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Categories of Finnish Plurale Tantum Words

“Plurale tantum” words are words that are always plural, despite their meaning being singular. In this article, you can find the largest categories of Finnish plurale tantum words, organized by their meaning. This article is part of a series all about Finnish plurale tantum words.

Please note that this is not an exhausive list. The categories of Finnish plurale tantum words below can be expanded on. For each group, I have taken the words that, to me, are the most common or interesting. This means that you will be able to find more words for each category.

If you want to find more words, I recommend searching Kielitoimiston sanakirja for *t. The asterisk is used to express that any letter can go, with the last letter of the word being the t. Please note that doing this will give you all the words that end in a -t, which means you’ll also get nouns and participles.

Table of Contents
  1. Two groups of meanings
  2. Clothes: eg. pants, coveralls, glasses
  3. Bodyparts: eg. dentures, innards, genitalia
  4. Gatherings: eg. parties, events, ceremonies
  5. Tools and equipment: eg. scissors, tweezers, stairs
  6. Countries and areas: eg. Netherlands, Maldives, Shetland Islands
  7. Organizations and teams: eg. Helsingin Sanomat, Leijonat
  8. Information: eg. news, statistics, records
  9. People: eg. troops, reinforcements, neighbors
  10. Foods: eg. leftovers, booze, flakes
  11. Words and letters: eg. initials, notes, credits
  12. Financial terms: eg. expenses, resources, costs

1. Two groups of meanings

In addition to the categories of Finnish plurale tantum words per theme, we can also divide them into two main groups. Plural tantum words refer to either mirrored elements or are a collection of certain things.

MIRRORED PAIRS

There are quite a few things that are or seem symmetrical. They consist of a mirrored pair of something. Think for example of the two sides of your glasses or the way scissors consist of two blades. This is a common occurance for plurale tantum words.

COLLECTIVE TERMS

Finnish plurale tantum words can also refer to a collection of similar things into one: stairs are a collection of steps, the elphabet is a collection of letters and statistics are a collection of information.

2. Clothing

Clothing words are often plural. This is often due to them either consisting of two of the same (kengät “shoes”, sukat “socks”, lapaset “mittens”). Those clothing words, however, aren’t plurale tantum words because they can just as well be used in the singular (yksi kenkä, yksi sukka, yksi lapanen).

However, words like housut “pants” are plurale tantum words. They refer to a whole which consists of mirroring parts: housut “pants” have two identical legs, rintaliivit “bras” can be divided into two parts, silmälasit “glasses” are also symmetrical. Find more examples here!

Finnish English Reason
housut pants, trousers mirrored pair
farkut jeans mirrored pair
leggingsit leggings mirrored pair
rintaliivit bra mirrored pair
henkselit suspenders, braces mirrored pair
työhaalarit coveralls mirrored pair
silmälasit (eye)glasses mirrored pair

3. Bodyparts

Just like clothes, bodyparts are also often plural, usually because you have two of them (eg. korvat “ears”, silmät “eyes”, jalat “legs”). However, some bodyparts are plurale tantum words: they form a whole which consists of things.

Finnish English Reason
aivot brain mirrored pair
kasvot face collection of features
viikset mustache collection of hairs
tekohampaat dentures collection of teeth
kulmakarvat eyebrows collection of hairs
hiukset hair collection of hairs
sisuskalut innards collection of organs
sukuelimet genitals collection of organs

4. Gatherings

Events, gatherings, parties and ceremonies could be considered a collection of traditions. You might also see them as a collection of people celebrating. Many of these events will always be plural. You can find a more complete list here.

Finnish English
ristiäiset christening, baptism
bileet dance party
polttarit bachelor/bachelorette party
olympialaiset the Olympics
läksiäiset farewell party
lastenkutsut playdate
häät wedding
syntymäpäivät birthday party
hautajaiset funeral

5. Tools and Equipment

There are a lot of tools that consist of two parts to grab, twist or pull something: for example, scissors, tweezers and pliers. Additionally, there are collective nouns like a ladder (a collection of rungs) and a harness (a collection of straps).

Below, I have marked the words that solely appear in the plural with #1. The words marked with #2 are also plurale tantum words, but their singular is used in a slightly different meaning. This is for example the case of portaat “stairs”. The singular porras also exists, but it means a single step. They’re used in different situations.

