Finnish for busy people

-Kin and -kaan/kään Liitepartikkeli Clitic – Minäkin Minäkään

Chances are that – if you’ve studied Finnish for a while – you’re familiar with the most basic usages of the clitics -kin and -kaan/kään: they means “also”, don’t they? However, these clitics are more complicated than that. Let’s take a look at the different ways to use –kin and –kaan/kään!

Please also note that the further you scroll down on this page, the harder and more advanced this topic becomes. As a beginner, you will get pretty far with just section 1. At level B1.1, sections 1 and 2 are plenty.

Table of Contents
  1. When adding –kin or -kaan to a noun, pronoun or adverb
    1. Also, as well, neither: Niin minäkin – En minäkään
    2. Minäkin rakastan sinua vs. Minä rakastan sinuakin
    3. Inflection: talossakin, taloonkin, talojakin
  2. When adding –kin or –kaan to a verb
    1. Expectation or non-expectation
    2. According to our expectations
    3. Contrary to our expectations
    4. When added to an imperative
    5. In combination with a question word
    6. Sentences with a vaikka -subordinate clause
  3. Cases with –kin in negative sentences and –kaan in positive sentences
    1. Rhetorical questions or exclamations
    2. Politely asking for familiar information
    3. “Even” – Jopa, edes
  4. Small recap

IMPORTANT: What word is –kin or –kaan added to?

When using the suffixes –kin and -kaan/kään (vowel harmony), you need to pay attention to what type of word it is attached to. The meaning of the suffix can be found through analyzing the wordtype.

1. When adding –kin or –kaan to a noun, pronoun or adverb

1.1. Also, as well, too, neither: Niin minäkin – En minäkään

When –kin is added to something other than a verb, it will generally mean “also, too, as well”. This suffix will appear in positive sentences, and can be replaced by the word myös.

In a negative sentence in the same situation, -kaan/kään will mean “either, neither”. Instead of the –kaan suffix, we could use the word myöskään.

Finnish English
Minäkin haluan suklaata. I also want chocolate.
Ehdimme huomennakin. We’ll have time tomorrow as well.
Meidänkin talossa oli hiiri. There was a mouse in our house as well.
Kissakin oli nukkumassa. The cat, too, was sleeping
Minäkään ei halua suklaata. I don’t want chocolate either.
Emme ehdi huomennakaan. We won’t have time tomorrow either.
Meidänkään talossa ei huudeta. One doesn’t shout in our house either.

1.2. Be careful! Minäkin rakastan sinua vs. Minä rakastan sinuakin

Adding the suffix –kin to the wrong word can create sentences that don’t exactly mean what you were intending. The sentence “Jussikin tulee huomenna” expresses that Jussi is one of the people who will be coming tomorrow. In contract, “Jussi tulee huomennakin” expresses that Jussi came today and he will come tomorrow as well.

Also interesting, there’s the lovely phrase “I love you too”. In Finnish, you can say “Minä rakastan sinua myös“, but it’s much more common to say “Minäkin rakastan sinua.” In this phrase, the –kin is added to the personal pronoun minä to express that I, too, love you.

This is different from the expression “Minä rakastan sinuakin.” The location of the suffix in this sentence expresses that I love you, too, as well as someone else.

Finnish English
Jussikin tulee huomenna. Jussi will also come tomorrow.
Jussi tulee huomennakin. Jussi will come tomorrow as well.
Minäkin rakastan sinua. I love you too. = I also love you, it’s mutual.
Minä rakastan sinuakin. I love you, too. = I love multiple people.

1.3. Inflection: talossakin, taloonkin, talojakin

The suffixes –kin and -kaan/kään can be added to all inflected forms.

Finnish English
Autokin oli uusi. The car was new too.
Autossakin oli ihmisiä. There were people in the car as well.
Näin siellä autonkin. I saw a car there as well.
Näin siellä autojakin. I saw cars there as well.
Voit mennä autollakin. You can go by car as well.
Jussikin oli siellä. Jussi was there as well.
Matti tuntee Jussinkin. Matti knows Jussi as well.
Jussi on käynyt Oulussakin. Jussi has visited Oulu as well.

