Partitive plural

Basic rules

When the ending is -a?

The partitive ending is -a, when the root ends with a single vowel. You get the root from genitive by removing the last n.

katto -> katon -> kattoja
katu -> kadun -> katuja


You drop the last e or i:

nainen -> naisen -> naisia
kysymys -> kysymyksen -> kysymyksiä
vuosi -> vuoden -> vuosia
uusi -> uusien -> uusia

When the ending is -ta?

The partitive ending is ta, when the root ends with 2 vowels. You drop the first vowel and add i + ta.

maa -> maan -> maita
työ -> työn -> töitä
olut -> oluen -> oluita


There are some long words, which are exceptions.

Ending is -a

opettaja -> opettajia
kääntäjä -> kääntäjiä
satama -> satamia
työtön -> työttömiä

ending is -ta

opiskelija -> opiskelijoita
tarjoilija -> tarjoilijoita
ikkuna -> ikkunoita
ravintola -> ravintoloita

Some examples of words where both are possible:

hotelli -> hotelleja / hotelleita
seteli -> setelejä / seteleitä
naapuri -> naapureja / naapureita

When to use plural partitive

The basic meaning of plural partitive is "indefinite amount of numerous things", for example: "Syön piirakoita" / "I'm eating some pies".

To express the object

Partitive, singular or plural, is used typically with the object of the sentence.

Opiskelija lukee kirjaa.
A student is reading a book.
Opiskelijat lukevat kirjoja.
Students are reading (some) books.
Muista ostaa maitoa.
Remember to buy (some) milk.
Muista ostaa perunoita.
Remember to buy (some) potatoes.

Also genitive ("n-object") is a possible case. See the difference between the different kinds of objects:

To express the subject in an existential sentence

Existential sentence can be used to express where things are (or are not) or possession (there is - sentence in English).

Torilla on ihmisiä.
There are (some) people on the market square.
Kirjastossa on opiskelijoita.
There are (some) students in the library.

More about the existential sentence.

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