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The Plural Genitive of Long Words

This page deals with the plural genitive of long words (three or more syllables). We can have five endings: ‑en, ‑in, ‑ten, ‑den and ‑tten.

Many words can have many different plural genitive forms which are all correct. Especially the plural genitive for long words allows for a lot of variation. The typical example of this is the word omena. The plural genitive of omena can be omenoiden, omenoitten, omenien, omenojen and omenain!

Table of Contents
  1. The Plural Genitive of Long Words
    1. Plural Partitive vs Plural Genitive
    2. The plural genitive markers -den and -tten
    3. The plural genitive markers -jen and -den/-tten
  2. Plural Genitive 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
    5. Words ending in -JA
  3. Consonant Gradation in the Plural Genitive

1. The Plural Genitive of Long Words

1.1. Plural Partitive vs Plural Genitive

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

1.2. The plural genitive markers -den and -tten

You can rely on the fact that if a word has -den as its plural genitive marker, the ending -tten will also be allowed for it (e.g. papereiden and papereitten). However, the -den marker is the more common of the two.

The marker -itten is used a little bit more often with possessive suffixes: palveluittesi ~ palveluittensa.

1.3. The plural genitive markers -jen and -den/-tten

The markers jen and den (and tten) are often both possible in the plural genitive. For some words, both versions are equally common (e.g. taistelujen – taisteluiden, mansikkojen – mansikoiden). However, there are other words where one of the two markers is more common, but you can’t simply figure out which ones (henkilöiden, makkaroiden vs fasaanien, kaupunkien).

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 Genitive of Long Words: Wordtypes

2.1. Words ending in -LI or -RI

Word PL Genitive #1 PL Genitive #2 PL Genitive #3
kellari kellarien kellareiden kellareitten
kolari kolarien kolareiden kolareitten
paperi paperien papereiden papereitten
teatteri teatterien teattereiden teattereitten
moottori moottorien moottoreiden moottoreitten
naapuri naapurien naapureiden naapureitten
parturi parturien partureiden partureitten
lääkäri lääkärien lääkäreiden lääkäreitten
palaveri palaverien palavereiden palavereitten
basaari basaarien basaareiden basaareitten
tekstiili tekstiilien tekstiileiden tekstiileitten
upseeri upseerien upseereiden upseereitten
amatööri amatöörien
krokotiili krokotiilien
miljonääri miljonäärien
insinööri insinöörien
normaali normaalien normaaleiden normaaleitten
sihteeri sihteerien sihteereiden sihteereitten

One thing that’s typical for Finnish is that Finnish speakers like things to match. That’s why it’s more likely for you to see “sihteerien ja assistenttien” when they are used together. While sihteereiden seems more common on its own, the word assistentti will make you lean towards sihteerien.

2.2. Long Words Ending in -KKA or -KKO

Long words ending in -O (-o/ö according to vowel harmony rules) are probably the group with the most variation. These really must be handled on a word-by-word basis, because we can’t draw any clear conclusions as to which variant is the most common.

Word PL Genetive #1 PL Genitive #2 PL Genitive #3
numero numerojen numeroiden numeroitten
laatikko laatikkojen laatikoiden laatikoitten
klassikko klassikkojen klassikoiden klassikoitten
geneetikko geneetikkojen
anorektikko anorektikkojen anorektikoiden anorektikoitten
informaatikko informaatikkojen informaatikoiden informaatikoitten
allergikko allergikkojen allergikoiden allergikoitten
mansikka mansikkojen mansikoiden mansikoitten
kännykkä kännykköjen kännyköiden kännyköitten
lusikka lusikoiden lusikoitten

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 variants -oiden and -oitten (the words jumala and miljoona are exceptions, as is peruna). If the word you’re dealing with is an adjective (A), however, they will generally only have the -ien 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 Word PL Genitive #1 PL Genitive #2 PL Genitive #3
N peruna (perunojen, perunien) perunoiden perunoitten
N porkkana porkkanoiden porkkanoitten
N myymälä myymälöiden myymälöitten
N ravintola ravintoloiden ravintoloitten
N makkara makkaroiden makkaroitten
N kamera kameroiden kameroitten
N miljoona miljoonien
N jumala jumalien
A kamala kamalien
A ihana ihanien
A ankara ankarien
A/N kihara kiharien kiharoiden kiharoitten

2.4. Long Words Ending in -VA

These are a little easier! Long words ending in -va/ will always have -ien as their plural genitive marker, whether they’re adjectives (A) or nouns (N).

