Finnish for busy people

The Illative Case (Mihin) – S-Mihin – Finnish Grammar

The illative case (often just called “the mihin form”, more recently also “S-mihin“) is generally used to express movement towards something. If you’re looking for an overview about missä, mistä and mihin, look here.

Table of Contents
  1. Terminology problem: mihin or S-mihin
  2. The Use of the Illative Case
    1. When saying TO or INTO
    2. When talking about time (until)
    3. Rections with the S-mihin form
      1. Verbs + Noun in the S-mihin form
      2. Verbs + Verb in the –maan form
      3. Verbs + Verb in the –miseen form
      4. Adjectives + Noun in the S-mihin form
      5. Noun + Noun in the S-mihin form
  3. The Formation of the Illative Case
    1. Words ending in a single vowel
    2. Words ending in two different vowels
    3. Words of one syllable ending in two vowels
    4. Words ending in two of the same vowel
    5. Words ending in -e
    6. Words ending in –i
      1. New words ending in –i
      2. Old words ending in –i
      3. Old words ending in –si
    7. Words ending in a consonant
      1. Words ending in –nen
      2. Words ending in -as
      3. Words ending in -is
      4. Words ending in -os/-us
      5. Words ending in -ton
      6. Words ending in -in
      7. Words ending in –ut
      8. Words ending in -tar
      9. Non-Finnish words ending in a consonant
  4. Consonant Gradation in the Illative Case

1. Terminology problem: Mihin or S-mihin

Terminology issue: “illative” is the linguistic term for the form that means “to” or “into”. If you’re studying Finnish in Finland on a course for immigrants, you will most likely not hear the grammatical term. Instead, your teachers are more likely to use the terms mihinmuoto and S-mihin.

The S in S-mihin makes sense when you take into account that Finnish has 6 location-related cases:

Question Sisäsijat Examples Ulkosijat Examples
Missä? Inessive case (ssA) koulussa, metsässä Adessive case (llA) kurssilla, asemalla
Mistä? Elative case (sta) koulusta, metsästä Ablative case (ltA) kurssilta, asemalta
Mihin? Illative case (S-mihin) kouluun, metsään Allative case (lle) kurssille, asemalle

Looking at the third column, you can see koulussa, koulusta and kouluun. The fifth column has kurssilla, kurssilta and kurssille. Both kouluun and kurssille are suitable ways to answer the question “Mihin?”. Most Finnish courses and textbooks will not use grammatical names for the cases. It’s considered unnecessary to use space in your brain for these random case names.

Because of this, talking about “mihin-muoto” and “S-mihin” is a good solution. Older textbooks will refer to the illative case as “mihin-muoto“, while newer ones use the term “S-mihin”. The S helps use differentiate between the illative and the allative cases. The illative case itself only includes an “s” in some verb specific wordtypes (e.g. huone → huoneeseen) but it’s part of the inner location case system, where the “missä-muoto” has -ssa/ssä (rather than -lla/ltä) and the “mistä-muoto” has -sta/stä (rather than -lta/ltä).

To learn more about missä, mistä and mihin and their usage, look here.

2. The Use of the Illative Case (Mihin, S-mihin)

2.1. When saying TO or INTO

The illative case has several different-looking endings (see section 3 below), but the meaning is usually quite clear: it means a movement into something or towards something or somewhere. In English you usually use “to” or “into”.

There can be some confusion with the allative, which also is translated as “to” in some cases. In general, the illative can be translated as “into”, while the allative is translated as “onto”. However, both will often be translated as “to”.

Finnish English
Laitan leivän kaappiin. I put the bread [in(to) the cupboard].
Me muutamme Suomeen. We move [to Finland].
Ihmiset tulivat kirjastoon. The people came [to the library].
Haluan mennä kotiin. I want to go [“to” home].
Vien kirjan takaisin keittiöön. I return the book [to the kitchen].
Tervetuloa uuteen kotiin. Welcome [to a/the new home]. (pic)

2.2. When talking about time (until)

The illative case is used to express until when something lasts.

