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  5. "A lot or a little?"

"A lot or a little?"

Translation:Paljon vai vähän?

July 13, 2020



"tai" is accepted, as a typo for "vai". If it weren't for Duolingo's stupid typo acceptance, would "tai" be outright wrong here?

[deactivated user]

    Tai means a regular or and vai an exclusive or, or either or.

    I don't think it would be wrong. It all depends on the context though, which I guess is drinking coffee here, so for that purpose it doesn't work. But without any context probably both should be accepted.


    Any chance you can expand on tai vs. vai? Every time I think I've got the hang of them, it becomes obvious I don't. Help would be welcome.

    [deactivated user]

      Vai is used when you have a set of options and you're asking someone to pick one of them.

      Do you want the green, the red or the blue candy? Haluatko tuon vihreän, punaisen vai sinisen karkin?

      You're telling your kid you have three kinds of candies; pick one.

      Do you like green, red or blue candies? Pidätkö vihreistä, punaisista vai sinisistä karkeista? Pidätkö vihreistä, punaisista tai sinisistä karkeista?

      In the upper one, it might be you're asking your kid which one is her favourite, so pick one. In the lower one you might be buying candies for your kid and you're asking if she likes any of those options, so she might pick more than one. And you might buy a few of all of them. If you were buying and asking the upper option, it would mean she gets one type only.

      Do you want coffee or tea? Haluatko kahvia tai teetä? Haluatko kahvia vai teetä?

      In the upper one you're asking uncertainly: Do you happen to want either one at all? It is also more polite. (The social services came for a visit, for example.) In the lower you're kind of asking: I know you want it, and I'm making it, so which one is it going to be? (Your friend came over, for example.)

      Does that help?


      Brilliant! Kiitos! Definitely worth a lingot.

      So if I understand correctly, it is by choosing which of those to use, tai or vai, that the speaker signals his intent: "do any of these options appeal to you?" (tai) vs. "please choose one of these options" (vai).

      You also give me the splendid detail that tai is more polite. Again, kiitos.

      The only confusing bit is that you use a couple new suffixes on adjectives I've only begun to get the hang of. I like to think I'll get there eventually, though.

      I think you may have given me a bonus, too, if tuon is the definite article I've been desperately waiting for.

      [deactivated user]

        Yes, exactly, it is basically all about the intent of the speaker.

        The -n suffix is the Finnish genitive. It is used for many things, one of the main ones being possession.

        The dog's food. Koiran ruoka.

        The Inn of the Green Bear. Vihreän karhun majatalo. (In Finnish usually only the first word of a title is capitalized.)

        -stä/-sta is elatiivi. I have no idea what that is in English. It used, among other things, when you pitää jostakin.

        I like you. Pidän sinusta.

        As for tuon. There is no word for "the" in Finnish, so if in Finnish you want to talk about some specific thing, you need to point that out with se (it), tuo (that), this (tämä) or similar. The closest to "the" is "se", in my opinion.

        Se auto oli nopea. The (it) car was fast.


        Vai is for questions "or?" and Tai for affermation "or."

        [deactivated user]

          In the last question vähän was not accepted as a little but now it is, flagged


          If this is a question, why no interrogative -ko?

          [deactivated user]

            Because the sentence here is not complete and needs context. For example

            Otatko paljon vai vähän? Are you taking a lot or a little? Kuinka paljon haluat? Vähän vai paljon? How much do you want? A lot or a little?


            Quite so, a context would have made a lot of difference! But one can surely say paljonko if the verb is elipsed, as one would say "Kahviko?"

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