The Passive Present Participle

The passive present participle (tehtävä, luettava, sanottava) can be called the -TAVA-partisiippi or the passiivin ensimmäinen partisiippi in Finnish. This is an advanced grammar topic. If you’re a beginner, you should search for something easier on this website! There is plenty to find!

Table of Contents
  1. What are Participles?
  2. The Use of the Passive Present Participle
    1. As an adjective denoting a current or future action
    2. As an adjective denoting a possibility
    3. As an adjective denoting a requirement
    4. In sentences expressing necessity
    5. As a noun that expresses what is happening to someone
    6. In fixed phrases
    7. In more advanced sentence constructions
  3. The Formation of the Passive Present Participle
  4. The Inflection of the Passive Present Participle

1. What are Participles?

Participles are verbal adjectives which can be formed from all verbs. Like ordinary adjectives, they are declined in all cases and agree with the noun which the qualify. They can be in active and passive form, and have an ’agent’ participle. On this page you find just the passive present participle.

2. The Use of the Passive Present Participle

2.1. As an adjective denoting a current or future action

When the passive is used as an adjective modifying a noun, it can mean that something is being done to the noun. Since Finnish doesn’t have a future tense, this kind of sentence can also mean that the action will only happen in the future.

English doesn’t have a similar form, so the translations turn out a little long, as you can see below in the examples.

When the participle modifies a noun that is inflected in a certain case, the participle will also inflect in that same case. This is the case in the third example below.

  • ”[Käännettävä kirja] on pitkä ja vaikea.”
    • Translation #1: The [book that is being translated] is long and difficult.
    • Translation #2: The [book that will be translated] is long and difficult.
  • ”[Asuntoon asennettava palohälytin] vilkkuu.”
    • Translation #1: The [fire alarm that is being installed] blinks.
    • Translation #2: The [fire alarm that will be installed] blinks.
  • ”Olen asunut [remontoitavassa talossa] kolme vuotta.”
    • Translation #1: I’ve lived [in the building that is being renovated] for three years.
    • Translation #2: I’ve lived [in the building that will be renovated] for three years.

2.2. As an adjective denoting a possibility

The passive present participle is also used to denote that an action can be performed. Notice that the first sentence is identical to the one in 2.1. With the present passive participle you will have to rely on the context to understand which meaning is the correct one in a situation.

  • ”[Käännettävä kirja] on pitkä ja vaikea.”
    • Translation: The [book that can be translated] is long and difficult.
    • Also: ”the translatable book”
  • ”Osaatko tunnistaa [syötävät sienet]?”
    • Translation: Can you recognise the [mushrooms that can be eaten]?
    • Also: ”the eatable mushrooms”
  • ”Se oli ihan [ymmärrettävä virhe].”
    • Translation: That was a [mistake that can be understood].
    • Also: ”an understandable mistake”

2.3. As an adjective denoting a requirement

The passive present participle can also be used to denote that an action has to be done to the noun that is being modified. It expresses that something is required.

Again, the first sentence is the same as in the previous two points. The context will tell you which translation is the correct one.

  • ”[Käännettävä kirja] on pitkä ja vaikea.”
    • Translation: The [book that has to be translated] is long and difficult.
  • ”Minulla on monta [maksettavaa laskua].”
    • Translation: I have a lot of [bills that have to be paid].
  • ”Tämä on [aamulla otettava lääke].”
    • Translation: This is a [medicine that has to be taken in the morning].

2.4. In sentences expressing necessity

There are several options in Finnish to express necessity. The most common is the ”minun täytyy” sentence construction. However, you can also use the present passive participle for the same purpose.

Just like with täytyy, you will be using the genetive case for the subject, combined with the verb olla. The first two examples below demonstrate what this sentence construction will look like.

It’s also possible to not use a subject, because this is a passive form after all. This is the case for the two last examples below. For these, you’re not saying who has to perform the action.

  • ”[Minun on maksettava] laskut.”
    • Same as: [Minun täytyy maksaa] laskut.
    • Translation: I have to pay the bills.
  • ”[Annan on opiskeltava] kotona, jos hän haluaa edistyä.
    • Same as: [Annan pitää opiskella] kotona, jos hän haluaa edistyä.
    • Translation: Anna has to study, if she wants to advance.
  • ”Asiat [on hoidettava].”
    • Translation: Things have to be taken care of.
  • ”Bussissa [on oltava] hiljaa.”
    • Translation: One has to be quite in the bus.

2.5. In fixed phrases

There are some fixed words and phrases that contain the present passive participle. First, there is a group of phrases that use the participle as a noun. In these phrases, the participle appears in the partitive case.