Finnish English
Ongelma jatkui [joulukuuhun saakka].
The problem continued [until December].
Kokous kestää [kolmesta kuuteen]. The meeting lasts [from three until six].
Olen töissä [aamusta iltaan]. I’m at work [from morning till evening].
Olin töissä [seitsemään asti]. I was at work [until seven].
Palauta kirja [sunnuntaihin mennessä]. Return the book [by Sunday].

2.3. Rections with the mihin form

This section is for intermediate students. In Finnish, certain words will “require the mihin form”. This is the typical way to describe that certain words will always be accompanied by a word in the mihin-form. We call this phenomenon a “rection“.

Some words require the mihin-form. This can be the case with both nouns and verbs:

  • Verb + noun (S-mihin): Rakastuin tyttöön. (see section 2.3.1)
  • Verb + verb (-maan): Menen tanssimaan. (see section 2.3.2)
  • Verb + verb (-miseen): Kyllästyin tanssimiseen. (see section 2.3.3)
  • Adjective + noun (S-mihin): Olen tyytyväinen tilanteeseen. (see section 2.3.4)
  • Noun + noun (S-mihin): Oli kova kiire junaan.

2.3.1. Verbs + Noun in the S-mihin form

There are several verbs that require the S-mihin. Some common examples are tutustua (to get to know), rakastua (to fall in love) and tottua (to get used to).

Finnish English
Hän rakastui suomalaiseen tyttöön. He fell in love with a Finnish girl.
Hän keskittyi opiskeluun. He focused on studying.
Hän on tottunut kylmään talveen. He’s used to the cold winter.
Hän kuoli syöpään. He died of cancer.
Hän tarttui kirjaan. He grabbed hold of the book.

2.3.2. Verbs + Verb in the –maan form

Verbs can also be inflected in the mihin-form.  The examples below all utilize the -maan form of the verb.

Finnish English
Menen shoppailemaan. I’m going shopping.
Menemme pelaamaan jalkapalloa. We’re going to go play soccer.
He lähtivät katsomaan elokuvan. They left to go watch a movie.
Menen nukkumaan. I’m going to sleep.
Hän on tottunut heräämään kuudelta. She’s used to waking up at six.
Haluan oppia puhumaan suomea. I want to learn to speak Finnish.
Opin uimaan vasta aikuisena. I only learned to swim as an adult.

2.3.3. Verbs + Verb in the –miseen form

Verbs can also be inflected in the mihin-form by making them into nouns first. For example uiminen “swimming” is a noun derived from the verb uida “to swim”. However, note that in English, both uimaan (section 2.3.2) and uimiseen (this section) can be translated as “swimming”.

As such, translating directly isn’t helpful at all. It’s all tied to which verb you’re using. You need to look at the verb used in the sentence to know which version should be used. For example, keskittyä and kyllästyä require the –miseen form of verbs.

Finnish English
Keskityin lukemiseen. I focused on reading.
Olen kyllästynyt opiskelemiseen. I’m bored of studying.
Musiikki vaikuttaa keskittymiseen. Music affects concentration.
Käytän saippuaa tiskaamiseen. I use soap to do the dishes.

2.3.4. Adjectives + Noun in the S-mihin form

Adjectives can also have rections: they can require the word attached to them to appear in the mihin form. In addition to the examples below, you can also read more in the article about adjective rections.

Finnish English
Olen tyytyväinen asiakaspalveluun. I’m pleased with the customer service.
Hän on syyllinen rikokseen. He’s guilty of the crime.
Olen tyytymätön palkkaani. I’m unsatisfied with my wages.
Hän oli valmis muutokseen. He was ready for the change.

2.3.5 Noun + Noun in the mihin form

Certain nouns also require the mihin-form of the word connected to them.

Finnish English
Usko jumalaan voi auttaa jaksamaan. Faith in god can help you cope.
En löytänyt ratkaisua ongelmaan. I didn’t find a solution for the problem.
Ostin lipun konserttiin. I bought a ticket to the concert.
Sain kutsun juhliin. I got an invitation to the party.

