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Slow Finnish - Chapter 9c - Hyvää joulua!

Partitiivin yksikkö - The partitive singular

If the word ends in -a, -o, -u, -y, -ä or , you add -a or .

  • hyvä kala -> hyvää kalaa good fish
  • söpö kissa -> söpöä kissaa cute cat
  • hullu tyttö -> hullua tyttöä crazy girl

If the word ends in two similar vowels or one consonant, you add -ta or -tä. If the vowels are dissimilar, the other rules mentioned here apply.

  • rikas mies -> rikasta miestä rich man
  • kaunis maa -> kaunista maata beautiful country
  • lyhyt hius -> lyhyttä hiusta (a single) short hair
  • puhdas mies -> puhdasta miestä clean man

If the word ends in -e, you add -tta or -ttä.

  • suuri perhe -> suurta perhettä large family
  • nopea lentokone -> nopeaa lentokonetta fast aeroplane
  • kaunis huone -> kaunista huonetta beautiful room

If the word ends in -nen, you remove the -nen and add -sta or -stä.

  • surullinen nainen -> surullista naista sad woman
  • onnellinen hevonen -> onnellista hevosta happy horse
  • vihainen suomalainen -> vihaista suomalaista angry Finn

In nine cases out of ten, when the word ends in -i, you add -a or .

  • pankki -> pankkia bank
  • posti -> postia post/mail
  • kuuma kahvi -> kuumaa kahvia hot coffee

Some older words that end with -i, end in -ea or -eä in the partitive. Here are the most common such words:

  • Suomi -> Suomea Finland
  • kivi -> kiveä stone/rock
  • sormi -> sormea finger
  • ovi -> ovea door
  • lahti -> lahtea bay
  • lehti -> lehteä leaf, (news)paper
  • järvi -> järveä lake
  • nimi -> nimeä name
  • pilvi -> pilveä cloud

If the word ends in -si, you remove the -si and replace it with -tta or -ttä.

  • uusi vuosi -> uutta vuotta new year
  • kylmä käsi -> kylmää kättä cold hand
  • kuuma vesi -> kuumaa vettä hot water

If the word ends in -li, -ni or -ri, you remove the -i, and add -ta or -tä.

  • pieni hiiri -> pientä hiirtä small mouse
  • suuri auto -> suurta autoa large car
  • nuori poika -> nuorta poikaa young boy

There are some exceptions to these rules. The most common one is veli.

  • tuhma veli -> tuhmaa veljeä naughty brother

Harjoitus 1

Käännä englanniksi. - Translate into English.

  • Juon kylmää vettä.
  • Syöt hyvää kinkkua.
  • Veljelläni on kaksi pientä hiirtä.
  • Meillä on seitsemän lammasta.
  • Ymmärrämme suomea.
  • Autamme vanhaa miestä.
  • Odotatte iloista ihmistä.
  • Setäsi etsii uutta autoa.
  • Nainen rakastaa nuorta lastansa.
  • Rikas mies etsii kallista autoa.
  • Poliisi ei etsi veljeäsi vaan koiraasi.
  • Odotamme nopeaa lentokonetta.
  • Juot kuumaa kahvia.
  • Ruotsalaiset puhuvat ruotsia.
  • Maanviljelijällä on kahdeksan lehmää.
  • Autan surullista ihmistä.
  • Onko sinulla tätiä?

Harjoitus 2

Käännä suomeksi. - Translate into Finnish.

  • I have two short books.
  • You (singular) are eating potato casserole.
  • The lawyer loves a beautiful man.
  • The nice child has two naughty brothers.
  • I am drinking clean water in the restaurant.
  • Happy New Year!
  • The handsome man has two families.
  • We are waiting for the new aeroplane at the airport.
  • I love the happy secretary.
  • The old man is looking for an expensive car at the mall.
  • He has three names.
  • We love the beautiful lake.
  • We understand Finnish.
  • You (plural) are eating rosolli.
  • I like Sweden, but I love Finland.
  • You (singular) help the rich woman.
  • My sister loves her (own) husband.

The reindeer are provided by Mauri Kunnas. If you are looking for something to read in Finnish, I recommend his books.

Let me know what you thought about the lesson. Here is a link to the previous lessons: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/10579104


December 26, 2015




Harjoitus 1

  • I am drinking cold water.
  • You eat good ham.
  • My brother has two small mice.
  • We have seven sheep.
  • We understand Finnish.
  • We are helping the old man.
  • You are waiting for the happy human being/person.
  • Your uncle is looking for a new car.
  • The woman loves her child.
  • The rich man is looking for an expensive car.
  • The police officer is not looking for your brother but your dog.
  • We are waiting for a fast aeroplane.
  • You are drinking hot coffee.
  • The Swedes speak Swedish.
  • The farmer has eight cows.
  • I am helping the sad human being/person.
  • Do you have an aunt?

