Finnish for busy people

Possessive Suffixes – Possessiivisuffiksit

Table of Contents
  1. The Usage of Possessive Suffixes
    1. Used to express ownership
    2. Used with postpositions
    3. Toinen / itse
    4. With adverbs of manner
    5. In special sentence constructions
    6. Possessive suffixes in written versus spoken language
  2. The Formation of the Possessive Suffixes
    1. Most words
    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. The Inflection of words with a possessive suffix
  4. The Third Person Possessive Suffix
  5. Consonant Gradation for Possessive Suffixes
    1. Wordtype A consonant gradation
    2. Wordtype B consonant gradation

1. The Usage of Possessive Suffixes

1.1. Used to express ownership

Posessive suffixes can be used in combination with a possessive pronouns (as listed below). In this case, you are offering the information twice, which is often redundant. Either one of the elements can usually be removed without losing the meaning of the phrase.

Finnish English
minun kuppini my cup
sinun kuppisi your cup
hänen kuppinsa his/her cup
meidän kuppimme our cup
teidän kuppinne your (plural) cup
heidän kuppinsa their cup

1.2. Used with postpositions

Postpositions generally are used in combination with a noun in the genetive case. In these sentences, the postposition expresses the relative relation between the two elements. When we’re expressing the relative relation between the postposition and a person, we will use a possessive suffix.

Finnish English
Pue päällesi! Get dressed! (“Put clothes on you“)
Puu on takanamme. The tree is behind us.
Kolari tapahtui heidän edessään The car crash happened in front of them.
Jättäkää jälkeenne siistit paikat! Clean up after yourself!
Joka päivä eteemme avautuu mahdollisuuksia. Every day possibilities open up before us.
Tule istumaan viereeni. Come sit next to me.

1.3. Toinen / itse

Finnish English
Tapasimme toisemme keskustassa. We met each other in the city center.
Ari ja Anni rakastavat toisiaan. Ari and Anni love each other.
Pojat huusivat toisilleen. The boys yelled at each other.
Antakaa toisillenne anteeksi. Forgive each other.
Haluan löytää itseni. I want to find myself.
En ole ollut oma itseni viime aikoina. I haven’t been myself lately.
Pitää osata antaa anteeksi myös itselleen. One has to be able to forgive oneself.
Pyrkikää pitämään sen tiedon itsellänne. Try to keep that information to yourself.

1.4. With adverbs of manner

Certain adverbs of manner will include a possessive suffix. These forms are in the process of fossilizing, which means that instead of eg. “olen pahoillani“, you’re likely to hear “olen pahoillaan“.

Finnish English
Olen pahoillani tapahtuneesta. I’m sorry about what happened.
Me olemme todella pahoillamme. We’re really sorry.
He katsoivat toisiaan ymmällään. They looked at each other puzzled.
Olen aivan ymmälläni. I’m really perplexed.
Äiti oli ihmeissään kun näki tyttärensä. Mother was amazed when she saw her daughter.
Jos tietäisit olisit ihmeissäsi. If you knew you would really wonder.
Hän yritti tosissaan saavuttaa tavoitteet. He really tried to achive the goals.
Olen tosissani. Näin oikeasti tapahtui! I’m serious. It really happened like that!
Oletko huolissasi siskosi kohtalosta? Are you worried about your sister’s fate?
Pekka on huolissaan sinusta. Pekka is worried about you.
Yrittäjät ovat hyvillään päätöksestä. The entrepreneurs are pleased with the decision.
Olemme hyvillämme kunniamaininnasta. We’re pleased with the honorary mention.
Rikoin sen lampun tahallani. I broke that lamp on purpose.
Teitkö sen tahallasi vai vahingossa? Did you do it on purpose or accidentally?

1.5. In special sentence constructions

Type Finnish English
Present temporal construction Tullessamme kotiin huomasimme hajun. When we were coming home we noticed the smell.
Past temporal construction Tultuamme kotiin soitimme hätänumeroon. When we had come home we called the emergency number.
Agent partiticiple Ostamani kirja kastui sateessa. The book I bought got rained on.
First infinitive Tulin pyytääkseni anteeksi. I came in order to appologize.
Referative construction Hän kertoi tulevansa. She said she was coming.
Comitative Nainen lähti koirineen ulos. The woman went outside with her dogs.

