Finnish for busy people

Finnish Prepositions – Finnish Grammar

Table of Contents
  1. The Use of Finnish Prepositions
  2. The List of Possible Prepositions
    1. Prepositions + Partitive
    2. Pre- & Postpositions
    3. Adpositions

1. The Use of Finnish Prepositions

In general, both prepositions and postpositions express a thing’s relative location in relation to other things. Prepositions occur in front of the word they’re connected to, and require this word to be put in the partitive case.

Prepositions are more natural to speakers of English than postpositions are. However, prepositions are much less common in Finnish.


2. The List of Finnish Prepositions

2.1. Prepositions + Partitive

Preposition Finnish English
ennen Sain lahjan ennen joulua. I got presents before Christmas.
ilman Osaan pyöräillä ilman käsiä. I can bicycle without my hands.
vailla Lapsi on vailla tekemistä. The child has nothing to do.
pitkin (place) Kuljin pitkin metsäpolkua. I traveled along the forest path.
pitkin (time) Tapahtumia on pitkin vuotta. Events happen all through the year.

2.2. Pre- & Postpositions

Some adpositions can be used both as prepositions and postposions, aka they can appear both before and after the word they’re expressing a relation to, and they can require both the partitive and the genetive case.

Adposition Preposition Postposition English
keskellä kylän keskellä keskellä kylää in the middle of the village
lähellä kirkon lähellä lähellä kirkkoa near the church
vastapäätä hotellin vastapäätä vastapäätä hotellia across the road of the hotel

2.3. Adpositions

There is a whole group of words that work like prepositions and postpositions, but mix the rules of both. What makes these different is that they require the partitive (like prepositions), but are situated behind their complement (like postpositions).

Adposition Finnish English
paitsi Hän jäi ylennystä paitsi. He didn’t get the promotion.
varten Hän osti sen minua varten. She bought it for me.
kohti Hän tuli meitä kohti. She came towards us.
kohden Mikä on velkataakka asukasta kohden? What’s the debt burden per citizen.
vastaan (concrete) Menimme heitä vastaan. We went to pick them up.
vastaan (abstract) He olivat suunnitelmaa vastaan. They were against the plan.
edellä Hän oli muita edellä. He was ahead of others.

That concludes the article on prepositions!

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