Here’s a very simple list of the Finnish cases with example sentences. I am not going into details here because as fascinating the Finnish case system is, it’s also complex. So, let’s keep it simple for now. I’ll probably write more posts on the cases later.

For the first 12 cases, I’ve used the following words as examples:

talo

asema

päivä

In case you’re wondering why I used different words and not talo the whole way through, it’s because I wanted the examples to work as stand-alone sentences, without the need for much context. Had I tried to use the same word in every case, the sentences likely would have been a little weird.

For the last 3 cases, which are rare, I just used words and expressions that are fairly common.

The Finnish cases

The common Finnish cases

The nominative

A red house
Tämä talo on punainen.

The nominative singular: talo = a house

Tämä talo on punainen. = This house is red.

The nominative plural: talot = houses

Nämä talot ovat punaisia. = These houses are red.

Six red houses.
Nämä talot ovat punaisia.

The genitive

A house with a car in front of it. A person is inside, reading a book.
Talon omistaja on kotona.

The genitive singular: talon

Talon omistaja on kotona. = The owner of the house is at home.

The genitive plural: talojen

Talojen omistaja on rikas. = The owner of the houses is rich.

A lady holding two small houses in her hands.
Talojen omistaja on rikas.

The accusative

This case is actually a weird one. Examples:

  • Ostetaan tämä talo! = Let’s buy this house!
    (I know, it looks like the nominative. Some grammar books call this “accusative object”. Or “accusative without ending”.)
  • Minä haluan ostaa tämän talon. = I want to buy this house.
    (Yep, it looks exactly like the genitive here. And some modern grammar books call it the genitive. Some call it the N-accusative.)

 

What every grammar book does agree on, in terms of terminology, is that if we’re dealing with a personal pronoun, there is no question about the term accusative: it’s the form with the -t at the end: minut, sinut, hänet, meidät, teidät, heidät.

I know… it’s confusing. But the language or the structure of the language itself hasn’t changed over the years, just the terminology has. Mari from Ask a Finnish Teacher wrote a blog post about this, in case you’d like to read a simplified explanation. I’ll keep my post simple for now.

(If you’re really into the topic, have a look at my blog post about the difference between the Finnish partitive and the accusative)

The partitive

A red house with a happy man standing in front of it.
Minä rakastan tätä taloa.

The partitive singular: taloa

Minä rakastan tätä taloa. = I love this house.

 

The partitive plural: taloja

Minä rakastan näitä taloja. = I love these houses.

Five beautiful houses and a lady pointing at them.
Minä rakastan näitä taloja.

The inessive

A family of four standing in front of a house.
Kuka talossa asuu?

The inessive singular: talossa

Kuka talossa asuu? = Who lives in the house?

 

The inessive plural: taloissa

Kaikissa taloissa asuu opiskelijoita. = There are students living in all of the houses.

Eight apartment buildings.
Kaikissa taloissa asuu opiskelijoita.

The elative

A couple admiring a house with a realtor.
Minä pidän tästä talosta.

The elative singular: talosta

Minä pidän tästä talosta. = I like this house.

 

The elative plural: taloista

Minä pidän näistä taloista. = I like these houses.

Five beautiful houses and a lady pointing at them.
Minä pidän näistä taloista.

The illative

The illative singular: taloon

Me muutamme tuohon taloon. = We’re moving into that house.

 

The illative plural: taloihin

Noihin taloihin muutti paljon opiskelijoita. = A lot of students moved into those houses.

This is where I’ll change the example word… simply because then it’s easier to give you example sentences that make sense.

The adessive

The adessive singular: asemalla

Minä odotan sinua asemalla. = I’ll wait for you at the station.

 

The adessive plural: asemilla

Juna pysähtyy kaikilla asemilla. = The train stop at all of the stations.

The ablative

The ablative singular: asemalta

Juna lähti asemalta ajoissa. = The train left the station on time.

The ablative plural: asemilta

Juna lähti kaikilta asemilta ajoissa. = The train left all the stations on time.

The allative

The allative singular: asemalle

Minä vien sinut asemalle.

 

The allative plural: asemille

Juna saapui kaikille asemille ajoissa. = The train arrived at all the stations on time.

The translative

The translative singular: päiväksi

Minä lähden päiväksi Tallinnaan. = I’m going to Tallinn for a/the day.

 

The translative plural: päiviksi

Minulla on tarpeeksi ruokaa päiviksi. = I have enough food for days.

The essive

The essive singular: päivänä

Hiljaisena päivänä minulla on aikaa selata somea. = On a quiet day, I have time to scroll the social media.

 

The essive plural: päivinä

Hiljaisina päivinä minulla on aikaa syödä hyvin. = On quiet days, I have time to eat well.

The rare Finnish cases

And now, let’s look at the Finnish cases that are less common. Usually, these cases appear in fixed expressions, so they differ from the other cases I mentioned above.

The abessive

The abessive singular: poikkeuksetta (nominative: poikkeus) = without exception

Kalle tulee poikkeuksetta ajoissa töihin. = Kalle comes to work on time without exception.

The abessive plural: (poikkeuksitta = without exceptions – note that this form is barely used)

Poikkeus doesn’t work that well in the abessive plural. I’d rather ise another example for the plural abessive that is more fixed:

ongelmitta (nominative ongelma) = without problems

Ongelmitta is, technically, the abessive plural of ongelma, and it’s usually used as it is here (instead of the singular).

The abessive is typically used with the MA-infinitive in sentences like this:

En voinut olla nauramatta. = I couldn’t help but laugh.

Like I said, the abessive is rare. It’s good to recognize the ending (-tta), but knowing how to form the abessive is no longer that relevant.

The instructive

Roughly speaking, the instructive answers the question “in what way?”. It is almost always used in the plural.

Here’s an example (using the words oma and silmä):

Mitä? Sinä osaat lumilautailla? Uskon vasta kun näen sen omin silmin!

= What? You know how to snowboard? I’ll believe it when I see it with my own eyes!

The comitative

With the comitative, you’ll need to consider the possessive suffix.

Let’s use the word laukku in the comitative plural.

Olli suuttui ja lähti laukkuineen. = Olli got angry and left with his bags (or more to the tone of “took his bags and left”).

My other blog posts related to the Finnish cases:

Do you want to learn the Finnish case system once and for all?

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