2. Possessive Suffixes in Written versus Spoken Language

The way possessive suffixes and pronouns are used depends on the formality of the situation. You might have people ask you “Mikä sun nimi on?” as well as “Mikä sinun nimesi on?”. Both are correct.

  • Formal: In the most official of sources, you will have the redundant version with both a possesive pronoun and a possessive suffix.
  • Standard: In standard language sources like newspapers, work emails and television programs, you will fairly often only use a possessive suffix.
  • Spoken: Spoken language can go the opposite route: you can use the possessive pronouns without the possessive suffix.
  • Colloquial: The least official language situations us a possessive pronoun, but use the dialect language form of it. You can find the most widely used form of these possessive pronouns below, but — depending on the area — “mun” could also be “miun“, and “meidän” could be eg. “meijän“, “meirän” or “meiän“.
Formal Standard Spoken Colloquial
minun kuppini kuppini minun kuppi mun kuppi
sinun kuppisi kuppisi sinun kuppi sun kuppi
hänen kuppinsa hänen kuppinsa hänen kuppi sen kuppi
meidän kuppimme kuppimme meidän kuppi meijän kuppi
teidän kuppinne kuppinne teidän kuppi teijän kuppi
heidän kuppinsa heidän kuppinsa heidän kuppi heijän kuppi

2. The Formation of the Possessive Suffixes

2.1. Most words

For most words, you just add the possessive suffix to the end of the word.

Nominative Poss.Suff. Nominative Poss.Suff. Nominative Poss.Suff.
kala kalani tyyny tyynysi talo talonsa
seinä seinämme työ työnne melu melunsa

2.2. Words ending in -e

Add an extra –e– to the stem before the possessive suffix!

Nominative Poss.Suff. Nominative Poss.Suff. Nominative Poss.Suff.
huone huoneeni perhe perheemme kappale kappaleeni
kirje kirjeesi lentokone lentokoneenne taide taiteemme
parveke parvekkeensa koe kokeensa aste asteensa

2.3. Words ending in -nen

For words ending in –nen, you will replace the –nen with -se/-se before the possessive suffix. This is the same change that -nen words go through when being used in any case except the partitive.

Nominative Genetive Nominative Genetive Nominative Genetive
nainen naiseni perhonen perhosemme eteinen eteisesi
peipponen peipposen hevonen hevosensa lapsonen lapsosensa

2.4. Words ending in -i

2.4.1. New words ending in -i

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 Genetive Nominative Genetive Nominative Genetive
banaani banaanini paperi paperimme kahvi kahvini
pankki pankkisi hotelli hotellinne maali maalimme
tili tilinsä kirahvi kirahvinsa kurssi kurssisi

2.4.2. Old words ending in -i

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!

For these words, replace the final –i– with –e– and add possessive suffix.

Nominative Genetive Nominative Genetive Nominative Genetive
suomi suomeni ovi ovemme järvi järveni
kivi kivesi polvi polvenne nimi nimesi
tähti tähtensä lehti lehtensä pilvi pilvemme

2.4.3. Old words ending in -si

More old words, but this time with –si at their end. This group has its own additional change: replace –si– with –te– and add the possessive suffix.

Nominative Genetive Nominative Genetive Nominative Genetive
kynsi kyntensä vuosi vuotenne si teni
kuukausi kuukautesi vesi vetemme reisi reitesi

3. The Inflection of words with a possessive suffix

In addition to adding possessive suffixes to the nominative (the basic form), you can also add them to words that have been put in the cases.

For some cases, the case marker will disappear when you add a possessive suffix. This happens with the plural nominative (autot) and the genetive (auton). In these sentences, you will have to figure out which case is used based on the context. Eg. Autoni on rikki. (auto) vs. Autoni ovat rikki. (autot) vs. Autoni rengas on rikki. (auton).

Case Singular Possessive Suffix Plural Possessive Suffix
Nominative auto autoni autot autoni
Partitive autoa autoani autoja autojani
Genetive auton autoni autojen autojeni
Missä autossa autossani autoissa autoissani
Mistä autosta autostani autoista autostani
Mihin autoon autooni autoihin autoihini
Millä autolla autollani autoilla autoillani
Miltä autolta autoltani autoilta autoiltani
Mille autolle autolleni autoille autoilleni
Translative autoksi autokseni autoiksi autoikseni
Essive autona autonani autoina autoinani

4. The Third Person Possessive Suffix

You can’t omit the personal pronoun for all persons. You can omit the personal pronoun only for minun, sinun, meidän and teidän.

