Suomen kieli ulkomaalaisille/Sisältö/Imperatiivi

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Imperatiivi tai käskymuoto The imperative mood

The imperative mood is a verb form used when giving commands, orders or exhortations. As you cannot give commands to your self or to people not present, the imperative is usually heard in the second person singular or the second person plural. The singular used if addressing one person, and the plural form if addressing several people. Remember, however, that you will use the third person plural form when addressing one person who you would normal use the formal "te" form pronoun rather than the familial "sinä" form.

Because in English the plural is the same as the verb, whether in singular or plural, the Finnish imperative is not easy to learn in all its forms. The translations use modern vernacular English "you guys" or just "guys", or sometimes "you lot" to indicate that we are addressing more than one person. Always remembering of course that you could also be politely addressing one person!

TALKING TO ONE PERSON (2nd person singular)[edit]

Do it ![edit]

The form is simply the inflecton stem of the first person form less the -n (i.e. the first person singular stem)

Lukea to read > Minä luen > lue-n > Lue! Read!

Syödä to eat > Minä syön > syö-n > syö! Eat!

Antaa to give > Minä annan > anna-n > Anna! Give!

Mennä to go > Minä menen > mene-n > mene! Go!

Further examples

Olla hyvä to be good > Minä olen hyvää > ole-n > ole hyvä! be good!

Depending on the situation, the little phrase ole hyvä be good can mean please or you're welcome

You are at a friend's house and her mother invites you to try some cake.

  • Äiti: Ota kakkua!
  • Sinä: Kiitos.
  • Äiti: Ole hyvä!
    • Mum: Take some cake!
    • You: Thanks.
    • Mum: Your welcome!

Suomea Ole Hyvä! Finnish Please! (The title of well known book on Finnish for Foreigners)


Osta se heti! buy it now!

Tulepa tänne! come here!

  • the optional -pa suffix in this example softens the harshness of the command and makes it more polite

Don't do it ![edit]

The negative imperative when talking to one person is the same as the positive imperative except that its preceeded by the word Älä don't!

Älä syö nyt! Don't eat now!

Älä mene sinne! Don't go there!

Älä osta tätä! Don't buy this one!

Älä osta tuota! Don't buy that one!


Further examples

Älä häiritse minua! Don't disturb me!

Älä kiroile! Don't swear!

TALKING TO 2 OR MORE PEOPLE (2nd person plural)[edit]

... Or to one person who you are not on first name terms with

Do it guys ![edit]

This is formed from stem of first infinitive plus -kaa or -kää

This stem is not the same as we used in the previous section. The first infintive is the dictionary form less the 1st infinitive marker. The first infinitive marker for Type 1 verbs is the final -a or -ä, for Type 2 verbs the final -da or -dä, and for Type 3 verbs the final -na, -nä, -la, -lä, -ra, -rä, -ta, or -tä. Verb types 4, 5 and 6 also preserve the t in the stem, so follow type 1 verbs by just dropping the final -a or -ä.

Auttaa > Autta-a > Auttakaa äitiä! Help mummy guys!

Syödä > Syö-dä > Syökää ruokanne! Eat your food guys!

Mennä > Men-nä > Menkää ulos! Go outside guys!

Olla hyvä > Ol-la hyvä > Olkaa hyvää! Be good guys!

Pestä > Pes-tä > Peskää hampaat! Wash teeth guys!

(Note: in Finnish you wash your teeth rather than brush them). Its not normal to add "your" to this phrase as most people actually wash their own teeth and not habitually other peoples!)

Palata > Palat-a > Palatkaa ennen klo. 10 Get back before 10 you guys.

Häiritä > Häirit-ä > Häiritkää äitiäsi, ei minua Disturb your Mom, guys, not me!


Lisää esimerkkejä

Ope sanoi kaikille "Kirjoittakaa kolme esimerkkia ennen ensi tuntia!"

Teach(er) said to everyone "Write the examples before the next lesson!

Äiti huusi meille "Lähettäkää minulle postikortti!"

Mum shouted to us "Send me a postcard, you lot!"

Don't do it guys ![edit]

This is formed by the word Älkää don't followed by the verb's 1st infinitive stem (see previous section) followed by the suffix -ko or -kö

Auttaa > autta-a > Älkää auttako Don't help, you guys!

Panna > pan-na > Älkää panko omaa viinaa Do not brew your own spirits, guys!


Lisä esimerkkejä:

Älkää kysy minulta! Don't ask me, guys !

Älkää men sinne! Don't go there, guys !

Älkää uskoko sanaakaan, siitä mitä hän sanoo! Don't believe a single word he says, guys!