Finnish for busy people

The Elative Case (Mistä) – Finnish Grammar

Mistä sinä tulet? Mistä sinä tykkäät? The marker -sta is the elative case. If you’re looking for an overview about missä, mistä and mihin, look here.

Table of Contents
  1. The Use of the Elative Case
    1. When something comes FROM something/somewhere
    2. When giving your opinion
    3. Rections with the mistä form
      1. Verbs + Noun in the –sta form
      2. Verbs + Verb in the –masta form
      3. Verbs + Verb in the –misesta form
      4. Adjectives + Noun in the –sta form
    4. Sentences expressing a transformation
    5. Some other uses
  2. The Formation of the Elative Case
    1. Words ending in a vowel (a, ä, o, ö, u, y)
    2. Words ending in an -e
    3. Words ending in -i
      1. New words ending in -i
      2. Old words ending in -i
      3. Old words ending in -si
    4. 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/-ös
      5. Words ending in -us/-ys
      6. Words ending in -ton
      7. Words ending in -in
      8. Words ending in –ut
      9. Words ending in -tar
      10. Non-Finnish words ending in a consonant
  3. Consonant Gradation in the Elative Case

1. Use of the Elative Case (Mistä)

1.1. When something comes FROM something/somewhere

When the missä-form ends in -ssa, then you can be pretty sure the mistä-form will end in -sta. So if you’re IN the library (-ssa), you will come FROM the library (-sta). This is different from e.g. IN the kiosk (-lla) and FROM the kiosk (-lta). Learn more about this relation between the cases in our missä mistä mihin article.

Finnish English
Otan leivän kaapista. I take the bread [from the cupboard].
Me tulemme Suomesta. We come [from Finland].
Minä olen kotoisin Argentiinasta. I originate [from Argentina].

1.2. When giving your opinion

This is a special use of the -sta-form: it expresses that something is your personal opinion.

Finnish English
Minusta suklaa on liian makeaa. [In my opinion], chocolate is too sweet.
Leenasta tämä on kivaa.
[In Leena’s opinion] this is great.
[Minun poikaystävästä] minä olen kaunis. [In my boyfriend’s opinion] I’m beautiful.

1.3. Rections with the mistä form

In Finnish, certain words will always be accompanied by a specific form of the word connected to it. We call this phenomenon a “rection“. Some word’s rection requires the mistä form of verbs or nouns.

1.3.1. Verbs + Noun in the –sta form

There are several verbs that require the -sta form of a noun. Two important ones are tykätä and pitää, synonyms that both mean “to like“. You can find more examples on my website about verb rections. You can also take a look at verbs that answer to the question kenestä.

Finnish English
Minä pidän suklaasta. I like chocolate.
Pidätkö minusta?
Do you like me?
Me tykkäämme musiikista. We like music.
He pitävät hyvästä ruoasta. They like good food.
Hän kertoi meille lomasta. He told us about the vacation.

1.3.2. Verbs + Verb in the –masta form

Verbs can also be inflected in the mistä-form. This is possible with both the third infinitive (-masta) and the fourth infinitive (-misesta).

The examples below all utilize the –masta form of the verb. Sometimes these examples make sense in English, but there are also plenty of cases where they don’t. I have translated these sentences to match the Finnish construction rather than making the sentences sound natural in English. You can learn more about rections which utilize –maan, –massa and –masta here.

Finnish English
Tulen juuri syöstä. I’m just coming back from eating.
Hän palasi lomailemasta. He came back from vacationing.
Lähden kirjastosta lukemasta. I leave the library “from reading”.
Kielsin sinua tulemasta. I forbade you “from coming”.
Luovuin yrittästä. I gave up “from trying”.
Varoitin sinua ylittästä rajaa.
I warned you “from” not crossing the border.

1.3.3. Verbs + Verb in the –misesta form

Verbs can also be inflected in the mistä-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 uimasta (section 1.3.2) and uimisesta (this section) will 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, the verb lähteä needs the -masta form, but nauttia needs the –misesta form.

Finnish English
Pidän uimisesta. I like swimming.
Hän nauttii saunomisesta. He really enjoys taking a sauna.
Haaveilen auton ostamisesta. I dream of buying a car.

