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Finnish Prepositions – Finnish Grammar

Table of Contents
  1. The Use of Finnish Prepositions
  2. The List of Possible Prepositions
    1. Prepositions + Partitive
    2. Pre- & Postpositions
    3. Adpositions

1. The Use of Finnish Prepositions

In general, both prepositions and postpositions express a thing’s relative location of in relation to other things. Prepositions occur in front of the word they’re connected to, and require this word to be put in the partitive case.

Prepositions are more natural to speakers of English than postpositions are. However, prepositions are much less common in Finnish.


2. The List of Finnish Prepositions

2.1. Prepositions + Partitive

ennen En saanut lahjoja ennen joulua. I didn’t get presents before Christmas.
ilman Osaan pyöräillä ilman käsiä. I can bicycle without my hands.
vailla Lapsi on vailla tekemistä. The child is without sth to do (has nothing to do).
pitkin (place) Kuljin pitkin metsäpolkua. I traveled along the forest path.
pitkin (time) He järjestävät tapahtumia pitkin vuotta. They organize events all through the year

2.2. Pre- & Postpositions

Some adpositions can be used both as prepositions and postposions, aka they can appear both before and after the word they’re expressing a relation to, and they can require both the partitive and the genetive case.

keskellä kylän keskellä keskellä kylää in the middle of the village
lähellä kirkon lähellä lähellä kirkkoa near the church
vastapäätä hotellin vastapäätä vastapäätä hotellia across the road of the hotel

2.3. Adpositions

There is a whole group of words that work like prepositions and postpositions, but mix the rules of both. We’ll use the general term ”adpositions” for those. What makes these different is that they require the partitive (like prepositions), but are situated behind their complement (like postpositions).

paitsi Hän jäi ylennystä paitsi. He went without the promotion (didn’t get it).
varten Hän osti sen minua varten. She bought it for me.
kohti Hän tuli meitä kohti. She came towards us.
kohden Velkataakka on asukasta kohden 2000 euroon. The debt burden is 2000 euros per citizen.
vastaan (concrete) Menimme heitä vastaan. We went to pick them up.
vastaan (abstract) He olivat suunnitelmaa vastaan. They were against the plan.
edellä Hän oli muita edellä. He was ahead of others.

 

That concludes the article on prepositions!

 

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