The genitive

1. Use

1.1. Used to indicate possession (my, your, his)
Finnish English
Se on tuon miehen lompakko. It's that man's wallet.
Erja on Saulin serkku. Erja is Sauli's cousin.
Se on minun kirja. It's my book.

1.2. Used in front of a postposition
Finnish English
television päällä on top of the television
kirkon vieressä next to the church
pankin lähellä near the bank
veden alla under water

1.3. Used with "täytyy" (see necessity sentences)
Finnish English
Minun täytyy mennä työhön. I have to go to work.
Hänen täytyy maksaa lasku. He has to pay the bill.
Matin täytyy syödä enemmän. Matti has to eat more.

1.4. Used when stressing adjectives or explaining adjectives further
Finnish English
Se on hirveän suuri. It's incredibly big.
Takki on tummansininen. The coat is darkblue.
Hän on salamannopea. He is fast as lightening.


2. Formation

2.1 Words ending in a single vowel (-a/-ä, -u/-y, -o/-ö): add -n
Nominative Genitive Nominative Genitive Nominative Genitive
kala kalan homma homman kynä kynän
talo talon harja harjan päärynä päärynän
seinä seinän loma loman söpö söpön

2.2 Be aware of the possibility of consonant gradation, because the genitive is weak for wordtype A words and strong for wordtype B words..

Wordtype A words

Nominative Genitive Nominative Genitive Nominative Genitive
kukka kukan nky ngyn helppo helpon
kaupunki kaupungin pankki pankin lehti lehden
Matti Matin lki ljen puku puvun
           

Wordtype B words

Nominative Genitive Nominative Genitive Nominative Genitive
keitin keittimen tavoite tavoitteen liike liikkeen
opas oppaan koe kokeen hammas hampaan
hylje hylkeen allas altaan murre murteen

2.3. Words ending in -e: add a second -e- +n
Nominative Genitive Nominative Genitive Nominative Genitive
huone huoneen perhe perheen kappale kappaleen
kirje kirjeen lentokone lentokoneen taide taiteen
parveke parvekkeen koe kokeen aste asteen

Words ending in an -e are part of the wordtype B group. Learn more about their kind of consonant gradation here.


2.4. Words ending in -nen: remove the -nen and add -sen
Nominative Genitive Nominative Genitive Nominative Genitive
nainen naisen hevonen hevosen suomalainen suomalaisen
eteinen eteisen iloinen iloisen ihminen ihmisen
sininen sinisen toinen toisen tavallinen tavallisen

2.5. Words ending in -i
2.5.1. New words ending in -i: add -n
Nominative Genitive Nominative Genitive Nominative Genitive
banaani banaanin paperi paperin kahvi kahvin
pankki pankin posti postin maali maalin
tili tilin adverbi adverbin dollari dollarin

New words are words that haven't been around for ages yet. Usually they're recognisable because they're a loanword, like "pankki" for "bank", or "paperi" for "paper".


2.5.2. Old words ending in -i: remove -i- and add-en
Nominative Genitive Nominative Genitive Nominative Genitive
suomi suomen ovi oven järvi järven
kivi kiven lahti lahden nimi nimen
sormi sormen lehti lehden pilvi pilven

Old words are very often nature words. After all, nature has been around for so long that Finns have had names for them since the very beginning. Some words are confusing, for example "äiti" (mother) is actually a new Finnish word!


2.5.3. Words ending in -si: remove -si- and add -den
Nominative Genitive Nominative Genitive Nominative Genitive
uusi uuden vuosi vuoden si den
kuukausi kuukauden vesi veden reisi reiden
köysi köyden mesi meden jousi jouden

2.6. Words ending in a consonant

Look at the separate page for the genitive of words ending in a consonant


2.7. Pronouns
Nominative Genitive Nominative Genitive Nominative Genitive
minä minun sinä sinun hän hänen
me meidän te teidän he heidän
se sen tuo tuon tämä tämän
ne niiden nuo noiden nämä näiden



3. Notes

3.1. Possessive suffixes

When you want to add a possessive suffix to a word in the genitive, the genitive ending will disappear. The word also will become strong when there's the matter of consonant gradation. Therefore, a word in the genitive with a possessive suffix will look exactly the same as a word in the nominative with a possessive suffix.

Nominative Possessive nominative Genitive Posessive genitive
pankki pankkini pankin pankkini
hevonen hevoseni hevosen hevoseni
kirkko kirkkoni kirkon kirkkoni
konsertti konserttini konsertin konserttini

3.2. Double names

When you put a word in the genitive, any adjectives connected to the word will become genitive as well. With first names or titles, things go a little differently: those do NOT get the genitive ending.

Nominative Genitive Nominative Genitive
Markku Salonen Markku Salosen Sara Johnson Sara Johnsonin
Ilpo Koivula Ilpo Koivulan johtaja Nieminen johtaja Niemisen
herra Lehtinen herra Lehtisen hotelli Sunset hotelli Sunsetin
rouva Kalliomäki rouva Kalliomäen baari Linkosuo baari Linkosuon