Finnish for busy people

Translative Verb Rections – Translatiivi Rektiot

The translative case‘s ending is -ksi. It’s used to express a change in state or a transition. This form appears in a wide range of sentence constructions. In this article, we take a closer look at verb rections that require the translative.

Many of these verbs have also other uses without the translative. I have decided to list the most common one of these along with the translative. However, I’m not covering all of them for each verb. The focus of this article is on the translative after all. The book Tarkista tästä is worth acquiring if you want a more complete view of verb rections.

Some verbs require two rections. These verbs require both an object and the translative case. For some sentences the object specifically has appear in the partitive form, for others it’s a regular total object. If a verb requires more than just the translative, I have marked it both in the text and in the examples.

Table of Contents
  1. Changes in physical world
    1. Muuttua -ksi (to change into a)
    2. Vaihtua -ksi (to change into)
    3. Hajota -ksi (to break down into)
    4. Yhdistyä -ksi (to merge into a)
    5. Maalata + object + -ksi (to paint a color)
    6. Rikkoa + object + -ksi (to break into a)
    7. Kääntää + object + -ksi (to translate to)
  2. Changes in personal development
    1. Valmistua -ksi (to graduate as)
    2. Opiskella -ksi (to study to be a)
    3. Kehittyä -ksi (to develop into a)
    4. Tulla -ksi (to become a)
    5. Kasvaa -ksi (to grow into a)
    6. Erikoistua -ksi (to specialize to become a)
    7. Kouluttaa + object + -ksi (to train to be a)
    8. Sopia -ksi (to be suitable to be a)
    9. Päästä -ksi (to achieve becoming a)
  3. Changes in status or position
    1. Ryhtyä/Ruveta -ksi (to become a)
    2. Äänestää + object + -ksi (to vote for someone to be a)
    3. Ehdottaa + object + -ksi (to propose as a)
    4. Pyytää + object + -ksi (to ask to be a)
    5. Valita + object + -ksi (to choose/elect as)
    6. Palkata + object + -ksi (to hire as a)
    7. Yletä -ksi (to advance into a position)
    8. Ylentää + object + -ksi (to promote someone to be a)
    9. Alentaa + object + -ksi (to demote someone to be a)
    10. Määrätä + object + -ksi (to appoint someone as a)
    11. Julistaa + object + -ksi (to declare as)
  4. Changes in mental image or perception of something
    1. Osoittautua -ksi (to turn out to be a)
    2. Leimautua -ksi (to be labeled as a)
    3. Tunnustautua –ksi (to admit to being a)
    4. Paljastua -ksi (to be revealed as a)
    5. Naamioitua -ksi (to masquerade as)
    6. Luulla + partitive + -ksi (to think of something as a)
    7. Tulkita + object + -ksi (to interpret as)
  5. Changes in attitude towards something
    1. Sanoa + partitive + -ksi (to call something a)
    2. Nimittää + object + -ksi (to appoint someone as a)
    3. Kutsua + partitive + -ksi (to invite someone as a)
    4. Kehua + partitive + -ksi (to praise someone for being a)
    5. Haukkua + partitive + -ksi (to bad-mouth someone to be a)
    6. Väittää + partitive + -ksi (to claim something is a)
    7. Epäillä + partitive + -ksi (to suspect of being a)
    8. Syyttää + partitive + -ksi (to accuse of being a)
    9. Todeta + object + -ksi (to declare to be a)

1. Changes in the physical world

1.1. Muuttua + translative (to change into a)

The verb muuttua implies that the change happens without the subject actively seeking the change. The change can be both permanent and temporary, but is generally gradual.

Finnish English
Jää muuttuu keväällä vedeksi. The ice turns into water in spring.
Prinssi muuttui sammakoksi. The prince became a frog.
Kaikki muuttui helpommaksi. Everything became easier.
Unelmat muuttuivat todeksi. Dreams became reality.
Mies muuttui väkivaltaiseksi. The man became aggressive.

