Kieliopista: Objekti / About Grammar: the object

I find studying the nitty-gritty of Finnish grammar a nightmare. Reading about grammar rules is just not how I learn a language but without a grasp of Finnish grammar I can’t expect to do well in either the kirjoittaminen or puhuminen parts of the YKI test.

I know I make a LOT of grammatical mistakes when writing and speaking and, with 5 days until the test, it’s probably too late to change my ingrained bad habits…But I’m going to try by looking at objekti, the object, and when and why it takes the partitiivi, akkusatiivi and nominaatiivi / perus muoto (partitive, accusative, nominative or basic) form, something we covered briefly in our prep classes.

The Finnish Teacher blog has a very good and simple explanation (as ever) of objekti here which I have used for my self-teaching/revision along with a 2 page explanation in Finnish provided by Ope.

First you need to know which word in the sentence is the objekti. As the Finnish Teacher (FT) says it “is that which is having something DONE TO IT.” FT’s example sentence is Mies lukee kirjaa. Here kirja (the book) is the objekti as it is being read by mies (the man).

Then you need to decide whether the objekti needs to be in partitiivi, akkusatiivi or nominaatiivi form (it is only ever in these 3 cases).

For example, it’s the kirjoittaminen part of the exam and I want to write in Finnish that “I play guitar.” I know (thanks to FT) that ‘guitar’ is the objekti as it is being played by me. Now I have to decide whether the word ‘guitar’ should be in partitiivi, nominaatiivi or akkusatiivi form. To do this I need to know when each case should be used. Here are the rules for each case:

The objekti is in partitiivi when:

  1. The sentence is negative eg “I haven’t watered the flowers” -> En ole kastellut kukkia
  2. The objekti is an abstract noun, a mass or uncountable noun eg “I drink coffee (uncountable)” -> Minä juon kahvia
  3. The sentence describes an ongoing process / the verb is a process verb which normally needs a partitive object in Finnish eg “I love you” -> Minä rakastan sinua
  4. it comes after a number eg “I waited 3 hours” -> Minä odotin kolme tuntia
  5. When the sentence is talking about a part or some of something eg “I ate a little bit of pizza” -> Söin vähän pizzaa

The objekti is in nominatiivi when:

  1. the sentence is an order, imperative eg “Do the YKI test!” -> Tee YKI testi!
  2. the sentences talks about having to do something eg “I always have to clean” Aina minun pitää sivota
  3. The sentence’s verb is passive eg “One can buy eggs from the market” -> Torilta ostetaan munat (literally from the market can be bought eggs)
  4. the objekti needs to be plural eg “I the read the books” -> Minä luin kirjat

And finally the objekti is in akkusitiivi when:

  1. The sentence is talking about a completed process eg “Dad took care of the boy” -> Isä hoiti poikan 
  2. The object is the whole or all of something eg “I ate the whole cake” -> Minä söin koko kakun

Short version (and aide memoires):

Negative sentence, Ongoing process, Number, object is Uncountable, Partitive verb, part or Some of something (using words vähän or osa) = partitiivi

NON UPS = partitiivi

sentence is about Having to do something, object is Plural, sentence gives an Order, sentence’s verb is Passive.

H POP = nomanaatiivi / perusmuoto

Completed process, objekti is whole or All of something = akkusatiivi

CA = akkusatiivi

FT has a really good series of questions  in Finnish at the bottom of his blog post which you could use as a kind of keilioppikone (grammar machine) where you put your sentence through a series of questions to see which case the objekti should take. I’ll use this on my sentence to decide which case kitara should take:

So, should my sentence be: Minä soitan kitara (nominaatiivi) or Minä soitan kitaran (akkusatiivi) or Minä soitan kitaraa (partitiivi)?

Is ‘soittaa’ is a process verb / is ‘to play’ is an ongoing process? YES! so I need partitiiviMinä soitan kitaraa! Phew!

PS If in doubt, go for partitiivi as there are the most ‘reasons’ for an objekti to take this form. As FT puts it partitiivi voitaa! (Partitiivi wins!) over the other cases.

You can test yourself on choosing the correct case by using FT’s fill in the blanks exercise at the bottom of his post.

I have ‘complete the sentences’ exercises from Ope – titled partitiivi vai akkusatiivi objekti? (although some sentences need nominaatiivi!)- which I will do… Scores:  7/11 or 63%, 10/16 or 62.5%, 9/14 or 64%

So, I still have a way to go to get this right! I think I am still going on instinct rather than these rules! Sometimes I can’t see how the rules apply. Sometimes I correctly think it’s partitiivi but I can’t form the partitive correctly (something else to revise!) I think /hope these rules will be more useful for creating Finnish text ie the kirjoittaminen part of the exam.


