The Ablative Case (Miltä) – Finnish Grammar

The ablative case (miltä) is closely related to the adessive case (millä). It’s wise to read and compare both of these at the same time if you’re a beginner.

Table of Contents
  1. The Use of the Ablative Case
    1. Like -lla, but for going away
    2. When talking about time
    3. When using certain verbs
  2. The Formation of the Ablative Case
    1. Words ending in a single vowel
    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. Consonant Gradation in the Ablative Case

1. Use of the Ablative Case (Mistä)

1.1. Like -lla, but for going away

When the missä-form ends in -lla, then you can be pretty sure the mistä-form will end in -lta. So if you’re at the kiosk (-lla), you will also come from the kiosk (-lta). Similarly, IN the library (-ssa), will require FROM the library (-sta).

When talking about open places
-lla -lta
Odotan kioskilla. Lähden pois kioskilta.
Seison pihalla. Lähden pois pihalta.
Keskustelen keskustorilla. Menen kotiin keskustorilta.
When something comes OFF something
-lla -lta
Leipä on pöydällä. Leipä putoaa pöydältä.
Kirja on hyllyllä. Nostan kirjan hyllyltä.

1.2. When talking about time

When numbers have the -lta ending, it signifies at what time things happened. You can only use the ablative for this when you’re talking about whole or half hours. That’s why you can say “puoli kymmeneltä”, but can’t use -lta for “kymmenen vaille viisi”.

Kello Ablative
kello yksi yhdeltä
kello kaksi kahdelta
kello kolme kolmelta
kello neljä neljältä
kello viisi viideltä
kello kuusi kuudelta
kello seitsemän seitsemältä
kello kahdeksan kahdeksalta
kello yhdeksän yhdeksältä
kello kymmenen kymmeneltä
kello yksitoista yhdeltätoista
kello kaksitoista kahdeltatoista
Finnish English
Bussi saapuu kahdelta. The bus arrives at two o’clock.
Koulu loppuu puoli neljältä. School ends at 3:30 pm.
Uutiset alkavat kahdeksalta. The news starts at eight o’clock.
Herään aina puoli seitsemältä. I always wake up at 6:30 am.
Lounastauko alkaa kahdeltatoista. Lunch break starts at 12.

1.3. When using certain verbs

Finnish has this concept of “rections”: most words will require other words that they get combined with to appear in a certain case. There is a series of perceptional verbs that all use -lta as their rection. More about that in our article on the senses and perceptional verbs.

Finnish English
Se tuoksuu hyvältä. It smells good.
Hän näyttää onnelliselta.
He/she looks happy.

2. The Formation of the Ablative Case

The ablative is one of the six location cases. Its ending -lta gets added to the same form as most of the other locations cases (-ssa, -sta, -lla, -lle)

2.1. Words ending in a single vowel (-a/-ä, -u/-y, -o/-ö): add -lta/-ltä

This is also true for some words ending in -i and -e, but they generally have a different rule. See below!

Nominative Ablative Nominative Ablative Nominative Ablative
kala kalalta tyyny tyynyltä talo talolta
seinä seinältä työ työltä melu melulta

2.2. Words ending in -e: add an extra -e- before the -lta/-ltä

Words ending in -e get a second -e- in any case except the partitive.

Nominative Ablative Nominative Ablative Nominative Ablative
huone huoneelta perhe perheeltä kappale kappaleelta
kirje kirjeeltä lentokone lentokoneelta taide taiteelta
parveke parvekkeelta koe kokeelta aste asteelta

2.3. Words ending in -nen: replace the -nen with -se/-se before the -lta/-ltä

This is the same change that -nen words go through when being used in any case except the partitive.

Nominative Ablative Nominative Ablative Nominative Ablative
nainen naiselta hevonen hevoselta suomalainen suomalaiselta
eteinen eteiseltä iloinen iloiselta ihminen ihmiseltä
sininen siniseltä toinen toiselta tavallinen tavalliselta

2.4. Words ending in -i

2.4.1. New words ending in -i: add -lta/-ltä

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 Ablative Nominative Ablative Nominative Ablative
banaani banaanilta paperi paperilta kahvi kahvilta
pankki pankilta posti postilta maali maalilta
tili tililtä adverbi adverbilta dollari dollarilta

2.4.2. Old words ending in -i: replace -i- with -e- and add -lta/-ltä

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!

Nominative Ablative Nominative Ablative Nominative Ablative
suomi suomelta ovi ovelta järvi järveltä
kivi kiveltä suuri suurelta nimi nimeltä
pieni pieneltä lehti lehdeltä pilvi pilveltä

2.4.3. Old words ending in -si: replace -si- with -de- and add -lta/-ltä

More old words, but this time with -si at their end. This group has its own additional change

Nominative Ablative Nominative Ablative Nominative Ablative
uusi uudelta vuosi vuodelta si deltä
kuukausi kuukaudelta vesi vedeltä reisi reideltä

3. Consonant Gradation in the Ablative Case

Wordtype A
Nominative Ablative Nominative Ablative Nominative Ablative
tyttö tytöltä pankki pankilta puku puvulta
pöytä pöydältä hattu hatulta kauppa kaupalta
silta sillalta kampa kammalta hiekka hiekalta

I have a separate article on wordtype A.

Wordtype B
Nominative Ablative Nominative Ablative Nominative Ablative
savuke savukkeelta opas oppaalta keitin keittimeltä
tavoite tavoitteelta rakas rakkaalta hammas hampaalta
soitin soittimelta puhallin puhaltimelta allas altaalta

I have a separate article on wordtype B.


That concludes the article on the ablative case!

 

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Beth
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Beth

I do like how the site is coming. But I noticed on the Ablative Case (-lta) in section 1.2 The table under it that is labeled English has Finnish words underneath it. Thanks for your time.

Inge (admin)
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Inge (admin)

Thank you, Beth! I corrected it.

Beth
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Beth

Your welcome.

In the Finnish Vocabulary section, I noticed that Age and Aging vocabulary looks like it has been complete for its in the blue font color. Yet, I realize it has not been completed. When you do get to that section. I would also like to know how to say: He/She is three months old because often when children are under the age of one: their age is referred to as months. Thanks.

Inge (admin)
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Inge (admin)

I expanded that article on Age and Aging somewhat and added a new article to my blog with more phrases. Check it out! https://uusikielemme.fi/wp/finnish-vocabulary/age-and-aging-ika-vanheneminen-vanha/ Thanks for your feedback, I really appreciate it!

Joachim Jensen
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Joachim Jensen

Great seeing that the site is getting updated!
Some of the time constructions are wrong, namely:

– puoli neljältä =/ 2:30, instead it’s 3:30
– puoli seitsemältä =/ 7:30, instead it’s 6:30

Inge (admin)
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Inge (admin)

Thank you!