1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Finnish
  4. >
  5. "Olen pahoillani."

"Olen pahoillani."

Translation:My apologies.

July 14, 2020



My sense is that the 1st person posessive suffix (–ni) on pahoillani is what definitively makes it "my (posessive) apologies" rather than "I am sorry" (despite the olen). The phrase "my apologies" may be very formal in English, but it seems to be common parlance in Finnish —which is, after all, the language we're all here to learn.

But yes, I've gotten it wrong with translating it into "I am sorry" a couple times now.


You don't translate phrases like these literally. That's not how languages work.


Olen is literally "I am" and you say "I am sorry!" In English. You say, "my apologies" when you want to avoid saying "I am sorry".which is also to say that Anteeksi should never be translated as I'm sorry, but rather Pardon/excuse me.


"My apologies" is rather formal for spoken American English


Given "pahoilla" is adessive of "paha" (bad), "pahoillani" sounds weirdly similar to "my bad".


The English phrase is from 1970 and the Finnish phrase is a lot older than that. I guess English likes to copy FInnish phrases.


I don't know how I'm supposed to fix on that particular English translation because, while I understand it, it's not a form I'd ever use myself unless I'm being sarcastic.


I don't have any problem with the English translation, but I'd like to know how the Finnish works. Is that a possessive suffix on the second word?


Apparently so:


So it would be "Olen pahoillani / Olet pahoillasi / Hän on pahoillaan..."? And would this mean that this phrase is not often used in spoken Finnish (since I've read that in spoken Finnish possessive suffix are seldom used)?


What's wrong with "I apologize"?


I'm really sorry? Feels like used really more often than My apologies I reported it on 14.11.2021

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