3. The Formation of the Illative Case

The illative is one of the six location cases. It’s different from the other location cases for at least two reasons. Firstly, it’s added to the strong form of the word (learn more about consonant gradation for wordtype A here and for wordtype B here). Secondly, the illative has several different endings, depending on the type of word you’re dealing with.

3.1. Words ending in a single vowel (-a/-ä, -u/-y, -o/-ö): double vowel and add -n

Nominative Illative Nominative Illative
kala kalaan tyyny tyynyyn
talo taloon seinä seinään
söpö söpöön melu meluun
hylly hyllyyn pallo palloon

3.2. Words ending in two different vowels: double the last vowel and add -n

Nominative Illative Nominative Illative
radio radioon museo museoon
allergia allergiaan televisio televisioon
video videoon kapea kapeaan
Italia Italiaan Aasia Aasiaan
vihreä vihreään ruskea ruskeaan

3.3. Words of one syllable ending in two vowels: add h + vowel + n

Nominative Illative Nominative Illative
työ työhön pää päähän
kuu kuuhun tie tiehen
maa maahan suu suuhun
sää säähän hön

This rule also is used for compound words such as keski(keskiyöhön), ylityö (ylityöhön) and rakennusmaa (rakennusmaahan).

3.4. Words ending in two of the same vowel: add -seen

Nominative Illative Nominative Illative
takuu takuuseen hakkuu hakkuuseen
sampoo sampooseen vastuu vastuuseen
Espoo Espooseen harmaa harmaaseen
Lontoo Lontooseen palttoo palttooseen

3.5. Words ending in -e: add another -e- and then -seen

Nominative Illative Nominative Illative
huone huoneeseen osoite osoitteeseen
kirje kirjeeseen perhe perheeseen
kappale kappaleeseen pidike pidikkeeseen
tavoite tavoitteeseen tiede tieteeseen

3.6. Words ending in -i

I have a separate article all about the difference between old and new words ending in -i. You could check that out after you’ve looked at the examples on this page!

3.6.1. New words ending in -i: double the last vowel and add -n

New words are often loanwords. Usually they’re recognisable because they resemble words in other languages, like pankki for “bank”, or paperi for “paper”. Loanwords are easier than Finnish words because they don’t undergo as many changes when you add endings.

Nominative Illative Nominative Illative
banaani banaaniin paperi paperiin
kahvi kahviin pankki pankkiin
posti postiin maali maaliin
tili tiliin adverbi adverbiin

3.6.2. Old words ending in -i: replace -i with -e-, double that vowel and add -n

Old words are very often nature words. After all, nature has been around for so long that Finns have had names for them since the very beginning. Some words’ age can be confusing, for example “äiti” (mother) is actually a new Finnish word, eventhough mothers have been around since the beginning of time!

Nominative Illative Nominative Illative
ovi oveen suuri suureen
suomi suomeen pieni pieneen
pilvi pilveen veri vereen
lehti lehteen huuli huuleen
joki jokeen lohi loheen

This section combines words belonging to the OVI-type, the PIENI-type and the TOIMI-type into one because these types undergo the exact same change when inflected in the illative case.

3.6.3. Old words ending in -si: replace -si with -te-, double the last vowel and add -n

More old words, but this time with -si at their end. This group has its own additional change

Nominative Illative Nominative Illative
uusi uuteen vuosi vuoteen
si teen kuukausi kuukauteen
vesi veteen reisi reiteen

I have a more extensive list of words that belong to this type here.

3.7. Words ending in a consonant

3.7.1. Words ending in -nen: replace the -nen with -se- and add -en

Nominative Illative Nominative Illative
nainen naiseen hevonen hevoseen
suomalainen suomalaiseen eteinen eteiseen
iloinen iloiseen ihminen ihmiseen
sininen siniseen toinen toiseen
tavallinen tavalliseen pikkuinen pikkuiseen

3.7.2. Words ending in -as: replace -as with -aa- and add -seen

Words ending in -as (or –äs, depending on vowel harmony rules) belong to wordtype B, so they will have the weak grade in their basic form (e.g. rakas, opas) and the strong grade in the illative (e.g. rakkaaseen, oppaaseen). Read more about words ending in -as here.

