Finnish for busy people

Spoken Language Passive Overview

One of the uses of the passive is as the spoken form of the second person plural (eg. me mennään instead of me menemme; me syödään instead of me syömme). The passive is used extremely often in spoken language. It is therefore a topic that you should familiarize yourself with fairly early in your studies. This article is a spoken language passive overview.

We have another article about the passive’s different tenses. This article is very similar to that one, but we’ll be focusing on how these conjugations work specifically in spoken language.

Table of Contents
  1. The Present Passive
  2. The Past Passive
  3. The Perfect Passive
  4. The Passive Conditional
  5. The Passive Perfect Conditional

1. The Present Passive

The passive present’s marker is -an/-än. This tense is used to express that we’re doing something right now, or that we do something often or always. As said above, the present passive is used to replace the second person plural conjugation of the verb. For example:

  • Standard Finnish: me nukumme me emme nuku “we sleep – we don’t sleep”
  • Spoken Finnish: me nukutaan – me ei nukuta
  • Standard Finnish: me rakastamme me emme rakasta “we love – we don’t love”
  • Spoken Finnish: me rakastetaan – me ei rakasteta
Finnish English
Me nukutaan teltassa. We sleep in a tent.
Me ei nukuta sängyssä. We don’t sleep in a bed.
Me rakastetaan sua. We love you.
Me ei rakasteta niitä. We don’t love them.
Me ajetaan pyörällä. We drive a bike.
Me ei ajeta autoa. We don’t drive a car.
Me syödään lounaan. We’re eating lunch.
Me ei syödä mansikoita. We don’t eat strawberries.
Me tehdään läksyt. We do homework.
Me ei tehdä mitään. We don’t do anything.
Me kävellään paljon. We walk a lot.
Me ei kävellä aina. We don’t always walk.
Me noustaan aikaisin. We get up early.
Me ei nousta myöhään. We don’t get up late.
Me tavataan huomenna. We’re meeting tomorrow.
Me ei tavata tänään. We’re not meeting today.
Me häiritään sua. We’re bothering you.
Me ei häiritä ketään. We’re not bothering anyone.

 Learn more about the present passive in general here

2. The Past Passive – Passive Imperfect

The past passive’s marker is -tiin or -ttiin. This tense is used to express we did something in the past at a specific point of time, and that this action is completely finished.

  • Standard Finnish: me nukuimme me emme nukkuneet “we slept – we didn’t sleep”
  • Spoken Finnish: me nukuttiin – me ei nukuttu
  • Standard Finnish: me rakastimme me emme rakastaneet “we loved – we didn’t love”
  • Spoken Finnish: me rakastettiin – me ei rakastettu
Finnish English
Me nukuttiin teltassa. We slept in a tent.
Me ei nukuttu sängyssä. We didn’t sleep in a bed.
Me rakastettiin sua. We loved you.
Me ei rakastettu niitä. We didn’t love them.
Me ajettiin pyörällä. We drove a bike.
Me ei ajettu autoa. We didn’t drive a car.
Me syötiin lounaan. We ate lunch.
Me ei syöty mansikoita. We didn’t eat strawberries.
Me tehtiin läksyt. We did homework.
Me ei tehty mitään. We didn’t do anything.
Me käveltiin paljon. We walked a lot.
Me ei kävelty aina. We didn’t always walk.
Me noustiin aikaisin. We got up early.
Me ei noustu myöhään. We didn’t get up late.
Me tavattiin eilen. We met yesterday.
Me ei tavattu tänään. We didn’t meet today.
Me häirittiin sua. We were bothering you.
Me ei häiritty ketään. We didn’t bother anyone.

 Learn more about the past passive here

3. The Perfect Passive – Passiivin Perfekti

The passive perfect’s construction is built up from the passive form of the verb olla in combination with the past passive participle -(t)tu or -(t)ty. In spoken language, this tense is used to express that we have done something.

The spoken language and standard language forms of the passive perfect differ in several aspects. Firstly, in spoken language, you will be adding the pronoun “me” in front of the passive. Secondly, the word order will be different. Lastly and most importantly, the verb olla will be conjugated as on in standard Finnish, and as ollaan in spoken Finnish. The form using ollaan is called “kaksoispassiivi” in Finnish and generally a source of much disapproval.

  • Standard language: “Talo on rakennettu.” (the house has been built)
  • Spoken language: “Me ollaan rakennettu talo.” (we’ve built a house)
  • Standard language: “Lavalla ei ole tanssittu.” (there has not been danced on the stage)
  • Spoken language: “Me ei olla tanssittu lavalla.” (we haven’t danced on the stage)
Finnish English
Me ollaan nukuttu teltassa. We have slept in a tent.
Me ei olla nukuttu sängyssä. We haven’t slept in a bed.
Me ollaan rakastettu sua. We have loved you.
Me ei olla rakastettu niitä. We haven’t loved them.
Me ollaan ajettu pyörällä. We have driven a bike.
Me ei olla ajettu autoa. We haven’t driven a car.
Me ollaan syöty lounaan. We have eaten lunch.
Me ei olla syöty mansikoita. We haven’t eaten strawberries.
Me ollaan tehty läksyt. We have done homework.
Me ei olla tehty mitään. We haven’t done anything.
Me ollaan kävelty paljon. We have walked a lot.
Me ei olla kävelty aina. We haven’t always walked.
Me ollaan noustu aikaisin. We have gotten up early.
Me ei olla noustu myöhään. We haven’t gotten up late.
Me ollaan tavattu eilen. We have met ysterday.
Me ei olla tavattu tänään. We haven’t met today.
Me ollaan häiritty sua. We have bothered you.
Me ei olla häiritty ketään. We haven’t bothered anyone.

