Where does finna come from?
Finna, sometimes pronounced or spelled as finta or fitna, is a shortening of the expression fixing to, much as gonna is a shortening of going to.
Fixing to has a long history in Southern American English, and its sense of “getting ready to” is evidenced as early as the 1700s, where fixing meant “to intend,” “arrange,” or “make preparations.” By the mid-1800s, the verb was settling into the phrase fixing to, widening in meaning from just “preparing to,” to mean “going to,” “intending to,” or “getting ready to” do something. It’s still used like this today in some Southern dialects.
Finna emerged from fixing to in African American English and is recorded in hip-hop lyrics in the late 1980s. For example, N.W.A.’s 1987 “3 The Hard Way” features the line “I finna kick this shit, alright!” and King Tee’s 1998 “Act a Fool” includes “I’m finna act a fool.”
Who uses finna?
Although finna and gonna are similar in meaning, they have subtle differences. According to one linguistic description, finna is more immediate, and, unlike gonna, can’t be used to indicate something in the distant future. Instead, finna refers only to intent that’s going to happen in the near future. The meaning is a little bit more similar to bouta, similarly contracted from about to. Finna can also be also negated, so you can say “I’m not finna fight with you.” In keeping with African American English grammar, finna is also often used without auxiliary verbs, e.g., You finna have fun at the party.
Be mindful that finna is a valid feature of African American English. Just because finna is not used in a formal register does not mean it is grammatically incorrect. Also be aware that the use of finna, while widespread in popular hip-hop culture since the 1990s, can come across as patronizing, insensitive, or appropriative when used by people who are not part of African American speech communities.
“Ill give credit when its due, but not finna applaud a fish for swimming.”
@ChynaGotFans Twitter (April 15, 2017)
“im tellin yall liam finna drop music when we all sleeping watch lmao”
verseziam Tumblr (February 5, 2017)
“Finna check my ends, finna get this BenzI”
Scarface, “On My Grind,” Balls and My Word (2003)