Finnish for busy people

Joka-pronomini – Jonka Jota Joista Joiden

In this article, you can find out more about the situations in which you use the relative pronoun joka, ie. the joka-pronomini. The aim of this article is to give you more of an idea of the reasons to use a specific form of joka, such as jonka or joita.

Table of Contents
  1. What is the relative pronoun joka?
  2. Genitive – Singular: jonka / Plural: joiden
    1. Jonka / joiden used to express ownership
    2. Jonka used in object sentences
    3. Jonka / joiden used with postpositions
    4. Jonka / joiden used in necessity sentences
  3. Partitive – Singular: jota / Plural: joita
    1. Jota / joita used in negative object sentences
    2. Jota / joita used with partitive verbs
    3. Jota / joita with prepositions
    4. Jota used with mass nouns
    5. Jota used with irresultative phrases
    6. Joita used with unspecified amounts
  4. Basic form – Joka
    1. Joka used for the subject of a sentences
    2. Joka used in object sentences
  5. T-plural – Jotka
    1. Jotka used for the plural subject of a sentences
    2. Jotka used in object sentences
  6. Adessive – Singular: jolla / Plural: joilla
    1. Jolla /joilla used to express being at a place
    2. Jolla / joilla used to express a location on top of something
    3. Jolla / joilla used to express having something
    4. Jolla / joilla used for tools and transportation
    5. Jolla / joilla used with rections
  7. Ablative – Singular: jolta / Plural: joilta
    1. Jolta / joilta used to express leaving a place
    2. Jolta / joilta used to express movement off of something
    3. Jolta / joilta used to answer the question keneltä
    4. Jolta / joilta used with perceptional verbs
  8. Allative – Singular: jolle / Plural: joille
    1. Jolle / joille used to express going to a place
    2. Jolle / joille used to express movement to the top of something
    3. Jolle / joille used to answer the question kenelle
    4. Jolle / joille used with rections
  9. Inessive – Singular: jossa / Plural: joissa
    1. Jossa / joissa used to express being inside
    2. Jossa / joissa used to express close attachment
    3. Jossa / joissa used with rections
  10. Illative – Singular: johon / Plural: joihin
    1. Johon / joihin used to express movement towards
    2. Johon / joihin used with rections
  11. Translative – Singular: joksi / Plural: joiksi
    1. Joksi / joiksi used with rections
  12. Essive – Singular: jona / Plural: joina
    1. Jona / joina used with rections
    2. Jona / joina used with expressions of time

1. What is the relative pronoun joka?

Relative pronouns are used to start a subordinate clause (a “side-sentence”, sivulause). The relative pronoun joka always refers to the word right in front of it. It gives some extra information about the word it refers to. In this article you can find more basic information about the joka-pronomini.

Joka-pronomini in its different forms gets translated as “who”, “whom” and “whose”, as well as “that” and “which” in English.

Cases Singular Plural
Nominative joka jotka
Partitive jota joita
Genitive jonka joiden
Illative johon joihin
Inessive jossa joissa
Elative josta joista
Allative jolle joille
Adessive jolla joilla
Ablative jolta joilta
Essive jona joina
Translative joksi joiksi

In this article, I’ve combined the singular and plural forms in most of the sections below. This makes sense for most cases because the singular and plural are used in the exact same situations. However, some situations specifically are used in either the singular or the plural. Pay attention to this when you read further.

In the tables below, I use the letter S for singular and the letter P for plural.

2. Genitive – Singular: jonka / Plural: joiden

2.1. Jonka / joiden used to express ownership

One situation where we use the genitive case is to express ownership. We can use jonka (singular) and joiden (plural) to express the person who owns something; ie. when we’re expressing “whose” something is. In addition, we can use jonka and joiden to express “of which” a thing is.

Take a look, for example, at the combination of the sentences “Mies tulee” and “Miehen tukka on ruskea” in the table below.

# Finnish English
S Mies, jonka tukka on ruskea, tulee. The man [whose hair is brown] is coming.
S Miehellä, jonka nimi on Ari, on ruskea tukka. The man [whose name is Ari] has brown hair.
S Tyttö, jonka nimi on Anna, tanssii. The girl [whose name is Anna] is dancing.
S Tykkään tytöstä, jonka etunimi on Anna. I like a/the girl [whose name is Anna].
S Anna asuu talossa, jonka ovi on ruskea. Anna lives in the house [of which the door is brown].
S Puhelin, jonka näyttö on rikki, on minun. The phone [of which the screen is broken] is mine.
P Korjaan puhelimet, joiden omistajat tunnen. I fix the phones [of which I know the owners].
P Kävitkö kaupoissa, joiden tuotteita varastettiin? Did you go to the stores [whose products were stolen]?
P Tykkään miehistä, joiden tukka on ruskea. I like men [whose hair is brown].
P Rakastan miehiä, joiden silmät ovat siniset. I love men [whose eyes are blue].

2.2. Jonka used in object sentences

When the relative pronoun refers to the total object of a sentence, you will use the genitive case jonka. Verbs that get a total object are, for example, avata, sulkea, ostaa, ottaa, myydä, lainata, tavata and muistaa. Take a look, for example, at the combination of the sentences “Ovi on sininen” and “Avasin ovenin the table below.

Plural objects won’t be inflected in the plural genitive in this situation! Rather, the T-plural is used for plural total objects. The sentences “Ovet ovat sinisiä” and “Avasin ovet” get combined into “Ovet, jotka avasin, ovat sinisiä” ie. “The doors [which I opened] are blue”.

