Wednesday, August 2, 2017

How to use 'että'

A common challenge with the Finnish että is that students often use it the same way as the English that. That means that you either leave it out when you should use it, use it when you shouldn't, or that you use it when you should use joka instead. In short, it should go like this:

Että as a conjunction:
Don't use että:
Use joka:
Mä tiedän, että sä olet oikeassa. - I know that you are right.
Mun mielestä sä olet oikeassa. - In my opinion, you are right.
Kalle on se mun kaveri, joka on aina oikeassa. - Kalle is that friend of mine who is always right.

More examples with että:

  • Mä tiedän, että sä muutat pian. - I know that you're moving soon.
  • Mä olen sitä mieltä, että tämä on väärin. - I'm of the opinion that this is wrong.
  • Mä ajattelen, että meidän pitäisi mennä. - I think that we should go.
  • Minulle kerrottin, että kokous on peruttu.  - I was told that the meeting is cancelled.
  • kuulin, että pomo on myöhässä. - I heard that the boss is late.
(Notice that sometimes että is left out, for example in song lyrics, but usually it is there.)

Do not use että with these expressions:

Here's when you should use some form of joka instead of että:

  • Minna on se mun kaveri, joka asuu Helsingissä. - Minna is that friend of mine, who lives in Helsinki.
  • Mikko on se mun naapuri, jolla on neljä koiraa. - Mikko is that neighbor of mine who has four dogs.

Notice that joka is different from joku and jokin.

Yes, now that I have something to advertise, I will definitely advertise my easy Finnish books as much as I can.:)


  1. What about 'että' as a conjunction meaning "in order to" (purpose clause)? As a synonym for 'jotta'. It seems quite common.

    1. Can you give me an example of that? I think that 'jotta' is a bit different from 'että'.

  2. Hi Hanna,

    I think Anonymous was refering to this kind of sentence:
    "Olemme suunnitelleet, että tulemme käymään siellä pääsiäisenä, että tekin saatte tavata Aleksein."
    in which the second "että" could be translated as "in order for you to meet Aleksei, too", even if a more natural translation could be "for you to meet Aleksei, too".

    In any case, "että" seems to be used for purpose sometimes. I have little to no exposition to puhekieli, so I have always thought that it was used only in some dialects, but I certainly was wrong since I found this sentence here :

    I hope you can tell us more about this!

    Thanks for your great blog and for your help.

  3. First anonymous poster here – yes this is exactly the kind of usage of että that I'm curious and somewhat confused about. Sentences using että that I would translate as "in order that" or "so that" in English. In anonymous2's example, couldn't one also say "... jotta tekin saatte tavata Aleksein"? (... so that you can get to meet Aleksei too) Or perhaps I've also misunderstood how 'jotta' is used)

  4. Or to take a wiktionary example – "Pidä kännykkä päällä, jotta kuulet kun soitan." Could you also say here "Pidä kännykkä päällä, että kuulet kun soitan."?