Takaisin suomessa ja alle viikko ennen YKI testia! / Back in Finland and less that a week until the YKI test

I just got back home to Joensuu a couple of hours ago and from now until Saturday I hope to be in serious YKI test preparation mode. I have to work Tues, Weds, Thurs but I’m hoping to do some training in the evenings and to use Friday for last minute prep! I also have a Skype lesson booked with Hanna on Wednesday evening to practice for the speaking part of the test. I got some puhuminen practice as soon as I got back to Joensuu as my suitcase didn’t arrive with me. It’s still in Helsinki. So I got to describe the suitcase and give my address and phone number in Finnish to Finnair. If this tilanne comes up in the puhuminen part of the test that’d be great as I’ve now practiced it! 😉 Just before I left for England I got the paper work about the test through from Kansalaisopisto. The test is scheduled to last just under 4 hrs with only on short break (!) There will be two groups. Both start by taking the tekstin ymmärtäminen part of the test then one group does the puheen ymmärtäminen ja puhuminen part whilst the other does  the kirjoittaminen part and vice versa. I don’t mind which group I’m in as for me the tekstin ymmärtäminen is probably gong to be the hardest bit and there’s no choice about doing that later on in the day when I’m ‘warmed up.’ Being in England has meant I haven’t been doing that much prep or practice (see my treenaaminen page for what I’ve beendoing) but I did try to speak a bit of Finnish with M whilst he was with me and with my sister and even teach my parents a few words! As soon as I got on the Finnair plane I switched to Finnish and the on board announcements were a nice test of my puheen ymmärtäminen skills! 😀

Läpäisinkö testin? Ja kirjoittaminen harjoitella / Will I pass the test? And writing practice

With just under 3 weeks to go until the YKI testi I am starting to wonder what my chances are of passing it.

I went back through all the puheen ymmärtäminen and tekstin ymmärtäminen practice papers we did during the prep course and checked my scores. I need 70% to pass.

In puheen ymmärtäminen my average score (from 6 practice papers) was 78% and scores ranged from 93% ( olin liekeissä 😉) to a total fail of 46%. In tekstin ymmärtäminen my scores ranged from 56% to 84% and the average (from 6 papers) was 70% so it looks like i’m heading to fail this part of the test unless the real test is easier than the practice papers we’ve had! As I said in an earlier post I’m at a bit of a loss as to how to improve my reading comprehension in such a short timeframe… I have found a good website for practicing tekstin ymmärtäminen online so I’ll be using that to try to improve although this site only has multiple choice answers and it’s mostly the free text answers which I’m getting wrong.

I just did my kirjoittaminen homework and then got M to check it (as I won’t be in class next week when they go through it). The homework was an opinion piece (mielipideteksti) and I’ll copy out my answer below. As ever this is NOT a ‘perfect’ answer but it is correct grammar and spelling wise, does what is required, and gives some examples of how to express your opinion (marked in green). For more on writing opinion pieces check this post.


Valitse alla olevista aiheista ja kirjoita siitä mielipideteksti. Muista perustella oma mielipiteesi ainakin kolmella eri tavalla. 

Yleiset kulkuvälineet vai oma auto?

Kotiruoka vai valmisruoka?

Minun mielipideeni on, että kotiruoka on parempi kuin valmisruoka.

Vaikka valmisruoka on nopeampi laittaa, minusta kotiruoka on parempi koska se on maistuvampi kuin valmisruoka.

Minun mielestäni kotiruoka on myös tervellisempi ja halvempi kuin valmisruoka.

Kun minulla on kiire tai minä olen väsynytvalmisruoka on kätevampi laitaa kuin valmisruoka mutta usein laitaa kotiruokaa koska minulle on tärkeää että syön hyvin.

Viimeinen oppitunti! / The last lesson!

Yesterday was the last YKI prep lesson for me as I’ll be in England next Friday when the real final lesson is held.

The lesson began with a student teacher asking us to complete a questionnaire for her…on Finnish grammar. We had to select to correct option for each sentence of a paragraph of text. A couple of examples:

Asuin / Olen asunut Suomessa jo neljä vuotta.

Isi soitti / on soitellut eilen.

Each time we had to chose between the perfecki (perfect) and imperfekti (past) tenses. I did this ‘by feel’ – what felt like the right choice to me. If I have ever studied when and how to use perfekti / imperfekti I have no memory of it! The student teacher gave us the answers afterwards and I got about 60-70% correct so I guess my instincts are ok!

I just looked up perfekti and imperfekti on The Finnish Teacher blog which explains the Finnish aikamuodot (tenses) very simply and clearly and shows how to change all verb types into their imperfekti and perfekti forms. If, like me, you struggle with the rules of grammar and/or dislike tackling grammar I really recommend you check this blog out! 