# Finnish English
S Ovi, jonka avasin, on sininen. The door [which I opened] is blue.
S Laukku, jonka ostin, on kallis. The bag [which I bought] is expensive.
S Laukussa, jonka lainasin, oli rahaa. In the bag [which I borrowed] there was money.
S Tyttö, jonka tapasin, auttoi minua. The girl [whom I met] helped me.
S Mies, jonka tunnistan heti, on isäni. The man [whom I recognize right away] is my father.
S Miehellä, jonka tunnistin heti, oli parta. The man [whom I recognized right away] had a beard.
S Kuka on tuo mies, jonka tunnistit heti? Who’s that man [whom you recognized right away]?
P Plural genitive isn’t possible for objects. Use the T-plural instead.

2.3. Jonka / joiden used with postpositions

When the word joka is used with a postposition, you will use jonka in the singular and joiden in the plural. Common postpositions are, for example, takana, edessä, vieressä, kanssa and alla. Take a look, for example, at the combination of the sentences “Talo on pelottava.” and “Talon takana on hauta.” in the table below.

# Finnish English
S Talo, jonka takana on hauta, on pelottava. The house [behind which there is a grave] is scary.
S Talossa, jonka takana hauta on, asuu mies. In the house [behind which the grave is] lives a man.
S Asun talossa, jonka takana on hauta. I live in the house [behind which there is a grave].
S Poika, jonka edessä istun, häiritsee minua. The boy [whom I sit in front of] disturbs me.
S Pojalla, jonka edessä istun, on pitkä tukka. The boy [whom I sit in front of] has long hair.
S Rakastan poikaa, jonka edessä istun. I love the boy [whom I sit in front of].
S Kirja, jonka päällä on kynä, pitää lukea. The book [on which there is a pen] must be read.
P Kirjat, joiden päällä on kyniä, pitää lukea. The books [on which there are pens] must be read.
P Pojat, joiden kanssa keskustelen, nauravat. The boys [with whom I’m chatting] laugh.
P En pidä taloista, joiden vieressä on baari. I don’t like houses [next to which there is a pub].
P Pidän taloista, joiden ympärillä on metsää. I like houses [around which there is some forest].

2.4. Jonka / joiden used in necessity sentences

All necessity sentence types require the subject of the sentence who must do something to appear in the genitive case. Take a look, for example, at the combination of the sentences “Poika myöhästyi” and “Pojan piti herätä aikaisin” in the table below.

# Finnish English
S Poika, jonka piti herätä aikaisin, myöhästyi. The boy [who had to wake up early] was late.
S Tyttö, jonka pitäisi nukkua, valvoi yhä. The girl [who should sleep] was still awake.
S Tytöllä, jonka pitäisi nukkua, on ongelmia. The girl [who should sleep] has problems.
S Soitan tytölle, jonka pitäisi nukkua. I call the girl [who should sleep].
S Mies, jonka on lähdettävä, pukee takkinsa. The man [who must leave] is putting on his coat.
P Miehet, joiden on lähdettävä, pukeutuvat. The men [who must leave] are getting dressed.
P Tytöt, joiden täytyy nukkua, valvovat. The girls [who must sleep] are staying up.
P Häiritsen poikia, joiden pitäisi keskittyä. I disturb the boys [who should be focusing].
P Suutuin pojille, joiden oli pakko kuunnella. I got mad at the boys [who had to listen].

3. Partitive – Singular: jota / Plural: joita

3.1. Jota / joita used in negative object sentences

The object of a negative sentence will be inflected in the partitive case. The object in the sentence “Luin kirjan” will become partitive when you make the sentence negative: “En lukenut kirjaa“. Thus, the combination of the sentences “Kirja on pöydällä” and “En lukenut kirjaawill become “Kirja, jota en lukenut, on pöydällä“.

# Finnish English
S Kirja, jota en lukenut, on pöydällä. The book [which I didn’t read] is on the table.
S Kirjassa, jota en ostanut, oli kuvia. In the book [which I didn’t buy] were pictures.
S Tyttö, jota en tunne, lähestyy. A girl [whom I don’t know] is coming closer.
S Talo, jota ei myyty, on tyhjänä. The house [which wasn’t sold] is empty.
S Ostin kirjan, jota emme tunteneet. I bought a/the book [which we didn’t know].
P Kirjat, joita en lukenut, ovat pöydällä. The books [which I didn’t read] are on the table.
P Pöydällä on kirjat, joita ei myyty. On the table are the books [which weren’t sold].
P Rakastan poikia, joita sinä et tunne. I love the boys [who you don’t know].
P Vauvat, joita ei imetetä heti, itkevät. Babies [who aren’t breastfed immediately] cry.

3.2. Jota / joita used with partitive verbs

There are verbs in Finnish which always require their object to be inflected in the partitive case. We call these verbs partitive verbs. Common examples of such verbs are rakastaa, odottaa and pelata. Check out how the sentences “Tyttö asuu Suomessa” and “Rakastan tyttöä” are combined in the table below using jota.

# Finnish English
S Tyttö, jota rakastan, asuu Suomessa. The girl [whom I love] lives in Finland.
S Tytöllä, jota vihaan, on paljon rahaa. The girl [whom I hate] has a lot of money.
S Peli, jota pelaan, on monimutkainen. The game [which I play] is complicated.
S Bussi, jota odotamme, on myöhässä. The bus [which we are waiting for] is late.
S En puhu kieltä, jota opiskellaan täällä. I don’t speak the language [which is studied here].
P Annan lahjoja tytöille, joita rakastan. I give presents to the girls [who I love].
P Sain uhkauksen tytöiltä, joita pelkään. I got a threat from the girls [who I’m afraid of].
P Rakastan pallopelejä, joita pelaamme usein. I love the ball games [which we play often].
P Ihmiset, joita arvostan eniten, ovat rohkeita. The people [who I appreciate the most] are brave.

3.3. Jota / Joita used with prepositions

Finnish prepositions are usually used in combination with the partitive case. In the table below, I’ve combined the sentences “Tyttö rakastaa minua” and “En voi elää ilman tyttöä” using the relative pronoun jota.

