Sunday, May 3, 2020

How to say 'without' in Finnish

Here's a post about different ways to express withoutness in Finnish. It can be done with a preposition ilman, a derivational ending -ton, or an adessive ending -tta added to a noun stem or to a MA infinitive of a verb.


Ilman is the prepositon without. It is used with a partitive.


  • En voi elää ilman sinua! - I can't live without you!
  • Älä mene ulos ilman takkia.  -  Don't go outside without a jacket. 

To make an adjective, add the derivational suffix -ton or -tön to a noun stem or to the agent participle stem.


  • sokeri > sokeriton - sugar > sugar-free
  • työ > työtön - job, work > unemployed
  • uskoa > uskomaton - to believe > unbelievable
  • kirjoittaa > kirjoittamaton - to write > unwritten

Notice how the -ton  changes to -ttoma- when you add other case endings than partitive:

  • Onko tähän rasvattomaan maitoon lisätty D-vitamiinia? - Have they added  vitamin D into this fat free milk?
  • Sokerittomissa juomissa on muita makeutusaineta. - There are other sweeteners in sugar-free drinks.
  • Asiattomilta pääsy kielletty. - No trespassing. Stay out, if you don't have a good reason to be here. (Asia is a thing. Asiaton is a person who has no reason to be somewhere.) 
  • Onko sinulla paljon tekemättömiä töitä? - Do you have a lot of undone tasks?
  • Tämä on uskomatonta! - This is unbelievable!

Varoituskyltti Asiattomilta pääsy kielletty | Motonet Oy
Kuva: Motonet


To make an adverb, add the abessive ending -tta or -ttä to a noun stem.


  • Älä mene ulos takitta.  - Don't go out without a jacket. (However, it's more common to say ilman takkia.)
  • Kokous sujui ongelmitta. - The meeting went along without problems. 

With verbs, add -matta or -mättä to the strong verb stem. 


  • En voinut olla ostamatta tätä laukkua! - I couldn't be without buying this bag!
  • En voinut olla kertomatta tätä sinulle. - I couldn't be without telling this to you.
  • Hän lähti sanomatta sanaakaan. - He left without saying a word. 
  • Ole syömättä kaksitoista tuntia ennen leikkausta. - Be without eating for twelve hours before the operation. 

Read more and listen to songs with ilman:



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. 

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