2. When Adding -kin or -kaan to a Verb

When we add -kin and -kaan to verbs, we’re entering advanced Finnish territory and dealing with a multitude of meanings. Below, I’m advancing from the most typical meaning to more specialized small ways of using it.

2.1. Expectation or Non-Expectation

Adding the clitics -kin and -kaan/kään to verbs is trickier, but important for you to get acquainted with. When we add –kin to a verb, we’re generally expressing that the event is either according to what we were expecting OR the opposite of what we were expecting. Read that again: it can mean both that we expected it OR that we didn’t expect it.

This can be confusing because a simple sentence like “Hän tulikin” can express both a) that we expected him to come and b) that we didn’t expect him to come. The same is true for -kaan/kään as well: “Hän ei tullutkaan” can express that a) we expected he wouldn’t come and b) that we didn’t expect he wouldn’t come.

Which one of the two is meant will only become clear in the context.

2.2. Expressing that something happened according to our expectations

Things will rarely be presented as clearly as I am presenting them below. However, once you know about this peculiarity and have some basic Finnish skills, things will fall into place and you won’t notice any disambiguity. Sometimes, you can insert “as well” or “either” in these sentences as well, which may make them easier to understand. Rather than looking for translations, I encourage you to rather focus on the idea that our expectations have been met.

  • Liisa auttaa aina ja niin hän auttoikin tänään.
    Liisa is always helping and so she was helping today as well.
  • Matti tulikin tänään taas myöhässä.
    Matti came late again today (as I expected).
  • Hän ei etsinyt töitä eikä hän niitä saanutkaan.
    He didn’t look for a job and he didn’t get any either (as expected).
  • Emme odottaneet muutosta, eikä sitä tullutkaan.
    We weren’t expecting a change, and it didn’t happen either.

2.3. Expressing that something happened contrary to our expectations

When something happens contrary to what we were expecting, we can also use the suffixes –kin and –kaan/kään. In these sentences, you generally have the word mutta “but”. In English, you can often add “after all”.

  • Luulin, että hän hankkisi koiran, mutta hän hankkikin kissan!
    I thought he would get a dog, but he [got a cat instead]!
  • En odottanut Jussia tänään, mutta hän tulikin!
    I wasn’t expecting Jussi today, but [he did come]!
  • He olivat maahanmuuttajia, mutta he puhuivatkin sujuvasti suomea.
    They were immigrants, but [they did speak] Finnish fluently.
  • Odotin Jussia pitkään, mutta hän ei tullutkaan.
    I waited for Jussi for a long time, but [he didn’t come after all].
  • Jussi lupasi minulle työpaikan, mutta en saanutkaan sitä.
    Jussi promised me a job but [I didn’t get it after all].
  • Pelkäsin Jussia, mutta hän ei tehnytkään minulle mitään pahaa.
    I was afraid of Jussi, but [he didn’t do anything bad to me].

2.4. When Added to an Imperative

When added to an imperative form of a verb (mene! syö! tulkaa!) the -kin and –kaan suffixes have yet another different meaning. They can make an order more firm.

  • Muistakin soittaa kun saavut!
    [Make sure you remember] to call when you’ve arrived!
  • Uskallakin lyödä häntä!
    [See if you dare] hitting her! Don’t you dare!
  • Älä yritäkään väittää vastaan!
    [Don’t you even dare] to disagree!
  • Älä luulekaan, että tämä on tässä!
    [Don’t even think] that this is over!

2.5. In combination with a question word

The suffix -kin can also be used to convey the meaning of “whatever”, “whenever” etc. when used in a statement that contains a question word.

  • Mitä teetkin, älä luovuta!
    Whatever you do, don’t give up!
  • Tiedä ettet voi paeta itseltäsi, mihin menetkin.
    Know that you can’t escape yourself, wherever you go.
  • Tule esiin, kuka oletkin!
    Come out,whoever you are!

2.6. Sentences with a vaikka -subordinate clause

In sentences which have a subordinate clause starting with vaikka “even though”, you will also find -kin and -kaan. This is a pretty advanced way of using them, and they can be left out sometimes.

When you start a sentence with the vaikka-sentence, you can generally omit the –kin without influencing the meaning. When your vaikka-sentence is at the end, it’s often grammatically necessary to include it.

