Finnish Personal Pronouns

Use of Finnish Personal Pronouns

Learning Finnish : Finnish Personal pronouns

Learning Finnish : Finnish Personal pronouns

Personal pronouns show what person it is that is the subject of a sentence.

Finnish English Remarks
minä I
sinä you Singular, informal
hän he / she Finnish has no grammatical gender, so both “he” and “she” are “hän”.
se it Se is used for things and animals, but in coloquial Finnish also for people.
me we
te you Plural (when talking to two friends), or formal (when talking to the president)
he they
ne they Ne refers to things. In colloquial Finnish you can refer to people as “ne”

When followed by verbs, the pronouns minä, sinä, me, and te can be left out unless one needs to emphasize the pronoun. This is because the verb ending shows what the subject is. Therefore, it is possible to say: “Olen” instead of “Minä olen” “Olet” instead of “Sinä olet” “Olemme” instead of “Me olemme” “Olette” instead of “Te olette”

Third person pronouns hän, se, he and ne cannot be left out.

Verb types

There are six verb types in Finnish. It’s important to know which verb type a verb belongs to, because every verb type has its own rules when you conjugate them.

1. Verb type 1

Verb type 1 is the most commonly used verb type. These types of verbs end in 2 vowels(-aa, -ea, -eä, -ia, -iä, -oa, -ua, -yä, -ää, -öä).

To find this type of verb’s infinitive stem (this is the stem to which you add the endings that are typical for the minä form, the sinä form, etc): remove the -a or -ä. Remember that verb type 1 verbs undergo consonant gradation if possible!
  Puhua (to speak) Sanoa (to say) Istua (to sit)
Person Conjugation English Conjugation English Conjugation English
minä puhun I speak sanon I say istun I sit
sinä puhut you speak sanot you say istut you sit
hän puhuu he speaks sanoo he says istuu he sits
me puhumme we speak sanomme we say istumme we sit
te puhutte you speak sanotte you say istutte you sit
he puhuvat they speak sanovat they say istuvat they sit

Examples of verb type 1 that undergo consonant gradation

Some other common type 1 verbs: ajaa (to drive), alkaa (to start, to begin), antaa (to give, to let (someone do something), to allow), asua (to live in a place, to reside), auttaa (to help), etsiä (to look for, to seek), herättää (to wake (someone) up), hoitaa (to take care of), huutaa (to shout), katsoa (to look at), kieltää (to deny), kiertää (to go around), kirjoittaa (to write), kysyä (to ask), laajentaa (to expand), laskea (to count), lukea (to read), lähteä (to leave), maksaa (to pay, to cost), muistaa (to remember), neuvoa (to give advice), odottaa (to wait, to expect), ostaa

(to buy), ottaa (to take), paistaa (to fry, to shine), puhua (to speak), rakastaa (to love), rakastua (to fall in love), saartaa (to shatter), sallia (to allow), sanoa (to say), soittaa (to call, to play (an instrument)), sortaa (to collapse), tietää (to know something), tuntea (to feel), unohtaa (to forget), unohtua (to forget oneself), vaatia (to demand), ymmärtää (to understand)

2. Verb type 2

These types of verbs end in -da/-dä. To find this type of verb’s infinitive stem, youremove the -da/-dä.

Notice that the third person singular doesn’t get the final letter doubled like in verb type 1!
  Saada (to get) Juoda (to drink) Syödä (to eat)
Person Conjugation English Conjugation English Conjugation English
minä saan I get juon I drink syön I eat
sinä saat you get juot you drink syöt you eat
hän saa he gets juo he drinks syö he eats
me saamme we get juomme we drink syömme we eat
te saatte you get juotte you drink syötte you eat
he saavat they get juovat they drink syövät they eat

Some other common type 2 verbs: juoda (to drink), jäädä (to stay), käydä (to visit), luennoida (to lecture), myydä (to sell), pysäköidä (to park), saada (to get, to be allowed), soida (to ring (out), syödä (to eat), terrorisoida (to terrorize), tuoda (to bring), tupakoida (to smoke), uida (to swim), viedä (to take), voida (to be able to)

3. Verb type 3

This type of verbs ends in -lla/-llä, -nna/-nnä, -ra/-rä, -sta/-stä (in other words: in two consonants and a vowel). To find this type of verb’s infinitive stem, remove the -la or -lä, -na or -nä, -ra or -rä, or -ta or -tä.To this stem, you add an -e- before adding the personal ending!