# Finnish English
S Tyttö, jota ilman en voi elää, rakastaa minua. The girl [who I can’t live without] loves me.
S Rakastan tyttöä, jota ilman en voi elää. I love the girl [who I can’t live without].
S Vieras, jota varten tein tämän kakun, myöhästyy. The guest [whom I made this cake for] is late.
S Puisto, jota kohti suuntasin, on kaunis. The park [which I was headed for] is beautiful.
S Seinä, jota vasten hän nojaa, on harmaa. The wall [which he’s leaning against] is grey.
P Vieraat, joita varten leivoin kakun, myöhästyivät. The guests [who I baked a cake for] were late.
P Puut, joita kohti ajan, ovat korkeita. The trees [which I’m driving towards] are tall.
P Puhdistan työkalut, joita ilman en voi tehdä työtäni. I clean the tools [without which I can’t do my job].

3.4. Jota used with mass nouns

Mass nouns are nouns which describe things you can’t count other than in e.g. grams or liters. When used as the object of a sentence, these nouns usually are inflected in the partitive case. In the table below, you can see how the object sentence “Juon kahvia.” is embedded into the sentence “Kahvi on liian kuumaa.” using the relative pronoun’s partitive form jota.

# Finnish English
S Kahvi, jota juon, on liian kuumaa. The coffee [which I’m drinking] is too hot.
S Juon kahvia, jota keitin itse. I drink the coffee [which I made myself].
S Lohi, jota lisäsin keittoon, oli tuoretta. The salmon [which I added to the soup] was fresh.
S Maito, jota juodaan kouluissa, on rasvatonta. The milk [which is drunk in school] is fat-free.
P The plural partitive is not used with singular mass nouns.

3.5. Jota used with irresultative phrases

When you’re currently in the process of doing an action to an object, you will inflect the object in the partitive case. For example, “Luen kirjaa” expresses that I’m currently in the process of reading it, while “Luin kirjan” expresses that I read the whole book. Check the table below to see how the sentences “Luen kirjaa” and “Kirja on pitkä” are combined using jota.

# Finnish English
S Kirja, jota luen, on pitkä. The book [which I’m reading] is long.
S Talossa, jota maalataan, on hissi. In the house [which is being painted] is an elevator.
S Asun talossa, jota remontoidaan parhaillaan. I live in a house [which is being renovated right now].
S Mökki, jota olen rakentamassa, on aika pieni. The cottage [which I’m building] is pretty small.
S Katso kaappia, jota Ari kokoaa! Look at the cupboard [which Ari is building]!

3.6. Joita used with unspecified amounts

In plural sentences, we can use joita to express that the verb is only referring to a partial amount of the plural it is referring to. The pronoun joita replaces a word inflected in the plural partitive.

For example, we could talk about the price of strawberries and add the information that I sometimes buy some of those. To express this, we combine the sentences “Mansikat ovat kalliita” and “Minä ostan mansikoita silloin tällöin” The resulting sentence is in the table below.

# Finnish English
P Omenat, joita ostan silloin tällöin, ovat kalliita. The apples [which I sometimes buy] are expensive.
P Täällä myydään niitä karkkeja, joita söin lapsena. They sell the candies here [which I used to eat as a child].
P Älä käytä sitä vaatteisiin, joita pestään usein. Don’t use it for clothes [which are washed often].
P Pähkinät, joita syön päivittäin, ovat terveellisiä. The nuts [which I eat every day] are healthy.

4. Basic form – Using joka in a sentence

4.1. Joka used for the subject of a sentences

The pronoun joka in its basic form can replace the singular subject of a sentence. For example, the first example in the table below is a combination of the sentences “Lapsi nauraa” and “Lapsi leikkii ulkona

# Finnish English
S Lapsi, joka leikkii ulkona, nauraa. The child [who is playing outside] laughs.
S Lapsella, joka leikkii ulkona, on pallo. The child [who is playing outside] has a ball.
S Tunnen myyjän, joka vastaa kysymyksiin. I know the salesperson [who answers the questions].
S Kynä, joka on pöydällä, ei toimi. The pen [which is on the table] doesn’t work.
S Parta, joka kasvaa, pitää ajaa pois. The beard [which is growing] needs to be shaved off.

4.2. Joka used for objects

In some sentences, total objects are inflected in the basic form rather than the genitive case. This is true for passive sentences and necessity sentences. While we say, for example, “Minä myyn kaapin” using the genitive case, we use the basic form of the object in the passive “Me myydään kaappi” and necessity sentences “Minun täytyy myydä kaappi“. In these sentences, we will also use the basic form joka rather than jonka.

# Finnish English
S Kaappi, joka myytiin, on kaunis. The cupboard [which was sold] is beautiful.
S Kuva, joka otettiin, on epäselvä. The picture [which was taken] is unclear.
S Minä otin kuvan, joka täytyi ottaa. I took the picture [which had to be taken].
S Näitkö kirjan, joka minun täytyy lukea? Did you see the book [which I must read]?
S Tuossa on poika, joka sinun pitäisi tuntea. There is the boy [whom you should know].

5. T-plural – Using jotka in a sentence

5.1. Jotka used for the plural subject of a sentences

When the subject of your sentence is inflected in the T-plural, you will use jotka to combine it to another sentence. The first sentences in the table below, for example, is a combination of the sentences “Tytöt saavat täydet pisteet” and “Tytöt tekevät läksynsä

# Finnish English
P Tytöt, jotka tekevät läksynsä, saavat täydet pisteet. Girls [who do their homework] get full marks.
P Pidän naisista, jotka pitävät itsestään huolta. I like women [who take care of themselves].
P Linnut, jotka pesivät täällä, pelkäävät ihmisiä. The birds [that nest here] are afraid of people.
P Tietokoneet, jotka hurisevat, häiritsevät minua. The computers [that are whirring] bother me.
P Pesin astiat, jotka olivat likaisia. I washed the plates [that were dirty].

