Finnish for busy people

Survival Finnish – Basic Phrases

Are you just visiting Finland? Do you just need enough Finnish to get through the very basic phrases? Here are some survival Finnish words and phases!

Finnish English
Ongelmia Problems
varo! watch out!
apua! help!
tulipalo! fire!
varas! thief!
poliisi police
ambulanssi ambulance
vaara danger
seis stop
huomio! attention!
rikki broken
epäkunnossa out of order
kielletty forbidden (pic)
suljettu closed
eksynyt lost
mene pois! go away!
en ymmärrä I don’t understand
Kohtelias Polite
hei / moi hello
anteeksi sorry
kyllä / joo yes (link)
ei no (link)
kiitos thank you
ei kiitos no thank you
hetkinen just a moment
ole hyvä here you are
onneksi olkoon congratulations
hauska tutustua nice to meet you
Finnish English
Kylttejä Signs
myydään for sale
vuokrataan for rent
varattu reserved
vapaa free
ilmainen free of charge (pic)
sisään entrance “in” (pic)
ulos exit “out”
varauloskäynti emergency exit
ei sisäänkäyntiä no entry
ale sales
hissi elevator (pic)
rullaportaat escalator
taksi taxi
avoinna ma-pe open Mon-Fri
suljettu la-su closed Sat-Sun
vedä pull
työnnä push
loppuunmyynti final sales
loppuunmyyty sold out
vuoronumero queue number
WC N ladies bathroom
WC M men’s bathroom
tervetuloa welcome
läpikulku kielletty no thoroughfare
Finnish English
Kysymyksiä Questions
Missä hotelli Sokos on? Where is the Sokos hotel?
Missä Itsenäisyydenkatu on? Where is the street Itsenäisyydenkatu?
Missä sairaala on? Where is the hospital?
Missä vessa on? Where is the toilet?
Missä naisten vessa on? Where is the ladies toilet?
Missä miesten vessa on? Where is the men’s toilet?
Entä muuta? (in the store) Do you want anything else?
Kuittia? (in the store) Do you want the receipt?
Mitä saisi olla? (in the store) What would you like?
Minkämaalainen sinä olet? What nationality are you?
Puhutko englantia? Do you speak English?
Voisitko puhua englantia? Could you speak English?
Puhuuko kukaan täällä englantia? Does anyone speak English here?
Voisitko kirjoittaa sen ylös? Could you write that down?
Voisitko toistaa? Could you please repeat that?
Voisitko auttaa minua? Could you help me?
Mitä kuuluu? How are you?
Oletko kunnossa? Are you okay?
Onko tämä paikka vapaa? Is this spot free?
Missä saan tupakoida? Where am I allowed to smoke?
Saisinko vettä? Could I get some water?
Paljonko se maksaa? How much does it cost?

Are there any other survival Finnish phrases you’d like to learn about? Let me know in the comments! Perhaps you could check out some verb basic Finnish loanwords out next.

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RW Yang

this website is really good. Thanks for your efforts 🙂


Exit and entrance …is this right???

Inge (admin)

Sisään expresses a movement towards “in” (so it points at the entrance) and ulos expresses a movement towards “out” (so it points at the exit). Picture.

You can also come across the words sisäänkäynti and uloskäynti.


The translation for läpikulku kielletty is “no trespassing”?

Inge (admin)

Hmmm.. It’s close but not exactly… I suppose you could use that as a translation, too. However, as I understand it, “trespassing” means ENTERING a place. The Finnish word läpikulku means “passing THROUGH a place”, for example when you cross a building’s yard as a shortcut rather than going around the proper way. People don’t like it when you cross their property to get to the next street, so they put up these signs. You often find them near apartment buildings.

“No thoroughfare” is the actual translation. “No trespassing” is probably easier for people to understand though and the meaning is similar.

Aleksei Pomelov

My survival Finnish started from “Anteeksi, en puhu suomea”. Solved almost all cases in Finland but the YKI-testi 🙂
I’ve come across this resource while just looking for question words collected in one place and found so nicely structured vocabularies and grammar articles. Thank you so much for your work!