How do you use the Finnish postpositions päälle, päällä and päältä? Did you know that it comes in different forms, depending on the “direction”? Have a look at the examples in the image below and listen to them by clicking on the audio buttons:

the Finnish postpositions

Listen to the example sentences containing the Finnish words päälle, päällä and päältä

Papukaija lentää telkkarin päälle. = The parrot flies (and lands) on the TV.

Papukaija istuu telkkarin päällä. = The parrot sits / is sitting on top of the TV.

Papukaija putoaa telkkarin päältä. = The parrot falls off (the top of) the TV.

The postpositions päälle, päällä and päältä have a "direction"

What do I mean by “direction”? Think about the movement of the parrot in relation to the top of the TV and how päälle and päältä have this meaning of “to” and “from”.

What about the sentence Papukaija istuu telkkarin päällä? Well, here, the parrot is not moving, so we’re using the “static” version of the postposition, which is päällä.

When you’re hesitating between the three forms, the simplest thing is to start by asking: “Is the item/person/animal/creature/thing moving towards the top of something (päälle), away from it (päältä) or is it already there (päällä)?”

And remember, the word just before päälle/päällä/päältä is in the genitive case (or with a possessive suffix): telkkari —> telkkarin.

Want to learn more about the Finnish genitive?

I have a whole course on the Finnish cases in the Finking Cap Club, my online membership site for Finnish learners all over the world.

More example sentences with päälle, päällä, päältä:

Juostaan tuon mäen päälle! = Let’s run to the top of that hill!

 

Kakun päällä on kymmenen kynttilää. = There are ten candles on the cake.

 

Näen kauas mäen päältä. = I see far from the top of the hill.

Do you know any similar postpositions in Finnish that have different versions depending on their “directions”? I have a good one: takana / taakse / takaa! Read my blog post about the Finnish word takana here.