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Long form of the First Infinitive – Finaalirakenne

This article focuses on the long form of the first infinitive. The infinitive (which is more technically called the first infinitive) is the basic form of a verb. Linguistics call it the A-infinitiivi, because it ends in an -a/-ä for all verbs. If you’ve studied Finnish a little bit, you probably know about the Finnish verbtypes. The A-infinitive is the form which that division is based upon.

1. The Use of the Long Form of the First Infinitive

This form of the verb will be used to express purpose, the reason why you’re doing something. Most of the time it appears in a sentence construction that is called the ”finaalirakenne” in Finnish. You will need the translative case for this.

For example ”Ajoin Helsinkiin nähdäkseni Maijan.” means ”I drove to Helsinki in order to see Maija.” It expresses the reason of my trip. The subject of the sentence and the subject of the finaalirakenne are always the same person!

2. The Formation of the Long Form of the First Infinitive

This form consists of the infinitive (the so-called basic form) of the verb, followed by the translative marker -kse- and a possessive suffix.

Infinitive Example English
oppia Minä tulin Suomeen oppiakseni suomea. I came to Finland in order to learn Finnish.
nähdä Turistit ajavat Kekkosentietä nähdäkseen Näsijärven. The tourists drive via Kekkosentie in order to see the lake Näsijärvi.
levätä Lähdin maalle levätäkseni. I went to the country side in order to rest.
tilata Nainen soitti lääkärille tilatakseen ajan. The woman called to the doctor in order to reserve a time.
ostaa Me kävimme kaupassa ostaaksemme jotain syötävää. We went to the store in order to buy something to eat.

3. Special Uses of the Long Form of the First Infinitive

Certain verbs have a different meaning when you add the translative and a possessive suffix to them. Their translation won’t be ”in order to”, but instead they’ll mean ”as far as”. These appear mostly in the minä-form.

Infinitive Example English
muistaa Muistaakseni jätin avaimeni pöydälle. As far as I remember I left my keys on the table.
tietää Tampereella ei ole tietääkseni orpokotia. As far as I know there isn’t an orphanage in Tampere.
luulla Luullakseni hän on ihan normaalipainoinen. As far as I can tell (think) she’s just normal weight.
nähdä Teimme nähdäkseni kaiken mahdollisen. As far as I can see we did everything that was possible.
käsittää Salo saikäsittääkseni 17 miljoonaa. As far as I understand (know) Salo got 17 million.


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