  • Vaikka olinkin kuullut asiasta, yllätyin silti.
    Even though I had heard of it, I was still surprised.
  • Vaikka pyysinkin anteeksi, riita kesti viikkoja.
    Even though I apologised, the argument took weeks.
  • Lähetimme kutsut, vaikka Jussi ei lukisikaan niitä.
    We sent the invitations even though Jussi wouldn’t read them.
  • Jussi ei tullut, vaikka saikin useita kutsuja.
    Jussi didn’t come even though he got several invitations.
  • Rakastan häntä, vaikka hän ei olekaan millään tavalla täydellinen.
    I love him, even though he isn’t perfect in any way.

3. Cases with -kin in negative sentences or –kaan in positive sentences

In all the cases above, we have used –kin in affirmative sentences and -kaan in negative sentences. However, in this section we are using -kin in negative sentences, and -kaan in positive sentences! This is the opposite of how they are generally used.

3.1. Rhetorical questions or exclamations

We add –kin and –kaan to the verb of a rhetorical question or an exclamation. This is one case where -kaan and -pa can have the same meaning: Miten söpö vauva onkaan! and Onpa vauva söpö! mean (more or less) the same thing.

  • Eikö tämä olekin kaunis tarina?
    This is such a beautiful story, isn’t it?
  • Eikö hän näytäkin kauniilta.
    She looks beautiful, doesn’t she.
  • Miten upea Suomi onkaan!
    How wonderful is Finland!
  • Miltä tulevaisuutemme näyttääkään.
    I wonder what our future will look like.

3.2. Politely asking for familiar information

We can use –kaan/kään rhetorically to wonder about something we should know already. In a conversation, we can also use it to request information which we should know already.

It can be used in the meaning of “muistatko sinä?” It’s a polite way to request to hear information that has already been said. Using –kaan will make your question less direct, which will reduce the risk of annoying the other person by request information which we should already possess.

  • Miten se nyt sanotaankaan englanniksi?
    How do you say that in English again? (“I can’t remember”)
  • “Pojasta polvi paranee”, vai kuinka se nyt olikaan?
    [Saying: Pojasta polvi paranee] or how was it now? (“do I remember the saying correctly?”)
  • Ihmisen pitää… pitää… miten se sanotaankaan?
    A person should… should… How do you say that again?
  • Mihin aikaan kokous alkaakaan?
    At what time will the meeting begin now? (“I can’t remember”)

3.3. “Even” – Jopa, edes

We can also use –kaan/kään as a way to say “even” (in Finnish we could use jopa or edes). This is another situation where we use –kaan in affirmative sentences.

  • Jos tulee pienintäkään epäselvyyttä, ota yhteyttä minuun!
    If there’s even the slightest ambiguity, please contact me!
  • Sain enemmän kuin uskalsin toivoakaan.
    I got more than I even dared hoping for.
  • Jussi ei sanonut sanaakaan.
    Jussi didn’t say even a word.
  • Älä liiku senttiäkään!
    Don’t move even a centimeter!

We can also use -kin in some of these situations, but I haven’t really figured out the pattern yet.

  • Sano vielä sanakin, niin suutun!
    Say even one word and I’ll get mad!
  • Lapsikin ymmärtää tämän.
    Even a child understands this.
  • Kissakaan ei huomannut mitään.
    Even the cat didn’t notice anything.

4. Small recap

The most important things to remember about the clitics -kin and -kaan/kään are:

  • It’s important to pay attention to what type of word the clitics are attached to (eg. noun, imperative).
  • The meaning of the sentence changes when you add the clitics to a different word.
  • When added to a noun, these clitics most often mean “also” or “as well” (“neither” in the negative).
  • When added to a verb, these clitics most often express that something happens either 1) according to expectations or 2) contrary to expectations.
  • Normally –kin appears in affirmative sentences and –kaan/kään in negative sentences. There are, however, also fairly many exceptions to this rule.

Read more elsewhere

That’s all for now! I don’t think this article contains every single way to use the clitics -kin and -kaan/kään, but it contains all the main situations you use them in.

5 1 vote
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

2 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Guus Bonnema

Thank you very much for this article. It is enlightening! I just saw a combination of kin with mikä: “mikäkin se on?” or “I wonder, what it is?” according to the translation provided.

Inge (admin)

Yep! Thank you, glad you like the article 🙂