", which makes no sense to me! Online translators don't recognize the word. Can you help? Thanks!

Hanna said...

They both mean to happen, but sattua is also to hurt.

Mitä siellä tapahtui? - What happened there?
Mulle ei koskaan tapahdu mitään kivaa. - Nothing nice ever happens to me.
Sattuiko siellä jotain kamalaa? - Did something awful happen there?

Sattuuko tämä? - Does this hurt?
Sattuiko sinuun? - Did you get hurt?

Hanna said...

Hmm.. I've never heard that, but yes, it could be a form of "hyvässä ja hyvässä", as you wrote. What exactly is the situation where you've heard this?

Jorge Ojeda said...

Hyvä!!! ;)

Reitxol said...

En ymmärrän, miksi on "hyvää" tässä lauseessa: Hyvää syntymäpäivä! Or hyvää uutta vuotta!

Unknown said...

Juuri mitä etsin, kiitos.

Fatima said...

tuoli on hyvässä kunnossa.

alex said...

Mä uskon, että sen pitää olla "hyvää syntymäpäivää" (kaksi "ää"). Se on partitiivi ja se on miksi, ajattelen.