Finnish for busy people

The Conditional Mood – Konditionaali

The conditional’s marker is -isi- (haluaisin, tulisivat, olisi). It’s generally translated to English as “could” or “would”.

Table of Contents
  1. The Use of the Conditional
    1. With “if” sentences expressing a condition
    2. When expressing a polite request (could you, would you)
    3. When wishing for something
    4. First person singular
  2. The Formation of the Conditional
  3. The Negative Conditional

1. The Use of the Conditional Mood

1.1. With “if” sentences expressing a condition

An “if” sentence expresses a condition to the action happening. As such, the happening at the moment of talking is hypothetical and perhaps unlikely.

Finnish English
Laulaisin, jos osaisin. I would sing if I could.
Jos minulla olisi lomaa, menisin Espanjaan. If I had vacation, I would go to Spain.
En tulisi mukaan, jos ei olisi pakko. I wouldn’t come if it weren’t obligatory.
Mitä tekisit, jos voittaisit lotossa? What would you do if you won in the lottery?

1.2. When expressing a polite request

The conditional mood is also used when you’re asking or suggesting something politely.

Finnish English
Avaisitko oven minulle? Could you open the door for me?
Soittaisitteko vähän myöhemmin uudestaan? Could you call back a little later?
Haluaisimme kuulla enemmän asiasta. We would like to hear more about it.
Olisiko sinulla hetki aikaa? Would you have a minute?

In polite conditional questions, you can also use the verb voida in the conditional mood and leave the main verb untouched. This is done very regularly in Finnish and is an easy way to be polite.

Question Alternative
Avaisitko oven minulle? Voisitko avata oven minulle?
Soittaisitteko vähän myöhemmin uudestaan? Voisitteko soittaa vähän myöhemmin uudestaan?
Kertoisitko lisää Tampereen historiasta? Voisitko kertoa lisää Tampereen historiasta?
Puhuisitko vähän hitaammin? Voisitko puhua vähän hitaammin?

1.3. When wishing for something

Finnish English
Haluaisin matkustaa Uusi-Seelantiin. I would want to travel to New Zealand.
Olisipa kesä ja lämmintä. If only it was summer and warm.
isit nyt edes vähän. Could you just eat even a little.

1.4. First person singular

Instead of asking straight ahead, you can use the first person singular of the conditional to express that you want something or hope for something. For example, “I would like an answer by April the 23rd.” versus “Could I get an answer by April the 23rd?”

The statement phrase is slightly more formal than the question. The statement also seems to convey more of a certainty that the request will be granted.

Conditional Normal question
Ottaisin neljä korvapuustia. Saisinko neljä korvapuustia?
Varaisin ajan tiistaiksi. Voisinko varata ajan tiistaiksi?
Kutsuisin teitä meidän tupaantuliaisiin. Tulisitteko meidän tupaantuliaisiin?
Toivoisin saavani vastauksen 23.4. mennessä. Saisinko vastauksen 23.4. mennessä?

2. The Formation of the Conditional Mood

The conditional’s marker is -isi-. You will add this marker to the strong stem of the verb for all verbtypes. You can find this stem by conjugating the verb in question in the third person plural (e.g. tavata > he tapaavat > minä tapaisin). Every form (minä, sinä, hän, etc.) will be strong in the conditional form.

For verbs where the stem has an -e at the end, you will remove the -e when adding -isi-. This is the case for certain verbtype 1 verbs (e.g. he itke-vät > he itkisivät), verbtype 3 (e.g. he opiskele-vat > he opiskelisivat) and verbtype 5 (e.g. he häiritse-vät > he häiritsisivät).

I’ve marked the vowel changes for each verbtype in green in the table below.

Verb Third Person Plural Conditional Conditional
Verbtype 1
Nukkua he nukku-vat minä nukkuisin hän nukkuisi
Leipoa he leipo-vat sinä leipoisit me leipoisimme
Ajaa he aja-vat hän ajaisi he ajaisivat
Itkeä he itke-vat minä itkisin me itkisimme
Lukea he luke-vat sinä lukisit te lukisitte
Verbtype 2 (same changes as for the imperfect)
Syödä he s-vat minä söisin hän söisi
Tuoda he tuo-vat sinä toisit me toisimme
Imuroida he imuroi-vat hän imuroisi he imuroisivat
Verbtype 3 (remove -e-)
Opiskella he opiskele-vat minä opiskelisin hän opiskelisi
Nousta he nouse-vat sinä nousisit me nousisimme
Verbtype 4 (-aa- > -aisi- BUT -oa/ua- > -oaisi/uaisi-)
Tavata he tapaa-vat minä tapaisin hän tapaisi
Pelätä he pelkää-vät sinä pelkäisit me pelkäisimme
Siivota he siivoa-vat sinä siivoaisit me siivoaisimme
Haluta he halua-vat minä haluaisin te haluaisitte
Verbtype 5 (remove -e-)
Tarvita he tarvitse-vat minä tarvitsisin sinä tarvitsisit
Valita he valitse-vat sinä valitsisit me valitsisimme

3. Negative Conditional

Verb The conditional Negative conditional
nukkua minä nukkuisin minä en nukkuisi
tarjeta minä tarkenisin minä en tarkenisi
antaa sinä antaisit sinä et antaisi
valita sinä valitsisit sinä et valitsisi
juoda hän joisi hän ei joisi
soittaa hän soittaisi hän ei soittaisi
imuroida me imuroisimme me emme imuroisi
suudella me suutelisimme me emme suutelisi
kävellä te kävelisitte te ette kävelisi
silittää te silittäisitte te ette silittäisi
tavata he tapaisivat he eivät tapaisi
vanheta he vanhenisivat he eivät vanhenisi

The negative conditional has this interesting use in questions where you’re pleading someone to do something that they probably won’t want to do.