1.3.4. Adjectives + Noun in the –sta form

Some adjectives also have mistä rection. Below, you can find a couple of examples, but there are plenty more in the article about adjective rections. Knowing English won’t help you at all in this situation, as you can see from the translations of the examples.

Finnish English
Olen ylpeä sinusta! I’m proud of you!
Oletko kiinnostut historiasta? Are you interested in history?
Olen varmastä asiasta. I’m sure about this.
Hän on riippuvainen tupakasta. He’s addicted to tobacco.

1.4. Sentences expressing a transformation

When something changes from one thing to another, we can sometimes use both the mistä form (#1) or the translative case (#2). The mistä form is much less widespread than the translative; it’s limited to only a small number of verbs.

I have a whole separate article about the Minusta tulee opettaja -sentence type!

# Finnish English
1 Toukasta kehittyi perhonen. “From” the larva developed a butterfly.
2 Toukka kehittyi perhoseksi. The larva developed into a butterfly.
1 Hänestä tuli lääkäri. “From” him became a doctor.
2 Hän tuli lääkäriksi. He became a doctor.
1 Taimesta kasvaa uusi puu. A new tree grows from the sapling.
2 Taimi kasvaa suureksi puuksi. The sapling grows into a large tree.

1.5. Some Other Uses

These are some other small functions that the elative case can fulfill:

  • Superlative: kaikista kaunein “the most beautiful of all

2. The Formation of the Elative Case

The elative is one of the six location cases. Its ending is -sta or -stä, according to the vowel harmony rules. It gets added to the same form as most of the other locations cases (-ssa, -lla, -lta, -lle)

2.1. Words ending in a  vowel (-a/-ä, -u/-y, -o/-ö): add -sta/-stä

This is also true for some words ending in -i and -e, but they generally have a different rule. See below!

Basic Elative Basic Elative
kala kalasta tyyny tyynystä
talo talosta seinä seinästä
työ työstä melu melusta
hylly hyllystä pallo pallosta
radio radiosta puu puusta

2.2. Words ending in -e: add an extra -e- before the -sta/-stä

Words ending in -e get a second -e- in any case except the partitive.

Basic Elative Basic Elative
huone huoneesta perhe perheestä
kappale kappaleesta kirje kirjeestä
lentokone lentokoneesta taide taiteesta
parveke parvekkeesta koe kokeesta
aste asteesta suihke suihkeesta

2.3. Words ending in -i

We have a separate article that goes into more detail about new and old words ending in -i. Check that out after you’ve read the basic rules below!

2.3.1. New words ending in -i: add -sta/-stä

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.

Basic Elative Basic Elative
banaani banaanista paperi paperista
kahvi kahvista pankki pankista
posti postista maali maalista
tili tilistä adverbi adverbista
dollari dollarista hotelli hotellista

2.3.2. Old words ending in -i: replace -i- with -e- and add -sta/-stä

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!

Basic Elative Basic Elative
ovi ovesta suuri suuresta
suomi suomesta pieni pienestä
pilvi pilvestä veri verestä
lehti lehdestä huuli huulesta
joki joesta lohi lohesta

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

2.3.3. Old words ending in -si: replace -si with -de- and add -sta/-stä

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

Basic Elative Basic Elative
uusi uudesta vuosi vuodesta
si destä kuukausi kuukaudesta
vesi vedestä reisi reidestä

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

2.4. Words ending in a consonant

2.4.1. Words ending in -nen: replace the -nen with -se- before the -sta/-stä

This is the same change that -nen words go through when being used in any case except the partitive.

Basic Elative Basic Elative
nainen naisesta hevonen hevosesta
suomalainen suomalaisesta eteinen eteisestä
iloinen iloisesta ihminen ihmisestä
sininen sinisestä toinen toisesta
tavallinen tavallisesta pikkuinen pikkuisesta

2.4.2. Words ending in -as: replace -as with -aa- + -sta

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 elative (e.g. rakkaasta, oppaasta). Read more about words ending in -as here.

