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  5. "Onko sinulla poikaystävää?"

"Onko sinulla poikaystävää?"

Translation:Do you have a boyfriend?

June 28, 2020



I'm wondering if the partitive is necessary here. Does it somehow imply "at the moment" as opposed to "Onko sinulla poikaystävä?"or is the latter wrong for some reason?


This is an interesting question and deserves an answer! Both cases are totally acceptable and make sense, but there is a slight difference regarding the answer that you are expecting. For example, you can ask "onko sinulla poikaystävää" if you don't know the answer or if you expected the answer to be negative, but if I was expecting that there was a boyfriend (and was about to have my dreams crushed), I could ask "onko sinulla poikaystävä". Furthermore, it would be almost insulting to the boyfriend if he was listening to the conversation and you asked the question in partitive. It would show complete obliviousness of his existence. But if you used the nominative, the question would rather be a subtle acknowledgement of their relationship status.


Kiitoksia ihanasta vastauksesta! Tämä auttaa tosi paljon.

The partitive is the single truly difficult feature of Finnish grammar, because there are so many nuances in using it. I guess you can always tell someone's not a native speaker when they let slip some wrong usage of the partitive.

Onkohan nimmarisi "Nimee" taaksepäin? :D - siis taas (puhekielen) partitiivi! Kysyisin sinulta että onko sinulla poikaystävä, but my dreams would probably be crushed, so...

I'm raelly sorry you've stopped learning Czech on Duo because of some misunderstanding over English grammar.


In other words, Onko sinulla poikaystävää? could be translated as Do you have any boyfriend?, while Onko sinulla poikaystävä? would be just Do you have a boyfriend?. Is that right?


We wouldn't ask "Do you have any boyfriend?" in English. That makes it sound as if "boyfriend" is some kind of uncountable substance. (If that were the case, the answer could be "Yes, I have some boyfriend" ... but that's very strange!) That is somewhat helpful to understand the Finnish sentence though, but it's not really natural English.

I've just thought about a sentence that some people would possibly say: "Do you have a boyfriend, at all?" It's a little bit unusual, but strikes me as less strange than "any boyfriend".


That's the thing with languages, some words are just not possible to translate.


But in the select the missing word exercise both options are given and only one of them, poikaystävää, is accepted.


Why does the a before the y not have the accent? - I thought there had to be vowel harmony.


because they are two different words (poika - ystävä), even though they are merged.


I'll just add that Finnish doesn't use accents (except š and ž in some loanwords). Å, Ä and Ö are individual letters, not accented.

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