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Inessive case

Inessive case (abbreviated INE; from Latin inesse "to be in or at") is a locative grammatical case. This case carries the basic meaning of "in": for example, "in the house" is "talo·ssa" in Finnish, "maja·s" in Estonian, "куд·са" (kud·sa) in Moksha, "etxea·n" in Basque, "nam·e" in Lithuanian, "sāt·ā" in Latgalian and "ház·ban" in Hungarian.

In Finnish the inessive case is typically formed by adding "ssa/ssä". Estonian adds "s" to the genitive stem. In Moksha, "са" (sa) is added. In Hungarian, the suffix "ban/ben" is most commonly used for inessive case, although many others, such as "on/en/ön" and others are also used, especially with cities.

In the Finnish language, the inessive case is considered the first (in Estonian the second) of the six locative cases, which correspond to locational prepositions in English. The remaining five cases are:


The Finnish inessive uses the suffix -ssa or -ssä (depending on vowel harmony). It is usually added to nouns and associated adjectives.

It is used in the following ways:

  • Expressing the static state of being in something.
asumme Suomessa = we live in Finland
  • (with time expressions) stating how long something took to be accomplished or done
possible English translations include in, within
kahdessa vuodessa = within 2 years, during 2 years
  • when two things are closely connected
English translations can include on in phrases of this type
Katja Lehtinen puhelimessa = Katja Lehtinen on the phone
sormus on sormessani = the ring is on my finger
  • as an existensial clause with the verb olla (to be), to express possession of objects
sanomalehdessä on 68 sivua = the newspaper has 68 pages
  • with the verb käydä, vierailla
minä käyn baarissa = I visit the bar

Further reading

  • Karlsson, Fred (2018). Finnish - A Comprehensive Grammar. London and New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-1-138-82104-0.
  • Anhava, Jaakko (2015). "Criteria For Case Forms in Finnish and Hungarian Grammars". Helsinki: Finnish Scholarly Journals Online.