Finnish for busy people

Plural illative – Suomalaisiin ihmisiin

This article describes the usage and the formation of the illative plural, aka monikon illatiivi. The illative is used to express a movement towards or into a place (eg. menen kirkkoon). The plural is used in phrases like Tutustun suomalaisiin ihmisiin (I get to know Finnish people) and Olen tottunut pimeisiin syksyihin (I’ve gotten used to dark autumns).

Table of Contents
  1. The Use of the Plural Illative Case
    1. When saying TO or INTO
    2. When using certain verbs
  2. The Formation of the Plural Illative Case
    1. Words ending in -u/-y, -o/-ö
    2. Words ending in
    3. Words ending in -a
      1. Words of two syllables (kissa-words)
      2. Words of two syllables (koira-words)
    4. Words ending in -i
      1. New words ending in -i
      2. Old words ending in -i
      3. Old words ending in -si
    5. Words ending in an -e
    6. Words ending in -nen
    7. One syllable words
    8. Words ending in two vowels
    9. Words ending in a consonant
  3. Consonant Gradation in the Plural Illative Case

1. Use of the Plural Illative (mihin)

1.1. When saying TO or INTO

The illative has several different-looking endings (see below), but the meaning is usually quite clear: it means a movement into something or towards something or somewhere. In English you usually use “to” or “into”.

There can be some confusion with the allative, which also is translated as “to” in some cases. In general, the illative can be translated as “into”, while the allative is translated as “onto”. However, both will often to be translated as either “to”.

Finnish English
Laitan kirjat kaappeihin. I put the books [in the cupboards].
Me muutimme eri maihin. We move [to different countries].
Ihmiset tulivat kauppoihin. People came [to the stores].
Haluan mennä festivaaleihin. I want to go [to the festival].
Vien kirjat takaisin hyllyihin. I return the books [to the shelves].

1.2. When using certain verbs

Finnish has this concept of “rections”: most words will require other words that they get combined with to appear in a certain case. There are several verbs that require mihin. Some examples are tutustua (to get to know), rakastua (to fall in love) and tottua (to get used to). You can learn more about verb rections here.

Finnish English
Haluan tutustua uusiin ihmisiin. I want to meet new people.
Rakastun helposti nörtteihin. I easily fall in love with nerds.
Keskityn vääriin asioihin. I focus on the wrong things.
Hän luottaa ystäviinsä. He trusts his friends.

2. The Formation of the Plural Illative Case

The illative is one of the six location cases. It’s different from the other location cases for at least two reasons. First, it’s ending is added to the strong form of the word (learn more about consonant gradation for wordtype A here and for wordtype B here).

Second, the plural illative has several different endings, depending on the type of word you’re dealing with (-iin, -ihin, -isiin). All these endings have in common that they have the plural marker -i-.

2.1. Words ending in -u/-y, -o/-ö: add -i- + hin

Nominative Illative Nominative Illative
talo taloihin tyttö tyttöihin
katu katuihin hylly hyllyihin
pallo palloihin aamu aamuihin
pöllö pöllöihin helppo helppoihin
sato satoihin verho verhoihin

2.2. Words ending in: replace the with -iin

Nominative Illative Nominative Illative
kynä kyniin metsä metsiin
isä isiin kesä kesiin
leipä leipiin kylmä kylmiin
pöytä pöytiin ystävä ystäviin
hätä hätiin kynä kyniin

2.3. Words ending in -a

I call the two groups of words ending in -a by the names kissa-words” and koira-words”. These two words are easy to remember and each belongs to a different group of words ending in -a. If you can remember “kissa – kissoihin” and “koira – koiriin” and apply that rule to other, similar words, you’re on your way to mastering the partitive illative!

2.3.1. Words of two syllables (kissa-words): -oihin

Kissa-words are words of two syllables. Their final letter is -a. In the first syllable, you will have either -e-, -i- or -a-. In other words, the vowels of these words can look like:

  • a…a (kana, maksa, sana, marja)
  • e…a (herra, tela, teema, leija)
  • i…a (kissa, tina, hinta, silta)

When you inflect these words in the plural illative, you will replace the final -a with -oihin.