 Learn more about the past passive participle here

4. The Passive Conditional

Next in this spoken language passive overview, the passive conditional. The passive conditional’s marker is -taisiin or -ttaisiin. In spoken language, it will often get shortened to -(t)tais. That’s the form I will be using in the table below.

This form of the verb is used to express that we would do something (often in combination with a condition, and a jos-sentence). You could for example express that you would buy a car if you were to win the lottery (me ostettais auto jos voitettais lotossa), or would go for a walk if it wasn’t raining (me mentäis kävelylle jos ei sataisi).

  • Standard Finnish: me nukkuisimme me emme nukkuisi “we would sleep – we wouldn’t sleep”
  • Spoken Finnish: me nukuttais – me ei nukuttais
  • Standard Finnish: me rakastaisimme me emme rakastaisi “we would love – we wouldn’t love”
  • Spoken Finnish: me rakastettais – me ei rakastettais
Finnish English
Me nukuttais teltassa. We would sleep in a tent.
Me ei nukuttais sängyssä. We wouldn’t sleep in a bed.
Me rakastettais sua. We would love you.
Me ei rakastettais niitä. We wouldn’t love them.
Me ajettais pyörällä. We would drive a bike.
Me ei ajettais autoa. We wouldn’t drive a car.
Me syötäis lounaan. We would eat lunch.
Me ei syötäis mansikoita. We wouldn’t eat strawberries.
Me tehtäis läksyt. We would do homework.
Me ei tehtäis mitään. We wouldn’t do anything.
Me käveltäis paljon. We would walk a lot.
Me ei käveltäis aina. We wouldn’t always walk.
Me noustais aikaisin. We would get up early.
Me ei noustais myöhään. We wouldn’t get up late.
Me tavattais huomenna. We would meet today.
Me ei tavattais tänään. We wouldn’t meet today.
Me häirittäis sua. We would bothering you.
Me ei häirittäis ketään. We wouldn’t bother anyone.

 Learn more about the passive conditional here

5. The Passive Perfect Conditional

Last but not least in this spoken language passive overview: the passive perfect conditional.

The passive perfect conditional’s construction is built up from the passive form of the verb olla in the conditional form in combination with the past passive participle -(t)tu or -(t)ty. In spoken language, this tense is used to express that we would have done something if some condition would have been met.

This form is often used with jos-sentences. You could for example express that you would have bought a car if you had won the lottery (me oltais ostettu auto jos oltais voitettu lotossa), or you would have gone for a walk if it hadn’t rained (me oltais menty kävelylle jos ei olisi satanut).

The spoken language and standard language forms differ in several aspects. Firstly, in spoken language, you will be adding the pronoun “me” in front of the passive. Secondly, the word order will be different. Lastly and most importantly, the verb olla will be conjugated as olisi in standard Finnish, and as oltais in spoken Finnish.

  • Standard language: “Talo olisi rakennettu.” (the house would have been built)
  • Spoken language: “Me oltais rakennettu talo.” (we would have built a house)
  • Standard language: “Lavalla ei olisi tanssittu.” (there would not have been danced on the stage)
  • Spoken language: “Me ei oltais tanssittu lavalla.” (we haven’t danced on the stage)
Finnish English
Me oltais nukuttu teltassa. We would have slept in a tent.
Me ei oltais nukuttu sängyssä. We wouldn’t have slept in a bed.
Me oltais rakastettu sua. We would have loved you.
Me ei oltais rakastettu niitä. We wouldn’t have loved them.
Me oltais ajettu pyörällä. We would have driven a bioke.
Me ei oltais ajettu autoa. We wouldn’t have driven a car.
Me oltais syöty lounaan. We would have eaten lunch.
Me ei oltais syöty mansikoita. We wouldn’t have eaten strawberries.
Me oltais tehty läksyt. We would have done homework.
Me ei oltais tehty mitään. We wouldn’t have done anything.
Me oltais kävelty paljon. We would have walked a lot.
Me ei oltais kävelty. We wouldn’t have walked.
Me oltais noustu aikaisin. We would have gotten up early.
Me ei oltais noustu myöhään. We wouldn’t have gotten up late.
Me oltais tavattu eilen. We would have met yesterday.
Me ei oltais tavattu tänään. We wouldn’t have met today.
Me oltais häiritty sua. We would have bothered you.
Me ei oltais häiritty ketään. We wouldn’t have bothered anyone.

Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think of this spoken language passive overview in the comments!

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Beth
Beth

Uner the passive conditional where you have this sentence: Me ajettais pyörällä. I notice the word bike is misspelled. I noticed that is currently showing bioke instead of bike.

Inge (admin)

Thanks for noticing! It’s been fixed now 🙂