Think in Finnish


The concept of a grammatical gender does not exist in Finnish. In Finnish there is no masculine, feminine, or neuter article, such as el or la (Spanish), or der, die, or das (German), nor do any nouns or adjectives undergo gender changes in Finnish. Also, the Finnish word hän means she, he, or they (singular). For example:

Hän meni pankkiin … means more than one thing:

  • She went to the bank …
  • He went to the bank …
  • They (singular) went to the bank …


For certain terms, the suffix or ending -tar / -tär1 is used to create the female counterpart of a person. For example, kuningas (king) has the counterpart term kuningatar (queen). In modern Finnish and aside from the terms kuningatar and tytär (daughter), it is uncommon to use the -tar / -tär ending; if you use this suffix, you will likely sound old-fashioned.

  1. To understand why the ending has two versions, see vowel harmony. ↩︎

Last updated on 20 Apr 2019

© 2019 Ursula Kallio