Finnish for busy people

The Months – Kuukaudet

This article has a very narrow focus; it only deals with the months of the year. If you’ve just started learning Finnish, you should focus on part 1 and 2 of this page and postpone learning the other expressions until a little later.

If you’ve advanced far enough, you may also want to learn more about other expressions of time, you can do so on our overview page of expressions of time. You should also check out our page on questions of time (eg. Kuinka kauan? Mihin mennessä? Moneltako?). We also have separate pages about the clock, the months and the years.

1. January – In January

Below, you can find both the basic form of the months and the inessive form (-ssa), which is used to express that something happens in or during a month. Notice in the table below that the months do not start with a capital letter in Finnish!

Finnish English Finnish English
tammikuu January tammikuussa in January
helmikuu February helmikuussa in February
maaliskuu March maaliskuussa in March
huhtikuu April huhtikuussa in April
toukokuu May toukokuussa in May
kesäkuu June kesäkuussa in June
heinäkuu July heinäkuussa in July
elokuu August elokuussa in August
syyskuu September syyskuussa in September
lokakuu October lokakuussa in October
marraskuu November marraskuussa in November
joulukuu December joulukuussa in December

Most of the names of the months actually mean something in Finnish. Some of the words that these months are based on aren’t used at all anymore in present-day Finnish, but other are still clearly recognizable. For example, kesäkuu literally means “summer moon” and joulukuu means “christmas moon”. As this is the internet, I don’t know how long this source will be online, but the names of the months are explained nicely on the Finteresting blog.

2. From January – Until January

If you want to express a timespan by saying during which month something began and when it ended, you can use the elative (-sta) and the illative (mihin) for this purpose. This way, you can express, for example, that you’re working from January until June (Olen töissä tammikuusta kesäkuuhun).

Finnish English Finnish English
tammikuusta from January tammikuuhun until January
helmikuusta from February helmikuuhun until February
maaliskuusta from March maaliskuuhun until March
huhtikuusta from April huhtikuuhun until April
toukokuusta from May toukokuuhun until May
kesäkuusta from June kesäkuuhun until June
heinäkuusta from July heinäkuuhun until July
elokuusta from August elokuuhun until August
syyskuusta from September syyskuuhun until September
lokakuusta from October lokakuuhun until October
marraskuusta from November marraskuuhun until November
joulukuusta from December joulukuuhun until December

3. Using Adverbs: Starting from January

In addition to being able to express between which months something takes place, we can use the forms above also in combination with certain adverbs. The words “lähtien” and “alkaen” can be used to express the starting month of the action, in combination with the mistä-form. Likewise, the word “asti” can be used to express the last month of the period, in combination with the mihin-form. Lastly, you can use the word “mennessä” to express by when (by what month) something has to be finished.

Finnish English
FROM
Olen lomalla kesäkuusta alkaen
I’m on vacation starting from June.
Tammikuusta alkaen työvuorot pitenevät.
Starting from January shifts will get longer.
Maaliskuusta lähtien työskentelen osa-aikaisena. I’m working half-time starting from March.
Elokuusta lähtien bussit kulkee harvemmin.
Starting from August the buses ride more rarely.
UNTIL
Olen lomalla syyskuuhun asti. I’m on vacation until September.
Aurinko paistaa lokakuuhun asti . The sun will shine until October.
BY
Laina täytyy maksaa takaisin elokuuhun mennessä. The loan has to be paid back by August.
Joulukuuhun mennessä tiedetään vastaukset. By December we will know the answers.

4. Kuussa: Last Month – Next month

It is often also useful to be able to express that something will take place next month. For these kind of sentences, we use “tässä kuussa”, “viime kuussa” and “ensi kuussa”. Please note that it is not viime kuukausi or viime kuukaudessa. Learners of Finnish make a lot of mistakes with this.

The form “kuussa” is also used to say how often (how many times) something happens during a month (once a month, twice a month, etc).

Finnish English
Missä kuussa talvi alkaa?
During what month does winter start?
Matkustin viime kuussa Tallinnaan.
I traveled to Tallinn last month.
Muutan ensi kuussa Helsinkiin. I’m moving to Helsinki next month.
Tässä kuussa on 28 päivää.
In this month there are 28 days.
Käyn siskoni luona kerran kuussa.
I visit my sister once a month.
Käyn isän haudalla kaksi kertaa kuussa.
I visit my father’s grave two times a month.
Näen painajaisia suunnilleen kolme kertaa kuussa.
I have nightmares about three times a month.

5. Kuukausi Sitten – Kuukauden Päästä

Next, let’s take a look at how to express that something happened a month ago or will happen a month from now. Both of these constructions are very different from each other.

Sitten” refers to the past, and will be located behind the time span in the sentence. When somethiung happened a month ago, you will say “kuukausi sitten”. Please be careful to avoid saying “yksi kuukausi sitten”, because the “yksi” is clear from the form already. For two, three, four months, you will use the partitive, because that’s the form you use after a number.

Päästä” and “mennessä” refer to the future and will also be located behind the time span in the sentence. However, these two words are postpositions (look at 2.3. on that page), which means that the time span will be inflected in the genetive case. Again, avoid using “yksi” when saying “kuukauden päästä” or “kuukauden kuluttua”. When you’re using a larger number, you will have to inflect that number in the genetive with these two postpoisitions.

Finnish English
Past
Synnytin vauvani kuukausi sitten. I gave birth to our baby a month ago.
Aloitin kurssin kaksi kuukautta sitten. I started the course two months ago.
Future
Vauvani syntyy kuukauden päästä. My baby will be born in a month.
Kurssini alkaa kahden kuukauden päästä. My course starts in two months’ time.
Kuukauden kuluttua järvissä voi taas uida. A month from now you can swim in the lakes again.
Kolmen kuukauden kuluttua syksy alkaa taas. In three months’ time autumn will start again.

6. Some Random Sentences

What follows are just some random sentences using the things you can learn higher up on this page. You could perhaps cover up the Finnish side of the table and try to construct the sentences yourself!

Finnish English
Tammikuu on lempikuukauteni. January is my favorite month.
Missä kuussa olet syntynyt? In what month were you born?
Olen syntynyt helmikuussa. I was born in February.
Syön lihaa kerran kuussa. I eat month once a month.
Maaliskuuhun asti voi vielä sataa lunta. It can still snow until March.
Vauvani syntyi kaksi kuukautta sitten. My baby was born two months ago.
Olen yrittänyt laihtua huhtikuusta lähtien. I’ve been trying to lose weight starting from April.
Odotan toukokuuhun asti. I will wait until May.
Aloitin opinnot kuukausi sitten. I started my studies a month ago.
Haluan palata kotimaahani kuukauden päästä. I want to return to my home country in a month.
Syksy kestää syyskuusta joulukuuhun. Autumn lasts from September until December.
Joulukuussa satoi paljon lunta. It snowed a lot in December.
Kokous on viides lokakuuta. The meeting is on the fifth of October.

That’s it for the months for now! You can learn more expressions of time (ajanilmaukset) elsewhere on this website!

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