Finnish for busy people

Viedä Tuoda Hakea – Similar verbs

I regularly get asked the difference between the verbs viedätuoda and hakea, so it’s high time to make a short article about them! They are luckily quite distinct, so once you know them you should be alright with using them.

In short, viedä is “to drop something off”, tuoda is “to bring something with” and hakea is “to go get”.

1. Tuoda – To bring (something) with (you)

The verb tuoda means “to bring with”. That is to say, it means you bring something from another location with you.The underlying meaning is that both speakers will be at the location you’re bringing the thing to. You can talk with a teacher or with a fellow student about bringing your own lunch from home to school, or bring flowers to your wife from the store to your home, which is where you’ll both be.

If a location case is included, it’s usually the mihin-form, which expresses which place or person you bring something to. This is the main focus of the sentence: the verb tuoda emphasizes the movement of an object towards the location where the speakers are. Occasionally, you will also find examples where the mistä-form is used to express from which place you bring something, but this is less relevant when using the verb tuoda.

Finnish English
Tuo omat eväät mukaan kouluun! Bring your own lunch with you to school!
Toin sinulle kukkia. I brought you flowers.
Joulupukki tuo lahjoja lapsille. Santa brings presents to the children.
Minun täytyy tuoda kirja sinulle takaisin. I must bring the book back to you.
Toin postin sisään. I brought the mail in.
Toisitko kaupasta suklaata? Could you bring chocolate from the store?
Toin vadelmahilloa kotoa mökille. I brought raspberry jam with me from home to the cottage.

2. Viedä – To take something to a location (often: and leave it there)

The two most likely phrases with the verb viedä you’ll run into are “viedä roskat” (to take out the trash) and “viedä lapset päiväkotiin” (to take the kids to daycare). The base meaning of viedä is that you take something/someone from the current location to somewhere else, and then leave it/them there. In some cases, it can also mean you’re coming back with them (2).

Both the mistä-form and the mihin-form can be used with this verb, depending on your focus. Firstly, you can use the mistä-form to focus on getting something away from the current location. This is most common. Secondly, you can also use the mihin-form to focus on where you’re taking the thing.

# Finnish English
1 Vien Josefiinan päiväkotiin aamulla. I will take Josefiina to daycare in the morning.
1 Mieheni vie Leevin kouluun. My husband takes Leevi to school.
1 Voisitko viedä roskat ulos? Could you take out the trash?
1 Vie tämä pois täältä! Get this out of here!
1 Olen vienyt kaikki kirjeet jo postiin. I have already taken all the letters to the post office.
1 Veisitkö minut autolla kotiin? Could you take me home by car?
2 Ari vei koiran ulos tänä aamuna. Ari took the dog out this morning.
2 Mieheni vei minut ulos syömään. My husband took me out to eat.

The verb viedä has also several other meanings. For one, it can mean “to steal, to take away”. For example, Varas vei kaikki rahat “The thief took all the money” and Susi vei lampaan “The wolf took the lamb”. You could check out Wiktionary for other meanings of this verb.

3. Hakea – To go get, to fetch

The verb hakea means you go get something. On a semantic level, this verb requires two locations, of which only one is generally included explicitly in the sentence. The first location is where you currently are, which is also where you’re intending for the object to end up. In other words, there is a movement to a location and then back. These sentences typically only have the mistä-form of the location you’re fetching something from. There is generally no need to include information about the location the thing is brought back to because this is generally the location of both speakers.

Finnish English
Minun täytyy hakea lapset päiväkodista. I must pick up the kids from daycare.
Voisitko hakea minut koulusta? Could you come pick me up from school?
Hae puita liiteristä! Go get wood from the woodshed!
Haen sanomalehden postilaatikosta. I go get the newspaper from the mailbox.
Ari haki vieraat lentoasemalta. Ari picked up the guests from the airport.

In addition, hakea also means “to apply for” in the context of education. For example, Haen yliopistoon means “I apply for university”. We can also translate hakea as “to search for” in phrases such as Haen töitä “I’m looking for a job” and Haen tietoa Googlesta “I search for information on Google”.

I hope this helps clear up the base meaning of these verbs! Simply put, tuoda is used when bringing something to the location of the speaker, while viedä is used when taking something away from the location of the speaker. The verb hakea requires two movements: first away from the speaker and then back.

5 4 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

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

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I really needed to know The difference. Thanks a lot.


Lovely article! Really cleared things up and is written in an easy to understand way, as usual, thank you.