Finnish English
Etkö tulisi mökille? Wouldn’t you please come to the cottage?
Emmekö voisi lähteä jo? Couldn’t we just leave already?
Etkö auttaisi vähän enemmän? Couldn’t you help a little more?


Real-language use of the conditional

If you’re interested in how the conditional is used in authentic situations, you can listen to the following songs:

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Manolis Gustavsson

Do you have an article about -ko/kö? I am wondering because I’d like to figure out why it’s olisiko and not olisitko in the sentence “olisiko sinulla hetki aikaa” (one of the examples above). If not, what is this form called? 🙂

The difference between olisiko and olisitko is due to the difference in the sentences if you’d make them just regular sentences:
Sinä olisit rikas > Olisitko rikas
Sinulla olisi rahaa > Olisiko sinulla rahaa

Here’s a very simple video about the -ko/kö suffix: It doesn’t really have a name you could google, but “ko kö suffix” does bring up some sources. It’s kysymysliite in Finnish but that seems to just turn up advanced Finnish sources.

I hope this helps! Thanks for your comment!

Ho Viet Hung

Hello. I would be truly grateful to know if it is necessary to remove the -e for type-1 verbs like “lukea” or “lähteä” when forming the conditional mood. I have searched and it seems that we use “me lähtisimme” instead of “me lähteisimme”. Thank you very much.

Inge (admin)

Thank you for your comment! I added a couple more examples and this additional paragraph to the article:

For verbs where the stem has an -e at the end, you will remove the -e when adding -isi-. This is the case for certain verbtype 1 verbs (eg. he itke-vät > he itkisivät), verbtype 3 (eg. he opiskele-vat > he opiskelisivat) and verbtype 5 (eg. he häiritse-vät > he häiritsisivät).

I’ve also given you a point for your contribution, thank you!

Grant R

Hi, I am not sure if it is a valid shortcut, but I sometimes try to look more into patterns, and I noticed that maybe if you know the imperfect form, you could replace the i/si added for the imperfect form with isi. Maybe this does not hold as well for verbs where the imperfect is the same as the present tense. There may be some other exceptions but I am still fairly beginner. It was just a thought I found interesting and was wondering if anyone else has noticed something similar?

Inge (admin)

Your shortcut is helpful for verbtype 2, 3 and 5! Especially with verbtype 2 you can benefit from remembering viedä : vein : veisin, where both the imperfect and the conditional undergo the same change.

Here’s some of the exceptions to this tendency:

  • Verbtype 1 verbs of the type: laulaa : lauloin : laulaisin
  • Verbtype 1 verbs of the type: tietää : tiesin : tieisin
  • Verbtype 4 verbs of the type: siivota : siivosin : siivoaisin
Grant R

Yeah I thought that shortcut was too good to be true. So the pattern I am seeing is that the imperfect in particular often means you have to drop an ä/a but for the conditional the a/ä is not always dropped the same way. There are just so many different rules for the imperfect I lose track of them. Thanks for your insight!


Moi can i ask what is the example of this scenario in a sentence using conditional mood?

Write a short story about your home town. Tell what there is and what there is not. What kind of things would you wish there was?

Inge (admin)

Haluaisin… Rakentaisin… Ostaisin…


Question about a specific usage – how do you express uncertainty about whether something occurred/is occurring or not, for example “I’m not sure if [x happened]” or “Sorry if I [did x]”? Would one use the conditional at all here, and if so, does it still go on both sides of the “if” (e.g. Olisin pahoillani jos häiritsisin sinua “I’m sorry if I’m bothering you”)?

No, there’s no conditional in that phrase. “Olisin pahoillani jos häiritsisin sinua” would translate as “I would be sorry if I would bother you”, making both sides of the phrase hypothetical in meaning.

You’re using the same tenses you would in English:
Olen pahoillani, jos häiritsin sinua. I’m sorry if I bothered you.
Olen pahoillani, jos häiritsen sinua. I’m sorry if I bother you.

Your other example can’t even be translated using “if”, you need a different construction:
En ole varma, tapahtuiko x.= I’m not sure if x happened (literally “I’m not sure, did x happen”). This is typical for the adjective varma.


After conditional e.g haluaisin when ordering food, should the food be the partitive or the object, for instance, Minä haluaisin kahvia vai kahvin , haluaisin omenaa vai omenan , which is the proper way to use

Inge (admin)

The conditional doesn’t have any influence on the object: “Haluan/Haluaisin omenan”, “Otan/Ottaisin kahvia”. Just apply the normal object rules!