5.2. Jotka used for plural objects

When a sentence has a plural object which refers to all the objects of such type, you will use the T-plural. The first sentence in the table below, for example, is a combination of the sentences “Talot ovat moderneja” and “Talot rakennettiin tänne” We’re referring to all the houses that were built here.

# Finnish English
P Talot, jotka tänne rakennettiin, ovat moderneja. The houses [which were built here] are modern.
P Kirjat, jotka palautin kirjastoon, olivat tylsiä. The books [that I returned to the library] were boring.
P En pitänyt kirjeistä, jotka avasin. I didn’t like the letters [which I opened].
P En tykkää niistä miehistä, jotka kutsuit juhliin. I don’t like those men [who you invited to the party].
P Luotan vain naisiin, jotka tunnen hyvin. I only trust women [who I know well].

6. Adessive – Singular: jolla / Plural: joilla

6.1. Jolla /joilla used to express being at a place

Some locations will require the adessive case‘s -lla case ending when you say you’re at that place. This is the case, for example, for piha, kioski and bussipysäkki. You will need jolla when embedding a sentence such as “Viihdyn pihalla” into the sentence “Haluan luoda pihan” in the table below.

# Finnish English
S Haluan luoda pihan, jolla viihdyn. I want to create a yard [where I enjoy myself].
S Rakennustyömaa, jolla työskentelen, on hirveä. The construction site [where I work] is terrible.
S Bussi pysähtyy bussipysäkille, jolla on ihmisiä The bus stops at the bus stop [where there are people].
S Tallenna tiedosto asemalle, jolla on tilaa. Save the document on the drive [where there is space].
P Leikkikentät, joilla on keinuja, ovat suosittuja. Playgrounds [where there are swings] are popular.
P Missä ovat kentät, joilla järjestetään kisat? Where are the fields [where the games will be held]?
P Pihat, joilla leikkii lapsia, pitää huoltaa. Yards [where children play] must be maintained.

6.2. Jolla / joilla used to express a location on top of something

When something is on top of something, you use the adessive case ending -lla. When you embed a sentence with this ending into another sentence, you will use jolla in the singular or joilla in the plural. This is the case, for example, for the sentence “Pöydällä on pino kirjoja” when it’s embedded into the sentence “Pöytä tuli Ikeasta” in the table below.

# Finnish English
S Pöytä, jolla on maljakko, tuli Ikeasta. The table [on which there’s a vase] came from Ikea.
S Matto, jolla vauva leikkii, on sininen. The carpet [on which the baby is playing] is blue.
S Ostin maton, jolla Ari leikki, Ikeasta. I bought the carpet [which Ari played on] from Ikea.
S Tykkäätkö sohvasta, jolla istumme? Do you like the couch [which we are sitting on]?
P Ostin kalusteet, joilla istutte, Ikeasta. I bought the furniture [which you’re sitting on] from Ikea.
P Pöydät, joilla on kukkia, on varattu. The tables [on which there are flowers] are reserved.
P Katso nuo parvekkeet, joilla on kukkia! Look at those balconies [on which there are flowers]!

6.3. Jolla / joilla used to express having something

The minulla on –sentence construction is used to say someone has something. When you replace the “minulla” part of said sentence, you will need to use jolla in the singular and joilla in the plural. Take a look, for example, at the combination of the sentences “Tuo mies on joulupukki” and  “Tuolla miehellä on pitkä parta” in the table below.

# Finnish English
S Tuo mies, jolla on pitkä parta, on joulupukki. That man [who has a long beard] is Santa Claus.
S Joulupukki on mies, jolla on pitkä parta. Santa is a man [who has a long beard].
S Poika, jolla oli flunssa, palasi jo kouluun. The boy [who had the flu] has already returned to school.
S Tunnen kokin, jolla on hyviä ruokaohjeita. I know a/the cook [who has good recipes].
S Rakastan tyttöä, jolla on tatuointi. I love a/the girl [who has a tattoo].
P Rakastan miehiä, joilla on hyvä itsetunto. I love men [who have good self-esteem].
P Tunnetko nuo pojat, joilla on niin hauskaa? Do you know those boys [who are having so much fun]?
P Miehet, joilla on parta, ovat komeita. Men [who have a beard] are handsome.

6.4. Jolla / joilla used for tools and transportation

We use the adessive case to express with what tool, machine or instrument something is done. The first example in the table below is a combination of the sentences “Auto on BMW” and “Ajan autolla töihin“.

# Finnish English
S Auto, jolla ajan töihin, on BMW. The car [which I drive to work with] is a BMW.
S Veitsi, jolla leikkaan pihvini, on terävä. The knife [which I cut my steak with] is sharp.
S Käytän ohjelmaa, jolla voin editoida kuvia. I use a program [which I can edit pictures with].
S En löydä avainta, jolla tämä ovi avataan. I can’t find the key [which this door is opened with].
S Nousen bussiin, jolla matkustan keskustaan. I get on the bus [which I travel to the city center by].
P Työkalut, joilla työskentelen, ovat pakissa. The tools [which I work with] are in the toolbox.
P Autot, joilla ajetaan päivittäin, pitää huoltaa. Cars [that are driven daily] must be serviced.
P Koneet, joilla työskentelen, ovat vanhoja. The machines [that I work with] are old.

6.5. Jolla / joilla used with rections

There are some verbs which need the adessive case for their rection. The verbs leikkiä, kerskailla, korvata and pelotella are examples of such verbs. When we embed the sentence “Maija leikki lelulla” into the sentence “Lelu oli hänen veljensä“, we use jolla, as you can see in the table below.

