Finnish for busy people

The Plural Genetive of Long Words

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

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

Table of Contents
  1. The Plural Genetive of Long Words
    1. Plural Partitive vs Plural Genetive
    2. The plural genetive markers -den and -tten
    3. The plural genetive markers -jen and -den/-tten
  2. Plural Genetive 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

1. The Plural Genetive of Long Words

1.1. Plural Partitive vs Plural Genetive

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

1.2. The plural genetive markers -den and -tten

You can rely on the fact that if a word has -den as its plural genetive marker, the ending -tten will also be allowed for it (eg. 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 genetive markers -jen and -den/-tten

The markers jen and den (and tten) are often both possible in the plural genetive. For some words, both versions are equally common (eg. 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 Genetive of Long Words: Wordtypes

2.1. Words ending in -LI or -RI

Nominative Genetiive #1 Genetive #2 Genetive #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.

Nominative Genetiivi #1 Genetive #2 Genetive #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 Nominative Genetiivi #1 Genetive #2 Genetive #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 genetive marker, whether they’re adjectives (A) or nouns (N).

A/N Nominative Genetiivi #1 Genetive #2 Genetive #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 genetive. This is the case for words ending in -ma or -lma. The following words only have one possible option.

Nominative Genetiivi #1 Genetive #2 Genetive #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 eg. (opiskelija), the plural genetive’s marker will be -oiden (opiskelijoiden). If there is another vowel in front of the -ja (opettaja), the plural genetive’s marker will be –ien (opettajien).

Nominative Genetiivi #1 Genetive #2 Genetive #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.

Nominative Genetiivi #1 Genetive #2 Genetive #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

That’s it for the plural genetive 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 genetive just is a complicated form that’s extremely frustrating to learn for Finnish language learners.

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Notify of

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

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

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!