Finnish for busy people

The Comitative Case – Komitatiivi

Table of Contents
  1. The Use of the Comitative Case
    1. In general
    2. In certain fossilized phrases
  2. The Formation of the Comitative Case

1. The Use of the Comitative Case (-ne)

The comitative is rare and not used in spoken Finnish. It expresses the presence of something. It often corresponds with “in company of” or “together with”.

1.1. In general

Finnish English.
Seurasin tyttöä koirineen. I followed the girl and her dog(s).
Mies muutti [pienine perheineen]. The man moved with his small family.
Ville tuli juhliin puolisoineen. Ville came to the party with his partner.
Antti saapui [kauniine vaimoineen]. Antti arrived with his beautiful wife.
Älä tahri seiniä [likaisine sorminesi]! Don’t stain the walls with your dirty fingers!

The really interesting thing about the comitative is that it always appears in the plural. Because of that, you can be left wondering how many dogs the “tyttö koirineen” has. The same counts for “Antti vaimoineen”; does Antti have one wife or multiple?

1.2. In certain fossilized phrases

Finnish English.
Hän kaatui [kimpsuineen ja kampsuineen]. He fell with all his stuff he was carrying.
[Niine hyvineen] Pauline kääntyi. Just like that, Pauline turned.
Tutustuimme kaupunkiin ympäristöineen. We got to know the city and its surroundings.
Myyn talon irtaimistoineen. I sell a house complete with furniture.
Mökki [kaikkine mukavuuksineen]! A cottage with all the modern luxuries!
Pärjääkö hän [omine nokkineen]? Can he manage by himself?

2. The Formation of the Comitative Case

The comitative ending is -ne, and always in the plural. A singular form doesn’t exist, but plural forms are always used, no matter if the meaning is singular or plural.

The nouns require a possessive suffix, but adjectives in the comitative don’t. The comitative is formed using the strong-grade plural stem, aka the same stem you use for the plural illative (mihin).

Finnish English.
Minä muutin Suomeen vaimoineni ja lapsineni. I moved to Finland with my wife and kid(s).
Sinä muutit Suomeen vaimoinesi ja lapsinesi. You moved to Finland with your wife and kid(s).
Hän muutti Suomeen vaimoineen ja lapsineen. He moved to Finland with his wife and kid(s).
Me muutimme Suomeen vaimoinemme ja lapsinemme. We moved to Finland with our wives and kid(s).
Te muutitte Suomeen vaimoinenne ja lapsinenne. You moved to Finland with your wives and kid(s).
He muuttivat Suomeen vaimoineen ja lapsineen. They moved to Finland with their wives and kid(s).

That concludes the article on the comitative case!

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Shanna
Shanna

In most places, it says that the comitative is formed by adding the -ne- suffix, but in some places (namely the Finnish Wikipedia page for Komitatiivi) says that it is formed with an -ine- ending. I know this to be false because the ‘i’ is formed from the partitive plural typical ‘j’ which turns into an ‘i’ when found in front of a consonant, thus making the statement that an ‘i’ is found in the plural comitative redundant. So, my question is, why do some think that it is an ‘-ine-‘ ending, and how prevalent is this misinformation?

Inge (admin)
Inge (admin)

As you said, it’s false information to include the -i- into the suffix. The thing is, they’re just taking a shortcut. Since the comitative only is used in the plural, you can just as well add the -i- to the marker. It’s false, but it’s easy.

There is this to consider: the MEANING of the comitative isn’t usually plural, even if the FORM is plural. It’s a bit counterproductive to tell a language learner to first add the plural marker when there is no plural meaning.

There are a lot of things that get simplified in the Finnish grammar with the goal of making things less complicated. Usually, it’s with the intent to help the language learning process.

You’d think that the Finnish wikipedia page would give accurate information, but I guess this is the nature of the internet. However, I’ve also seen linguistical research papers that speak of the comitative as the -ine- suffix.

Shanna
Shanna

Thank you for the interesting viewpoint. I guess whatever helps people to learn is good, and good enough! C’est la vie!