Wordtype B Consonant Gradation

1. What is Consonant Gradation?

Consonant gradation (astevaihtelu or KPT-vaihtelu) is something you’re going to run into all the time when learning Finnish. It’s something that affects both nouns and verbs, though in different ways. It’s called gradation, because words can have a ”strong” grade and a ”weak” grade. This change takes place when we add an ending to a word.

Consonant gradation only affects certain consonants (K, P and T). When conjugating a verb, the K, P and T in the middle of the word can change. Different verbtypes undergo a different system of consonant gradation.

In this article we will look at what kind of consonant gradation wordtype B words have.

1. What is Wordtype B?

Wordtypes (sanatyypit) are based on what kind of letters are at the end of the word. Finnish has many cases that you add to the end of words. As such, there are a lot of changes that happen at the border of the word and the ending.

Wordtype B is less common than wordtype A. If you’ve been studying for a short period of time, you probably haven’t learned yet about wordtype B. If that’s the case, focus on wordtype A consonant gradation until you have a decent grasp on it before learning wordtype B. Save yourself some confusion!

Wordtype B consists of the following wordtypes:

  • Words ending in -e: parveke, hylje, murre
  • Words ending in -in: eg. kahvinkeitin, tuuletin, soitin
  • Words ending in -as: eg. rakas, puhdas, hammas
  • Words ending in -ton: eg. työtön, arvoton, unohtumaton
  • Words ending in -tar: eg. ystävätär, kuningatar, opettajatar

2. When Do You Use Consonant Gradation?

For Wordtype B, the nominative of the word (the basic form) will always be weak. All the other forms will be strong, except for the partitive.

Stronge forms:

  • plural (-t, mitkä?): osoitteet
  • genetive (-n, minkä?): osoitteen
  • inessive (-ssa, missä?): osoitteessa
  • elative (-sta, mistä?): osoitteesta
  • illative (-Vn, -hVn, -seen, mihin?): osoitteeseen
  • adessive (-lla, millä?): osoitteella
  • ablative (-lta, miltä?): osoitteelta
  • allative (-lle, mille?): osoitteelle
  • all the other rare cases:
    eg. osoitteetta, osoitteeksi, osoitteena

Weak forms:

  • nominative: osoite
  • partitive: osoitetta

3. Which Consonants Change?

Consonant gradation only happens to the following consonants.

Weak Strong Example 1 Example 2
k kk liike → liikkeessä rakas → rakkaat
p pp opas → oppaassa saapas → saappaassa
t tt osoite → osoitteessa soitin → soittimessa
nn nt ranne → ranteessa asenne → asenteessa
ng nk kangas → kankaassa rengas → renkaassa
mm mp hammas → hampaassa lammas → lampaassa
ll lt allas → altaalla helle → helteessä
rr rt murre → murteessa porras → portaalla
d t hidas → hitaassa tehdas → tehtaassa
Ø k koe → kokeessa varas → varkaalla
v p varvas → varpaassa taive → taipeessa
hje hke lahje → lahkeessa pohje → pohkeessa
lje lke hylje → hylkeessä palje → palkeessa

4. Limitations on Consonant Gradation

If a certain consonant combination is not included in the list above, they’re not subject to consonant gradation. For example: -ss- is not in the list, so you will never consonant gradate -ss- to -s-.

Consonant gradation can only take place at the border between the last and the one-but-last syllable. This means that certain longer words won’t be subject to consonant gradation. For example the word ”sekoite” will have consonant gradation, but only at the end of the word: the -t- will become -tt-, but the -k- will stay the same: sekoitteessa, sekoitteet, etc.

That concludes the article on wordtype B consonant gradation!



  • In the table on this page, hke, lke are in the ”weak” column while hje, lje are in the ”strong” column. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

    • Awesome, Sarja! Thanks for the help. You have an eye for the details 🙂

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