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Finnish Comparative and Superlative of Adverbs

Adverbs can be inflected in the comparative and the superlative for the purpose of comparing how things are done. Using the comparative, we can say for example that something is done faster or better, more slowly or more clearly. The superlative is used to express that something was done the worst, the slowest or the easiest. Let’s take a look at the Finnish comparative and superlative of adverbs!

Table of Contents
  1. What Are Adverbs?
  2. The Use of the Finnish Comparative and Superlative of Adverbs
    1. Comparative: KUIN
    2. Comparative: using the partitive case
    3. Comparative: YHÄ
    4. Superlative: using the elative case
    5. Superlative: KAIKKEIN
    6. Superlative: MITÄ
  3. The Formation of the Finnish Comparative and Superlative of Adverbs
    1. Exceptional adverbs
    2. Adverbs ending in -sti: regular rules
    3. Adverbs with two superlative forms
    4. Location Adverbs in the Comparative and the Superlative

1. What are Adverbs?

Adverbs express the way in which something is done or happens. The most stereotypical group of adverbs are the ones ending in –sti (in English, the ending would be -ly). There are several types of adverbs.

2. The Use of the Comparative and Superlative of Adverbs

While writing this article, I’ve had to stop and think about what I was doing quite a few times. The superlative forms of most adverbs are extremely uncommon. While it’s important to be able to say “the most often” and “the best”, some other superlatives just lack much usage. When have you last felt the need to say that sounding was happening “the most abundantly”? As such, the Finnish comparative and superlative of adverbs has plenty of forms you will find little to no use for. Pick the ones you want to learn based on your needs!

Form Finnish English
Regular Paavo juoksee nopeasti. Paavo runs quickly.
Comparative Paavo juoksee nopeammin kuin Yrjö. Paavo runs faster than Yrjö.
Superlative Paavo juoksee kaikkein nopeimmin. Paavo runs the fastest of all.
Regular Pauliina laulaa huonosti. Pauliina sings badly.
Comparative Pauliina laulaa Ollia huonommin. Pauliina sings worse than Olli.
Superlative Pauliin laulaa huonoimmin. Pauliina sings the worst.

2.1. Comparative: KUIN

Just like in the comparative of adjectives, adverbs can be used to compare two things using the word kuin. This works just like in English. In spoken language, you will also hear kun instead of kuin.

Finnish English
Paavo juoksee nopeammin kuin Yrjö. Paavo runs faster than Yrjö.
Minun isäni puhuu hitaammin kuin äitini. My dad speaks more slowly than my mom.
Nuoret oppivat tämän nopeammin kuin vanhukset. The young learn this faster than the old.
Nainen käyttäytyi kohteliaammin kuin aikaisemmin. The woman behaved more politely than before.
Kokous kesti kauemmin kuin luulimme. The meeting took longer than we had thought.

2.2. Comparative: using the partitive case

We can also use the partitive to replace the “kuin X” part of the sentence. As such, the phrase “Uin nopeammin kuin sinä” can be rephrased as “Uin sinua nopeammin”.

Finnish English
Paavo juoksee Yrjöä nopeammin. Paavo runs faster than Yrjö.
Sinä laulat minua paremmin. You sing better than me.
Mies kertoi elämästään muita suorasukaisemmin. The man told about his life more upfront than others.

2.3. Comparative: YHÄ

The adverb yhä is used to express that something keeps on increasing. For example, yhä hitaammin mean “slower and slower; ever slower”.

Finnish English
Kuljettaja ajoi yhä nopammin ja uhkarohkeammin. The driver drove ever faster and more recklessly.
Hevonen juoksee yhä nopeammin ja nopeammin. The horse runs faster and faster.
Hän käyttäytyy yhä huonommin. He behaves worse all the time.

2.4. Superlative: using the elative case

The elative case can be used to express the group from which one is the superlative one.

Finnish English
Kuka tästä porukasta opiskelee ahkerimmin? Who of this group studies the most diligently?
Firmamme kasvoi teknofirmoista nopeimmin. Our firm grew the fastest of all the techno firms.

2.5. Superlative: KAIKKEIN

Just like for the superlative of adjectives, you can use kaikkein to mean “of all”.

Finnish English
Hän asuu kaikkein mukavimmin. She lives the most pleasantly of all.
Siskoni hymyilee kaikkein söpöimmin. The sister smiles the most cute of all.
Pyöräilen kaikkein huonoiten. I drive a bike the worst of all.
Pääsin yliopistoon kaikkein helpoiten. I got into university the most easily of all.