1.2. Vaihtua + translative (to switch into)

The verb vaihtua also means “to change, to be switched into”. This is often the case for things that change from one into another on a semi-regular basis (eg. prices change, the seasons change). The verb vaihtua generally means that we can’t swap things back right away (#1).

Often, you will find vaihtua in sentences that don’t indicate the end result of the change (#2) we’re talking about. The change can be indicated in later sentences, but often it’s not included in the same sentence. If it is included, it is very common to appear in the mihin-form (the illative case) (#3).

# Finnish English
1 Kevät vaihtuu kesäksi. Spring changes into summer.
1 Marraskuu vaihtui joulukuuksi. November became December.
1 Helle vaihtui lumisateeksi. The heat wave turned into a snowstorm.
2 Hinta vaihtuu vuosittain. The price changes each year.
2 Firman tilinumero vaihtuu. The company’s account number changes.
3 Arki vaihtui lukukseen. Everyday life changed into luxury.
3 Loma vaihtui arkeen. Vacation changed into everyday life.

1.3. Hajota + translative (to break down into)

The verb hajota can come with a translative result of the breakage (#1). We use the translative because there is a change happening from one whole thing into multiple pieces. However, you will often come across this verb without it mentioning the result of the breakage (#2). It just broke.

Other verbs that are used in the exact same way are “to explode” (#3), “to shatter” (#4), “to be crushed” (#5). Even “to go” (#6) can be used in this context.

# Finnish English
1 Tuoli hajosi palasiksi. The chair broke into pieces.
1 Maljakko hajosi pirstaleiksi. The vase shattered to slivers.
1 Ikkuna hajosi sirpaleiksi. The window broke into shards.
2 Auto hajosi heti. The car broke down immediately.
2 Kaikki hajoaa. Everything falls apart.
3 Ikkuna räjähti sirpaileksi. The window exploded into shards.
4 Kristallilamppu pirstoutui palasiksi. The crystal lamp shattered into pieces.
5 Mopo murskautui kappaleiksi. The moped got crushed into pieces.
6 Tabletti meni palasiksi. The tablet went to pieces.

1.4. Yhdistyä + translative (to merge into something)

The verb yhdistyä generally requires the translative in sentences with multiple subjects: the two subjects merge into something together (#1). There’s a change happening from two things into one. When the subject of the sentence is in the singular, we typically use the mihin-form or kanssa for what it merges into (#2).

# Finnish English
1 Ne yhdistyivät uudeksi kanavaksi. They merged into a new channel.
1 Ne yhdistyivät yhdeksi yhtiöksi. They merged into one company.
2 Pieni kunta yhdistyy isompaan. The small municipality merges with a bigger one.
2 Myymälä yhdistyy toiseen. The store is merged into another.
2 X yhdistyi Y:n kanssa. X was merged with Y.

1.5. Maalata + object + translative

The verbs maalata “to paint”, värjäytyä “to be stained”, värjätä “to dye”, värjäyttää “to have dyed” and värittää “to color” all express a change in color. We use the translative to express the end-result of the color change.

Finnish English
Maalasin yhden seinän punaiseksi. I painted one wall red.
Hänen täytyy maalata auto vihreäksi. She has to paint the car red.
Hän värjäsi kankaan mustaksi. She dyed the fabric black.
Värjäytin tukkani mustaksi. I had my hair dyed black.
Väritin kuvan violetiksi. I colored the picture purple.

1.6. Rikkoa + object + translative (to break into)

There are many verbs that can be used to express that something is broken into something (#1), be it by cutting it (#2), chopping it (#3), tearing it (#4), shooting it (#5) or smashing it (#6). I will be including all these verbs in the following table due to the similar nature of them. The translative is used here because the object of these verbs changes its state from being whole to being “not-whole”.

# Finnish English
1 Lasi rikottiin säpäleiksi. The window was broken to smithereens.
2 Leikkaan tomaatit paloiksi. I cut the tomatoes into pieces.
2 Paloittelen lihan reiluiksi kuutioiksi. I cut the meat into large cubes.
3 Pilkon sipulin pieniksi. I chop the onion into small pieces.
3 Viipaloi kurkut ohuiksi viipaleiksi. Slice the cucumbers into thin slices.
4 Revin paperin palasiksi. I tore the paper into pieces.
5 Ikkuna ammuttiin säpäleiksi. The window was shot to smithereens.
2 Hakkasin koivun haloiksi. I hacked the birch tree into logs.
2 Hän löi mailansa säpäleiksi. He smashed his club to pieces.

