From Proto-Finnic *älä-, from Proto-Finno-Ugric negative imperative verb stem *älä-. Cognates include Estonian ära and Northern Sami ale.


  • IPA(key): /ˈælæ/, [ˈælæ]
  • IPA(key): /ˈælæˣ/, [ˈælæ(ʔ)]
  • Rhymes: -ælæ
  • Syllabification: ä‧lä



  1. The second-person singular form of the negative verb (negation verb) in imperative, do not/don’t (addressing one person)
    Juokse! -> Älä juokse!
    Run! -> Do not run!

Usage notesEdit

  • Älä is used with the connegative form of the main verb. That form is identical to the second-person singular imperative present form and to the indicative present connegative form.


  • The negation verb has no infinitive form.
  • Indicative, conditional and potential moods use the indicative forms (stem e-), for which the verb is conjugated only in person.
  • In the imperative mood the negation verb has the stem äl-.
  • An archaic optative mood exists and is used mainly in poetry.
person indicative mood imperative mood optative mood
1st sing. en (älkääni, älkäämi) (ällön)
2nd sing. et älä (ällös)
3rd sing. ei älköön (älköön)
1st plur. emme älkäämme (älköömme)
2nd plur. ette älkää (älköötte)
3rd plur. eivät älkööt (älkööt)



  1. don't!, stop!
  2. (the speaker astonished) really?
  3. (colloquial, indicates agreement on the preceding statement) tell me about it! I know, right?
    Elokuva oli ihan hillitön! — Älä!
    The movie was hilarious! — I know!
  4. (colloquial, sarcastic) you don't say, (oh) really?