The third person forms hänen and heidän require you to say the personal pronoun. For example, you can say/write “hänen autonsa” or “hänen auto“, but not “autonsa” without the “hänen“. This is due to the fact that both the singular and the plural third person possessive suffix is –nsa, which makes them indistinguishable from one another.

The third person possessive suffix is either –nsa or –nsä, both for the singular and the plural form. There is a second possibility: repeating the last vowel of the word (V) plus –n. Nowadays this last form gets used a lot. You can only use it when the word ends in a short vowel.

In the table, you will find the word “lehti” in the most common cases, with the third person possessive suffixes. If both are possible, and you can wrap your mind around how the –Vn works, I suggest you use that form over the –nsa. It sounds more natural than the -nsa form in cases where both are possible.

Wordtype B
Cases Conjugation -nsa/-nsä vn
nominative lehti lehtensä
genetive lehden lehtensä
plural lehdet lehtensä
illative (mihin) lehteen lehteensä
essive (-na) lehtenä lehtenänsä lehtenään
partitive lehteä lehteänsä lehteään
inessive (-ssa) lehdessä lehdessänsä lehdessään
elative (-sta) lehdestä lehdestänsä lehdestään
allative (lle) lehdelle lehdellensä lehdelleen
ablative (-lta) lehdeltä lehdeltänsä lehdeltään
adessive (lla) lehdellä lehdellänsä lehdellään
translative (-ksi) lehdeksi lehdeksensä lehdekseen

3. Consonant Gradation for Possessive Suffixes

All the possessive suffixes in this article have been added to the nominative (basic) form of the nouns. However, there is nothing preventing you from adding these suffixes to words that are already in some case.

Words from Wordtype A and words from Wordtype B behave differently when you add a possessive suffix to them. I will explain that difference in the following tables. Not that I’m using the first person suffix in this example, but the rule is the same in all persons.

3.1. Wordtype A Consonant Gradation

Wordtype A
no poss.suff. kauppa hevonen vuosi
nominative kauppa-ni hevose-ni vuote-ni
genetive kauppa-ni hevose-ni vuote-ni
plural kauppa-ni hevose-ni vuote-ni
illative (mihin) kauppaa-ni hevosee-ni vuotee-ni
essive (-na) kauppana-ni hevosena-ni vuotena-ni
partitive kauppaa-ni hevosta-ni vuotta-ni
inessive (-ssa) kaupassa-ni hevosessa-ni vuodessa-ni
elative (-sta) kaupasta-ni hevosesta-ni vuodesta-ni
allative (-lle) kaupalle-ni hevoselle-ni vuodelle-ni
ablative (-lta) kaupalta-ni hevoselta-ni vuodelta-ni
adessive (-lla) kaupalla-ni hevosella-ni vuodella-ni
translative (-ksi) kaupakse-ni hevosekse-ni vuodekse-ni

3.2. Wordtype B Consonant Gradation

There is a clear difference with consonant gradation between wordtyp A and wordtype B!

Wordtype B
no poss.suff. osoite opas soitin
nominative osoittee-ni oppaa-ni soittime-ni
genetive osoittee-ni oppaa-ni soittime-ni
plural osoittee-ni oppaa-ni soittime-ni
illative (mihin) osoitteesee-ni oppaasee-ni soittimee-ni
essive (-na) osoitteena-ni oppaana-ni soittimena-ni
partitive osoitetta-ni opasta-ni soitinta-ni
inessive (-ssa) osoitteessa-ni oppaassa-ni soittimessa-ni
elative (-sta) osoitteesta-ni oppaasta-ni soittimesta-ni
allative (-lle) osoitteelle-ni oppaalle-ni soittimelle-ni
ablative (-lte) osoitteelta-ni oppaalta-ni soittimelta-ni
adessive (-lla) osoitteella-ni oppaalla-ni soittimella-ni
translative (–ksi) osoitteekse-ni oppaakse-ni soittimekse-ni


That concludes the article on the genetive case!

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Might be an error under 1. Use of Possessive Suffixes, 1.1. Written, standard and spoken language

An important addition to the previous explanation is that you can’t omit the personal pronoun for all persons. You can omit the personal pronoun only for minun, sinun, meidän and heidän (teidän?).