This article describes the role of English in Finland, where English is gaining ground in a variety of domains. While the spread of English has generated debate, little empirical evidence exists on how English is taken up and put to use by Finns, and the functions it serves in its various contexts of use. This article reports on work conducted in a project English voices in Finnish society: uses and functions of English in the media, education and professional life. Combining insights from sociolinguistics, discourse analysis and pragmatics, the project describes the uses of English in language contact situations across the three key domains covered in the project. The objective of the project is to shed light on the diversity and complexity of language choice, alternation and mixed language uses in contact situations and in texts. The focus is on the linguistic choices made, the forms and patterns used and the social functions they serve, and on how the uses of a language can shape and be shaped by more general social and cultural processes and structures. The article shows how English affects domains in Finnish society in a variety of ways, and how the spread of English in Finland can be conceptualised as a phenomenon which emerges at a local level and flows across domains and contexts.