Writing in Easy Finnish

Texts can be written either directly in Easy Finnish or existing standard language texts can be adapted to Easy Language. Guidelines for Easy Finnish have been developed since the 1980s. They are based on extensive practical experience, international Easy Language guidelines and research. Easy Finnish has also been adapted to various text types. For example, there are separate guidelines for writing non-fiction and literature and for media. The most essential guidelines for writing Easy Finnish are listed below.

The guidelines for Easy Finnish texts have been divided under three main categories:

  • looking at a text in its entirety and considering its readers
  • words
  • structures.

More detailed guidelines on our Finnish-language pages.

Looking at a text in its entirety and considering its readers

A writer of Easy Finnish has to pay attention to how the text will be constructed as a whole. The writer has to consider, for example, how much information the text contains and whether the perspective is appropriate for the reader. The writer also has to consider if any essential information is missing from the Easy Language text or if it leaves too much for the reader to conclude.

  • Write by looking at the text from the reader’s point of view. In Easy Language, it is often a good idea to address the reader directly (send the form, reply to the inquiry) if suitable for the text type.
  • Use language that is respectful to the reader and appropriate for the reader’s age level.
  • Leave out all unnecessary information that the reader does not need for understanding the matter. However, you should not leave out details that make the text more vivid.
  • Be mindful not to introduce textual gaps. Textual gaps may result from the writer assuming that the reader is aware of or is able to deduce something that is not directly mentioned in the text.
  • Describe only one important matter per paragraph and discuss one subject matter per chapter.
  • Use a heading that matches the content. Pace the text by adding subheadings. Use subheadings for shorter texts as well.
  • Be consistent, do not suddenly jump from one matter to another.

Designing the contents and entity of the text to best serve the reader is often the hardest part of writing in an Easy Language.


Words are usually the first thing in a text that catch the attention of the reader. Finnish words can be very long, and compounds consisting of several words are used a lot compared to many other languages. Long words, paired with the Finnish inflectional system, can make reading very difficult for a person who needs Easy Language. A writer of Easy Language texts also needs to keep in mind that the reader’s vocabulary is not as broad as it is with readers of standard language texts.

For Easy Finnish:

  • Use commonly known everyday words that are short and have a concrete meaning.
  • Avoid difficult words and concepts. Difficult words include abstract and descriptive words, for example.
  • If you must use a difficult concept, explain it.
  • Use words in their most common meaning.

An example of a difficult standard language word that you should consider carefully before using and explain if using:

Equal suffrage = Equal suffrage means that all Finnish people have the same right to vote in elections 

An example of a word that can be replaced with a more common and easier word:

early education unit (official) -> daycare center (colloquial) -> daycare


The Finnish inflection system contains forms that can be difficult for users of Easy Language. Difficult word constructions are usually less commonly used in colloquial language. Even the common inflections can cause difficulties because they may change the substems. Vocabulary structures are further complicated by combinations of different inflected forms and suffixes and affixes with the changes they produce in the word stem. In Easy Language, these should be used with consideration and broken into separate words if possible.

Example of a difficult word structure in standard Finnish:

Joulutontuillekohan? ≈ Maybe for the elves of Santa Claus?
Menemmeköhän? ≈ I wonder if we will go?

Besides the inflected forms, the writer of easy text has to pay attention to the structure and length of clauses and sentences and to the coherence of the text.

For Easy Finnish:

  • Use short clauses and sentences.
  • Discuss one matter in one sentence.
  • When forming sentences, include an active subject that does something.
  • Use the passive tense only when the subject is unknown or irrelevant.

Influence of text genre

In Finland, efforts have been made to develop the guidelines to take into account the tasks and purpose of different types of texts more carefully. Therefore, the guidelines emphasize different aspects and even differ from each other partly depending on what type of text the writer intends to produce. The book Selkokirjoittajan tekstilajit (Kulkki-Nieminen & Leskelä 2015, in Finnish) describes the impacts of text genre on how Easy Finnish text is written.

Read more about guidelines for writing easy-to-read text (in Finnish).

Overview of theoretical literature on easy-to-read language (in Finnish).