Nominative Illative Nominative Illative
sana sanoihin hinta hintoihin
kala kaloihin kissa kissoihin
teema teemoihin marja marjoihin
kirja kirjoihin herra herroihin
liima liimoihin tapa tapoihin

2.3.2. Words of two syllables (koira-words): -iin

Koira-words are also words of two syllables. Their final letter is also -a. They differ when it comes to the first syllable: for koira-words you will have either –o- or -u- in the first syllable. In other words, the vowels of these words can look like:

  • o…a (koira, konna, honda, nokka)
  • u…a (kukka, sukka, suora, juoma)

For koira-words, you will replace the final -a with -iin.

Nominative Illative Nominative Illative
koira koiriin kukka kukkiin
tukka tukkiin muna muniin
loma lomiin oja ojiin
kooma koomiin tumma tummiin
kuha kuhiin sukka sukkiin

2.4. Words ending in -i

Words ending in -i are once again divided into several groups. There are new words, which are often loanwords. There are also older, more Finnish words, which are inflected differently.

2.4.1. New words ending in -i: remove -i and add -eihin

Nominative Illative Nominative Illative
banaani banaaneihin äiti äiteihin
tiimi tiimeihin pankki pankkeihin
posti posteihin maali maaleihin
tili tileihin tyyli tyyleihin
bussi busseihin hotelli hotelleihin

2.4.2. Old words ending in -i: will end in -iin

These old words are usually nature words. They refer to things that have been around for centuries and have kept their old Finnish name.

Nominative Illative Nominative Illative
järvi järviin ovi oviin
sieni sieniin kivi kiviin
sormi sormiin nimi nimiin
lahti lahtiin lehti lehtiin
pilvi pilviin saari saariin

2.4.3. Old words ending in -si: will retain their -si-, and end in iin

Nominative Illative Nominative Illative
vesi vesiin reisi reisiin
si käsiin köysi köysiin
susi susiin lapsi lapsiin

2.5. Words ending in -e: add -isiin or -isiin

Nominative Illative Nominative Illative
huone huoneisiin perhe perheisiin
kirje kirjeisiin kone koneisiin
parveke parvekkeisiin koe kokeisiin

2.6. Words ending in -nen: replace the -nen with -siin

Nominative Illative Nominative Illative Nominative Genetive
nainen naisiin hevonen hevosiin suomalainen suomalaisiin
eteinen eteisiin iloinen iloisiin ihminen ihmisiin
sininen sinisiin toinen toisiin tavallinen tavallisiin

2.7. One syllable words: replace the first vowel with -ihin

Words of one syllable can have a long vowel (eg. maa, suu) or a diphtong (eg. työ, suo). For these words, you will remove the first vowel of the word and add -ihin.

Nominative Illative Nominative Illative
maa maihin sää ihin
suu suihin v ihin
t ihin kuu kuihin
tie teihin jää ihin

2.8. Words ending in two vowels: replace the last vowel with -isiin

Nominative Illative Nominative Illative
vapaa vapaisiin vakaa vakaisiin
harmaa harmaisiin hakkuu hakkuisiin

2.9. Words ending in a consonant

Separate page coming!


Consonant Gradation in the Plural Illative

The plural illative will always be strong, both for wordtype A and wordtype B.

Wordtype A
Nominative Illative Nominative Illative Nominative Illative
tyttö tyttöihin pankki pankkeihin puku pukuihin
pöytä pöytiin hattu hattuihin kauppa kauppoihin
silta siltoihin kampa kampoihin hiekka hiekkoihin

I have a separate article on wordtype A.

Wordtype B
Nominative Partitive Nominative Partitive Nominative Partitive
savuke savukkeisiin tavoite tavoitteisiin soitin soittimiiin
opas oppaisiin rakas rakkaisiin puhallin puhaltimiin
keitin keittimiin hammas hampaisiin allas altaisiin

I have a separate article on wordtype B.


That concludes the article on the plural illative case!

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