Finnish Verbs

Verb types

Verbs are a class of words that are to express actions, processes and conditions. In Finnish, there are six types of verbs (V means any vowel):


In addition Finnish verbs decline according to 4 tenses:


Finnish verbs also have 4 moods: The indicative can be used with all 4 tenses, the conditional and the potential with the present and past, and the imperative only with the present.

The three most important forms

In order to use a verb in Finnish, there are three basic forms of that verb that need to be remembered:

Personal endings for the verbs

In Finnish, there are 6 personal endings for verbs:
Singular  Plural
1st person  -n  -mme 
2nd person  -t  -tte 
3rd person  -V or -ø -vat or -vät 

NB! These endings look like the negative verb forms, minus the e- in the beginning. In addition, when using the 3rd person forms, you must remember vowel harmony.

The negative verb

There is a so-called negative verb in Finnish, which declines according to person and, in effect, removes the affirmative verb's personal suffix, e.g. puhun 'I talk' becomes en puhu 'I don't talk'.

Transitive and intransitive verbs

When using Finnish, proper attention should be paid as to whether and intransitive verb (never takes an object) is needed or a transitive one (may take an object).  For instance, the sentence Johtajamme erotettiin is completely different in meaning from Johtajamme erosi.  In the first one, the infinitive is erottaa, and the manager was dismissed (he was asked to leave), whereas in the second one the infinitive form is erota and he quit (he left on his own).  To somewhat facilitate this, I have put up a chart comparing the two.

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