2.6. Superlative: MITÄ

Finnish English
Pyydän anteeksi mitä nöyrimmin. I apologize most humbly.
Hänestä tulee mitä ilmeisimmin seuraava presidentti. He will obviously become the next president.
Pihapelit sopivat mitä parhaiten juhannukseen Yard games suit the best for midsummer.

3. The Formation of the Comparative and Superlative of Adverbs

The comparative of adverbs has the marker –mmin, while the superlative has the marker -immin. Most adverbs can’t be inflected in any of the cases, so they won’t inflect when they’re in their comparative forms either.

3.1. Exceptional Adverbs

I’m starting with the exceptions this time! The following adverbs have an exceptional inflection, but are important to learn, because many of them are very commonly used. Notice how some of them ending in –immin, and others in -iten.

Adverb Comparative Superlative
hyvin paremmin parhaiten
paljon enemmän eniten
vähän vähemmän vähiten
harvoin harvemmin harvimmin
usein useammin useimmin
aikaisin aikaisemmin aikaisimmin
myöhään myöhemmin myöhimmin
kauan kauemmin kauimmin
mielellään mieluummin mieluiten

3.2. Adverbs ending in -sti: regular rules

For adverbs ending in –sti, it’s common for the comparative’s –mmin and superlative’s –immin markers to be added to the same stem as the –sti. This means that adjectives of two syllables that end in an -a/ä, will have the final letter replaced with an –e– before the comparative’s marker (eg. tyhmä : tyhmempi).

Adverb Comparative Superlative
ahkerasti ahkerammin ahkerimmin
mukavasti mukavammin mukavimmin
ikävästi ikävämmin ikävimmin
selvästi selvemmin selvimmin
rumasti rumemmin rumimmin
laiskasti laiskemmin laiskimmin
hauskasti hauskemmin hauskimmin
tyhmästi tyhmemmin tyhmimmin
vilkkaasti vilkkaammin vilkkaimmin
kohteliaasti kohteliaammin kohteliaimmin
hitaasti hitaammin hitaimmin
kauniisti kauniimmin kauneimmin
iloisesti iloisemmin iloisimmin
onnettomasti onnettomammin onnettomimmin
lämpimästi lämpimämmin lämpimimmin
ilkeästi ilkeämmin ilkeimmin

3.3. Adverbs with two superlative forms

Sometimes there are two options for the superlative: –iten and –immin. Both of these forms are correct. Below, each of the superlative form has a number next to it, which indicates how many google hits that specific form got. This is a crude way of assessing the popularity of a certain form. Marked in green is the most common of the two superlative options.

Adverb Comparative Superlative #1 Superlative #2
helposti helpommin helpoimmin ~ 145 000 helpoiten ~ 686 000
pahasti pahemmin pahimmin ~ 38 000 pahiten ~ 144 000
huonosti huonommin huonoimmin ~25 000 huonoiten ~ 47 000
runsaasti runsaammin runsaimmin ~ 28 000 runsaiten ~ 1 500

3.4. Location Adverbs in the Comparative and the Superlative

Adverbs of location usually have a missä, mistä and mihin form, although they don’t inflect in any of the other cases (eg. lähellä, läheltä, lähelle). Below, you can find some of the most common location adverbs.

The “translations” added are not meant to be accurate proper English translations. Rather, I added them to convey the general feeling of the sentence. This might help you understand them better.

Adverb Comparative Superlative Example
lähellä lähempänä lähimpänä Antti istuu lähempänä minua kuin Pasi. “closer by me than”
läheltä lähempää lähimpää Bussi 33 tulee lähempää kuin bussi 5. “from closer by”
lähelle lähemmäksi lähimmäksi Tiinan arvaus tuli lähimmäksi. “came the closest”
kaukana kauempana kauimpana Kaarina asuu kauimpana. “the furthest away”
kaukaa kauempaa kauimpaa Kaarina tulee kouluun kauimpaa. “from the furthest away”
kauas kauemmas kauimmas Menisitkö istumaan kauemmas? “to further away”
ylhäällä ylempänä ylimpänä Keksit on ihan ylimpänä olevalla hyllyllä. “on the highest shelf”
ylhäältä ylempää ylimpää Kissa hyppäsi ylimpää. “from the highest”
ylös ylemmäksi ylimmäksi Kiipeilin ylemmäksi. “up higher”


That’s it for the Finnish comparative and superlative of adverbs! Let me know below if there are things missing you’d like to see added to this article!

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