In addition, there are some fossilized participles that fulfill the function of an adjective.

Finnish English
Nouns + partitive
Onko teillä kysyttävää? Do you have anything to ask?
Haluan jotain syötävää. I want something to eat.
Tuo jotain juotavaa! Bring something to drink!
Minulla on paljon kerrottavaa. I have a lot to tell (you).
Annalla on aina paljon sanottavaa. Anna always has a lot to say.
Onko täällä mitään luettavaa? Is there anything to read here?
Adjectives
Kaija on erittäin luotettava ystävä. Kaija’s a very trustworthy friend.
Työnantaja ei halua palkata epäluotettavia työntekijöitä. The employer doesn’t want to employ untrustworthy employees.
Tuo on naurettava ajatus. That’s a ridiculous idea.
Se on valitettava tosiasia. It’s an unfortunate fact.

2.6. As a noun expressing what is happening to someone

The passive present participle can also be used as a noun rather than as an adjective modifying its main word. Usually these come as a pair, where both the person doing the action and the person the action is affecting side by side.

Finnish English
Auttajat ja autettavat tekevät yhteistyötä. The helpers and [the people being helped] work together.
Se on hyvä sekä hoitajalle että hoidettavalle. It’s good for both the caretaker and [the person being taken care of].
Tutkija ja tutkittava tutustuvat toisiinsa. The examiner and the examinee get to know each other.
Haastattelija ja haastateltava keskustelevat. The interviewer and the interviewee are chatting.
Palvelija ja palveltava tulevat toimiin keskenään. The servant and [the person being served] get along with each other.

2.7. In more advanced sentence contructions

The passive present participle can also be used in a variety of participle sentence constructions. We have a separate article on those:

  • Auto on korjattavissa.
  • Auto on korjattavana.
  • Auto viedään korjattavaksi.

2. The Formation of the Passive Present Participle

The passive present participle’s marker is -(t)tava/-(t)tävä. You add it to the weak stem for each verbtype. You can use the same rules as for the passive imperfect here. This is especially handy because the past passive will reveal whether you need one or two t’s.

Verbtype 1
Verb Present Passive Past Passive Passive Present Participle
nukkua nukutaan nukuttiin nukuttava
leipoa leivotaan leivottiin leivottava
Verbtype 2
Verb Present Passive Past Passive Passive Present Participle
imuroida imuroidaan imuroitiin imuroitava
tupakoida tupakoidaan tupakoitiin tupakoitava
Verbtype 3
Verb Present Passive Past Passive Passive Present Participle
kävellä kävellään käveltiin käveltävä
tulla tullaan tultiin tultava
Verbtype 4
Verb Present Passive Past Passive Passive Present Participle
maata maataan maatiin maatava
kadota kadotaan kadottiin kadottava
Verbtype 5
Verb Present Passive Past Passive Passive Present Participle
häiritä häiritään häirittiin häirittävä
tarvita tarvitaan tarvittiin tarvittava

3. The Inflection of the Passive Present Participle

The participles can be inflected in all the Finnish cases.

Case Singular Plural Example
Nominative juotava juotavat Tilasin meille juotavat.
Genetive (-n) juotavan juotavien Otan juotavan lääkkeen.
Partitive (-a) juotavaa juotavia Haluatko jotain juotavaa?
Illative (mihin) juotavaan juotaviin Juotaviin lääkkeisiin lisätään makuaineita.
Inessive (missä) juotavassa juotavissa Tämä litku ei ole juotavissa.
Elative (mistä) juotavasta juotavista Nautin tästä juotavasta jogurtista.
Allative (mille) juotavalle juotaville Jääkaapissa ei ole tilaa juotaville.
Adessive (millä) juotavalla juotavilla Hoida flunssaa kuumalla juotavalla.
Ablative (miltä) juotavalta juotavilta Vaikuttaako se neste juotavalta?
Translative (-ksi) juotavaksi juotaviksi Se on tarkoitettu juotavaksi.
Essive (-na) juotavana juotavina En pidä tätä jogurttia helposti juotavana.

 

2 Comments

  • Hei,

    Kiitos paljon hyödyllisestä sivusta.

    En usko että MIELLYTTÄVÄ kuuluu tähän. Sita vastoin se kuuluu aktiivi partisiippi muotoon (-VA), kun se tulee verbista MIELLYTTÄ >> He miellyttävät
    ja sen passivimuoto tulee olla Miellytetään >> Miellytettiin >> Miellytettävä

    • Olet täysin oikeassa! Korvasin sen kohdan parilla muulla esimerkillä.

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