1.7. Kääntää + object + translative (to translate to)

The verb kääntää has several meanings, which might become the topic of a new article at some point. Below, you’ll only find kääntää as it is used with the translative to mean “to translate” from one language to another.

Finnish English
Käänsin tekstin englanniksi Googlen avulla. I translated a text to English with the help of Google.
Käännä tämä lause viroksi! Translate this sentence to Estonian!

2. Changes in personal development

2.1. Valmistua + translative (to graduate as)

The translative is used with the verb valmistua because semantically it means a change from one state to another: first you are a student, then you’re not anymore (#1). You can also use the verb valmistua with the mistä-form (the elative case) when you express where you graduate from (#2).

# Finnish English
1 Hän valmistui insinööriksi. He graduated as an engineer.
2 Valmistuin insinööriksi yliopistosta. I graduated as an engineer from university.
1 Valmistun pian opettajaksi. I will soon graduate as a teacher.
1 Hän valmistui ylioppilaaksi. He became a high school graduate.
2 Valmistuin Sammon lukiosta. I graduated from Sammon lukio.
2 Hän valmistui poliisikoulusta. She graduated from the police school.

2.2. Opiskella + translative (to study to be a)

The translative is used when you’re talking about the goal (the profession) of your studies: what you are studying to be (#1).The verb opiskella can also be a partitive verb when you’re referring to the subject you’re studying (#2).

# Finnish English
1 Hän opiskelee toimittajaksi. He’s studying to be a journalist.
1 Opiskeletko sinä lähihoitajaksi? Are you studying to be a nurse?
2 Opiskelen kemiaa ja fysiikkaa. I study chemistry and physics.
2 Hän opiskelee lääketiedettä. She’s studying medicine.

2.3. Kehittyä + translative (to develop into a)

Kehittyä can be used to express a development into something. You can use this verb in two ways. First, you can use the translative to express what we’re developing into (#1). A change is happening and, thus, we use the translative. Second, you can use it with the mistä-form (the elative case) of the word we’re developing from (#2).

# Finnish English
1 Tyttö kehittyi kauniiksi naiseksi. The girl developed into a beautiful woman.
2 Tytöstä kehittyi kaunis nainen. The girl developed into a beautiful woman.
1 Hän kehittyi hyväksi laulajaksi. He developed into a good singer.
2 Hänestä kehittyi hyvä laulaja. He developed into a good singer.

2.4. Tulla + translative (to become a)

The verb tulla has many meanings of course. It can be used with the translative case in the same way as kehittyä (see above). The same phrase can be said both using the translative (#1) and the mistä-form (the elative case) (#2). In addition, there is the participle construction “tulla tehneeksi/tehdyksi”, which will be discussed elsewhere.

# Finnish English
1 Hän tuli äidiksi 39-vuotiaana. She became a mother at 39 years old.
2 Hänestä tuli äiti 39-vuotiaana. She became a mother at 39 years old.
1 Hän tuli kodittomaksi. She became homeless.
2 Hänestä tuli koditon. She became homeless.
1 Me tulimme kuuluisiksi. We became famous.
2 Meistä tuli kuuluisia. We became famous.

2.5. Kasvaa + translative (to grow into a)

The verb kasvaa means “to grow into”. We can use both the mistä-form (the elative case) to express the beginning of whatever’s growing (#1), and the translative case to express what it is growing into (#2).

In addition, it’s very common to use the verb kasvaa to describe what kind of an environment someone or something grows in (#3). In that case, we will use the missä-form.

