Finnish for busy people

How to Say Yes and No in Finnish – Kyllä ja Ei

The simple answer to “how to say yes and no in Finnish” is: kyllä for yes, and ei for no. However, if you were to look at this topic a little bit more in-depth, you’d notice that it’s not really that simple.

If you have just started your Finnish studies, you could just take away from this article that yes is kyllä and no is ei. You can come back to this article when you have advanced a little bit more.

Table of Contents
  1. How to Say Yes in Finnish
    1. Kyllä – Joo – Juu
    2. Niin
    3. Niin on
    4. Answering affirmatively without saying “yes”
  2. How to Say No in Finnish
    1.  Ei needs to be conjugated!
    2. Answering a question with ei
  3. Some Short Titbits of Information
    1. Using kyllä to stress something
    2. Phrases with yes and no

1. How to Say Yes in Finnish

1.1. Kyllä – Joo – Juu

There are several words in Finnish that mean “yes”. The official word for yes is kyllä. In addition, you can say joo or juu in spoken language. You can reply to a question simply with “yes”, or make a longer reply.

Answer Tuletko huomenna? Translation
Short Kyllä. Yes.
Spoken Joo. / Juu. Yeah. / Yep.
Long Kyllä, (minä) tulen. Yes, I’m coming

1.2. Niin

In some contexts, the word niin can also mean yes. However, niin can also have many other meanings. We won’t look into those any deeper in this article. Niin will mean “yes” when someone is looking for confirmation through their question or statement. In these situations, you can also reply with joo, or make the statement with niin longer by repeating the verb of the question (e.g. Tulitko bussilla tänne? – Niin tulin.)

Finnish Translation
Puhelinnumerosi on 045-2154989. – Niin. Your phone number is 045-2154989. – Yeah.
Olihan se huomenna? – Niin. It was tomorrow, wasn’t it? – Yeah.
Tulitko bussilla tänne? – Niin. Did you come here by bus? – Yeah.

1.3. Niin on

The phrase niin on will also be useful when someone says something which you agree with. This only works when the statement you’re responding to has the verb “olla” in it as well (see below). In some cases, you can do the same with other verbs, too, but it’s less common.

Finnish Translation
Onpas tänään kaunis päivä. – Niin on! Wow, today is a beautiful day. – Yeah!
Tämä kakku on vähän epäonnistunut. – Niin on. This cake is a little bit of a fail. – Yeah, it is.
Eilen oli hirveä myrsky. – Niin oli. There was a terrible storm yesterday. – Yeah.
Huomenna pitää käydä kaupassa – Niin pitää. We have to go to the store tomorrow – Yes, we do.

1.4. Answering Affirmatively Without Saying “Yes”

It’s very common for Finns to reply to a question by repeating the verb in question, and leaving the kyllä or joo out completely. This is not impolite, but it is straight to the point. You will need to conjugate the verb into the right person (e.g. tulen, tulet, tulee). The personal pronoun (e.g. minä) will be left out in the answer (not “minä haluan” but rather plainly “haluan“).

Question Straight Longer
Haluatko lisää kahvia? Haluan. Joo kiitos.
Soitatko minulle illalla? Soitan. Soitan, joo.
Tuleeko Matti tänään? Tulee. Joo, hän tulee.
Kävikö koira jo pissalla? Kävi. Kyllä, hän kävi.

That was the first part of our article on how to say yes and no in Finnish! Next, let’s look at “no”!

2. How to Say No in Finnish

The word for “no” in Finnish is ei. However, it’s a little more complicated than just that.

2.1. Ei needs to be conjugated!

The negative verb ei has to be conjugated into each personal form (e.g. minä en, sinä et).

Affirmative Negative Affirmative Negative
Minä istun. Minä en istu. Minä haluan. Minä en halua.
Sinä istut. Sinä et istu. Sinä haluat. Sinä et halua.
Hän istuu. Hän ei istu. Hän haluaa. Hän ei halua.
Me istumme. Me emme istu. Me haluamme. Me emme halua.
Te istutte. Te ette istu. Te haluatte. Te ette halua.
He istuvat. He eivät istu. He haluavat. He eivät halua.

2.2. Answering a question with ei

When answering a question negatively, there are several ways to say “no” that are in common usage.

  • The long answer: where you say both ei and the conjugated form of the negative verb (e.g. “Ei, en halua.”).
  • The shorter answer: where you leave the ei at the start out, but keep the conjugated form of the negative verb with the main verb included (e.g. “En halua.”).
  • The shortest answer: where you answer the question with only the negative verb (e.g. “En.”). This is most commonly used with the singular forms.
Question Long Answer Shorter answer Shortest answer
Osaatko uida? Ei, en osaa uida. En osaa. En.
Saanko tulla? Ei, et saa tulla. Et saa. Et.
Tuleeko Tanja? Ei, Tanja ei tule. Ei tule. Ei.
Haluatteko kahvia? Ei, emme halua. Emme halua. Ei. / Emme.
Saammeko auttaa? Ei, ette saa. Ette saa. Ei. / Ette.
Laulavatko he? Ei, he eivät laula. Eivät laula. Ei. / Eivät.


3. Some Short Titbits of Information

3.1. Using kyllä to stress something

You can use kyllä in both positive and negative sentences (yes, in negative sentences too!) as a way to stress what you’re saying.

Finnish Translation
Joukkue pelasi kyllä hyvin tänään. The team did play well today.
Minä luulen kyllä, että joulupukilla on paljon hommia. I do think that Santa has a lot to do.
Sinun täytyy kyllä tulla huomenna. You do have to come tomorrow.
Sinä selviät kyllä avioerosta. You really will survive the divorce.
Kyllä me pystymme siihen. We really can do this.
Olen kyllä eri mieltä. I really am of a different opinion.
En kyllä tiedä mitä ajatella tästä. I really don’t know what to think of this.
Hän ei kyllä tiedä, missä asun nykyään. He doesn’t know where I live these days.

3.2. Phrases with yes and no

These are just random phrases with yes and no.

Finnish Translation
Juu juu, puhu sinä vain. Yeah yeah, whatever you say.
Joopa joo. / Just joo. / No just joo. Yeah right. (sarcastic)
No joo. Yeah, I guess you’re right.
Kyllä kai. Yeah, I guess.
Kylläpäs täällä on puhdasta! Wow, it’s clean in here!
Ikävä kyllä se ei ole mahdollista. Sadly, that’s not possible.
Jaa mää vai? Huh, are you talking to me?
Tahdon. I will. (“Yes” when getting married)
Eihän siitä tule mitään. You do know that nothing will come out of this.
Eipä oikeastaan. Not really.
Enpä nyt niin sanoisi. I wouldn’t say that exactly.
En kylläkään ole varma, mutta eiköhän…? I’m not really sure, but isn’t…?


No niin! Ymmärrätkö vai etkö? Vastaa “kyllä” tai “ei” alempana!
Do you now know how to say yes and no in Finnish?

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Hi, that sketch of Ismo is hilarious, thanks.

There’s a similar one: Learn french in one word.



Inge (admin)


Daniel Kelly

Huomenna pitää käydä kaupassa – Niin pitää. is missing the ‘meidan’

Daniel Kelly

‘Soitatko illalle minulle?’ Probably could be illalla instead of illalle

Inge (admin)

Illalla, yes! Thank you! The “meidän pitää” sentence can be understood as meaning “we” without the “meidän” 🙂

Daniel Kelly

so i think i deserve a point 🙂

Inge (admin)

You got one, yeah 🙂 That makes two in total, you got one in Octover last year, I see.