Nominative Elative Nominative Elative
rakas rakkaasta rikas rikkaasta
taivas taivaasta lipas lippaasta
opas oppaasta itsekäs itsekkäästä

2.4.3. Words ending in -is: two groups

For words ending in -is, we have two groups: words like kallis that get -ii- when inflected, and words like roskis that get -ikse- when inflected.

Nominative Elative Nominative Elative
kallis kalliista roskis roskiksesta
kaunis kauniista kirppis kirppiksestä
kauris kauriista fiilis fiiliksestä
ruis rukiista futis futiksesta

2.4.4. Words ending in -os/-ös: replace –os with –okse– and add –sta

Words ending in -os and –ös will respectively get -okse- and –ökse– when inflected.

Nominative Elative Nominative Elative
ostos ostoksesta jäljennös jäljennöksestä
piirros piiroksesta käännös käännöksestä
annos annoksesta luonnos luonnoksesta

2.4.5. Words ending in -us/-ys: two groups

Words ending in –us can belong to two groups: some get -ukse-, others get -ude- before the elative’s -sta. This depends on whether the word is derived from an adjective (e.g. pimeä > pimeys) or not. Words which have been derived from an adjective get –ude-, while other words get –ukse-. You will want to check out this article to get the specifics.

Nominative Elative Nominative Elative
mahdollisuus mahdollisuudesta vastaus vaustauksesta
rakkaus rakkaudesta kysymys kysymyksestä
ystävyys ystävyydestsä keskus keskuksesta
pimeys pimeydestä tarjous tarjouksesta

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 –ude-.
  • If the word is based on a noun (such as ystävä > ystävyys), it will get –ude-.
  • If the word ends in –uus/yys (double vowel), you will get –ude-.

2.4.6. Words ending in -ton: replace -ton with -ttoma- + -sta

Read more about words ending in -ton here.

Nominative Elative Nominative Elative
työtön työttömästä koditon kodittomasta
rahaton rahattomasta rasvaton rasvattomastsa
maidoton maidottomasta alkoholiton alkoholittomasta

2.4.7. Words ending in -in: replace -in with -ime- + -sta

Read more about words ending in -in here.

Nominative Elative Nominative Elative
puhelin puhelimesta keitin keittimestä
avain avaimesta kiharrin kihartimesta
puhallin puhaltimesta suoritin suorittimesta

2.4.8. 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- before the elative’s case ending.

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 elative’s case ending.

Nominative Elative Nominative Elative
kevyt kevyestä väsynyt väsyneestä
olut oluesta ollut olleesta
ohut ohuesta mennyt menneestä

2.4.9. Words ending in -tar

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

Nominative Elative Nominative Elative
tytär tyttärestä kuningatar kuningattaresta
herttuatar herttuattaresta jumalatar jumalattaresta

2.4.10. Non-Finnish words ending in a consonant

Loanwords and foreign names (e.g. Jonathan, Facebook) which end in a consonant will have an extra -i- added before the elative’s -sta/stä.

Nominative Elative Nominative Elative
Jonathan Jonathanista Facebook Facebookista
William Williamista Windows Windowsista
Marian Marianista Steam Steamistä
Mohamed Mohamedista McDonalds McDonaldsista

You might also want to check out these two articles:

3. Consonant Gradation in the Elative Case

Wordtype A
Nominative Elative Nominative Elative
tyttö tytöstä pankki pankista
puku puvusta pöytä pöydästä
hattu hatusta kauppa kaupasta
silta sillasta kampa kammasta
hiekka hiekasta apu avusta

I have a separate article on wordtype A.

Wordtype B
Nominative Elative Nominative Elative
savuke savukkeesta opas oppaasta
keitin keittimestä tavoite tavoitteesta
rakas rakkaasta hammas hampaasta
soitin soittimesta puhallin puhaltimesta
allas altaasta työtön työttömästä

I have a separate article on wordtype B.

That concludes the article on the elative case!

5 1 vote
Article Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Robert Meaney

As I understand, the elative case is also used when describing photographs e.g. a photo of my mother is [kuva äidistä]. Also used when talking about someone or something e.g I am talking about Leena [Minä puhun Leenasta].

