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The Essive Case – na/nä – Essiivi

Table of Contents
  1. The Use of the Essive Case
    1. When referring to a period of your life.
    2. As an adverb expressing an emotion
    3. When expressing a state of being
    4. When expressing someone’s or something’s function
    5. With certain expressions of time
    6. With certain verb rections
    7. Fossilized in certain words
    8. In ”if I were you” type of sentences
    9. In quasi constructions (kvasirakenne)
  2. The Formation of the Essive Case
    1. Words ending in a single vowel
    2. Words ending in an -e
    3. Words ending in -nen
    4. Words ending in -i
      1. New words ending in -i
      2. Old words ending in -i
      3. Old words ending in -si
  3. Consonant Gradation in the Essive Case

1. The Use of the Essive Case (-na/nä)

1.1. When referring to a period of your life

Finnish English Finnish English
lapsena as a child aikuisena as an adult.
nuorena as a young person vauvana as a baby
nuorena naisena as a young woman nuorena aikuisena as a young adult

1.2. As an adverb expressing an emotion

These adverbs are formed from an adjective with -na at the end. Often there is also a similar adverb that ends in -sti. When using the essive (iloisena) the adverb’s duration is longer than if you would use -sti (iloisesti).

Finnish English
Poika tuli kotiin iloisena. The boy came home happily.
He istuivat penkillä väsynei. They sat tiredly on the bench.
Odotin rauhallisena hänen paluutaan. I waited calmly for her return.
Nauroin hulluna, kun tajusin totuuden. I laughed crazily when I realized the truth.

1.3. When expressing a state of being

Finnish English
Ilma pysyy kauniina. The weather stays (in a) beautiful (state).
Hän on ollut sairaana. She has been (in a state of) sick(ness).
Hyönteisiä syödään joskus raakana. Insects are something eaten (in a state of being) alive.
Hankin auton käytetty. I bought the car (in a state of) used.

1.4. When expressing someone’s or something’s function

Finnish English
Hän työskenteli vuosia siivoojana. He worked many years as a cleaner.
Hän tekee koulun ohessa töitä myyjä. In addition to school, she works as a salesperson.
Olin matkalla mukana oppaana. I was traveling along as a guide.
Hän oli vankilassa vartijana. He was in prison as a guard.
Televisio toimii lasteni viihdyttäjä. The television works as an entertainer for my children.

1.5. With certain expressions of time

Finnish English Finnish English
during this night vuonna during this year
aamuna during this morning iltana during this evening
viime aamuna during the previous morning viime vuonna during the previous year
maanantaina on Monday keskiviikkona on Wednesday
kuudentena joulukuuta on the 6th of December viime viikonloppuna (during the) last weekend
kuukauden toisena tiistaina on the 2nd Tuesday of the month vuoden kolmantena maanantaina on the third Monday on the year

1.6. With certain verb rections

Verb Example Translation
pysyä Ilma pysyi kauniina. The weather stayed beautiful.
esiintyä Minä esiinnyin laulajana joka viikonloppuna. I performed as a singer every weekend.
työskennellä Matti työskentelee sihteeri yliopistossa. Matti works as a secretary at the university.
pitää + part. Presidentti oli pitänyt ajatusta huonona pilana. The president had considered the idea a bad joke.
pitää + part. Minä pidän sinua hyvä ystävä. I consider you a good friend.
käyttää + part. Juhana käyttää autoa varastona. Juhana uses his car as a storage place.

1.7. Fossilized in certain words

Finnish English Finnish English Finnish English
iki ever kokonaan completely raskaana pregnant
täyn full yksiän solely (hänen) luona at his place
mukana with kotona at home solkenaan continuously

1.8. In ”if I were you” type of sentences

One special, very specifc use of the essive expresses an ”if I were you” type sentences.

Finnish English
Sinuna en menisi sinne. If I were you, I wouldn’t got there.
Tei kiirehtisin. If I were you (plural), I would hurry up.

1.9. In quasi constructions (kvasirakenne)

There is a construction that uses the active present participle in order to express that you’re pretending to do something. This construction consists of the (plural) active present participle + the essive + a possessive suffix. The main verb of the sentence is always ”olla”!

Finnish English
Olin nukkuvinani. I was prentending to sleep.
He eivät olleet kuulevinaan huomautusta. They pretended they weren’t hearing the comment.

2. The Formation of the Essive Case

The essive marker is -na/nä. It always gets added to the strong stem of the noun.

2.1. Words ending in a single vowel (-a/-ä, -u/-y, -o/-ö): add -na/nä

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

Nominative Essive Nominative Essive Nominative Essive
kala kalana tyyny tyyny talo talona
seinä seinä työ työ melu meluna

2.2. Words ending in -e: add an extra -e- before the -na/nä

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

Nominative Essive Nominative Essive Nominative Essive
huone huoneena perhe perhee kappale kappaleena
kirje kirjee lentokone lentokoneena taide taiteena
parveke parvekkeena koe kokeena aste asteena

2.3. Words ending in -nen: replace the -nen with -se/-se before the -na/nä

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

Nominative Essive Nominative Essive Nominative Essive
nainen naisena hevonen hevosena suomalainen suomalaisena
eteinen eteise iloinen iloisena ihminen ihmise
sininen sinise toinen toisena tavallinen tavallisena

2.4. Words ending in -i

2.4.1. New words ending in -i: add -na/nä

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 Essive Nominative Essive Nominative Essive
banaani banaanina paperi paperina kahvi kahvina
pankki pankkina posti postina maali maalina
tili tili adverbi adverbina dollari dollarina

2.4.2. Old words ending in -i: replace -i- with -e- and add -na/nä

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 Essive Nominative Essive Nominative Essive
suomi suomena ovi ovena järvi järve
kivi kive suuri suurena nimi nime
pieni piene lehti lehte pilvi pilve

2.4.3. Old words ending in -si: replace -si- with -de- and add -na/nä

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

Nominative Essive Nominative Essive Nominative Essive
uusi uutena vuosi vuotena si te
kuukausi kuukautena vesi vete reisi reite

3. Consonant Gradation in the Essive Case

Wordtype A
Nominative Essive Nominative Essive Nominative Essive
tyttö tyttö pankki pankkina puku pukuna
pöytä pöytä hattu hattuna kauppa kauppana
silta siltana kampa kampana hiekka hiekkana

I have a separate article on wordtype A.

Wordtype B
Nominative Essive Nominative Essive Nominative Essive
savuke savukkeena opas oppaana keitin keittime
tavoite tavoitteena rakas rakkaana hammas hampaana
soitin soittimena puhallin puhaltimena allas altaana

I have a separate article on wordtype B.


That concludes the article on the essive case!

 

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