Finnish for busy people

Punctuation – Pilkku Piste Kysymysmerkki

Usually, you won’t have any need to pronounce punctuation marks. However, maybe the need does arrive some time. In this article, we list the most common punctuation marks.

Finnish English
. piste dot
, pilkku comma
: kaksoispiste colon
; puolipiste semicolon
? kysymysmerkki questionmark
! huutomerkki exclamation point
viiva dash
/ vinoviiva / kauttaviiva slash
\ kenoviiva backslash
| pystyviiva / putkimerkki vertical bar
~ tilde / aaltoviiva tilde
kolme pistettä / ellipsi ellipsis
() (kaari)sulkeet, sulut brackets
[] hakasulkeet brackets
{} aaltosulkeet brackets
“” »« lainausmerkit quotation marks
@ ät-merkki / taksamerkki the at sign
# ristikkomerkki / risuaita hash, the number sign
° asteen merkki degree symbol
* asteriksi asteriks
& et-merkki ampersand
% prosenttimerkki percent
§ pykälämerkki section sign

How to say some of these symbols

Suluissa – “between brackets” “in paratheses”

You will find the word “sulut” mainly in two cases: the plural inessive suluissa and the plural illative sulkuihin. Of these two, suluissa refers to something that is between brackets, while sulkuihin refers to the act of putting something between brackets.

  • “Kolmekymmentä miinus [suluissa viisi miinus neljä].”
    Thirty minus [between brackets five minus four]; in numbers: 30 – (5 – 4).
  • Suluissa olevat mitat koskevat ainoastaan…”
    Dimensions in parentheses apply only to
  • Sulkuihin merkityt lyhenteet viittaavat…”
    The abbreviations in parentheses refer to …
  • “Valmistusvuosi on merkittävä sulkuihin.”
    “The year of manufacture should be indicated between brackets.”

Lainausmerkeissä – “in quotations”

You are likely to find lainausmerkit only in the plural inessive form lainausmerkeissä. If, in spoken language, you want to convey the same meaning, you can either use the finger gesture that is also used in English, or go with the phrase niin sanotusti, aka “so to speak”.

  • “Tekstissä esiintyy “status quo” lainausmerkeissä.”
    The text contains the words “status quo” in quotation marks.
  • Lainausmerkeissä olevat tekstit ovat suoria lainauksia.”
    Texts between quotation marks are direct quotations.
  • “Hän on niin sanotusti ammatillisesti työkyvytön.”
    He is, so to speak, “professionally incapacitated“.

Astetta – “degrees”

You will find aste mostly in the singular partitive, because it’s commonly used behind numbers in order to talk about temperatures.

  • “Tänään on kolmekymmentä astetta pakkasta.”
    It’s 30 degrees below zero today.
  • “32 astetta Farenheit on nolla astetta Celsius.”
    32 degrees Farenheit is zero degrees Celsius.
  • “Lämpötila nostetaan korkeintaan 37 asteeseen.”
    The temperature is raised to a maximum of 37 degrees.”
  • “Suora kulma on 90 asteen kulma.”
    A right angle is an angle of 90 degrees.

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Very useful. Most Finnish language sources never even mention punctuation – probably because they don’t want to overwhelm beginners. But even intermediate level sources have neglected this topic. Thanks.