Remember that verb type 3 verbs undergo consonant gradation if possible!
  Tulla (to come) Mennä (to go) Nousta (to rise)
Person Conjugation English Conjugation English Conjugation English
minä tulen I come menen I go nousen I rise
sinä tulet you come menet you go nouset you rise
hän tulee he comes menee he goes nousee he rises
me tulemme we come menemme we go nousemme we rise
te tulette you come menette you go nousette you rise
he tulevat they come menevät they go nousevat they rise
Examples of verb type 3 that undergo consonant gradation

Some other common type 3 verbs: ajatella (to think about something), hymyillä (to smile), julkaista (to publish), kiistellä (to quarrel), kuulla (to hear), kuunnella (to listen), kävellä (to walk), mennä (to go), nousta (to rise, to get up), olla (to be), ommella (to sew), opetella (to learn), opiskella (to study), panna (to put), pestä (to wash), purra (to bite), ratkaista (to solve), riidellä (to fight), surra (to mourn), suudella (to kiss), tapella (to fight), tulla (to come, to become), työskennellä (to work)

4. Verb type 4

These types of verbs end in -ata/-ätä, -ota/-ötä, -uta/-ytä. To find this type of verb’sinfinitive stem, you remove the -t. (so NOT the final -a!)

The third person singular gets an -a added to the end when the two vowels from the stem aredifferent vowels. When the two vowels are -aa- it wouldn’t make sense to add a third one, so we add nothing. Remember that verb type 4 verbs undergo consonant gradation if possible!
  Haluta (to want) Osata (to be able to) Pakata (to pack)
Person Conjugation English Conjugation English Conjugation English
minä haluan I want osaan I am able to pakkaan I pack
sinä haluat you want osaat you’re able to pakkaat you pack
hän haluaa he wants osaa he’s able to pakkaa he packs
me haluamme we want osaamme we’re able to pakkaamme we pack
te haluatte you want osaatte you’re able to pakkaatte you pack
he haluavat they want osaavat they’re able to pakkaavat they pack

Examples of verb type 4 that undergo consonant gradation

Some other common type 4 verbs: avata (to open), erota (to divorce), hakata (to beat), haluta (to want), herätä (to wake up), huomata (to notice), hypätä (to jump), hävetä (to be ashamed), hävitä (to lose, to disappear), juoruta

Learning Finnish : Finnish Personal pronouns

(to gossip), kadota (to disappear), kiivetä (to climb), lakata (to stop), luvata (to promise), maata (to lie (down)), määrätä (to determine), osata (to be able to), pelata (to play), pelätä (to be scared), piffata (to treat), pihdata (to skimp), pudota (to fall), ruveta (to start), selvitä (to become clear), siivota (to clean), tarjota (to offer, to serve), tavata (to meet), tilata (to order), todeta (to state), tykätä (to like), vastata (to answer), älytä (to get something, to understand)

5. Verb type 5

These types of verbs end in -ita/-itä. Ocassionally, you will come across verbs that have this ending but do not conjugate the same way; these verbs belong to verb type 4.

To find this type of verb’s infinitive stem, you remove the final -ta/-tä. To this stem, you then add -tse- before adding the personal ending!
  Häiritä (to disturb) Tarvita (to need)
Person Conjugation English Conjugation English
minä häiritsen I disturb tarvitsen I need
sinä häiritset you disturb tarvitset you need
hän häiritsee he disturbs tarvitsee he needs
me häiritsemme we disturb tarvitsemme we need
te häiritsette you disturb tarvitsette you need
he häiritsevät they disturb tarvitsevat they need

Some other common type 5 verbs: hallita (to rule, to govern, to be able to), havaita (to perceive), hillitä (to restrain, to check, to control), häiritä (to disturb), kyyditä (to give someone a lift, to drive), mainita (to mention), merkitä (to mark), palkita (to reward, to award), tarvita (to need), tulkita (to interpret)

6. Verb type 6

Verb type 6 is very rarely used. This type of verb ends in -eta/-etä. The meaning will always be “to become something”, meaning it implies a change from one state to another. If a verb of this type doesn’t mean a change, it will be conjugated like a normal verb type 4 verb.

To find this type of verb’s infinitive stem, you remove the final -ta/-tä. To this stem, you then add -ne- before adding the personal ending! Remember that verb type 6 verbs undergo consonant gradation if possible!
  Vaaleta (to whiten) Lämmetä (to become warm)
Person Conjugation English Conjugation English
minä vaalenen I whiten lämpenen I become warm
sinä vaalenet you whiten lämpenet you become warm
hän vaalenee he whitens lämpenee he becomes warm
me vaalenemme we whiten lämpenemme we become warm
te vaalenette you whiten lämpenette you become warm
he vaalenevat they whiten lämpenevät they become warm

Some other common type 6 verbs: paeta (to run away), kylmetä (to get cold), vanheta (to become old), kalveta (to turn pale), valjeta (to brighten up), tarjeta (to stand the cold), rohjeta (to presume), nuoreta (to become younger), pidetä (to become longer), lyhetä (to become shorter), tummeta (to darken), kyetä (to be able to), vaieta (to become silent), aueta (to come loose)

Examples of verb type 6 verbs that get conjugated like verb type 4: kiivetä (to climb), ruveta (to start) and hävetä (to be ashamed)

Learning Finnish : Finnish Personal pronouns

To have

1. Having something

Finnish doesn’t have a separate verb for “to have”. Instead it uses a different sentence construction, centered around the verb “olla”, “to be”.

Person + lla Verb Object
Minulla on yksi lapsi.
Sinulla on oma huone.
Hänellä on vanha talo.
Meillä on auto.
Teillä on kaksi lasta.
Heillä on kissa.
Jaanalla on koira.

