Asking questions

In this article you will learn how to ask two kind of questions.

Yes/No -questions with ko-suffix

Every sentence can be transformed into question by using -ko-particle (remember the vowel harmony). These questions can be answered only yes or no.

examples of questions
Tarja Halonen on Suomen presidentti. -> Onko Tarja Halonen Suomen presidentti?
Tarja Halonen is President of Finland. -> Is Tarja Halonen President of Finland?
Pihalla on auto. -> Onko pihalla auto?
There's a car on the yard. - > Is there a car on the yard?

Note, that you can make various kinds of questions very easily, by adding the particle after the element you inquire after:

examples of questions
Onko teillä auto?
Do you have a car?
Teillä on auto?
Are you the one who has the car?
Autoko teillä on?
Is it the car what you have? (not e.g bicycle)?

Because the word order is very free in Finnish, you can put the words in almost any order (it's the -ko-particle which tells this is a question, not the word order like in English) but normally you start with the word which has the -ko-particle.

Questions with question words

You get more questions by using question words. These are called wh-questions, because in English these pronouns start with "wh", such as "what", "where" or "why". (In Finnish, most of these words start with "m".)

Mitä hän syö? Hän syö leipää.
What is he/she eating? He/she is eating bread.

Here you replace the unknown element (the thing you inquire) with an appropriate pronoun:

Mitä hän syö? / Kuka syö leipää?
What is he eating?´/ Who is eating bread?

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