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Plural Partitive of Long Words

The plural partitive of long words is less clear than the rules for short words in the plural partitive. Often there are multiple options. Of those options, one can be less common, or both versions can be equally common.

In the examples below, a large A (eg. -jA, -itA) means we can be dealing with both an -a or an -ä. Likewise, -O can mean both -o and -ö (-OitA, -OjA).

Table of Contents
  1. The Plural Partitive of Long Words
    1. Plural Partitive vs Plural Genetive
    2. The plural partitive markers -ja and -ita
  2. The Plural Partitive of Long Words: Wordtypes
    1. Words ending in -LI or -RI
    2. Words ending in -O
    3. Words ending in -LA, -NA, -RA
    4. Words ending in -VA, -MA, -LMA
    5. Words ending in -JA
    6. Words ending in -U
  3. Consonant Gradation in the Plural Partitive

1. The Plural Partitive of Long Words

1.1. Plural Partitive vs Plural Genetive

Often the plural partitive and genetive of words are similar. This means that if a word’s plural partitive ends in -ita, the most likely plural genetive ending is -iden (eg. papereita : papereiden). Likewise, a plural partitive ending in –ja is likely to be –jen in the plural genetive (eg. taisteluja : taistelujen)

1.3. The plural partitive markers -ja and -ita

The markers -ja and -ita are often both possible in the plural partitive. For some words, both versions are equally common (eg. taisteluja – taisteluita, mansikkoja – mansikoita). However, there are other words where one of the two markers is more common, but you can’t simply figure out which ones (henkilöitä, makkaroita vs fasaaneja, kaupunkeja).

As such, be prepared to be confused. I have marked the more commonly used forms in green. This is based on three factors: 1) on my experiences hearing these forms, 2) on the amount of Google search results and 3) on what linguistic sources online recommend.

2. The Plural Partitive of Long Words: Wordtypes

2.1. Long words ending in -LI or -RI

For long words ending in -li or -ri, the basic rule is to look at the syllable right before the -li or -ri. If there is a long vowel in front of it (in-si-nöö-ri, kro-ko-tii-li), the plural partitive will generally ending in -eja/ejä (insinöörejä, krokotiileja). In contrast, words with a short vowel in front of the -li or ri (pa-pe-ri, lää-kä-ri) will generally have a plural partitive ending in -eita/eitä (papereita, lääkäreitä).

For some words, this division is so final that the other partitive plural option just doesn’t exist (look below at eg. tekstiili). Other words will still have both options as a possibility. The options listed below are all based on what the kielitoimiston sanakirja lists as the possible plural partitive endings.

Nominative Partitive #1 Partitive #2
kellari kellareja kellareita
kolari kolareja kolareita
paperi papereja papereita
teatteri teattereja teattereita
moottori moottoreja moottoreita
naapuri naapureja naapureita
parturi partureja partureita
lääkäri lääkärejä lääkäreitä
basaari basaareja basaareita
normaali normaaleja normaaleita
tekstiili tekstiilejä tekstiileitä
sihteeri sihteerejä sihteereitä
upseeri upseerejä upseereitä
miljonääri miljonäärejä
insinööri insinöörejä
amatööri amatöörejä
krokotiili krokotiileja

2.2. Long Words Ending in -O

The plural partitive of long words endings in -O generally favors -OitA over -OjA. Both are possible however. These words undergo consonant gradation differently depending on which ending you choose.

Nominative Partitive #1 Partitive #2
vartalo vartaloja vartaloita
henkilö henkilöjä henkilöitä
numero numeroja numeroita
pusero puseroja puseroita
korjaamo korjaamoja korjaamoita
näyttämö näyttämöjä näyttämöitä
kolikko kolikkoja kolikoita
lompakko lompakkoja lompakoita
taulukko taulukkoja taulukoita

2.3. Long Words Ending in -LA, -NA, -RA

When a long word ends in –lA, -nA or –rA, you should look at what type of word it is: nouns (N) will generally only have the variantOitA (the words jumala and miljoona are exceptions). If the word you’re dealing with is an adjective (A), however, they will generally only have the -ia/iä variant.

As you can see below, kihara is marker both as a noun and an adjective. That’s because it can be used as both: kihara can both mean “a curl” (noun) or “curly” (adjective).

N/A Nominative Partitive #1 Partitive #2
N peruna perunoita
N porkkana porkkanoita
N myymälä myymälöitä
N ravintola ravintoloita
N makkara makkaroita
N kamera kameroita
N miljoona miljoonia
N jumala jumalia
A kamala kamalia
A ihana ihania
A ankara ankaria
A/N kihara kiharia kiharoita

2.4. Long Words Ending in -VA, MA and LMA

These are a little easier! Long words ending in –vA, -mA and –lmA will always have –iA as their plural partitive marker

Nominative Partitive #1 Partitive #2
asema asemia
suunnitelma suunnitelmia
vadelma vadelmia
hedelmä hedelmiä
mukava mukavia
lihava lihavia
kanava kanavia
tehtävä tehtäviä

2.6. Long Words Ending in -JA

For words ending in -ja, you should pay attention to the letter in front of the -ja. If you’re dealing with an -i- in front of it eg. (opiskelija), the plural partitive’s marker will be -oita (opiskelijoita). If there is another vowel in front of the -ja (opettaja), the plural partitive’s marker will be –ia (opettajia).

