Tonttu on piilossa ruukun takana

The Finnish word for behind can be confusing. Firstly, it isn’t a preposition, it’s a postposition, which means it occurs after the noun (the noun is in the genitive). Secondly, it changes according to the direction in which the person/item is moving. The shy little elf will show you how to use the words taakse, takana and takaa. Listening practice included!


Tonttu menee ruukun taakse.

The elf is going behind the flower pot.


Tonttu on ruukun takana.

The elf is behind the flower pot.


Tonttu tulee ruukun takaa.

The elf comes “from behind the flower pot”.


The opposite of takana is edessä, Finnish for “in front of”.

ruukun eteen (”to) – ruukun edessä – ruukun edestä (”from”)

I know, it makes no sense when you compare takana and edessä...

You can practise with the sentences below (scroll down for the key).


dictation key

1. Minä istun pitkän miehen takana.

2. Kirja putosi television taakse.

3. Auto tuli STOP-merkin takaa.

4. Tavataan koulun edessä.

5. Mene pois edestä!

6. Minä laitan kengät oven eteen.


translation key

1. I'm sitting behind a tall man.

2. The book fell behind the TV.

3. The car came from behind a STOP sign.

4. Let's meet in front of the school.

5. Get out of my way!

6. I'm putting the shoes in front of the door.