Finnish for busy people

Siinä Siitä and Siihen – “There” in Finnish

In this article, we look at these three words: siinä, siitä and siihen, which are inflected forms of the demonstrative pronoun se. Siinä, siitä and siihen all can mean “there”, but are used in different contexts. You might want to get acquainted with the missä, mistä and mihin forms first.

This article focuses on cases where siinä, siitä and siihen are used on their own, without a noun attached to them. This is a pretty specific use of tuo which fits best in the tässä-täällä, tuossa-tuolla, siinä-siellä scheme of words to say “here” and “there”. The general use of se is as a pronoun attached to a noun, where it means “that” rather than “there” (eg. se kirja, sitä kirjaa, siinä kirjassa).

Table of Contents
  1. Siinä (missä?)
    1. Concrete meaning of siinä
    2. Abstract uses of siinä
  2. Siitä (mistä?)
    1. Concrete meaning of siitä
    2. Abstract uses of siitä
  3. Siihen (mihin?)
    1. Concrete meaning of siihen
    2. Abstract uses of siihen

1. Siinä (missä?)

1.1. Concrete meaning of siinä (in there)

You will generally use siinä for a place that’s not visible from where you are. However, it’s also common to use siinä to express that something is somewhere near the listener, further from the speaker. As such, it’s possible that the listener can see it. The context will make clear where the “there” is.

Siinä refers to a relatively small area with clear borders. This is in contrast with siellä, which refers to a relatively expansive area without clear borders.

It’s pretty hard to find examples where siinä plainly means “there”. Most of the time, it means “in there”. It is also much more common with a noun attached to it.

Finnish English
Puhelimesi on siinä. Your phone is in there (eg. in the night table, in the box).
Seiso siinä, otan kuvan! Stand in that spot, I will take a picture!
Siinä hän on! Maija, tule tänne! There she is! Maija, come here!
Paperit ovat yhä siinä. The papers are still there (eg. on the table).
Siinä on vettä. There’s water in there (eg. in the bottle).
Siinä näkyy kolme autoa. The cars are visible there (eg. in the picture).
Sinun olisi parempi pysyä siinä. You should stay right there.

1.2. Abstract uses of siinä

These phrases are very abstract, to the point where the English translative generally doesn’t include the word “there” at all. These phrases are pretty common, so they’re definitely worth getting acquainted with!

Finnish English
Siinäkö kaikki? Is that (really) all? Isn’t there more to it?
Siinä kaikki. That’s all. That’s all there is to it. It’s as simple as that.
Eikä siinä vielä kaikki! And that’s not even the worst of it!
Siinä on kylliksi. That’s plenty already. That really doesn’t need more.
Siinäpä se. Exactly. That’s the whole point, yes.
Se on (sitten) siinä. That’s it (then). All done!
Ongelma on siinä, että… The problem is that …
Siinä nyt näet! See! I told you so!
Siinä sen nyt kuulit! See! Now you hear it. I was right!
Se on siinä ja siinä. It’s borderline; questionable: a close call.
Mikäs siinä! Sure, why not! (response to a proposition)
Siinä paha missä mainitaan. Speak of the devil.

In addition to everything above, you could also check out phrases such as siinä tapauksessa, siinä määrin and siinä toivossa.

2. Siitä (Mistä?)

2.1. Concrete meaning of siitä (from there)

While this article deals with the use of siitä as an adverb, siitä is most often used in it’s literal meaning: as the pronoun se in the mistä form. It’s hard to find examples where it refers to a location.

When it does refer to a movement away from a place, it means “from there”. In the conversation, the listener is at the area in question, while the speaker is further removed from it. In theory siinä-siitä-siihen refer to an area that can’t be seen. However, in practice the speaker will see the area and the listener will be near the area.

Finnish English
Siirry pois siitä! Move away from there!
Ota siitä kuppi itsellesi. Take a cup for yourself from there (behind you, close to you).
Ota siitä uusi lautanen. Take a new plate from there (behind you, close to you).
Jatka siitä, mihin jäit. Continue from where you left off.

2.2. Abstract uses of siitä

Finnish English
Kyllä se siitä. Things will be okay, it will get better.
Kyllä se siitä vielä paranee. It will improve, don’t worry.
Viis siitä! Whatever! Not going to let that stop me!

You’re most likely to find siitä used as a connective. Read more about connectives:

3. Siihen (Mihin?)

You will use siihen for a small place with clear borders that’s not visible from where you are. Think for example the inside of a cupboard or a box in the bedroom. It’s common to use siihen to express a movement near the listener, which is further away from the speaker. As such, it’s possible that the listener can see it. The context will make clear where the “there” is.

Siihen is commonly accompanied by a noun. In these cases it is functioning as a demonstrative pronoun and less as an adverb. For all the concrete examples below, we can clear think of a noun to add (eg. siihen paikkaan, siihen kohtaan).

3.1. Concrete meaning of siihen (to there)

Finnish English
Jätä pyöräsi siihen. Leave your bike there, near you.
Hän meni siihen ihan hevosen viereen. He went to that spot right next to the horse.
Pane tavarat siihen pöydälle. Put the things on the table there.
Hän tuli siihen seisomaan. He went to stand in that spot.

3.2. Abstract uses of siihen

Finnish English
Siihen meni 45 vuotta. It took 45 years.
Ja siihen se uni silloin loppui. And that’s where the dream ended.
Ja siihen se innostus lässähti. And that’s where the enthusiasm fell flat.

You’re most likely to find siihen used as a connective. Read more about connectives:

That’s it for probably the hardest forms of the tässä-täällä-tuossa-tuolla-siinä-siellä series. I hope you have a better grasp on how to use the words siinä, siitä and siihen! You can find links to other related articles below!

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