Nominative Illative Nominative Illative
rakas rakkaaseen rikas rikkaaseen
taivas taivaaseen lipas lippaaseen
opas oppaaseen vieras vieraaseen

3.7.3. Words ending in -is: two groups

For words ending in -is, we have two groups. Words like kallis get -ii- when inflected, to which we add -seen. Words like roskis which get -ikse- when inflected, to which we add -en.

Nominative Illative Nominative Illative
kallis kalliiseen roskis roskikseen
kaunis kauniiseen kirppis kirppikseen
kauris kauriiseen fiilis fiilikseen
ruis rukiiseen futis futikseen

3.7.4. Words ending in -us/-os: two groups

Words ending in -os will get -okse- when inflected. Words ending in -us can belong to two groups: some get -ukse-, others get -ute-. You will want to check out this article to get the specifics.

Nominative Illative Nominative Illative
mahdollisuus mahdollisuuteen vastaus vastaukseen
rakkaus rakkauteen kysymys kysymykseen
ystävyys ystävyyteen keskus keskukseen
pimeys pimeyteen tarjous tarjoukseen

Some general guidelines:

  • If the word is based on a verb (such as opettaa > opetus), it will generally get –ukse-.
  • If the word is based on an adjective (such as pimeä > pimeys), it will get –ute-.
  • If the word is based on a noun (such as ystävä > ystävyys), it will get –ute-.
  • If the word ends in –uus/yys (double vowel), you will get –ute-.

3.7.5. Words ending in -ton: replace with -ttoma- and add -an

Read more about words ending in -ton here.

Nominative Illative Nominative Illative
työtön työttömään koditon kodittomaan
rahaton rahattomaan rasvaton rasvattomaan
maidoton maidottomaan alkoholiton alkoholittomaan

3.7.6. Words ending in –in: replace with -ime- and add –en

Read more about words ending in -in here.

Nominative Illative Nominative Illative
puhelin puhelimeen kiharrin kihartimeen
avain avaimeen leivänpaahdin leivänpaahtimeen
keitin keittimeen tuuletin tuulettimeen

3.7.7. Words ending in –ut: two groups

Words that end in -ut/yt can belong to two wordtypes. The smallest group of the two contains words such as olut, kevyt and lyhyt. For these words, you will replace the final -t with an –e- and then add -en.

The much larger group is made up of NUT-participles such as väsynyt and tottunut. For the words, you will replace the -ut/yt with -ee- before the illative’s case ending -seen.

Nominative Illative Nominative Illative
kevyt kevyeen väsynyt väsyneeseen
olut olueen ollut olleeseen
ohut ohueen mennyt menneeseen

3.7.8. Words ending in -tar

Words ending in -tar are rare, but at least tytär (daughter) is a common word. In the mihin-form, these words get -ttare- in place of the basic form’s -tar.

Nominative Illative Nominative Illative
tytär tyttäreen kuningatar kuningattareen
herttuatar herttuattareen jumalatar jumalattareen

3.7.9. Non-Finnish words ending in a consonant

Loanwords and foreign names (e.g. Jonathan, Facebook) which end in a consonant will get -iin when inflected in the illative case.

Nominative Illative Nominative Illative
Jonathan Jonathaniin Facebook Facebookiin
William Williamiin Windows Windowsiin
Marian Marianiin Steam Steamiin
Mohamed Mohamediin McDonalds McDonaldsiin

You might also want to check out these two articles:

3. Consonant Gradation in the Illative Case

The mihin-form is strong in both wordtype A and wordtype B!

Wordtype A
Nominative Illative Nominative Illative
tyttö tyttöön pankki pankkiin
puku pukuun pöytä pöytään
hattu hattuun kauppa kauppaan
silta siltaan kampa kampaan
hiekka hiekkaan apu apuun

I have a separate article on wordtype A.