# Finnish English Reason
1 pinsetit tweezers mirrored parts
1 atulat tweezers mirrored parts
1 pihdit pliers mirrored parts
1 grillipihdit barbeque pliers mirrored parts
1 yleispihdit universal pliers mirrored parts
1 lankapihdit wire pliers mirrored parts
1 putkipihdit pipe wrench mirrored parts
1 tongit tongs mirrored parts
1 sivuleikkurit wire strippers mirrored parts
1 sakset scissors mirrored parts
1 puutarhasakset gardening shears mirrored parts
1 kynsisakset nail scissors mirrored parts
1 keittiösakset kitchen scissors mirrored parts
1 oksasakset pruning scissors mirrored parts
1 pensassakset hedge trimmers mirrored parts
1 jountosakset skidders mirrored parts
1 hohtimet pincers mirrored parts
1 keritsimet shears (lambs) mirrored parts
1 ohjakset reins (horse) mirrored parts
1 ohjasperät reins (horse) mirrored parts
1 kuolaimet bit (horse) mirrored parts
1 päitset headstall (horse) collection of straps
1 suitset bridle (horse) collection of straps
1 valjaat harness collection of straps
1 turvavaljaat safety harness collection of straps
1 urut organ (church) collection of pipes
2 (saunan) lauteet sauna bench(es) collection of benches
1 paarit stretcher mirrored parts
1 kantopaarit barrow mirrored parts
1 ruumispaarit bier mirrored parts
1 nojapuut parallel bars (sports) mirrored parts
1 kangaspuut loom (for weaving) collection of parts
1 kerinlaudat wooden threading tool collection of parts
1 kerinpuut wooden threading tool collection of parts
2 astiat dishes, washing-up collection of dishes
2 ruokailuvälineet cutlery collection of forks etc
1 aterimet cutlery collection of forks etc
2 salaattiottimet salad servers mirrored parts
1 salaattipihdit salad tongs mirrored parts
1 tulukset flint, steel, and tinder collection of tools
2 kehykset frame mirrored parts
2 verhot curtains mirrored parts
1 stereot stereo mirrored parts
2 kuulokkeet headset, headphones mirrored parts
1 kahleet shackles, chains mirrored parts
1 jalkaraudat leg irons mirrored parts
1 käsiraudat handcuffs mirrored parts
1 rautakalterit iron bars collection of bars
1 pitkospuut causeway in swamp collection of boards
1 tikapuut ladder mirrored parts
1 tikkaat ladder mirrored parts
1 konetikkaat aerial ladder collection of rungs
1 lapetikkaat roof ladder collection of rungs
1 palotikkaat fire ladder collection of rungs
1 tikarappuset ladder collection of rungs
2 rappuset stairs collection of steps
2 portaat stairs collection of steps
1 köysitikkaat rope ladder collection of steps
1 laituritikkaat dock ladder collection of steps
1 laituriportaat dock ladder collection of steps
1 kierreportaat spiral staircase collection of steps
1 laskuportaat gangplank (boat) collection of steps
1 liukuportaat escalator collection of steps
1 rullaportaat escalator collection of steps
1 lastenrattaat pushchair, stroller mirrored parts
1 lastenvaunut pram, baby carriage mirrored parts
2 kottikärryt wheelbarrow mirrored parts
1 ostoskärryt shopping cart mirrored parts
1 hevoskärryt horse and carriage mirrored parts
2 tarvikkeet gear collection of things
2 vehkeet equipment collection of things
2 varusteet equipment, gear collection of things
2 kalusteet furniture collection of things
2 ainekset ingredients collection of things

6. Countries and Areas

Some geographical areas will appear in the plural. This is usually done in accordance with the name of the place in the local language. It’s especially common for mountains and islands. I’ve included groups of stars in this table as well.

Finnish English Reason
Alankomaat Netherlands collection of lands
Alpit Alps collection of mountains
Antillit Antilles collection of islands
Arabiemiirikunnat United Arab Emirates collection of emirates
Emiraatit The Emirates collection of emirates
Azorit The Azores collection of islands
Britteinsaaret The British Isles collection of islands
Falklandinsaaret Falkland Islands collection of islands
Filippiinit Philippine Islands collection of islands
Färsaaret Faeroes collection of islands
Kalliovuoret Rocky Mountains collection of mountains
Kanariansaaret Canary Islands collection of islands
Komorit Comoros collection of islands
Malediivit Maldives collection of islands
Molukit The Moluccas collection of islands
Pohjoismaat Nordic countries collection of countries
Pyreneet Pyrenees collection of mountains
Salomonsaaret Solomon Islands collection of islands
Seurasaaret Society Islands collection of islands
Shetlannin saaret Shetland Islands collection of islands
Yhdysvallat United States collection of states
Niagarat putoukset Niagara Falls collection of waterfalls
Seulaset The Pleiades collection of stars
Kaksoset Gemini collection of stars
Kalat Pisces collection of stars

7. Organizations and Teams

The names of some organizations and teams will also be plural.

Finnish English Reason
Helsingin Sanomat Helsinki’s newspaper collection of people/news
Savon Sanomat Kuopio’s newspaper collection of people/news
Huuhkajat Finland’s soccer team collection of players
Leijonat Finland’s ice hockey team collection of players
Oulun Kärpät Pori’s ice hockey team collection of players
Helsingin Jokerit Helsinki’s ice hockey team collection of players
Vihreät Green League (politics) collection of politicians

8. Information

By information, I mean any type of data, records, statitstics and other information.