Perfekti (the perfect tense) is used: “when we are talking about something that started in the past and is ongoing or if something happened in the past and is finished but it’s not important when exactly it happened.”

eg (my own) Minä olen lukenut The Finnish Teacher blogia.

Imperfekti (the past tense) is used: “when something happened in the past and it’s finished.” or when you mention a specific time when something happened

eg Minä menin pubiin eilen.

We then had to write explanations of why we had chosen imperfekti / perfekti…in Finnish. It was difficult to express my reasoning (or lack thereof) in Finnish but it did make me stop and think about the answers I had chosen and why I chose them which made it a useful exercise. We then had to write a few sentences (again in Finnish) about our äidinkieli (mother tongue) and how it’s use of tenses differ or is similar to Finnish! Hui!!

We then began the lesson proper by going through the answers to last week’s tekstin ymmärtäminen homework which was based on short uutisia (news) texts and one tiedote (notice). I got 42/50 or 84% 😀 Although I’m pretty sure this was a lot easier than our previous tekstin ymmärtäminen homeworks as the texts were all very short (only 1/4 page each).

Ope then gave us some vinnkiä (tips) about the email writing part of the kirjoittaminen part of the test. These were based on writing emails about attending a Finnish course.

  • You can copy words and sentences from the introduction / instructions for writing the email. For example if the instructions say “Sinä näit ilmoitus lehdissä…” You could begin your email with  “Näin ilmoituksen lehdessä”
  • If the instructions ask you to express your hopes (toiveita) for something you need to use the konditionaali case eg “Toivotaan että…” 
  • If you need to talk about your skills (taidot) or abilities you can write ” X:sen taitoni ovat Y:t” eg “puhumisen taitoni ovat huonot” (my speaking skills are poor)
  • If you want to register for / give notice about something (eg attending Finnish course) you can say “Ilmoittautuisin kursille” or “Haluisin ilmoittautua kursille” Again here you should use konditionaali case.
  • If you can’t attend something you can write “En pääse…koska…”
  • If youhave asked questions in our email you can end it by writing “Odotan vastaustanne. Terveisin, …”

We then did a puheen ymmärtäminen mock exam based on mainoksia (adverts), uutisia (news) and kertomuksia (report or story, in this case it was a guy talking abuot his job) and checked the answers. I scored 33/42 or 78% so I passed 😀

Next week when I am away the class will focus on the puhuminen part of the test especially the quick fire answers and do another listening exam. Therefore I will try to practice the speaking part of the test. There are lots of examples I can use to practice at the bottom of Random Finnish Lessons blog post about verbs you should know for the YKI test.

Viides opitunti ja ajasta / The fifth lesson and about time

As I missed the lesson before the hiihtoloma break I got given 2 tekstin ymmärtäminen papers with answer keys and one fill in the blanks / complete the sentences exercise with answers which the class had had as homework previously. This fill in the blanks asks partitiivi- vai akkusitiiviobjekti? So it is a test of grammar skills (urgh). I will save the pratice papers and the grammar exercises for the time between my lessons ending and the test (2 weeks) wher I’ll be on my own prepping for the test and blogging about it of course!

I also got the answer key for 2 tekstin ymmärtäminen practice papers which we had as homework weeks ago. In these I scored 14/25 or 56% a FAIL and 13.5/20 or 67.5% another FAIL 😦 I do fine on the true/false questions and multiple choice questions – I got 8/8 for one set – but I always fail at the free form answers, usually I just don’t get what they want me to write. This is going to be a hard problem to fix before the test as I think it takes time to improve my reading comprehension, it’s not something, like vocabulary or case endings, which I can memorise or train. I’m open to any advice anyone has how I can try to improve in this area and pass the paper! I’ll be asking the folk at Let’s Learn Finnish Language for their help too.

Right, onto the lesson itself. We started with a pairs exercise, the first time we’ve worked in pairs, which was designed to train us for the ‘2 minute speech’ part of the puhuminen part of the test. We had to tell our pair about the type of house we lived in or the weather and different seasons or rather:

Kerro kodistasi / Kerro mitä ajettelet säästä ja vuodenajoista

We had lots of prompt questions to work through so this was easier than it will be in the test. It also helped to be talking to someone else rather than just onto a tape as we will do in the test. It also helped me that my partner didnät speak English so if either of us needed to explain the meaning of a word to the other we had to do so in Finnish.

After that we did a puheen ymmärtäminen practice paper. I scored 13/16 or 81% on this so this is part of the test I’m more confident about. i liked the listening paper because it was based on everyday announcements for example at a train station, at a shopping centre.

