Negation

In Finnish, there is a negative verb. Verbs are negated by adding the negative verb in front of the main verb. This verb will lose its personal ending, because the negative verb will have a personal ending already. The main verb will be written in its stem form, which is found by taking the "minä" form of the verb and removing the -n.

1. Present tense

Verb Stem Negative Meaning
tietää tiedä- (minä) en tiedä I don't know
saada saa- (sinä) et saa you don't get
tulla tule- (hän) ei tule he doesn't come
tavata tapaa- (me) emme tapaa we don't meet
tarvita tarvitse- (te) ette tarvitse you (plural) don't need
paeta pakene- (he) eivät pakene they don't escape


2. Present passive tense

The negative is formed by taking the third person singular (no conjugation of the negative verb!) of the "negative verb" (ei), followed by the present passive with the final "-an" removed.

Verb Passive Negative Meaning
tietää tiedetään ei tiedetä it isn't known
saada saadaan ei saada it isn't received
opiskella opiskellaan ei opiskella it isn't studied
tavata tavataan ei tavata it isn't met
tarvita tarvitaan ei tarvita it isn't needed
vaaleta vaaletaan ei vaaleta it isn't whitened


3. Imperfect tense

The negative is formed by conjugating the "negative verb", followed by the nominative form (either singular or plural depending on the number of the verb's subject) of the active past participle.

Finnish English Finnish English
Minä en puhunut. I didn't speak. Minä en syönyt. I didn't eat.
Sinä et puhunut. You didn't speak. Sinä et syönyt. You didn't eat.
Hän ei puhunut. He didn't speak. Hän ei syönyt. He didn't eat.
Me emme puhuneet. We didn't speak. Me emme syöneet. We didn't eat.
Te ette puhuneet. You (plural) didn't speak. Te ette syöneet. You (plural) didn't eat.
He eivät puhuneet. They didn't speak. He eivät syöneet. They didn't eat.


4. Passive imperfect

The negative is formed by taking the third person singular of the "negative verb" (ei), followed by the nominative singular form of the passive past participle:

Finnish Passive Negative English
tietää tiedettiin ei tiedetty it wasn't known
saada saatiin ei saatu it wasn't received
opiskella opiskeltiin ei opiskeltu it wasn't studied
tavata tavattiin ei tavattu it wasn't met
tarvita tarvittiin ei tarvittu it wasn't needed
vaaleta vaalettiin ei vaalettu it wasn't whitened