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

Possessive suffixes can be used in combination with a possessive pronouns (as listed below). In this case, you are offering the information twice (eg. hänen autonsa “his car-his”), 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. Sometimes there isn’t a noun, just a pronoun. When we’re expressing the relative relation between the postposition and a person, we will use a possessive suffix, as you can see below.

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

The word toinen can mean “each other” or “one another”. The usage of this word is more tricky than in English, because you will have to use the appropriate possessive suffix. The same is true for the reflective pronoun itse, which you can read about more behind that link.

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“.

Some of them are formed with the adessive case (-lla/llä). Read more about those here.

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.
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?

And some of them are formed with the inessive case (-ssa/ssä).

Finnish English
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.

1.5. In special sentence constructions

The following are all advanced sentence constructions. I’m linking to each of the topics so you can go read more about them. You can also find an example sentence in the table below.

  1. Present temporal construction (eg. imuroidessani, mennessämme)
  2. Past temporal construction (eg. imuroituani, mentyämme)
  3. Agent participle (eg. maalaamani taulu)
  4. First infinitive (eg. sanoakseni, häiritäkseen)
  5. Referative construction (eg. osaavani, osanneeni)
  6. Comitative (eg. vaimoineen, lapsineen)
# Finnish English
1 Tullessamme kotiin lauloimme. Coming home we were singing.
2 Tultuamme kotiin riisuimme. When we’d come home we undressed.
3 Ostamani kirja kastui sateessa. The book I bought got rained on.
4 Tulin pyytääkseni anteeksi. I came in order to apologize.
5 Hän kertoi tulevansa. She said she was coming.
6 Hän lähti koirineen ulos. She went outside with her dogs.

1.6. 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 possessive 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 use 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

* As you can see above, we’re not removing hänen and heidän in standard Finnish. You can’t omit the personal pronoun for the third person. 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.

2. The Formation of the Possessive Suffixes

2.1. Most word types

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

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– before the possessive suffix!

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

2.3. Words ending in -i

2.3.1. 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 Poss.Suff. Nominative Poss.Suff.
banaani banaanini paperi paperimme
kahvi kahvini pankki pankkisi
hotelli hotellinne maali maalimme
tili tilinsä kirahvi kirahvinsa

2.3.2. 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 Poss.Suff. Nominative Poss.Suff.
suomi suomeni ovi ovemme
järvi järveni kivi kivesi
polvi polvenne nimi nimesi
tähti tähtensä lehti lehtensä

2.3.3. 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 Poss.Suff. Nominative Poss.Suff.
kynsi kyntensä vuosi vuotenne
si teni kuukausi kuukautesi
vesi vetemme reisi reitesi

2.4. Words ending in a consonant

2.4.1. 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 inflected in any case except the partitive.

Nominative Poss.Suff. Nominative Poss.Suff.
nainen naiseni perhonen perhosemme
eteinen eteisesi peipponen peipposen
hevonen hevosensa lapsonen lapsosensa

2.4.2. Words ending in -as: replace -as with -aa-

Words ending in -as (or –äs, depending on vowel harmony rules) will get a long vowel -aa/ää- before the possessive suffix. Read more about words ending in -as here.

Nominative Poss.Suff. Nominative Poss.Suff.
rakas rakkaani hammas hampaamme
taivas taivaasi lipas lippaanne
opas oppaansa vieras vieraansa

2.4.3. Words ending in -is: two groups

For words ending in -is, we have two groups. Words like kallis get -ii- when inflected, to which we add -seen. Words like roskis which get -ikse- when inflected.

Nominative Poss.Suff. Nominative Poss.Suff.
saalis saaliisi roskis roskiksensa
nauris nauriimme kirppis kirppiksemme
kauris kauriisi fiilis fiiliksensä
ruis rukiisi kämppis kämppikseni

2.4.4. Words ending in -us/-os: two groups

Words ending in -os will get -okse- when inflected. Words ending in -us can belong to two groups: some get -ukse-, others get -ude-. You will want to check out this article to get the specifics.

Nominative Poss.Suff. Nominative Poss.Suff.
mahdollisuus mahdollisuuteni vastaus vastauksesi
rakkaus rakkautesi kysymys kysymykseni
ystävyys ystävyytemme keskus keskuksenne
pimeys pimeytensä tarjous tarjouksemme

Some general guidelines:

  • If the word is based on a verb (such as opettaa > opetus), it will generally get –ukse-.
  • If the word is based on an adjective (such as pimeä > pimeys), it will get –ute-.
  • If the word is based on a noun (such as ystävä > ystävyys), it will get –ute-.
  • If the word ends in –uus/yys (double vowel), you will get –ute-.

2.4.5. Words ending in –in: replace with -ime-

Read more about words ending in -in here.

Nominative Poss.Suff. Nominative Poss.Suff.
puhelin puhelimeni kiharrin kihartimemme
avain avaimesi leivänpaahdin leivänpaahtimenne
keitin keittimensä tuuletin tuulettimensa

2.4.6. Words ending in –ut: two groups

Words that end in -ut/yt can belong to two wordtypes. The smallest group of the two contains words such as olut, kevyt and lyhyt. For these words, you will replace the final -t with an –e-.

The much larger group is made up of NUT-participles such as väsynyt and tottunut. For the words, you will replace the -ut/yt with -ee-. Note that we will only add a possessive suffix to these when they’re used independently as a noun. When we use it as an adjective, it won’t get a possessive suffix.

