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"Is that tomato yellow or orange?"

Translation:Onko tuo tomaatti keltainen vai oranssi?

July 4, 2020



Why vai and not tai?


"Vai" is in a question about which of the presented options is true. "Tai" is in a yes-or-no question.


Could you give us some real examples, when to use vai and when tai? Thnx


Onko kurssi suomeksi vai englanniksi? = Is the course in Finnish or English?

In the above example, the speaker assumes or knows that the course uses one (and only one) of the two languages, and would like to know which it is. The expected options for the answer are "Finnish" and "English".

Onko kurssi suomeksi tai englanniksi? = Is the course in Finnish or English?

In this example, the speaker does not make an assumption about what language the course could possibly use, and would like to know whether it uses at least one of those languages. The expected options for the answer are "yes" and "no".


Still, in some context this could be a "tai" question... the tomato can be yellow, orange, or both, or neither (f.ex. red)


Vai is exclusive, the object is white OR black, but never both. Tai is inclusive, you can speak Finnish OR/AND Chinese, you can speak one or both.


It really helped me when someone explained it as:

  • With vai, you expect the answer to be one of the options mentioned (e.g, the golf ball you showed me is white).

  • With tai, you expect the answer to be yes/no; yes I speak at least one of those listed languages, or no I don't speak either language.


For example, what do you want to study? Finnish or Chinese? If they use VAI you can choose 1 language to study, if they use TAI you can choose Finnish, Chinese or both.


Finnish is really hard.


I thought Finnish didn't do sentence inversion for questions; would tuo tomaatti onko... also be a valid word order?


It does; tuo tomatti onko would not be correct. Any interrogative/question word (e.g. missä, millainen, kuka) is always placed at the beginning of the phrase, as is any word affixed with -ko/-kö.


So, if there were an accent like "Is THAT tomato yellow or orange?" would it be correct to say "Tuoko tomaatti on keltainen tai oranssi?"


Yes. You attach the -kO ending to the word you want to emphasise, the thing you are most surprised by, wondering about etc. However, attaching the suffix to the verb in the sentence always makes it a neutral yes/no question.

Your sentence "Tuoko tomaatti on...?" makes it sound that you are really surprised, even angry, about the fact that someone's claiming that that tomato is either yellow or orange. :) Anyone with eyes can see that it's red!


If you're angry at a tomato, you're seeing red?


Why are the adjectives not in the partitive?


They are predicatives of a countable noun with a singular referent.


Kiitos! I had forgotten the issue of countability.

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