In the table below, words marked with #1 exclusively appear in the plural. You will generally find these in the dictionary in their plural form. Words marked with #2 are words that do exist in their singular form, but are mainly used in the plural. They refer to pieces of information that can appear singularly, but which is more commonly found as a collection.

# Finnish English Reason
1 henkilötiedot personal information collection of info
1 yhteystiedot contact information collection of info
1 perustiedot basic information collection of info
1 ensitiedot preliminary data collection of info
1 pohjatiedot underlying information collection of info
1 palkkatiedot payroll data collection of info
1 luottotiedot credit information collection of info
1 säätiedot weather data collection of info
1 tunnistetiedot identification details collection of info
2 taustatiedot background information collection of info
2 potilastiedot medical records collection of info
2 terveystiedot health information collection of info
2 tilastotiedot statistical information collection of info
2 tilastot statistics collection of info
2 lähdetiedot source information collection of info
2 tulokset score; outcome; findings collection of results
2 hakutulokset search results collection of results
2 tutkimustulokset research findings collection of results
2 kilpailutulokset competition score collection of results
2 koetulokset test results collection of results
2 uutiset news collection of news
2 televisiouutiset TV news collection of news
2 radiouutiset radio news collection of news
2 sports news collection of collection of news
2 ulkomaanuutiset foreign news collection of news
1 alkeet rudiments collection of knowledge
1 perusteet basics collection of knowledge
2 opinnot studies collection of courses
1 kouluopinnot school studies collection of courses
1 perusopinnot basic studies collection of courses
1 korkeakouluopinnot university studies collection of courses
1 maisteriopinnot master degree studies collection of courses
1 jatko-opinnot postgraduate studies collection of courses
1 erikoistumisopinnot specialization collection of courses
1 musiikkiopinnot music studies collection of courses
1 kuulumiset news (eg. from friends) collection of info
2 perinteet tradition collection of traditions

9. People

The following tables contains collective terms for people. The words listed first (which all end in -kset) mean a pair (or more) of people who have the same relationship with each other (eg. sisters amongst themselves). As such, Veljekset rupattelevat means “The brothers are chatting amongst themselves”. These never appear in the singular.

The words near the end of the list are all related to army troops. I’ve refrained from listing all of them. Search Kielitoimiston sanakirja for *joukot to find more.

# Finnish English Reason
1 kaverukset pals, friends collection of people
1 ystävykset friends collection of people
1 toverukset companions, friends collection of people
1 työtoverukset colleagues collection of people
1 opiskelutoverukset study buddies collection of people
1 tuttavukset acquaintances collection of people
1 naapurukset neighbors collection of people
1 rajanaapurukset neighbors collection of people
1 kumppanukset companions, buddies collection of people
1 riitakumppanukset sides of a dispute collection of people
1 siskokset sisters collection of people
1 sisarekset sisters collection of people
1 veljekset brothers collection of people
1 kaksoset twins collection of people
1 kolmoset triplets collection of people
1 serkukset cousings collection of people
1 pikkuserkukset second cousins collection of people
1 langokset brothers-in-law collection of people
1 kälykset sisters-in-law collection of people
1 anopikset mothers-in-law collection of people
1 kaimakset namesakes (same name) collection of people
1 esivanhemmat forefathers collection of people
1 asevoimat armed forces collection of soldiers
1 maavoimat ground forces collection of soldiers
1 merivoimat navy collection of soldiers
1 ilmavoimat air force collection of soldiers
1 paikallisjoukot local troops collection of soldiers
1 rajajoukot border troops collection of soldiers
1 rauhanturvajoukot peacekeeping forces collection of soldiers
1 taistelujoukot combat forces collection of soldiers
1 sissijoukot guerrilla forces collection of soldiers
2 vahvistukset reinforcements collection of soldiers

10. Foods

Certain foods rarely come as one. You could separate one, but it would be tiny and not really good for anything (what would you do with one flake of oatmeal?).

# Finnish English Reason
1 murot cereal collection of flakes
1 ranskanperunat french fries collection of fries
1 röstiperunat grated and fried potatoes collection of grated
1 valkosipuliperunat garlic potatoes collection of slices
2 kaurahiutaleet oatmeal flakes collection of flakes
1 pikahiutaleet fast oatmeal flakes collection of flakes
1 sipulihiutaleet onion flakes collection of flakes
1 sekahedelmät mixed dried fruit collection of pieces
1 sekavihannekset mixed vegetables collection of pieces
1 viinakset booze alcohol collectively
1 kalanperkeet fish guts collection of fish guts
1 kahvinporot coffee grounds collection of grounds
2 tähteet leftovers remainder of meal
1 jämät remains of food remainder of meal
2 jätteet garbage, waste remainder of meal
1 rääppeet leftovers, scraps remainder of meal

11. Words and Letters

Words and letters can be part of a bigger whole. For example, letters belong to the alphabet, which makes aakkoset “the alphabet” a collection of letters, which is consequently a plural word. Likewise, the epilogue of a book is a collection of words that form a whole: loppusanat. It makes sense in Finnish!

