1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Finnish
  4. >
  5. "Waiter, could you recommend …

"Waiter, could you recommend something?"

Translation:Tarjoilija, voisitteko suositella jotain?

July 14, 2020



This is not the formal you. This the "communal" plural which exists also in English. You are just unable to spot it in the 2nd person plural, because English has only one you. You can however see it in the 1st and 3rd person. For instance, when a waiter says "My apologies, but we're out of lemons", or when you say to your friend "Let's go to that restaurant: I hear their sushi is really good". If you don’t do that it would sound like the waiter owns the lemons (and the restaurant). If you use the singular in the sushi example, it means you were talking about a chef earlier, not the restaurant. This is also why Finns talk to people in service professions using plural forms. It's not about being formal, it's just acknowledging the way restaurants work.

So, if you want the waiter's personal recommendation use "voisitko". If you want to the waiter tell you about the whole staff's recommendation, use "voisitteko". :)


But.... what does voisitteko mean in this sentence. "Waitor, could your restaurant recommend something"?


Usually people want the recommendation of the chef or the kitchen staff when they ask the waiter this. Often even if you ask for the waiter's personal recommendation, they answer with what the chef and kitchen staff thinks. I realise that this sentence is very confusing though, so I doubt that it makes into the next version of the tree. :)


It's confusing but also informative, and your explanation was impeccable.


I would say "something." Either is possible, but "anything" sounds to me as if you doubt there is anythng to recommend.


"something" is still going to be the best translation. We just accept "anything" as an alternative translation, since it's also technically correct. :)


Anything,not something


I added it. It will take 1-2 weeks for the edit to appear in the course. :)


Tarjoilija, saisitko suositella jotain? What is the difference and why is this one incorrect?


That would mean "Waiter, would you be allowed to recommend something?". When you combine saada with the 1st infinitive form of a verb, you're asking for a permission. voida, on the other hand, means "to be able to/to have the ability to". If there's no other verb with saada, it's often means with "can get", and in the conditional it's "could get", although English usually prefers "can have" and "could have". The -isi- between the stem and the personal endings marks the conditional, so in most cases it's translated with "would". But since Finnish does not have a modal verb like "could", that can also be the best translating in some cases. You can read more about the conditional in the Tips for Restaurant. :)

Learn Finnish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.