It’s interesting to note that the “minulla on” literally means“on me there is”. Furthermore, you can see from the sentences above that the “olla” verb doesn’t get conjugated! It is always written in the third person singular “on”.

2. Not having something

Not having something follows the same pattern:

Person + lla Verb Object
Minulla ei ole poikaystävää.
Sinulla ei ole omaa huonetta.
Hänellä ei ole parveketta.
Meillä ei ole perhettä.
Teillä ei ole autoa.
Heillä ei ole kissaa.
Tiinalla ei ole koiraa.

The object of a “minulla ei ole” sentence will be written in the partitive.

There are five exceptions to this rule:
Affirmative Translation Negative Translation
Minulla on kiire. I’m in a hurry Minulla ei ole kiire. I’m not in a hurry.
Sinulla on nälkä. You’re hungry. Sinulla ei ole nälkä. You’re not hungry.
Hänellä on jano. He’s thirsty. Hänellä ei ole jano. He’s not thirsty.
Meillä on kuuma. We’re hot. Meillä ei ole kuuma. We’re not hot.
Heillä on kylmä. They’re cold. Heillä ei ole kylmä. They’re not cold.

For the examples above, the object is written in the nominative even in a negative sentence! Notice also that these are phrases that are very different from English: in English you say “”I amhungry, not “I have hunger” for example.

3. Things that have something

Important to notice is also that this rule only counts for living things. If a room has 2 windows, in Finnish you will say “In the room there are two windows.


Interrogatives are words formed to make a question. They’re, simply put, questionwords.

Finnish English
Kuka? Who?
Kuka soittaa? Who is calling?
Kuka hän on? Who is he?
Kuka tulee huomenna? Who is coming tomorrow?
Mikä? What?
Mikä tämä on? What is this?
Mikä on sinun puhelinnumerosi? What is your telephone number?
Mikä on sinun osoitteesi? What is your address?
Mitä? What?
Mitä kieltä sinä puhut? What language do you speak?
Mitä kuuluu? How are you?
Mitä kello on? What time is it?
The difference between mikä and mitä
Missä? Where? In what?
Missä sinä asut? Where do you live?
Missä sinä olet työssä? Where do you work?
Missä hotellissa sinä asut? In what hotel do you live?
Mistä? From where? From what?
Mistä sinä tulet? Where do you come from?
Mistä kaupungista sinä olet kotoisin? From what city are you originally?
Mistä he puhuvat? What are they talking about?
Mihin? To where? Into what?
Mihin sinä menet? Where are you going?
Mihin laitan ostokset? Into what do I put the shoppings?
Mihin hiiri juoksi? Into what did the mouse run?
Miksi? Why?
Miksi hän ei tule? Why doesn’t he come?
Miksi hän ei soita? Why doesn’t he call?
Miksi olet surullinen? Why are you sad?
Kuinka? Miten? How?
Kuinka vanha sinä olet? How old are you?
Kuinka paljon? How much?
Kuinka usein? How often?
Kuinka monta? How many?
Miten hyvin puhut suomea? How well do you speak Finnish?
Miten sinä menet sinne? How do you go there?
Milloin? When?
Milloin sinä tulet? When do you come?
Milloin hän herää? When does he wake up?
Milloin Tampere on perustettu? When was Tampere established?
Millainen? What kind?
Millainen ilma tänään on? What kind of weather is it today?
Millainen ihminen sinä olet? What kind of person are you?
Millainen höyhen on? What is a feather like?
Minkämaalainen? What nationality?
Minkämaalainen sinä olet? What nationality are you?
Affirmative Translation Negative Translation
Asunnossa on ikkuna. In the apartment there is a window. Asunnossa ei ole ikkunaa. In the apartment there isn’t a window.
Pihalla on kori. In the yard there is a basket. Pihalla ei ole koria. In the yard there isn’t a basket.

The difference between mikä and mitä

Both mikä and mitä mean “what?”

1. Mikä

When using mikä, you are referring to a defined, concrete thing, something countable. You use it when you want to know what something is, mostly with the verb olla.

Finnish English
Mikä tämä on? What is this?
Tämä on pöytä. This is a table.
Mikä tuo on? What is that?
Tuo on tuoli. That is a chair.
Mikä tämä on? What is this?
Tämä on jauheliha. This is minced meat.

2. Mitä

Mitä is the partitive form of “mikä”. When using mitä, you are referring to something abstract, something undefined.

You mostly use mitä with more active verbs than “olla”. If you do use “olla”, it’s usually to find out what something is made of (pork, lamb) rather than what exactly it is (minced meat). When the verb in your sentence is a partitive verb, it makes sense that the question word is partitive as well.
Finnish English
Mitä tämä on? What is this?
Tämä on naudanlihaa. This is beef.
Mitä kuuluu? How are you?
Hyvää, kiitos. I’m well, thanks.
Mitä kello on? What time it is?
Kello on viisi yli viisi. It’s five past five.
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