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What is the difference between 'iso' and 'suuri'?

Could someone please explain to me the difference in usage between these? Thanks

July 8, 2020



They are almost interchangeable.

Almost, meaning that "iso" is always a reference to physical size (= big, large) while "suuri" can also have a figurative meaning (= great, grand)

So "iso mies" is a man who is physically big, while "suuri mies" can be a physically big man or someone accomplished and renowned (and prefix "suur-" is always figurative: suurmies, suurteko...)

And some idioms are specific: "hänellä on iso sydän" = he has a big blood-pumping muscle, "hänellä on suuri sydän" = he is a caring and compassionate person.


There's no difference! They can be used interchangeably apart from some idiomatic expressions. Duolingo doesn't yet accept all alternative translations which is why it might have marked your answers wrong even though they were right.


As mentioned, they can be used interchangeably, yet there is a slight difference when using it to describe something. "Suuri" is a bit bigger than "Iso".

In some cases, especially phrases, to a finn one just feels more correct than the other. Nothing to worry about at a beginnerlevel of finnish. Keep up the good work :)


The only thing you have to remember is when you want to order a large beer, it is iso. If you say suuri, everyone still understands you, we just don't say it that way, sounds kind of weird. I don't know why


I think English is similar in that respect - we would say 'I would like a large coffee' rather than 'I would like a big coffee' which would also sound kind of weird.


they are the same but "iso" is more commonly used in day to day speech


Great vs big vs large.

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