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Names of the numbers

While not something that English has an exact counterpart to aside from a five-dollar bill being colloquially known as a fiver or the number 9 being known as niner in radio communications, Finnish has names for the numbers themselves.

These names refer to their respective number itself and not to quantity or order and have a wide array of usage, such as for public transportation, currency, education related grades and tests, age, infrastructure, models of things or bygone years.

Larger numbers follow the typical pattern but can replace their number where possible,:

  • 12 → Kakstoist(a).
  • 27 → Kaksseiska.
  • 43 → Neljäkolmonen.
  • 85 → Kasiviis.
  • 99 → Ysiysi.

Some examples on using the names of numbers are as follows:

  • Similar to the English fiver, a 5€ bill can be called viitonen, a 10€ bill kymppi, a 20€ bill kaksikymppinen, a 100€ bill satanen, and so forth.
  • The number 2 tram is the kakkonen.
  • The number 56 bus is the viiskuutonen.
  • Ordering from a lunch menu at a restaurant can occasionally be done by saying the number of the menu item, for example, nelonen would refer to the 4th item on the lunch menu.

Inflecting names of the numbers

The names of the numbers in Finnish can also be inflected with postpositions. For example:

  • I am on the number 2 (tram, bus) → Minä olen kakkosella.
  • I am waiting for the 135 (tram, bus) → Minä odotan satakolmeviitosta.
  • I got 6 on the test (out of 10) → Minä sain kokeesta kutosen.
  • Can you press number 5 (in an elevator) → Painaisitko viitosta?.

More information about the names of the numbers can be found from the article The Names of the Numbers in Finnish(Opens in new window) by Uusikielemme.