“To be” (“olla”) – (Finnish-FI)

“To have” and “to be” are the bread and butter of a new language, and so it’s a good place to start when you’re looking at learning your first verbs. However, Finnish does not have a form of “to have”; instead it has a similar construction to Russian when showing possession. Instead of “I have a cat”, Finns say “Minulla on kissa”, which is “To me a cat”. You’ll learn more about this construction with the dative case.

You’ll also learn the personal pronouns here, and get accustomed to the idea of writing out verbs in their conjugations, i.e. the different forms the verb takes depending on the subject of the sentence.

The infinitive of a verb is its “to” form, such as “to have”, “to play”, and is usually the form you use when talking about the verb as a concept. There are three grammatical “persons”: first, second, and third. Each of these persons has a singular form and a plural form, giving a total of six combinations. The first person contains the speaker, i.e. “I” in the singular, or “we” in the plural. The second person is the person you are addressing, i.e. “you” in the singular to one person, or to a group of people, that doesn’t include the speaker. The third person is neither the speaker nor the addressee; in the singular, it can be “he”, “she”, or “it”, and in the plural “they”. It’s a good idea to get used to the terminology, if you’re not already familiar, for personal pronouns, so when you hear “second person plural” you know exactly what it refers to – plural “you”, in this case.

First person singular minä I
Second person singular sinä
Te (formal)
Third person singular hän
First person plural me we
Second person plural te you
Third person plural he they

Finnish often misses out personal pronouns in the nominative case, i.e. “olen” (“I am) is equivalent to “Minä olen”.


minä olen I am
sinä olet you are
hän on he/she/it is
me olemme we are
te olette you are
he ovat they are

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