mitä on/mikä on

Discussion in 'Suomi (Finnish)' started by Vitalore, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. Vitalore Senior Member

    Portuguese - Brazil
    How come both of these can mean "What is cancer?"? How can I know which one to use when asking what something is?
    Thanks.
     
  2. Finland Senior Member

    Finland
    finnois
    Hello!

    In simplified terms, "Mitä on syöpä?" is a question that could be answered with a longer explanation of the causes and consequences of cancer, whereas "Mikä on syöpä?" could be answered: "Syöpä on sairaus." The mikä question requires as its answer a definition, whereas the mitä question requires an explanation.

    However, in different contexts, it may be a bit more complicated than this.

    HTH
    S
     

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