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  5. "Metsässä kävelee susi."

"Metsässä kävelee susi."

Translation:There is a wolf walking in the forest.

July 19, 2020



Why this and not "Susi kävelee metsässä"?

  • 1322

As was explained elsewhere: The different word order allows to differentiate between "a wolf" and "the wolf". The known information tends to come first in the sentence, the unknown/new information towards the end. "The wolf" is known, "a wolf" is new information.


Is this information in the tips? That would be helpful.

  • 1322

Basics 1: To be in order

There are no articles in Finnish. That does not mean that you can put any old article in the English translation of a Finnish sentence. Sentences with the verb olla, "to be", put nouns in a certain order. The more important and complete something is, the earlier it appears. If a noun ends the sentence, it is somehow incomplete, often because the word does not include everything it by definition could. This is why final nouns in sentences with the verb "to be" are translated with an indefinite article.

Basics 2: Order!

In sentences with the verb olla, "to be", the more complete a noun is, the earlier it appears. The later a noun appears, the less complete it is, and the more likely it is to be translated with an indefinite article.

Hän on ujo poika. He is a shy boy.

However, the English language has so many ways of using articles in generalisations that sometimes an indefinite article starts such a sentence.

Hyvä sauna on aina suomalainen. A good sauna is always Finnish.

In Finnish, that sauna is considered complete, since we are talking about all the good saunas in the world here.

The North: Orderly conduct

The more complete a noun is, the earlier it appears in a sentence with the verb olla, "to be". As a result, a noun or a noun phrase that starts a sentence is usually translated with a definite article. If the sentence has another noun with another function, that noun is less complete. It can be translated with both types of articles found in English, depending on the context. The indefinite article is the more likely option in most cases.

Tuhma kissa on viikinki. The naughty cat is a/the Viking.

If the previous conversation has revolved around the identity of a mysterious Viking, whose scandalous secret is now being revealed, the definite article is used. In other cases, use an indefinite article. Note that this is because the English language works the way it works. Finnish could not care less. As long as there are cats and Vikings involved, in that order, everything is hunky-dory.

These make only reference to the verb olla because they are some of the earlier lessons before other verbs were introduced.

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A wolf walks in the forrest.


"The wolf is walking in the forest".


I put down "a wolf walks in the wood" and it got marked as incorrect, but I got no indication if it reacted to the word order or my misspelling of "woods"


"The wood" should be an acceptable alternative to "the forest". To my understanding, "wood" and "woods" are interchangeable for the same thing in English, e.g. "There is a wood at the end of the footpath" = "There are some woods at the end of the footpath".


I wrote 'A wolf is walking in the forest' and this is wrong. Is the meaning not the same?

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