# Finnish English
S Lelu, jolla Maija leikki, oli minun. The toy [which Maija played with] was mine.
S Auto, jolla hän kerskaili meille, on ruma. The car [which he bragged about to us] is ugly.
S Syy, jolla hän puolusteli itseään, on tyhmä. The reason [with which he justified himself] is dumb.
S Pomo maksaa palkan, jolla tulen toimeen. The boss pays me a salary [with which I get by on].
S Tyttö, jolla hän korvasi sinut, nauraa. The girl [which he replaced you with] laughs.
P Kynät, joilla piirrän, ovat sinisiä. The pens [which I draw with] are blue.
P Parrut, joilla vahvistan kattoa, ovat vahvoja. The beams [which I strengthen the roof with] are strong.
P Lahjat, joilla yllätit minut, ovat ihania. The gifts [which you surprised me with] are lovely.
P Tarinat, joilla viihdytit minua, ovat valheita. The stories [which you entertained me with] are lies.
P Uskoin valheet, joilla yritit pelotella minua. I believed the lies [you tried to scare me with].

7. Ablative – Singular: jolta / Plural: joilta

7.1. Jolta / joilta used to express leaving a place

Places like kioski, asema and piha require the ablative case ending (-lta/ltä) when you express leaving the place. In the table below, you can see how the sentence “Lähdimme aamulla pihalta” has been embedded into the sentence “Piha on suuri” using jolta. When there’s a movement away from several of these places, you’ll use the plural joilta.

# Finnish English
S Piha, jolta lähdimme, on suuri. The yard [from which we left] is large.
S Parkkipaikka, jolta lähdin, on keskustassa. The parking [that I left] is in the city center.
S Odotan asemalla, jolta pitää lähteä kuudelta. I wait at the station [which I must leave at 6].
S Olen asemalla, jolta matkustan Ouluun. I’m at the station [where I will travel to Oulu from].
P Tunnen lentoasemat, joilta turistit tulivat. I know the airports [the tourists came from].
P Vierailimme paikoilla, joilta lähdimme. We visited the places [that we came from].
P Alueilla, joilta he muuttivat, ei ole työpaikkoja. In the areas [they moved from] there are no jobs.

7.2. Jolta / joilta used to express movement off of something

When something is removed from the top off of something, you normally use the ablative case‘s ending -lta/ltä. Embedding a sentence with such an element into another sentence means you’ll use jolta in the singular and joilta in the plural. For example, when we embed “Otin tämän kirjan pöydältä” into the sentence “Pöytä on nurkassa“, we get the first sentence in the table below.

# Finnish English
S Pöytä, jolta otin kirjan, on nurkassa. The table [from which I took the book] is in the corner.
S Matto, jolta nostin vauvan, on sininen. The carpet [from which I picked up the baby] is blue.
S Matossa, jolta nostit vauvan, on tahra. The carpet [from which you picked up the baby] has a stain.
S Sohva, jolta poistin tyynyt, on vanha. The couch [from which I removed the pillows] is old.
P Sängyt, joilta otin tyynyt, puhdistetaan. The beds [from which I took the pillows] will be cleaned.
P Siirrän tuolit, joilta vieraat nousivat. I move the chairs [which the guests got up from].
P Imuroin matot, joilta siirsin sohvat pois. I vacuum the carpets [which I moved the couches off of].

7.3. Jolta / joilta used to answer the question keneltä

When you receive (saada), buy (ostaa) or otherwise acquire something from a person, we will use the jolta form in compound sentences. Take for example, the combined result of the sentences “Ystävä on ihana” and “Sain lahjan ystävältä” in the table below.

# Finnish English
S Ystävä, jolta sain lahjan, on ihana. The friend [from whom I got the present] is wonderful.
S Nainen, jolta ostin autoni, oli epätoivoinen. The woman [from whom I bought my car] was desperate.
S Pidän naapurista, jolta pyysin apua. I like the neighbor [from whom I asked for help].
S Naisella, jolta poistettiin rinnat, oli syöpä. The woman [who had her breasts removed] had cancer.
P En tunne tyttöjä, joilta sain tämän. I don’t know the girls [that I got this from].
P Tunsin myyjät, joilta ostin autoni. I knew the salespersons [whom I bought my car from].
P Miehet, joilta pyysin apua, eivät ehdi. The men [whom I asked for help from] don’t have the time.

7.4. Jolta / joilta used with perceptional verbs

Perceptional verbs express what something feels, smells, looks, sounds or tastes like. They are related to the senses. These verbs can either be used with the -lta or the -lle form. For example, the perceptional sentence “Näytät julkkikselta.” and “Julkkis on TV:ssä.” have been combined in the table below using jolta. We could use jolle just as well.

# Finnish English
S Julkkis, jolta näytät, on TV:ssä. The celebrity [whom you look like] is on TV.
S En ole mies, jolta ehkä näytän. I’m not the man [that perhaps I look like].
S Hajuvesi, jolta tuoksun, on nimeltään Chanel No 5. The perfume [I smell of] is called Chanel No 5.
S Sara ei ole se avulias nainen, jolta vaikutti. Sara isn’t the helpful woman [she seemed to be].
P He eivät ole niitä miehiä, joilta he näyttävät. They aren’t the men [who they look like].

8. Allative – Singular: jolle / Plural: joille

8.1. Jolle / joille used to express going to a place

Places like kioski, asema and piha require the -lle case ending (the allative case) when you express going to the place. In the table below, for example, I’ve combined the sentences “Kävelen asemalle” and “Asema on lyhyen matkan päässä” using jolle.