Nominative Poss.Suff. Nominative Poss.Suff.
neitsyt neitsyemme kadonnut kadonneemme
pehmyt pehmyeni väsynyt väsyeensä
olut oluesi edesmennyt edesmenneemme

2.4.7. Words ending in -tar

Words ending in -tar are rare, but at least tytär (daughter) is a common word. In the mihin-form, these words get -ttare- in place of the basic form’s -tar.

Nominative Poss.Suff. Nominative Poss.Suff.
tytär tyttäresi kuningatar kuningattareni
herttuatar herttuattaremme jumalatar jumalattaremme

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).

The final -n from the mihin forms (autoon and autoihin) will also disappear (autoo-ni and autoihi-ni).

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

The third person possessive suffix is either –nsa or –nsä, both for the singular and the plural form.

In addition, there is a second possible ending for the third person. The third person possessive suffix can also consist of the repetition of the last vowel of the word, in combination with an –n. This form gets used often in modern Finnish.

However, this [vowel + n] possessive suffix can only be used for certain cases. The basic form (eg. auto) and the cases which end in a consonant (ie. auton, autot and autoon) will only get -nsa. The other cases all can have both options (eg. both autossansa and autossaan).

In the table below, you will find the word lehti in the most common cases, with the third person possessive suffixes.

Wordtype A
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

If you understand when it’s possible to use the [vowel + n] third person possessive suffix, I suggest you use that form over the –nsa. It sounds more natural than the -nsa form in cases where both are possible.

5. 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. Note that I’m using the first person suffix in this example, but the rule is the same in all persons.

5.1. 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

The first 6 forms of the table above have the strong grade -pp- and -t-. In contrast, the last 6 have the weak grade -p- and -d-.

This is a phonological phenomenon, which follows the general consonant gradation rules.

  • If the -kpt- is located at the beginning of an open syllable, you will use the strong grade.
    eg. kauppa-na-ni; lei-ni
  • If the -kpt- is located at the beginning of an closed syllable, you will use the weak grade.
    eg. kaupas-sa-ni; leiväs-sä-ni

5.2. Wordtype B Consonant Gradation

There is a clear difference with consonant gradation between wordtype 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

Wordtype B’s consonant gradation is also dependent on the open/closed syllable rules just like wordtype A. It is, however, easier, because these words all have an open syllable except for the partitive.

That concludes the article on possessive suffixes!

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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?).

Rando Kalbus

3.1. Wordtype A Consonant Gradation

Why do the first 6 examples do not have consonant gradation, but the others do ?

Thanks in advance

Inge (admin)

When we add a possessive suffix, only cases where the ending is -CCV (Consonant-Consonant-Vowel) will become weak: -ssa, -lla, -lta, -ksi etc. Those cases are marked with green in that table. The first 6 cases don’t end in -CCV so they don’t undergo consonant gradation.

More technical: the reason for this difference has to do with phonology. Consonants at the beginning of an open syllable will stay strong (which is the case for eg. kaup-paa-ni and kaup-pa-na-ni). Consonants at the beginning of a closed syllable will become weak (like for example kau-pas-sa-ni).

This article could use some additional work, I will add it to the list of things to improve 🙂

Kalle Olavi Niemitalo

It is correct to use a third-person possessive suffix without a third-person pronoun, if the possessor is the subject. ”Lapsi söi ruokansa.” means the child ate his or her own food. ”Lapsi söi hänen ruokansa.” would mean the child ate the food of another person who was mentioned before; perhaps translatable as ”Her food was eaten by the child.” This works with a plural subject as well: ”Ravintoloiden täytyy sulkea ovensa viimeistään iltayhdeksältä.”

Inge (admin)

Oh yes, I totally forgot about that. Sentences like those are less common but very interesting. I need to think how I add that to the article without causing confusion.

There’s also the difference between hänen and tämän. That might get an article on its own, I think.


In this sentence:

Näin kadulla koiran, mutta en sen omistajaa.

Why is it not omistajaansa?

Thanks in advance.

Inge (admin)

Hmmm… I had to think about this one for a minute!

Sen isn’t a personal pronouns like minun, sinun, hänen etc.
It works the same as a noun would, not like hänen.
So: En näe koiran omistajaa. > En näe sen omistajaa.


In the fourth point, when you say…You can only use it when the word ends in a short vowel. Do you mean the word in nominative singular or in any else case ? If Lehti ends in a short vowel, it could be lehteen (nominative) ?

lehteä (partitive) doesn’t end in a short vowel, but lehteään is used. I’m a bit confused….


Inge (admin)

Hei Oscar! I’ll rephrase that section.You are quite right about lehteä! My explanation left some room for misunderstandings for sure.

First, what I meant was that you look at the form of the word you want to add the possessive suffix to; not the basic form. The words lehden and lehteen both end in a consonant, so they only get -nsä. The word lehdessä ends in a vowel so it can also get -än.

As you noticed, the partitive is the odd one out because it ends in two vowels. I’ve decided to rephrase the situation this way:

  • only -nsa is possible for the basic form and the cases that end in a consonant
  • both versions are possible in all the other cases

Edit: This is a sufficiently large problem you have pointed out to give you two points. Thank you very much for bringing it up! <3

Last edited 18 days ago by Inge (admin)