# Finnish English
1 Pienestä ideasta kasvoi suuri ilmiö. A big phenomenon grew from a small idea.
1 Taimesta kasvaa uusi puu. A new tree grows from the sapling.
2 Ongelma kasvoi suureksi. The problem grew big.
2 Se kasvoi tärkeäksi kauppakaupungiksi. It grew into an important trading city.
2 Tammi voi kasvaa 40 metrin pituiseksi. Oak can grow up to 40 meters long.
3 Hän kasvoi luterilaisessa perheessä. She grew up in a Lutheran family.

2.6. Erikoistua + translative (to specialize to become a)

The verb erikoistua is often used by people studying medicine to say that they want to specialize to be a certain kind of doctor (#1). Perhaps more common, you can use the mihin-form (the inessive case) to describe the field you are specializing in (#2).

# Finnish English
1 Haluan erikoistua kirurgiksi. I want to specialize to be a surgeon.
2 Haluan erikoistua neurokirurgiaan. I want to specialize in neurosurgery.
1 Hän erikoistui lastenlääkäriksi. He specialized to become a pediatrician.
2 Hän erikoistui lastentauteihin. He specialized in pediatric diseases.
1 Hän erikoistui synnytyslääkäriksi. He specialized to be an obstetrician.
2 Hän erikoistui naistentauteihin. He specialized in gynecology.

2.7. Kouluttaa + object + translative (to train to be a)

The verb kouluttaa means “to train someone”. The translative case is used to express what someone is being trained to become (#1). This fits perfectly with the translative meaning of change. In addition to the translative, we can also use the mihin-form to express what someone is being trained to do (#2)

# Finnish English
1 Pekka koulutettiin poliisiksi. Pekka was trained as a police officer.
1 Hänet koulutettiin muurariksi. He was trained as a bricklayer
1 He kouluttivat minut osastopäälliköksi. They trained me as a department manager.
2 Heidät koulutetaan uusiin tehtäviinsä. They will be trained for their new duties.
2 He kouluttivat minut tappamaan. They trained me to kill.

2.8. Sopia + translative (to be suitable to be a)

In combination with the translative, sopia is used to mean “to be suitable/fit for something”. We use the translative because we’re seeing is someone is fit to become something (#1). It also has different uses, eg. “to agree” or “to fit together”. These other usages don’t come with the translative. One of the most common uses by far is with the mihin-form (#2). Those will be the topic of a future article for sure!

# Finnish English
1 Aino sopii lentoemännäksi. Aino is suitable to be a stewardess.
1 Suklaakakku ei sovi jälkiruoaksi. Chocolate cake is not a suitable dessert.
1 Hän ei sovi poliitikoksi. He’s not fit to be a politician.
2 Hän ei sovi joukkoon. He doesn’t fit into the group.
2 Hän sopii asiakaspalvelutyöhön. She is suitable for customer service.

2.9. Päästä + translative (to achieve becoming a)

The verb päästä has many meaning. You can use it to express that you become something (#1). In these cases, it implies that achieving is required effort. When you “pääset” with the translative, it’s a reason to celebrate!

The verb päästä does have multiple other uses (for example with the mihin form #2), which will be the topic of a different article eventually.

# Finnish English
1 Pääsin opettajaksi yliopistoon. I became a teacher at the university.
1 Pääsin ylioppilaaksi vuonna 2017. I became a graduate in the year 2017.
2 Pääsin yliopistoon opiskelemaan lääketiedettä! I got into university to study medicine!

3. Changes in status or position

3.1. Ryhtyä/ruveta + translative (to become a)

The verbs ryhtyä and ruveta are generally translated as “to start doing” and in this context they most commonly appear with the mihin-form of a verb (read more here) or activity (#1).

However, they can be used to express that you “start to be something” aka “become something” (#2). For example, you can start your own business, which means you’re “starting to be” a businessman.

Both of these verbs have the connotation that it’s a clear change which you start yourself. Of the two, ryhtyä is slightly more common with the translative, and ruveta slightly more common with the mihin-form.

