Uses of English

In this section our aim was to map out how and in what kinds of situations Finns use English in their free time and at work.

The respondents were asked where they used English the most. Most frequently English was used in free time activities (52 %). Only about 9 % did not use English at all.

Survey_place where English is used the most

The place where English is used the most.


The survey also investigated the reasons why Finns use English. Generally speaking these reasons varied a great deal. In average the respondents gave four different reasons for their weekly use of English. As in working life (see below), searching information was the most frequently selected option (39 %).

Survey_uses of English

The percentages of the respondents in all of the population who use English in different types of situations at least once a week.


One of the aims of the survey was to clarify in what kind of situations Finns hear, see, read and write English in their free time. Most often the respondents listened to English talk in subtitled films or TV programmes: 88 % of the respondents reported doing this at least every week. The next figure presents a few situations where English was used by the respondents (the percentages include uses of English occurring at least once a month).

Interestingly, over half of the respondents informed that reading web pages is a typical situation where they needed English; likewise, 26 % of the respondents replied that writing e-mail messages is an activity in which they needed English at least once a month. Overall, these findings confirm that the internet is increasingly a communicative setting in which Finns need to operate in English, too.

Survey_uses of English in free time

Use of English in free time. The percentages of using English in different types of situations at least every month.


Those respondents who were actively working at the time of the survey were also asked about the work tasks in which they used English. 46 % of them replied that they used English in general at work at least every week and that most often they used it for searching information (34 %). It seems that English has a significant role in many work contexts: in many professions, perhaps excluding manual labour, it seems to be an essential skill.

Survey_uses of English at work

The percentages of the respondents who use English at least once a week while working.