Appendix:Finnish possessive suffixes

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Finnish has a system of possessive suffixes. There are five distinct suffixes, depending on the person that is acting as the possessor (note that the third-person singular and third-person plural are not distinguished):

possessor singular plural
1st person -ni (my) -mme (our)
2nd person -si (your (sg)) -nne (your (pl))*
3rd person -nsa, -nsä (his, her, their) (-an, -än, -en)
*) Also the polite form

The suffix attaches to the end of the word, but assimilates a final -n in the genitive and illative forms.


Suffix or pronoun[edit]

The first-person and second-person suffixes can be used not just alongside, but in place of the pronoun, which can be omitted if a possessive suffix is present; thus taloni and minun taloni are synonymous. The case for the third-person suffix is different: if used on its own, it has a reflexive meaning, and because of this, the third-person pronoun cannot be left out in the same way as the first- and second-person ones can:

Kalle luki kirjansa.Kalle read his (own) book. [The book is by or owned by Kalle himself.]
Kalle luki hänen kirjansa.Kalle read his/her book. [The book is not by or owned by Kalle, but some other person mentioned before.]


There are no separate nominative forms for inflected words; both the nominative singular and plural have identical forms to the genitive singular, if a possessive suffix is present. The suffixes themselves make no distinction for the number of the possessed, but can be attached to inflected forms; that is, words can be inflected even if they have a possessive suffix.

Third-person suffix[edit]

The third-person possessive suffix also has a short form -Vn (V represents the previous vowel that is made long), which can only be used after the short vowels a, ä, e, and may not be used in the nominative or genitive cases.

Can the nominal form take the short third-person possessive suffix?
case singular plural
nominative No No No No
genitive No No No No
partitive Possibly* Yes Yes
accusative No No No No
inessive Yes Yes Yes Yes
elative Yes Yes Yes Yes
illative No No No No
adessive Yes Yes Yes Yes
ablative Yes Yes Yes Yes
allative Yes Yes Yes Yes
essive Yes Yes Yes Yes
translative Yes Yes Yes Yes
abessive Yes Yes Yes Yes
instructive No No
comitative Yes Yes
*) If the partitive form does not end in -aa or -ää.

When the short suffix can be used, it usually is.

First-person suffix[edit]

The first-person singular possessive suffix has an alternative version, -in, which is poetic and thus chiefly used in poetry and music (however, its use is restricted; see the entry for more).

Colloquial Finnish[edit]

In colloquial language, possessive suffixes are usually not used, and the possessive structure instead uses the personal pronoun in the genitive case (which is subsequently never omitted). The same applies to e.g. postpositions. The comitative suffix, which requires a possessive suffix, is rarely used in colloquial speech anyway.

(minun) taloni (standard), mun talo (colloquial)my house


Possessive suffixes are not used (except for the reflexive usage of the third-person possessive suffix above) if the complement in the genitive case is not a pronoun (such as if it is a name).


Most nouns can receive a possessive suffix.

(minun) koiranimy dog

In addition, the comitative case requires a possessive suffix for nouns (but not adjectives).

suurine perheineniwith my large family


Adjectives usually do not receive a possessive suffix, even when used with a noun that has a possessive suffix. Thus, as an example, ×keltaiseni autoni is wrong, and should instead be keltainen autoni.

However, if the adjective is used being substantively, i.e. without a modifying noun, it may receive a possessive suffix.

In addition, adjectives used for comparisons of equality (such as ikäinen (of ... age, as old as), pituinen (of ... length, as long as) etc.) can receive a possessive suffix (such as ikäiseni (of my age, the same age as me, as old as me)). In this case, the modified noun does not automatically receive a possessive suffix.


Some adverbs receive a possessive suffix, and out of those most require it. The adverbs that require a possessive suffix are referred to as predicative adverbials (list).

oletko huolissasi?are you worried?

Verb phrases[edit]

In some verb phrases, the object or some other word may receive a possessive suffix. There are two main types:

  • reflexive verbs, in which the possessive suffix corresponds to the person of the verb
  • non-reflexive verbs, in which the possessive suffix corresponds to the object; the possessive suffix is only used if the object is a personal pronoun
    • for first-person and second-person pronouns, the pronoun may be omitted if the possessive suffix is used
    • for third-person pronouns, the third-person pronoun must be included, since a third-person possessive suffix without a person has a reflexive meaning (object = self)


Agent participles require either a possessive suffix or a subject in the genitive case. For other types of participles, possessive suffixes are used as for adjectives.

Verb forms[edit]

Some verb forms, including participles, have special uses for possessive suffixes:

  • present active participle in genitive singular, with verbs like tajuta (to realize), ymmärtää (to understand), pelätä (to fear, be afraid): "(subject) would/will..."
    hän pelkäsi joutuvansa...he/she was afraid he/she would end up (in)...
  • past active participle in genitive singular, with verbs like tajuta (to realize), ymmärtää (to understand), pelätä (to fear, be afraid): "(subject) had done..."
    hän pelkäsi joutuneensa...he/she was afraid he/she had ended up (in)...
  • inessive of active second infinitive: "while/as (subject) is/was..."
    (minun) katsoessani...while/as I was watching...
  • past passive participle in partitive singular: "(subject) having done..."
    (minun) katsottuani...(me) having watched... / after I watched...
  • long first infinitive (requires a suffix): "in order for (subject) to do..."
    tehdäksesiin order for you to do
  • fifth infinitive (requires a suffix): "(subject) was about to..."
    olimme ostamaisillamme senwe were about to buy it
  • (uncommon, optional) instructive of active second infinitive: "while (subject)..."
    minun nähtenibefore my eyes, before me ("as I was watching")


Certain postpositions, such as kanssa or luona, can also receive a possessive suffix.

(sinun) edessäsiin front of you
(meidän) luonammeat our place

With many of them, such as mielestä, it is required when the complement is a personal pronoun:

hänen mielestäänin his/her opinion       minun mielestäniin my opinion

yet henkilön mielestä and jonkun mielestä.


(Cardinal) numerals cannot receive a possessive suffix.

See also[edit]