We then did something new looking at a particular set of vocabulary in this case how to arrange to meet and how to talk about time. This should be useful for the puhuminen part of the test. For me talking about time is surprisingly difficult because the numbers need to take different endings. For example you an answer the question

Mihin aikaan sinulle sopii?

in different ways which affect the endings you need for the numbers. For example you could answer:

Minulle sopii…

kahdeksalta / kello kahdeksan (at 8)

kahden jälkeen (after 2,  kaksi -> kahden)

ennen neljää (before 4, neljä -> neljää)

yhdeksään asti (until 9, yhdeksän ->  yhdeksään)

yhden ja kolmen välillä (between 1 and 3, yksi ja kolme -> yhden ja kolmen)

viidelta seitsemään (from 5 until 7, viisi -> viidelta, seitsemän -> seitsemään)

I feel like talking about time is something I should have got down ages ago at beginner level. This is definitely something I need to revise and commit to memory!

We were then given the timetable for a muotimessut and twelve questions which we had to answer using the time expressions above. Two examples:

Mistä mihin messut ovat avoina?

Yhdeksältä kahdeksaan.

Mihin aikaan kilpailun voittaja arvotaan?


For homework I had three formal emails and one opinion piece. I’ll give model answers next time. I also had a reading comprehension paper which I spent 45 of the given 60 minutes on. I’ll let you know my score next week.

Onko tänään suomenkielen oppitunti? / Is there a Finnish lesson today?

In the pub last night my friend who is studying Suomi 1.2 at Kansalaisopisto mentioned that, for her, there is no lesson this week. As I missed last week’s lesson I now didn’t know if I had a lesson today or not.

So, this morning, I clicked onto Kansalaisopisto’s website where I spotted this message:


Talvilomaviikkoa vietetään 2.3.-8.3.2015. Talviloman aikana ei ole opetusta, paitsi jos opetuskerroista on erikseen sovittu. Kansalaisopiston asiakaspalvelu on talvoloman ajan suljettu ja avataan jälleen maanantaina 9.3. klo 10.

Before seeing this I had been planning to call the office. Scary as this would have been I figured it would also have been good puhuminen practice!

I then checked my course enrolment page to see if I could contact ope to see if she and our class were an exception (poikkeus) to the general week-off rule. There were no contact details but the course details do include the following:

Kurssi: 150095 Suomen YKI-harjoittelua keskitasolla 3
Kurssin kesto:  30.01.15 – 27.03.15
Perjantai  17:45 – 19:15
Kevätlukukaudella 8 opetuskertaa 16 tuntia

8 lessons but the course lasts nine week…OK so this must be a week off. Jiipii! I can have a nice evening at home instead!

To compensate for missing out on YKI prep this week I have asked M if he will practice the puhuminen part of the test with me and we have also had ‘Finnish Friday’ today speaking only Finnish…I even threw a tantrum at Prisma in Finnish: “Täällä on liian monta väkeä ja mie en löytää täältä mitään!!

I just grabbed M for some puhuminen practice using the tilanteita (scenarios) we were given in class. We did it like a mock test where I quickly read out the scenario and then answered straight away. M then corrected me. Here are some of the tilanteita we went through. For once these ARE ‘perfect’ as they have been corrected by M.

Ystäväsi soitaa toiselta paikkakunnalta. Hän kysyy, millainen sää on siellä, missä sinä olet. Mitä sanot?

Moi, täällä Joensuussa on pilvinen sää. Entä siellä?

Haluat kutsua ystäväsi käymään sinun luona kylässä. Kerro ystävällesi: million haluat että hän tulee? Miten hän pääsee sinun luokse rautatieasemelta?

Moi, haluaisin että tulet lauantaina. Pääset minun luo rautatieasemalta niin helposti: mennä sillan yli ja sitten vasemalla on minun taloni.

Ystäväsi soitaa ja pyytää sinua illalla ulos. Sinulla on muuta tekemistä. Vasta kieltävästi ja kerro, miksi et voi lähteä (keksi itse syy)

Anteeksi, mutta en voi lähteä koska minulla on muuta tekemistä. Minun pitää mennä suomenkieli kursille.

Olet lähdössä perheesi kanssa lomalle ensi viikolla. Soitat rautatieasemalle. Kysy junien aikatauluja. Päätä itse mihin ja minä päivänä matkustatte. 

Terve. Haluisin matkustaa Helsinkiin ensi tiistaina. Mihin aikaan junia lähtee?

I used the words and phrases in the scenarios in my answers and kept the answers clear and simple. We were advised to do this by ope. M’s opinion on how I did: “Se meni OK”