# Finnish English
S Asema, jolle kävelen, on aika kaukana. The station [which I’m walking to] is pretty far.
S Lentoasema, jolle olen matkalla, on suuri. The airport [which I’m traveling to] is large.
S Piha, jolle menen tupakalle, on tyhjä. The yard [where I go to smoke] is empty.
S Katu, jolle taksi ajoi, oli yksisuuntainen. The street [which the taxi drove to] was one way.
P Kadut, joille pääsen valtatieltä, ovat uusia. The streets [which I reach via the highway] are new.
P Tunnen kaikki asemat, joille turistit matkustavat. I know all stations [which tourists travel to].
P Nämä ovat kioskit, joille viedään kirjeet. These are the kiosks [which letters are brought to].

8.2. Jolle / joille used to express movement to the top of something

When you step onto something, or put something on a surface, you will use the allative case (-lle). When embedding a sentence with the allative case into another sentence, you will use jolle in the singular and joille in the plural. For example, the first sentence of the table below consists of “Matto oli vielä märkä” with the sentence “Astuin matolle” inserted into it.

# Finnish English
S Matto, jolle astuin, oli vielä märkä. The carpet [which I stepped onto] was still wet.
S Pöytä, jolle jätin kirjat, on nurkassa. The table [which I left the books on] is in the corner.
S Myyn sohvan, jolle hän meni istumaan. I sell the couch [which he went to sit on].
S Ari osti pöydän, jolle laitan maljakon. Ari bought the table [which I put the vase on].
S Kiipeän katolle, jolle heitin pallon. I climb on the roof [onto which I threw the ball].
P Tikapuut, joille kiipesin, hajosivat. The ladder [that I climbed onto] broke down.
P Hyllyt, joille laitan tavarani, ovat uusia. The shelves [onto which I put my stuff] are new.
P Löysin tuolit, joille vieraat voivat istuutua. I found the chairs [that guests can sit down on].

8.3. Jolle / joille used to answer the question kenelle

Certain verbs require the allative case‘s marker -lle to express to whom something is told, given, sold or given. These sentences answer to the question word kenelle. Take a look at how the sentence “Myin tuotteen asiakkaalle” has been embedded into the sentence “Asiakas on tyytyväinen” in the table below.

# Finnish English
S Asiakas, jolle myin tuotteen, on tyytyväinen. The customer [whom I sold the product to] is satisfied.
S Nainen, jolle soitin, ei vastannut puhelimeen. The woman [who I called to] didn’t answer the phone.
S Rakastan miestä, jolle annoin kalliin lahjan. I love the man [whom I gave the expensive gift to].
S Luotan ystävään, jolle kerron aina kaiken. I trust the friend [whom I always tell everything to].
P Luotan ystäviin, joille kerron aina kaiken. I trust the friends [who I always tell everything to].
P Ystävät, joille soitin, eivät osaa auttaa minua. The friends [who I called] can’t help me.
P Hymyilen ihmisille, joille annan lahjoja. I smile at the people [who I give gifts to].

8.4. Jolle / joille used with rections

Certain verbs will usually be used in combination with the allative case (the mille-form). This is the case, for example, for tallentaa and nauraa. In the table below, the sentence “Pomo maksaa palkkani tilille” has been embedded into the sentence “Käytän tiliä“.

# Finnish English
S Käytän tiliä, jolle pomo maksaa palkkani. I use the account [which my boss pays my wages into].
S Parfyymi, jolle hän tuoksuu, on kallis. The perfume [which he smells of] is expensive.
S Kävelen polkua, jolle asetit esteitä. I walk the path [onto which you placed obstacles].
S Levy, jolle tallennetaan elokuvia, on täynnä. The disc [which the movies are saved on] is full.
P Levyt, joille elokuvat tallennetaan, ovat täynnä. The discs [which movies are saved on] are full.
P Keskity asioihin, joille voit tehdä jotakin. Focus on the things [that you can do something about].
P Vihaan asioita, joille ennen nauroin. I hate the things [which I previously laughed at].

9. Inessive – Singular: jossa / Plural: joissa

9.1. Jossa used to express being inside

The most basic way of using the missä-form (the inessive case) is to express that something is inside of something. In the table below, the sentence “Kävelen metsässä” has been embedded in the sentence “Metsä on kaunis“.

# Finnish English
S Metsä, jossa kävelen, on kaunis. The forest [in which I’m walking] is beautiful.
S Talosta, jossa asun, tuli nainen. From the building [in which I live] came a woman.
S Asun talossa, jossa tapahtui murha. I live in a building [in which a murder happened].
S Kaappi, jossa on astiat, pitää maalata. The cupboard [which the dishes are in] must be painted.
S Rakastan museota, jossa turistit käyvät. I love the museum [which the tourists visit].
P Rakastan museoita, joissa on nykytaidetta. I love museums [where there is modern art].
P Kaupat, joissa käyn ostoksilla, ovat halpoja. The stores [where I do my shopping] are cheap.
P Avaan kaapit, joissa säilytän vaatteitani. I open the cupboards [where I store my clothes].
P Näetkö ne talot, joissa asuu opiskelijoita? Do you see the houses [where students live]?

9.2. Jossa / joissa used to express close attachment

The inessive case marker -ssa/ssä is also used when something is attached to something else. A ring will be in a finger, a pen will be in your hand and tires will be in your car.

In English, jossa and joissa will usually be translated as “which has”.

# Finnish English
S Piirsin käden, jossa on kynä. I drew a hand [in which there is a pen].
S Sormi, jossa on sormus, on turvonnut. The finger [which has the ring] is swollen.
S Kehystän kuvan, jossa on koko perhe. I will frame the picture [which has the whole family in it].
S Osta pöytä, jossa on säädettävä korkeus. Buy a table [which has an adjustable height].
S Haluan ostaa pöydän, jossa ei ole naarmuja. I want to buy a table [which doesn’t have scratches].
S Auto, jossa on talvirenkaat, pitää huoltaa. The car [which has winter tires] needs to be serviced.
P Autot, joissa on talvirenkaat, pitää huoltaa. The cars [which have winter tires] need to be serviced.
P Minulla on 3 sormea, joissa on sormuksia. I have 3 fingers [which have rings on them].
P Hävitin kaikki kuvat, joissa on isäni. I destroyed all the pictures [which had my dad in them].
P Kuvat, joissa on isäni, hävitettiin. The photos [which have my dad in them] were destroyed.