# Finnish English
2 Ryhdyin yrittäjäksi vuonna 2018. I became an entrepreneur in the year 2018.
2 Haluan ryhtyä tubettajaksi. I want to become a youtuber.
2 En löydä töitä, joten rupean muusikoksi! I can’t find a job, so I will become a singer!
2 Valmistuttuaan hän rupesi opettajaksi. She became a teacher when she had graduated.
1 Ryhdyin heti aamulla töihin. I started working right away in the morning.
1 Rupesimme suunnittelemaan reissua. We started to plan a trip.

3.2. Äänestää + object + translative (to vote for someone to be a)

When using äänestää “to vote” with the translative, we’re voting someone (the object of the sentence) for a certain position (which will appear in the translative because there is a change happening in the position of the person) (#1).

The verb äänestää “to vote” can also be used with the partitive: Äänestän presidenttiä, which refers to the act of voting for someone (#2). You can also just say in which elections you voted with the missä-form (#3).

# Finnish English
1 Hänet äänestettiin parhaaksi urheilijaksi. He was voted to be the best sportsman.
1 Ministeri äänestettiin presidentiksi. The minister was voted to be president.
2 Äänestitkö Urho Kekkosta? Did you vote for Urho Kekkonen?
2 Miksi äänestäisin Victoriaa? Why would I vote for Victoria?
3 Äänestin kunnallisvaaleissa. I voted in the municipal elections.
4 En äänestänyt presidenttivaaleissa. I didn’t vote in the presidential elections.

3.3. Ehdottaa + object + translative (to propose as a)

The translative meaning of change is fairly clear with the verb ehdottaa: you’re proposing someone or something for a specific role or purpose (#1). While you can use a noun as the role for this verb, more often than not, you will see this verb used in combination with the translative of the TAVA-participle (the passive present participle) (#2).

# Finnish English
1 Maria ehdotettiin puheenjohtajaksi. Mari was proposed as chair.
1 Minut ehdotettiin komitean jäseneksi. I was proposed as a member for the commitee.
2 Määräystä on ehdotettu poistettavaksi. The provision has been proposed for deletion.
2 Uudistusta ehdotettiin toteuttavaksi. It was proposed to implement the reform.

3.4. Pyytää + object + translative (to ask to be a)

You can use the verb pyytää to express that you want someone to fulfill a certain role (#1). You can also use it to ask someone to do something (#2) or come somewhere (#3).

# Finnish English
1 Hän pyysi minut kampanjapäällikoksi. He asked me to be the campaign manager.
1 Minut pyydettiin kummiksi. I was asked to be a godparent.
2 Minut pyydettiin esiintymään. I was asked to perform.
3 Hän pyysi minut pukuhuoneeseen. He invited me into the dressing room.

3.5. Valita + object + translative (to elect as)

The verb valita means “to choose”, which will sometimes be translated to English as “to elect” when we’re using it in combination with the translative case. We’re using this case because there’s a change in the position of the person being chosen.

# Finnish English
1 Hänet valittiin puheenjohtajaksi. He was elected chairman.
1 Valitsin hänet kapteeniksi. I chose him as captain.
1 En valitsisi häntä Miss Universumiksi. I wouldn’t choose her as Miss Universe.
1 Valitse minut valmentajaksesi! Choose me as your coach!

3.6. Palkata+ object + translative (to hire someone as a)

When you’re hiring someone to a certain position, you will use the translative case (#1). If you’re hiring someone to do something (#2), you need the maan-form of the verb (the third infinitive‘s illative case)

# Finnish English
1 Hänet palkattiin äidin murhaajaksi. He was hired as mom’s killer.
1 Minut palkattiin sijaiseksi. I was hired as a substitute.
1 Hän palkkasi minut henkivartijakseen. She hired me as her bodyguard.
2 Hän palkkasi minut piilottamaan jälkiään. He hired me to hide his tracks.

3.7. Yletä + translative (to advance into a position)

The verb yletä refers to gaining additional status through eg. a raise or a promotion. The translative is used to mark the new title you gain through your promotion (#1). You’re becoming a different thing, if you will, which warrants the use of the translative.

Alternatively, we can use the mihin-form (the illative case) to express the kind of work you will be doing (#2).