Wordtype B
Nominative Illative Nominative Illative
savuke savukkeeseen opas oppaaseen
keitin keittimeen tavoite tavoitteeseen
rakas rakkaaseen hammas hampaaseen
soitin soittimeen puhallin puhaltimeen
allas altaaseen työtön työttömään

I have a separate article on wordtype B.

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Michael Hämäläinen

Looking through my notes (mostly Korpela), I see that often certain nuances and usage examples are well illustrated by comparing with other case forms; often the illative will form a set with the inessive (-ssA) and elative (-stA) to express some sort of state or activity, as in the first two items below:

[activity – used with nouns]

  • Menen lääkäriin (I will see a doctor [e.g., for a medical check-up])
  • Olen lääkärissä (I’m seeing a doctor)
  • Tulen lääkäristä (I’m coming from seeing a doctor)

Compare with Menemme kylään Virtasille (We’ll visit the Virtanens [i.e., the Virtanen family) in which Virtanen is in allative plural form.

  • Menen marjaan (I’ll go berry picking, literally: I go to berry)
  • Hän on sienessä (He is picking mushrooms)
  • Hän tuli kalasta (He came from fishing)

[activity – used with verbs]


Other uses also include:

[locative use: emphasis on “taking in”]

In contrast to using a static case like the inessive (Espoossa), which simply says that the building (activity) will take place in Espoo, use of the illative expresses that new homes will appear (or “come to being”) in Espoo.

[formation of adverbs]

Much like the other locative case forms (adessive examples here), the illative forms adverbs such as myöhään (late) from myöhä (late time) or varmaan (probably, for sure) from varma (sure, certain).


you havent mentioned it, but i assume words ending in in get me + double the last letter + n
keitin – keittime + en



Which is the rule for the days when using illative keeping in mind rhe ending ai.


Inge (admin)

That’s a good question! Most days of the week end in “tai”, which is not a Finnish word, but is still considered a 1 syllable word (see section 2.3). It’s similar to keskiyö (keski+yö > keskiyöhön) and rakennustyö (rakennus+työ > rakennustyöhön). That’s why it’s tiistaihin and perjantaihin.

Can’t these cases be simplified if you consider the formation of the illative from the genitive base instead of from the nominative? I.e. take the genitive form and remove the n. Then apply these rules:

1) Base ends in a long vowel and is one syllable add hVn.
2) Base ends in a long vowel and has more than one syllable add seen.
3) Base ends in a short vowel add Vn.

Where V means repeat the last vowel in the base.

Are there any words for which this does not work?

Inge (admin)

Whatever helps you remember is good 🙂 Your approach is used in older course books, which introduce the concent of words have a STEM early on. The “weak stem” is what you get from taking the genitive case and removing the -n.

You need to add one more rule to your ruleset:
1) Base/stem ends in a long vowel and is one syllable add hVn.
2) Base/stem ends in a long vowel and has more than one syllable add seen.
3) Base/stem ends in two different vowels add Vn.
3) Base/stem ends in a short vowel add Vn.

In addition, you need to adjust these words for KPT consonant gradation still: the mihin form is always strong, which the genitive case is weak for wordtype A and strong for wordtype B.

Kiitos paljon!


I would also say, that learning it from the genitive is much easier. Your side is absolute excellent but perhaps it’s worth considering changing it.


It exists the “essive stem”, which is used for the formation of the essive and illative singular. The essive stem is formed using the genetive stem (“weak stem”) and the partitive stem.

Daniel Kelly

2.7.4. Words ending in -us can belong to two groups: some get -ukse-, others get -ude-. Should be -ute-

Inge (admin)

The copy-paste monster strikes again! Thanks Daniel 🙂


Question please. For topic 3.7.9. Non-Finnish words ending in a consonant. When we talk about a person, mentioning both his/her name and last name, like Warren Buffet. Do we add “iin” only after the name or both name and last name please? Thank you very much.

Inge (admin)

Good question! Only after the surname. “Minä tutustuin Warren Buffetiin juhlissa.”