Finnish English Reason
aakkoset alphabet collection of letters
morseaakkoset morse code collection of signals
sokeainaakkoset braille collection of letters
nimikirjaimet initials collection of letters
syntysanat founding words collection of words
loppusanat epilogue collection of words
päätössanat closing, concluding words collection of words
saatesanat preamble, foreword collection of words
muistosanat memorial words collection of words
muistiinpanot notes collection of words
terveiset greetings, regards collection of words
terkut greetings, regards collection of words
tervehdyssanat welcoming speech collection of words
lopputekstit credits (movie) collection of names
henkilöpaperit ID collection of info
henkkarit ID collection of info

12. Financial Terms

Money often comes (and goes) in larger quantities. The table below includes the collective names of all types of money flowing in and out.

Marked with #1 are words that can’t ever be used in the singular. Words marked with #2 do have a singular form, but it has a different meaning that the whole.

# Finnish English Reason
1 myötäjäiset dowry collection of valuables
1 morsiuslunnaat dowry collection of valuables
1 lunnaat ransom collection of money
2 resurssit recources collection of resources
2 kulut expenses, expenditures collection of expenses
2 menot expenses, expenditures collection of expenses
2 tulot income, revenue, proceeds collection of income
2 kustannukset expenses, costs collection of expenses
2 varat resources, funds, assets collection of funds
1 toimituskulut delivery costs collection of expenses
1 hankintakulut acquisition costs collection of expenses
1 hankintakustannukset acquisition costs collection of expenses
1 kunnossapitokulut maintenance costs collection of expenses
1 oikeudenkäyntikulut leagal expenses collection of expenses
1 lisäkulut additional costs collection of expenses
1 ruokakulut food expenses collection of expenses
1 postikulut postage, postal charges collection of expenses
1 sairauskulut medical expenses collection of expenses
1 sairauskustannukset medical expenses collection of expenses
1 lämmityskulut heating costs collection of expenses
1 lämmityskustannukset heating costs collection of expenses
1 ruokamenot food expenses collection of expenses
1 talousmenot household expenses collection of expenses
1 kokonaismenot total expenditure collection of expenses
1 lääkekustannukset pharmaceutical expenses collection of expenses
1 asumiskustannukset cost of housing collection of expenses
1 elinkustannukset cost of living collection of expenses
1 velkamenot debt expenses collection of expenses
1 palkkamenot labor costs collection of expenses
1 kuljetuskustannukset transportation costs collection of expenses
1 varastointikustannukset storage costs collection of expenses
1 pakkauskustannukset packaging costs collection of expenses
1 pakkauskulut packing costs collection of expenses
1 rakennuskustannukset construction costs collection of expenses
1 rahtikulut freight costs collection of expenses
1 kokonaiskustannukset total costs, overall costs collection of expenses
1 muonavarat provisions, food supplies collection of resources
2 säästöt savings collection of resources
2 voimavarat resources collection of resources
1 ravinnevarat nutrient reserves collection of resources
1 vesivarat water reserves collection of resources
1 vesivoimavarat water power resources collection of resources
1 öljyvarat oil reserves collection of resources
1 lainavarat borrowed funds collection of funds
1 sotilasmenot military expenditure collection of expenses
1 sosiaalimenot welfare expenditure collection of expenses
1 verovarat tax revenue collection of funds
1 rahavarat monetary resources collection of funds
1 veikkausvoittovarat national betting profit collection of funds
1 lahjoitusvarat donated funds collection of funds
1 lahjavarat gift funds, donation funds collection of funds
2 talousvaikeudet economic problems collection of problems
1 verotulot tax revenue collection of income
1 myyntitulot sale proceeds collection of income
1 vuokratulot rental income collection of income
1 käteisvarat cash assets (investing) collection of funds
1 käyttövarat liquid assets (investing) collection of funds
1 voittovarat winnings (investing) collection of funds
1 maailmanmarkkinat global market collection of supply and demand
1 valuuttamarkkinat foreign exchange market collection of supply and demand
1 vientimarkkinat export market collection of supply and demand
1 työmarkkinat labor market collection of supply and demand
1 osakemarkkinat stock market collection of supply and demand

There you have the most prominent categories of Finnish plurale tantum words! You can learn more about how to use them in the article about the syntax of plurale tantum words.

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