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  5. "Mitä hän haluaa? Pullaako?"

"Mitä hän haluaa? Pullaako?"

Translation:What does she want? Pulla?

June 27, 2020



Why is it wrong if I answered "a pulla" instead of just "pulla"


what is the difference between mikä and mitä?


"Mitä" is the partitive case, so when you are expecting the answer to be in the partitive case, you use "mitä". Examples of answers in the partitive case are "pullaa," "mämmiä", "jäätelöä", "taloa". It is used with verbs like "haluta" (to want) and many other verbs. If you expect the answer to be in this form, you use "mitä" in the question.

"Mitä hän haluaa?" "Pullaa." (What does she want? Pulla.)

"Mitä hän haluaa? Pullaako?" (What does she want? Pulla?)

Mikä is the nominative case, so when you are expecting the answer to be in the nominative case, you use "mikä". It is often used with the verb "olla" (to be). Examples of answers in the nominative case are "pulla," "mämmi", "jäätelö", "talo".

"Mikä tuo on? Talo." (What is that? A house.)

BUT (not to make it too complicated) there will be times when you use "mikä" with the partitive case because another use of the partitive case is to express the concept of "some". This is often the case with foods and drinks.

"Mikä tuo on?" "Jäätelöä." - What is that? Some ice cream.

But probably you can see how this doesn't work with the "talo" example. You wouldn't say

"Mitä tuo on?" "Taloa." - What is that? Some house. (also, keep in mind that "some house" here has the meaning of "some quantity of house" - in English we might say "some house" to mean "I don't know what house that is, but it's a house" - but it does NOT have that meaning here. This use of "some" is like when we say "some ice cream," "some rice," "some milk" - things that can't be counted, or amounts that we don't need to count, and that does NOT apply to houses.)

So instead you'd say:

"Mikä tuo on?" "Talo." - What is that? A house.

Sometimes you don't know if the answer is going to be in the nominative or partitive case, so technically you don't know whether to use "mikä" or "mitä" when asking your question. In that situation you just use whichever case you think the answer is more likely to be (rule of thumb for beginners: "mikä" if the verb is a form of "to be", such as "on" and you're asking about a concrete object; "mitä" for other verbs and also abstract quantities.) If you pick one and the answer you get happens to end up being in a different case, so be it.


I love how there are no easy answers in Finnish :D


It's as if you are literally asking "Some of what does he want?" or "What does he want some of?"

[deactivated user]

    Yeah, fast and hard rules are for A1 - A2. From A2 on nuance seems to creep in. For us learners, fast and hard rules are a lot easier.

    Thank you for the explanation: +1 and 1 lingot. (I know, I am stingy)


    Can -ko be added to any noun as well as a verb to make it into a question?


    "Hänkö haluaa pullaa?" - Does HE want pulla? /Is it him that wants pulla?

    "Haluaako hän pullaa?" - Does he want pulla? (/Does he WANT pulla? if "haluaako" is emphasized)

    "Pullaako hän haluaa?" - Does he want PULLA? /Is it pulla that he wants?

    "Yhdenkö pullan hän vain haluaa?" - Does he want just ONE pulla?

    You can also attach -ko/kö to adjectives, but often the question is formulated in some other way.


    Why is A PULLA wrong?


    Is "Pullako" necessary when simply saying Pulla would answer the question?


    In real life if you are asking what someone wants of course you could just say "Mitä hän haluaa?" without mentioning pulla.

    But the point here is to translate the sentence as it is presented: "Mitä hän haluaa? Pullaako?" = "What does she want? Pulla?" You need to translate both parts: "Mitä hän haluaa = What does she want" and "Pullaako? = Pulla?"

    I think they've included this here to point out that the -ko suffix can be attached to a noun to make it into a question. Questions in Finnish need something that indicates that it is a question: either a question word (kuka, mikä, mitä, missä, kuinka, millainen, etc; in English who, what, where, how, etc.) or the -ko suffix. In this course they have introduced the use of the -ko suffix on verbs (onko, ovatko, oletteko, puhuuko, etc.) and on some other words like paljonko, but here they are pointing out that if you want to use some other word as a question (such as "Pulla?" in English) you have to add the -ko suffix on that, too. So you can't just ask "Pullaa?" in Finnish; because it is a question it has to become "Pullaako?" as it does here. We've seen the same thing in this course with "Kahviko?" ("A coffee?")
    You can do the same with any word. "Mitä sinä etsit? Kassiko?" ("What are you looking for? A cat?)


    You can use either "Pullaako?" or "Pullaa?" or if you meant just one pulla bun, you could say "(Yhden) pullan?" Since it's a specifying question and not an answer, "Pullaako?" emphasizes that.

    "Mitä hän haluaa? Pullaako?"

    "Kyllä/joo (, hän haluaa pullaa/yhden pullan)."

    "Ei, hän haluaa kakkua."


    Shouldn't What does she want? Does she want pulla? Be as good an answer as Pulla?


    'what does he want? A pulla'

    could be an option, I think. or am I wrong?


    There is no reason why "he" should not be correct. Likewise, "a pulla" is as legitimate a translation as simply "pulla". I see that this is a persistent problem that has not been addressed for at least a year. Please do so.


    A pulla is not correct, because pullaako as partitive refers to pulla in general. If asking if the person wants a single pulla, the correct form would be pullanko (accusative).

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