Friday 1/21/22

Finnish for foreigners course - Lesson 11: Different types of sentences

In this lesson we will study five often used sentence types that are worth learning

Jenni Turunen Lesson 11
The Finnish language teacher Jenni Turunen.

Different types of sentences

In this lesson you will learn how to make sentences in Finnish. We will study five often used sentence types that are worth learning.

1. The basic sentence

Let’s start with the basic sentence. Word order is usually free in Finnish, but quite often the order is subject, verb, object. For example: Minä luen kirjaa (I read a book). Or: Maria syö omenaa (Maria eats an apple). Of course, you can have other words as well, such as adjectives and places: Maria syö vihreää omenaa keittiössä (Maria eats a green apple in the kitchen).

2. Imperative form

The next type of sentence is imperative form. You will need it when you want to make a request, give an order or give a warning. For example: Soita minulle! (call me!). Tule tänne! (come here!). Mene pois! (go away!). Avaa ikkuna! (open the window!).

From the examples you can see that the verb comes first in the imperative sentence. Imperative form is very easy to make: just conjugate a verb in the first person singular (minä) and then remove the last -n: soittaa -> minä soitan -> soita; tulla -> minä tulen -> tule; mennä -> minä menen -> mene; avata -> minä avaan -> avaa.

3. Negative imperative

Third type of sentence is negative imperative form. Just take the imperative form and add 'älä' in front: Älä soita! (don’t call!). Älä tule tänne! (don’t come here!). Älä mene! (don’t go!). Älä avaa ovea! (don’t open the door!).

4. There is / there are

Fourth sentence type is there is / there are-sentence. The sentence starts with the place where something is. The verb is always in the same form, third person singular. Quite often the verb is 'on'. For example: Kurssilla on paljon opiskelijoita. (there are many students in the course). Suomessa on kylmä (It is cold in Finland). Jääkaapissa on maitoa (there is some milk in the fridge).

5. Have to do

Fifth type of sentence is have to do-sentence. You will need it when you tell what you have to do or someone else has to do. In this type the subject is in the genitive form and the main verb 'täytyy' is always in the same form, third person singular. The second verb is in the basic form. For example: Minun täytyy opiskella (I have to study). Hänen täytyy lähteä kotiin (he has to go home). Ahmedin täytyy mennä töihin (Ahmed has to go to work).

The ending of the genitive form is letter 'n'. It is added to the stem of the word. Genitive forms of personal pronouns are: minun, sinun, hänen, meidän, teidän, heidän.

If you want to make a negative have to do -sentence, you will need another verb: 'tarvita'. It is used in the third person singular: ei tarvitse . The subject is in genitive form: Minun ei tarvitse herätä aikaisin (I don’t have to wake up early). Annan ei tarvitse mennä töihin. (Anna doesn’t have to go to work).


Well done! Now you know many ways to make sentences in Finnish. Here is my video about this lesson:


If you want to practice sentence types, you can do this exercise:

If for any reason you can´t see well the exercise on your device, you can also access it by clicking HERE


Jenni Turunen