9.3. Jossa used with rections

There is a small number of verbs with a missä-rection. These are verbs that require the word connected to them to appear in the missä-form (the inessive case). We could consider asua to be such a verb, but this section is reserved for verbs where the word connected to them isn’t a location. These are more abstract ways to use the missä-form.

# Finnish English
S Kadun autokauppaa, jossa minua petkutettiin. I regret the car purchase [which I was cheated in].
S En pidä työpaikasta, jossa syrjitään naisia. I don’t like the job [which discriminates against women].
S Tentti, jossa minua onnisti, oli helppo. The exam [which I was successful in] was easy.
S Peli, jossa hävisin, ei kestänyt kauan. The game [in which I lost] didn’t last long.
P Pelit, joissa hävisin, näytettiin televisiossa. The games [in which I lost] were shown on television.
P Tässä on lista asioista, joissa erehdyin. Here’s a list of the things [I was wrong about].
P Tarkistan tentit, joissa epäonnistuin. I check the exams [in which I failed].

10. Elative – Singular: josta / Plural: joista

10.1. Josta / joista used to express movement away from

The most basic use of the mistä-form (the elative case) is to express a movement away from somewhere. In the table below, I’ve used the verbs muuttaa, tulla and paeta to make sentences with josta in the singular and joista in the plural. For example, the sentence “Muutin pois kaupungista” has been combined with the question “Tunnetko kaupungin?” as you can see in the table below.

# Finnish English
S Tunnetko kaupungin, josta muutin pois? Do you know the city [which I moved away from]?
S Kaupungissa, josta tulen, on tuomiokirkko. In the city [which I come from] there’s a cathedral.
S Laatikko, josta otin sakset, on pieni. The box [from which I took the scissors] is small.
S Kylä, josta muutin kaupunkiin, on pieni. The village [from which I moved to the city] is small.
S Kävin vankilassa, josta Ari pakeni. I visited the prison [from which Ari escaped] .
P Tyhjennän laatikot, joista otan vaatteita. I empty the boxes [from which I take clothes].
P Menkää kaikki takaisin maihin, joista tulitte! Go all back to the countries [which you all came from]!
P Nämä ovat kaupungit, joista tulee turisteja. These are the cities [tourists come from].

10.2. Josta / joista used to express something deattaching

The elative case marker -sta/stä is also used when removing something which is attached to something else. “Otan sormuksen sormesta“, “Lasi putosi kädestä” and “Maali lähtee autosta” are some good examples of this.

# Finnish English
S Käsi, josta lasi putosi, on turta. The hand [from which the glass fell] is numb.
S Sormeen, josta poistin sormuksen, sattuu. The finger [from which I removed the ring] hurts.
S Auto, josta nousimme, on veljeni. The car [which we got out of] is my brother’s.
S Pöytä, josta jalka irtosi, pitää korjata. The table [which the leg came off of] needs to be fixed.
P Katso noita autoja, joista renkaat poistettiin! Look at those cars [from which the tires were removed]!
P Maalaan pinnat, joista maali on lähtenyt. I paint the surfaces [which the paint has come off of].
P Käytä omenoita, joista poistin siemenkodat! Use the apples [from which I removed the cores]!

10.3. Josta / joista used with rections

Some verbs require the noun connected to it to be inflected in the mistä-form. This is referred to with the term verb rection. Common verbs that require the mistä-form are tykätä, kertoa and riidellä. For example, in the table below, I’ve combined the sentences “Mies osti auton” and “Kerron eilen miehestä“.

# Finnish English
S Mies, josta kerroin eilen, osti auton. The man [who I talked about yesterday] bought a car.
S Miehellä, josta pidän, on pitkä parta. The man [whom I like] has a long beard.
S Talo, josta tykkään, on metsän keskellä. The house [which I like] is in the middle of the forest.
S Haluan muuttaa taloon, josta tykkään. I want to move to the house [which I like].
S Poika, josta olen ylpeä, auttaa muita. The boy [who I’m proud of] helps others.
P Anni on yksi niistä naisista, joista pidän. Anni is one of the women [who I like].
P Miehet, joista olen ylpeä, ovat veljiäni. The men [who I’m proud of] are my brothers.
P Aiheet, joista riitelemme, ovat tärkeitä. The topics [which we argue about] are important.

11. Illative – Singular: johon / Plural: joihin

11.1. Johon / joihin used to express movement towards

The illative case of joka is johon in the singular and joihin in the plural. The most basic use of the illative case is to express a movement towards something. Check the table below to see how the sentence “Matkustan kaupunkiin” has been embedded into the sentence “Kaupunki on vanha“.

# Finnish English
S Kaupunki, johon matkustan, on vanha. The city [to which I’m traveling] is old.
S Kaupungissa, johon matkustin, on linna. In the city [which I traveled to] there is a castle.
S Asunto, johon muutan, on tilava. The apartment [that I’m moving to] is spacious.
S Pussi, johon piilotin lahjan, on alakerrassa. The bag [in which I hid the present] is downstairs.
P Hän on käynyt maissa, joihin matkustan. He’s been to the countries [which I will travel to].
P Kaapit, joihin ripustan vaatteet, ovat auki. The cupboards [which I hang the clothes in] are open.
P Kuulitko kodeista, joihin varas murtautui? Did you hear about the homes [the thief broke into]?

