Kadulla on auto. There is a car in the street.
Nainen on talossa. The woman is in the house.
Talossa on nainen. There is a woman in the house.
Kirja ilmestyi. The book was published.
Ilmestyi kirja. A book was published.
Pullo on kaapissa. The bottle is in the cupboard.
Kaapissa on pullo. There is a bottle in the cupboard.
Nouns at the beginning of a sentence are generally interpreted as definite, i.e.
to be known in the sense that the hearer (reader) knows what they refer to.
Sentences wher both subject and object are non-divisible are often
ambiguous as regards definiteness:
Mies osti kirjan. A/the man bought a/the book.
Nainen hankki auton. A/the woman got a/the car.
If the word order is inverted, with the object at the beginning and the subject
at the end, the object is interpreted as definite (known) and the subject as
Kirjan osti mies. A man bought the book./
The book was bought by a man.
Singular non-divisible predicate nouns (complements) are always in the
Pekka on mies. Pekka is a man.
Tuula on nainen. Tuula is a woman.
Tämä on pöytä. This is a table.
Tuo on auto. That is a car.
Auto tuo on! That’s a car! (with emphasis)
Paavo on opettaja. Paavo is a teacher.
Singular predicative adjectives are also in the nominative if the subject is a
Auto on sininen. The car is blue.
(1) Singular, non-divisible subject nouns appear in the nominative
(a) definite meaning at the beginning of the sentence
(b) indefinite meaning at the end of the sentence.
66 Finnish: An Essential Grammar
Tuo vene on kallis. That boat is expensive.
Kalle on pitkä. Kalle is tall.
Ajatuksesi oli hyvä. Your idea was good.
Kone on likainen. The machine is dirty.
Auto/t ovat kadulla. The cars are in the street.
Kadulla ovat auto/t. In the street are the cars!
Miehe/t tulivat kotiin. The men came home.
Kirja/t maksavat 10 mk. The books cost 10 marks.
Ministeri/t lähtivät lomalle. The ministers went on holiday.
Pekka osti kirja/t. Pekka bought the books.
Leena näki laiva/t. Leena saw the ships.
Syön nämä omena/t. I’ll eat these apples.
Ruoka maistuu hyvältä. (The) food tastes good.
Kahvi on kupissa. The coffee is in the cup.
Liha maksaa paljon. (The) meat is expensive.
Aika loppuu. (The) time is up.
Osta olut! (cf. §37, §38) Buy the beer!
Kahvi juotiin. (cf. §37, §38) The coffee was drunk.
Tämä on Pekan maito. This is Pekka’s milk.
Maito on valkoista. (The) milk is white.
Ilma on kirkas. The air is clear.
Poika potkii palloa. A/the boy kicks a/the ball. (4a)
Pojat potkivat palloa. (The) boys kick a/the ball. (4a)
Kahvi on hyvää. (The) coffee is good. (4b)
Mikään ei ole mahdotonta. Nothing is impossible. (4b)