Harjoitus 2

  • Minulla on kaksi lyhyttä kirjaa.
  • Syöt perunalaatikkoa.
  • Asianajaja rakastaa kaunista miestä.
  • Kiltillä lapsella on kaksi tuhmaa veljeä.
  • Juon puhdasta vettä ravintolassa.
  • Onnellista uuttavuotta!
  • Komealla miehellä on kaksi perhettä.
  • Odotamme lentokonetta lentokentällä.
  • Rakastan iloista sihteeriä.
  • Vanha mies etsii kallista autoa ostoskeskuksesta.
  • Hänellä on kolme nimeä.
  • Rakastamme kaunista järveä.
  • Ymmärrämme suomea.
  • Syötte rosollia.
  • Pidän Ruotsista, mutta rakastan Suomea.
  • Autat rikasta naista.
  • Siskoni rakastaa miestänsä.


Here is a simplified version of the list. (I at least find reducing information helps me understand phonetic processes.) V=vowel, VV= two of the same vowel, C=consonant.

V+a/ä (except with e/i)



i+a/ä – ea/eä
li/ni/ri--lta/ltä, nta/ntä, rta/rtä

I recommend focusing first on the three first groups. Then learning the -nen-words, then e words (the basic rule, there are exceptions to this). The last group will be i, li/ni/ri and si in this order. If I remember correctly this is the order in which Finnish children learn to use the endings. Learning all different groups takes them at least a year, so don't worry if it seems complicated.


Wait, what? I was actually able to format the post the way I wanted to!


I think you have a typo, it should be e+tta/ttä like Zzzzz said


Thanks, I'll fix it :)


Kiitos, chi. What would I do without you. :)


Continue making these awesome lessons :)


Tästä tuli mieleen Roman Schatzin kommentti suomen kieliopista:

Vaikein asia kieliopissa on Schatzin mukaan "se saatanan partitiivi – että nai minua vai nai minut"'


After a couple of times of getting that wrong, he should really have learned it... Or otherwise familiarized himself with the whole and partitive object through the examples of ampua minut / ampua minua...


My favourite swear word again - "ravintolassa"!

Kiitos. My usage of the partitive is still mostly guesswork, but hopefully it'll get better.


The silver lining to the cloud that is no one at Duo HQ or even volunteer mods knowing any Finnish, is that no one complains about the real swearing...


I bet Bill Bryson is laughing all the way to the bank. Grrrr... In terms of understandability, the most important rule is the kaunista maata one. So if you master that one, you will be fine. :)


Forming partitive and actually using it are two different things. Forming it is actually quite simple ;)


True. But I'm not worried, guesswork can be applied to both parts. :)


True :) And there is logic in when partitive is used, although if you ask a typical Finn, they would have no idea what it is :D


Ooh damn... well good luck to all Finnish learners :D PS: how do you keep motivated learning my language ?


Hei! I have a question about the Some older words that end with -i, end in -ea or -eä in the partitive. type. Is there a correlation with forming of the partitive and plural? That is if the words with an i morphing into an e in partitive will also have an e in the plural form? Järvi for sure has, but can I take it as a rule? Oh, I better add that by the plural I mean the nominative, not partitive plural.

And a great, clear lesson, as always. :)


As far as I know, yes, they are the same words. :)


Yes, they are the same words, since the stem changes from järvi- to järve-. So you need to learn which cases require which stem.


Thank you both! :)


One more question as I'm practising the sentences on Memrise. How do Finns actually wish each other a Happy New Year? Here it's Onnellista uutta vuotta!, but on Memrise it's Onnellista uuttavuotta! (one word). I'm guessing that uusi vuosi refers to the whole year, while uusivuosi is just the first of January. But which is customary?


You are right, the first one refers to the whole year (and is the recommended version) while the second one covers only the 1st of January. Another small thing, the only place where I can think of people using onnellista instead of hyvää is on Christmas cards where the customary phrase goes "Hyvää joulua ja onnellista uutta vuotta".


Interesting. I always say onnellista, but I think you are right: most people say hyvää. I changed the answer in Harjoitus 2 to uuttavuotta to avoid confusion. :)


Kiitos, chi! :)

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