# Finnish English
1 Hän yleni merivoimien kapteeniksi. He was promoted to captain of the Navy.
1 Hän yleni vuoropäälliköksi. He was promoted to shift manager.
2 Hän yleni kirjanpitäjän tehtäviin. He was promoted to an accountant position.
2 Hän yleni esimiestehtäviin. He was promoted to a managerial position.

3.8. Ylentää + object + translative (to promote someone to)

The verb ylentää means “to promote”. It’s the transitive version of the verb yletä above. You will use the translative case to express what someone is being promoted to, because there’s a change happening in their station. This verb is extremely common with military promotion, but I’ve tried to list other promotions below.

Finnish English
Presidentti ylensi kadetit luutnanteiksi. The president promoted the cadets to lieutenants.
Minut ylennettiin johtajaksi vuonna 2001. I was promoted to leader in the year 2001.
Dostojevski ylennettiin päälliköksi. Dostojevski was promoted to chief.
Kirjailija ylennettiin apulaisprofessoriksi. The author was promoted to Assistant Professor.

3.9. Alentaa + object + translative (to demote someone to)

The verb alentaa can be used as the opposite of ylentää (promote vs demote) when used in combination with the translative case (#1). However, this verb is much more commonly used to express lowering things like fences and water levels (#2) or lowering/reducing prices (#3).

# Finnish English
1 Hänet alennettiin upseerista sotamieheksi. She was downgraded from officer to soldier.
1 Kuningatar alennettiin sivuvaimoksi. The queen was downgraded to a concubine.
1 Hän alensi minut äidin apulaiseksi. He demoted me to mother’s assistant.
2 Aita täytyy alentaa. The fence has to be lowered.
3 Miksi vuokria ei koskaan alenneta? Why are rents never reduced?
3 Maksu alennettiin 240 euroon. The fee was reduced to 240 euro.

3.10. Määrätä + object + translative (to appoint someone as a)

When used in combination with the translative, the verb määrätä means to appoint someone to a position (#1). In other situations, it’s mostly used in combination with the mihin-form or the maan-form (the third infinitive‘s illative) in order to express that someone is being ordered to do something (#2).

There are other verbs with a very close meaning of appointing someone to a certain position: eg. kruunata “to crown” (#3) and nimetä “to name” (#4).

# Finnish English
1 Hänet määrättiin oppaaksi. He was appointed as the guide.
1 Hänet määrättiin neuvoston jäseneksi. The was appointed a member of the council.
1 Hän määräsi hänet heti vapautettavaksi. He ordered her to be released immediately.
1 Poika määrättiin alokkaaksi. The boy was ordered to enlist as a private.
2 Presidentti määräsi hänet siihen virkaan. The president appointed him to that post.
2 Hän määräsi heidät poistumaan maasta. She ordered them to leave the country.
3 Hänet kruunattiin keisariksi. She was crowned Emperor.
4 Hänet nimettiin todistajaksi. He was named as a witness.

3.11. Julistaa + object + translative (to declare as)

When the verb julistaa is used with a noun and an adjective describing the change (#1), you will use the translative case. If used with just an object, you will not need the translative (#2).

# Finnish English
1 Maa julistettiin itsenäiseksi. The country was declared independent.
1 Lääkäri julisti miehen kuolleeksi. The doctor declared the man dead.
1 Virka julistettiin haettavaksi. The post was declared open for applications.
2 Presidentti julisti hätätilan. The president declared a state of emergency.
2 Etiopia julisti sodan Italialle. Ethiopia declared war on Italy.

4. Changes in mental image or perception of something

4.1. Osoittautua + translative (to turn out to be a)

The verb osoittautua means to “turn out a certain way” and expresses that we had certain expectations that were not fulfilled. The translative is a logical choice here because things turn out to be different than we thought. There’s no change happening to the actual thing, but there is a change in our perception of it.

Finnish English
Se osoittautui luultua vaikeammaksi. It turned out harder than expected.
Pekonileipä osoittautui pettymykseksi. The bacon bread proved to be a disappointment.
Tehtävä osoittautui helpoksi. The task turned out to be easy.
Tehtävä osoittautui mahdottomaksi. The task turned out to be impossible.