Inge (admin)

Yeps, that’s true! Thanks for mentioning this. We have puhua on our “location case rections” page


So to make sure I’m understanding this correctly: pitää and tykätä must take nouns (even as the 4th infinitive noun form of a verb)?

Inge (admin)

Pitää will always take a noun, just as you’ve understood (pidän sinusta, pidän uimisesta). Tykätä has the additional option of using the infinitive (tykkään uida). You CAN say “tykkään uimisesta”, but it’s less common than uida.

Check these verbs out in another article:

Michael Hämäläinen

Taking role transition (acting as / becoming / etc…a teacher) as an example, Korpela makes an interesting point about the lack of symmetry in the locational cases as applied to the elative:

The stative locational cases form an incomplete system. We can say Hän toimi opettajana (He acted as a teacher) and Hänet valittiin opettajaksi (He was elected a teacher), using the essive to indicate being in a state and the translative to indicate entering a state. However, leaving a role is expressed in other ways; there is no dedicated case for it.

When the resulting state is expressed as well, we can use the elative for the state being left, translative for the entered state: Hän siirtyi opettajasta yrittäjäksi (He changed job from teacher to entrepreneur). If the resulting state is not expressed, we need to use a completely different expression instead of just putting a word in a particular case. We would say e.g. Hän jätti opettajan toimen (He left the teacher’s job).


Oh wow… That is interesting. The elative case came to mind, but it indeed doesn’t work on its own. Poor incomplete symmetry!

Michael Hämäläinen

Yes, it’s the sort of pattern that is not easily recognized, but once you’ve seen it, it becomes instantly apparent!

I know I probably exhibit some of the zealotry of the newly converted, but Jukka K. Korpela’s Handbook of Finnish does an amazing job of exploring every aspect of the location cases, as I’ve excerpted in comments with regard to the old locational system (including separative/partitive, lative, …), obsolete forms such as the prolative and sublative, and productive ones such as the translative case and the essive case.

Although seemingly arcane in some respects, I have found that this analytical tool helps me understand the formation of many adverbs, derived terms and idioms.


Sanoisitko suomeksi “X on ainoa syy, josta käyn periantaina yliopistossa” vai “X on ainoa syy, miksi minä käyn periantaina yliopistossa”?

Kiitos vastaukestasi!

Last edited 6 months ago by Iwona
Inge (admin)

“Miksi” on oikein.

Iwona Świątczak-Wasilewska



I’me with the text of Zen Café´s Ihminen and there´s a use of the elative with adjectives there, which sence I can´t really get:

“Sinä olet syystä ja varmasta”

What is the rule of the essive here, and with adjectives on their own. Is it just a lyric´s tric or is that use something common?

Last edited 2 years ago by iliya

“What is the rule of the essive here, and with adjectives on their own.”

I made a mistake, I meant, with an adjective and a noun divided by “ja” here…

Inge (admin)

I love Zen Cafe, but I don’t know what that line means!

It’s also not proper Finnish to use a noun, followed by ja, and then an adjective.


Joten asia on melko vaikeaa 😛

Literally it means something along the lines “you’re [coming] from the reason and from [being] ready“.

Maybe considering when it appears in the lyrics, it could be understood as going/walking back after being ready with your obligations.

But even if so, I don’t have a clue how would that be properly and shortly said. xD

Inge (admin)

It’s just that the verb used here is olla and not tulla. Through the whole song, it’s about being something somewhere, not coming from somewhere.

The first part of this line CAN be explained: “Sinä olet täällä syystä” is a normal sentence: “You are here for a reason.” But in combination with varmasta it doesn’t make sense to me.


I could imagine that there was an ellipsis:
”Sinä olet (olemassa) syystä ja varmasta (syystä)”
And in that context it would mean:
You exist for a reason and for a sure reason.


Question please. As “fiilis” is in the Spoken Language group. What is the written word for fiillis? Like kirppis is from kirppu (if I understand correctly.) I can’t find its information. Thank you.

Inge (admin)

Fiilis is a loanword, it’s based on the English “feeling”. In standard Finnish, you’d say tunne.

Sangjan it. Thank you.