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  5. "Are they standing together?"

"Are they standing together?"

Translation:Seisovatko he yhdessä?

June 24, 2020



Would it be wrong to say only "seisovatko yhdessä"?


I think so, 3rd person singular and plural forms of the verbs normally require the subject to be written explicitly, unlike 1st and 2nd person where it can indeed be omitted.


This is a sin committed by many a subtitler because of the space and time limitations when subtitling films and tv shows, and it always irks people. So technically you can do it, it's just not really acceptable/good Finnish. Even in spoken language you wouldn't hear it. (Hmm, maybe someone whispering and inclining their head towards the people in question might use it though, but that's only because they don't want to name any names.)


Third person pronouns are not usually "droppable".


But why is that? Can they be mistaken by other thing?


Going back far enough in Proto-Finnic history, hän and he would both take the same verb form. So hän syö: 'he eats', and he syö: 'they eat'. In modern day spoken Finnish, people still do this.

Moreover, with a verb like syö, hän syö is the statement 'he eats', but syö by itself is a command to eat.

And syövät can be either an indicative verb, or a nominative/accusative participle.

So he syövät omenat: 'they'll eat the apples'. But syövät omenat: 'the eating apples'.


Thank you very much!! Now I understand it :)


I have a hard time figuring out where to place the pronoun. In this question "he" came after the verb but in the preceding question "te" was before the verb in the answer.


Here the pronoun comes after the verb because the verb functions as the question word (because of the suffix -ko) and thus comes first in the sentence.

Neutral word order is:

"He seisovat yhdessä" - pronoun + verb

Questions usually have this same order, if it's a neutral question, i.e. you are not trying to emphasise something:

"Missä he seisovat?" - Where are they standing?

"Miksi he seisovat?" - Why are they standing?

However, if there is no separate question word (mitä, miksi, missä, milloin...) and the -ko question suffix is attached to the verb, the verb comes first, like here.

"Seisovatko he yhdessä?"

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