Uusi kielemme - Finnish for Busy People

The long form of the first infinitive

1. Use

When you add -kse- (this is actually the translative ending -ksi) and a possessive suffix behind the infinitive of a Finnish verb, you get a new form, which is just called the long form of the first infinitive. A verb in such a sentence construction will be translated as "in order to..."

Finnish English
Asuin Ranskassa oppiakseni ranskaa. I lived in France in order to learn French.
Hän soitti kysyäkseen, voisiko hän tulla. He called in order to ask if he could come.
Ymmärtääksenne minua, teidän pitää kuunnella. In order to understand me, you have to listen.
Emme elä syödäksemme. We don't live in order to eat.

2. Formation

Finnish English
Levätäkseni... In order to rest myself...
Levätäksesi... In order to rest yourself...
Levätäkseen... In order to rest himself...
Levätäksemme... In order to rest ourselves...
Levätäksenne... In order to rest yourselves...
Levätäkseen... In order to rest themselves...

3. Phrases

There are a few phrases whose meaning differs from the usual "in order to". They are very often used, so should certainly be learned by heart.

Finnish English
Muistaakseni... As far as I remember...
Tietääkseni... As far as I know...
Nähdäkseni... As far as I can see...
Ymmärtääkseni... As far as I understand...

4. "Tehdäkseen" or "tekemään"?

It's very important not to confuse these two forms of the verb tehdä. "Tehdäkseen" is an example of what is being explained on this page, while "tekemään" is the mihin form of the third infinitive.

The third infinitive form “tekemään” is most typically used with verbs expressing motion, “tehdäkseen” with other verbs. The two can occasionally be synonyms:

Finnish English
Isä nousi tuolista avaamaan ovea. Dad got up from the chair to open the door.
Isä nousi tuolista avatakseen oven. Dad got up from the chair in order to open the door.

As a rule, however, there is a difference in meaning, as “tehdäkseen” clearly emphasizes the purpose of the motion:

Finnish English
Mihin sinä juokset? - Ostamaan ruokaa. Where do you run? - To buy some food.
Miksi sinä juokset? - Pysyäkseni kunnossa. Why do you run? - To stay in shape.