A/N Word PL Genitive #1 PL Genitive #2 PL Genitive #3
A mukava mukavien
A vakava vakavien
A lihava lihavien
A sekava sekavien
N kanava kanavien
N tehtävä tehtävien

2.5. Long Words Ending in -MA, -LMA

Some words are very clear in the plural genitive. This is the case for words ending in -ma or -lma. The following words only have one possible option.

Word PL Genitive #1 PL Genitive #2 PL Genitive #3
asema asemien
sanoma sanomien
satama satamien
näkymä näkymien
asetelma asetelmien
suunnitelma suunnitelmien
vadelma vadelmien
hedelmä hedelmien

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 doing with an -i- in front of it e.g. (opiskelija), the plural genitive’s marker will be -oiden (opiskelijoiden). If there is another vowel in front of the -ja (opettaja), the plural genitive’s marker will be –ien (opettajien).

Word PL Genitive #1 PL Genitive #2 PL Genitive #3
opiskelija opiskelijoiden opiskelijoitten
tutkija tutkijoiden tutkijoitten
kirjailija kirjailijoiden kirjailijoitten
virkailija virkailijoiden virkailijoitten
opettaja opettajien
myyjä myyjien
kirjoittaja kirjoittajien
siivooja siivoojien

2.7. Long Words Ending in -U

For long words ending in -U, the -jen ending is more common.

Word PL Genitive #1 PL Genitive #2 PL Genitive #3
vertailu vertailujen vertailuiden vertailuitten
kokeilu kokeilujen kokeiluiden kokeiluitten
tarjoilu tarjoilujen tarjoiluiden tarjoiluitten
taistelu taistelujen taisteluiden taisteluitten
puhelu puhelujen puheluiden puheluitten
arvostelu arvostelujen arvosteluiden arvosteluitten
haastattelu haastattelujen haastatteluiden haastatteluitten
palvelu palvelujen palveluiden palveluitten

3. Consonant Gradation in the Plural Genitive

Long words generally don’t have any consonant gradation. It’s rare for long words to have a strong consonant in their last syllable.

However, there is one group of words that do have a strong consonant in their last syllable: 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.

Word PL Genitive #1 PL Genitive #2 PL Genitive #3
mansikka mansikkojen mansikoiden mansikoitten
lusikka lusikkojen lusikoiden lusikoitten
kirsikka kirsikkojen kirsikoiden kirsikoitten
kolikko kolikkojen kolikoiden kolikoitten
lompakko lompakkojen lompakoiden lompakoitten
taulukko taulukkojen taulukoiden taulukoitten

That’s it for the plural genitive of long words! I am planning to try to improve this page in the future, but the fact is that I can’t make it any easier. The plural genitive just is a complicated form that’s extremely frustrating to learn for Finnish language learners.

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Thank you for this very helpful summary. The Genitive plurals were the one thing that almost did my head in. Many of the sources I first came across provided different endings for various words without explaining the variants, let alone providing any rules for the different plural case endings.

I now use Wiktionary as my go to resource to check the variant endings for the Genitive (and Partitive) plurals. I also like Wiktionary because it often includes the etymology of words, and sometimes word derivations or related words. It might be too much information for a beginner, but is very useful for intermediate and advanced students.

Fun fact: omena (apple) has five Genitive plural versions, i.e. omenien / omenoiden / omenoitten / omenojen * / omenain * (the asterisked forms are rare usages).
Another fun fact: The word is probably an Indo-Iranian loanword, much like sata (hundred).

Inge (admin)

The 5 genetives of omena are already in the article’s introduction1 But I didn’t know the origin of the word, pretty cool!

Wiktionary is useful, yes! Another good source is Kielitoimiston sanakirja which also includes information about the inflection of words when you click “TAIVUTUS”.


Oh, I missed that omena stuff; I only had a quick scan through the page to check the subtopics. I’m scanning through the various topics to get an overview of contents, and I am so happy to see the topics grouped with such useful subtopics and subssubtopics, providing easy bite-size information. It really helps remember things when related topics and info are grouped together.

I’ve already got a collection of dictionaries, but I will add Kielitomiston sanakirja to that list. I just tested that site with a quirky verb, tavata, and it did indeed provide the two different declension sets for the two separate meanings – which some sources miss out. I also like the fact that they give just a few example sentences, but also keep in hiding a few more examples. Because Finnish really needs to be learned in the context of sentences, to make sense of the noun cases and verb forms.

Thank you again for setting up this website. The topic structure trees are sensible and allow relative newbies to get info in bite sizes, while more experienced students can hop around to fill in the gaps at their own pace, or revise selected topics. Much kudos to you!