Nominative Partitive #1 Partitive #2
opiskelija opiskelijoita
tutkija tutkijoita
kirjailija kirjailijoita
virkailija virkailijoita
opettaja opettajia
myyjä myyjiä
kirjoittaja kirjoittajia
siivooja siivoojia

2.7. Long Words Ending in -U

For long words ending in -U, both plural partitive options usually sound equally correct to Finns. However, when you google how often both are used, there is usually a clear preference for one or the other. The green in the table below is solely based on Google results.

It seems likely that words with 4 syllables get the shorter variant jA. It also makes sense that words with a long vowel in front of the –lu would prefer -jA. In constrast, for three syllable words with a short vowel in front of the –lu, both versions generally seem equally common.

Nominative Partitive #1 Partitive #2
vertailu vertailuja vertailuita
kokeilu kokeiluja kokeiluita
tarjoilu tarjoiluja tarjoiluita
arvostelu arvosteluja arvosteluita
haastattelu haastatteluja haastatteluita
puhelu puheluja puheluita
palvelu palveluja palveluita
taistelu taisteluja taisteluita

3. Consonant Gradation in the Plural Partitive

In general, the plural partitive doesn’t undergo consonant gradation at all. However, there is one big group of words that do undergo consonant gradation: words ending in -kkO or -kkA. When you add the marker -OitA to the word, you will have to remove one –k– from the basic form.

Nominative Partitive #1 Partitive #2
mansikka mansikkoja mansikoita
lusikka lusikkoja lusikoita
kirsikka kirsikkoja kirsikoita
kolikko kolikkoja kolikoita
lompakko lompakkoja lompakoita
taulukko taulukkoja taulukoita
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Hello! Is there a separate group kinda “Long Words Ending in -KA”? Or is it a part of “Long Words Ending in -LA, -NA, -RA(, -KA)” group?

Inge (admin)

Long words ending in -KA (like mansikka) can have both -oita and -oja as their ending. Words ending in -LA/NA/RA are inflected differently (nouns get -oita, adjectives get -ia).

You can find long words ending in -KA in the consonant gradation section of the article. There are some words (like katiska) that end in -KA but won’t undergo consonant gradation because of the s in front of the k (katiskoja, katiskoita).

How long should a word be to use these rules?

Inge (admin)

Three syllables or more!

Michael Hämäläinen

I mapped these rules against some frequency lists (in Korpela’s Handbook of Finnish and VISK) and they summarise the patterns very well. Thanks for the practical expedient on this thorny issue!
In the interests of completeness, here are some other patterns:
If the ending of the inflectional stem is two vowels, -ita is always used. This was already described for short words under the 2.7. Words ending in two vowels: remove the last vowel and add –ita/itä  (KOTUS type 18 maa) and 2.8. Words ending in diphtongs –ie, –uo, –: drop the first vowel + ita/itä (KOTUS type 19 suo) sections on the The Partitive Plural – Monikon Partitiivi page.

Among long words, the same pattern is easiest to see in KOTUS type 3 valtio (yksiö : yksiöitä) and KOTUS type 15 korkea (pehmeä : pehmeitä) since these types have nominative ending in two vowels. However, it also applies to KOTUS type 48 hame (sade (nominative) : sateen (genitive) : sateita (plural partitive)) because of the long –e– in the genitive (as further described in 2.3. Words ending in –e: add an extra –e– + –n on The Genetive Case page). All of the (short) words listed under 2.5. Words ending in –e: add –ita/itä on The Partitive Plural – Monikon Partitiivi page belong to this type (huone, kirje, parveke, perhe, etc.).
A similar principle applies to KOTUS type 41 vieras, which also has a long vowel stem (kirves (nominative) : kirveen (genitive) : kirveitä (plural partitive)); likewise for KOTUS 43 ohut (neitsyt : neitsyen : neitsyitä), KOTUS 44 kevät (kevät : kevään : keväitä) and active past participles belonging to KOTUS 47 kuollut (elänyt : eläneen : eläneitä).

Similar to miljoona, persoona has partitive plural form persoonia. Long words ending in –stO (varasto : varastoja ~ varastoita), –CVlU (menettely : menettelyjä ~ menettelyitä) and –CVVlU (kokeilu : kokeiluja ~  kokeiluita) rarely take –ita form for partitive plural.

Inge (admin)

Nice additional details, thanks 🙂


Why in ”kolikko” in the first plural is strong (two k) and in the second ole is weak (one k)? Kiitos.


It’s explained in the last section of this article. For words ending in -kkO or -kkA, one k is removed when the -OitA ending is added.


I asked why, not how it works. Thanks.


That’s simply a rule that applies to that group of words.

Inge (admin)

It’s easiest to just accept that that’s how it goes :p

The reason: words that are at least four syllables long once you add the case ending of the plural partitive, genetive and illative forms usually have two possible forms. For words ending in -kko or -kka, the -oita ending undergoes a different type of consonant gradation than -oja.

The -oja form follows the rule that at the beginning of an open syllable, you use the strong grade (man-sik-kaa), while at the beginning of a closed syllable, you use the weak grade (man-si-kan).

man-sik-ko-ja > -ko- is an open syllable

The oita-form follows the rule that words of at least 4 syllables whose one-but-last (stressed) syllable is long will have the weak grade at the beginning of said syllable.

man-si-koi-ta > -koi- is a long syllable

This type of consonant gradation only happens with nouns ending in -kka or -kko.