11.2. Johon / joihin rections

Some verbs’ rection requires the mihin-form (the illative case). This is the case, for example, for the verbs tutustua, luottaa and kyllästyä. In the table below, the sentence “Tutustuin tyttöön koulussa” has been embedded into the sentence “Tyttö on fiksu“, using johon because tutustua requires the mihin-form.

# Finnish English
S Tyttö, johon tutustuin koulussa, on fiksu. The girl [whom I met at school] is smart.
S Ihastuin tyttöön, johon tutustuin koulussa. I fell in love with the girl [whom I met at school].
S Kerro kaikki ystävälle, johon luotat! Tell everything to a friend [whom you trust]!
S Tauti, johon hän kuoli, on hyvin tarttuva. The disease [which he died of] is very contagious.
P Ihmiset, joihin luotin, valehtelivat minulle. The people [who I trusted] lied to me.
P Kysymykset, joihin vastasin, olivat vaikeita. The questions [which I answered] were difficult.
P Hän katsoo TV-ohjelmia, joihin olen kyllästynyt. He watches TV-shows [which I’ve gotten bored of].

12. Translative – Singular: joksi / Plural: joiksi in a sentence

12.1. Joksi / joiksi used with rections

There are some verbs which require the word that’s connected to them to appear in the translative case: translative verb rections. While there are fairly many verbs like this, thinking up short examples to put in these tables has proven difficult! The first example in the table is a combination of the sentences “Prinssi muuttui sammakoksi” and “Suutelin sammakkoa“.

# Finnish English
S Suutelin sammakkoa, joksi prinssi muuttui. I kissed the frog [which the prince turned into].
S Ihailen jääpilaria, joksi vesi jäätyi. I admire the ice pillar [which the water froze into].
S Oletko se ihminen, joksi itseäsi väität? Are you the person [who you claim to be]?
S En ole se mies, joksi minua luulet. I’m not the man [which you think I am].
S En ole huijari, joksi he minua kuvailevat. I’m not the fraud [which they describe me as].
S Toimin puheenjohtajana, joksi minut valittiin. I serve as the chairman [which I was elected to be].
P Emme ole hirviöitä, joiksi luulet meitä. We’re not the monsters [which you think we are].

13. Essive – Singular: jona / Plural: joina

13.1. Jona / joina used with rections

There is a number of verbs which require the word attached to them to be inflected in the essive case. This includes, for example, the verbs toimia, pysyä and työskennellä. My example sentences are quite awkward here. It’s been a struggle coming up with short examples to fit these tables!

# Finnish English
S Talosta tuli vankila, jona se toimii yhä. The house became a prison [which it still functions as].
S Valhe, jona pidin väitettä, olikin totta. The lie [which I considered the claim to be] was true.
S En ole se mies, jona minua pidät. I’m not the man [who you take me for].
S Minusta tuli kokki, jona toimin vuoden. I became the cook [which I worked as for a year].
P Olette juuri sellaisia, joina pidin teitä. You’re exactly the kind [which I took you for].
P Ette ole lapsia, joina teitä kohdellaan. You’re not the children [which you’re being treated like].
P Näitkö maljakot, joina käytän purkkeja? Did you see the vases [which I use jars for]?

13.2. Jona / joina used with expressions of time

By far the most common are situations where jona and joina refer to a time span (ie. vuotena, päivänä, aikana, vuosina, iltoina).

# Finnish English
S Mikä on vuosi, jona olet syntynyt? What’s the year [in which you were born]?
S Muistan vuoden, jona korona alkoi. I remember the year [when COVID began].
S Päivä, jona tulin Suomeen, oli ihana. The day [I came to Finland] was lovely.
P Päivät, joina työskentelin, en nukkunut. The days [I worked] I didn’t sleep.
S Elämme aikoja, joina rajat häviävät We live in times [when borders disappear].
P Muistatko illat, joina uimme? Do you remember the evenings [when we swam]?

6 Comments

  • This one is AMAZING. This has been one of the things that’s perplexed me the most sometimes, especially when trying to follow Duolingo where they just switch between all of these without really explaining why or what the logic is between them. Thank you for this! Once again this website is a godsend.

    • Thanks! 🙂

  • If joka always refers to the word directly before it, is it possible to use it with words with attached postpositions? For example:

    I was talking with the person that you saw yesterday.

    How would it be in Finnish? One could try:

    Puhuin ihmisen kanssa, jonka näit eilen.

    But is it correct? There is a postposition before jonka so does it still work? Or should it be expressed in some different way?

    • That’s a great question! Guidelines will tell you to rephrase sentences like this, but postpositions ARE placed in between in many situations anyway.

      One trick that allows us to add words between joka and the word it refers to, is adding “se” or “sellainen” in front of it. The speaker will use se to refer to someone the listener knows, and sellainen to refer to someone the listening doesn’t know. For your example, that would make the sentence:

      • Puhuin sen ihmisen kanssa, jonka näit eilen.” = I spoke with the person you saw yesterday.
      • “Puhun sellaisen ihmisen kanssa, joka tietää kaiken elektroniikasta.” = I’m talking with such a person who knows everything about electronics.
      • Is it used only in spoken language or does it work in written language too?

        As you say, that trick allows us to add words between joka and the word it refers to, so does it work also when the inserted word is something different than a postposition? For instance, when there is a genitive construction and one wants to refer to its first word? Like here:

        Tämä on sen miehen koira, joka asuu tässä talossa.

        Is it clear here that joka refers to miehen, not to koira?

        • Se and sellainen work in written language as well.

          Your sentence doesn’t work, no. If there’s a noun in front of joka, that noun is the one joka will refer to. We’d have to rephrase your sentence to “Tämä koira on sen miehen, joka asuu tässä talossa.” Of course both the man and the dog live in the same house so nobody will misunderstand this specific example, but in other situations confusion can occur.

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