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  5. "What do they want? Coffee?"

"What do they want? Coffee?"

Translation:Mitä he haluavat? Kahviako?

July 22, 2020



Why did kahvia turn into kahviako?


As far as I understand, a question needs either a word like mikä, mitä, miksi,... or the suffix -ko to make it a question


The -ko makes it a yes/no question. So, the person is asking. "What do they want? Coffee?" And expects a yes/no response to the question about the coffee.


I believe it's because the sentence follows the same questioning form as the "is it..." sentences.

In my head it's similar to the "Is that Joni? - Onko tuo Joni?" type of question. In this example it would be: "What do they want? (Is it some) Coffee (that they want)?" I believe it's because of this reason that the kahvi received both the partitive suffix (some coffee) and the question suffix.


Can anyone explain why Mikä has turned to partitive here?


From my observations ´Mikä´ goes only along with the verb ´to be´ e.g. Mikä tämä on ? Mikä sinun nimesi on ?

Moreover, ´mitä´ is in partitve in here, because you ask for some food/drink stuff and the answer/question that follows is ´some coffee?´ as ´kahvia´- is partitive from ´kahvi´.


Why isn't 'mitä haluavat he' correct?


Would " Haluavatko he? Kahviako?" also be correct? Or is the mitä important?


It is important. "haluavatko he?" means "do they want?". The "-ko" only makes it a question, similar to the construction with "do they" and changed word order in English.

"Mikä" /"Mitä" means "what" and hence, no more indicator for a question is needed.


Why is "Mitä haluavat" wrong, vs "mitä he haluavat"? I don't understand where a pronoun can be left out, and where it can't.


1st and 2nd person pronouns can usually be dropped. 3rd person pronouns cannot be dropped (except for some exceptions).


1st and 2nd person pronouns can be left off, because the conjugation tells you what person it is (eg juo-n / minä, juo-t / sinä). However hän/se he/ne cannot be determined by the word alone and require that the pronoun be added. He haluavat vettä. Ne haluavat vettä.


Is "Mitä haluavat he?" grammatically incorrect or just an odd word order that you wouldn't ordinarily hear? Finnish word order is flexible, except when it isn't.

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