4.2. Leimautua + translative (to be labeled as a)

The verb leimautua refers to being labeled as something: this is always a bad thing, you don’t want to be labeled. Once again, the translative meaning is more a mental state than something substantial: something is a certain way, but gets labeled as something else.

Finnish English
Hän leimautui seksikirjailijaksi. He became labeled a sex writer.
Hän leimautui “radikaaliksi“. He ended up labeled as a radical.
En halua leimautua masentuneeksi. I don’t want to be labeled depressed.
Kukaan ei halua leimautua hankalaksi. Nobody wants to be labeled as difficult.

4.3. Tunnustautua + translative (to admit to being a)

You are most likely to come across the verb tunnustautua with the translative of two words: fani and kannattaja. You’re admitting that you’re a fan of something. This phrase uses the translative because – while you’re not changing yourself – the perception people have of you changes, thus fulfilling the “change” which is typical when using the translative case.

Finnish English
Tunnustaudun Taylor Swiftin faniksi. I admit to being a fan of Taylor Swift.
Hän tunnustautui muslimiksi. He admitted that he is a muslim.
He tunnustautuivat tieteen kannattajiksi. They professed to being supporters of science.
Hän tunnustautui fanaatikoksi. She admitted to being a fanatic.

4.4. Paljastua + translative (to be revealed as a)

The verb paljastua means “to be revealed”. When we use the translative with this verb, something is revealed to be something (#1). We use the translative case because of a mental change: something was revealed to us as being different than we thought before. This verb can also be used to just mean that something was revealed, without the “as a” (#2).

# Finnish English
1 Nainen paljastui petturiksi. The woman was revealed to be a traitor.
1 Hän paljastui huijariksi. He was revealed as a fraud.
1 Tarina paljastui sepitteeksi. The story was revealed to be made-up.
2 Auton alta paljastui ruumis. A body was revealed from under the car.
2 Totuus paljastui. The truth was revealed.

4.5. Naamioitua + translative (to disguise oneself as)

The verb naamioitua “to disguise, to masquerade” is another clear case as far as the usage of the translative goes: what you look like is a transformation from what you really are. You are being perceived as something different than what you are.

Finnish English
Pankkiryöstäjä naamioitua poliisiksi. A bank robber disguised himself as a police officer.
Hän naamioitui vanhaksi mieheksi. He disguised himself as an old man.
Naamioiduin kodittomaksi mieheksi. I disguised myself as a homeless man.

4.6. Luulla + partitive + translative (to think of something as)

The verb luulla “to think” in the past tense is used to express that you thought something that turned out not to be true. We use the translative here because what we think is a “change or difference” from what reality showed.

Finnish English
Kaikki luulivat naista kuolleeksi. Everyone thought that the woman was dead.
Hän luuli Annaa Maijaksi. He took Maija for Anna.
Minä luulin sinua ensin varkaaksi. I first thought that you were a thief.
Minä luulin työ rankemmaksi. I thought the job was harder.

4.7. Tulkita + object + translative (to interpret as)

The verb tulkita means to interpret. When used in combination with the translative, it refers to how you interpret something. Your interpretation is not necessarily correct, but it’s your perception.

Finnish English
Hän tulkitsi sanat moitteeksi. He interpreted the words as reproach.
Hän tulkitsi sanat flirttailuksi. He interpreted the words as flirting.
Tulkitsin sen kutsuksi tulla sisään. I interpreted it as an invitation to come in.
Sähköpostiviesti tulkittiin uhkauksesi. The email was interpreted as a threat.

5. Changes in attitude towards something

5.1. Sanoa + partitive + translative (to call someone a)

The verb sanoa “to say” can be used in combination with the translative to express calling someone something. It can be used neutrally (#1), but also as an accusation (#2). Both of these meanings fit together with the general meaning of the translative of a change in the sense that it’s a change in perception: I call someone or something as something else.

# Finnish English
1 Sano minua Maijaksi vaan! Go ahead and call me Maija!
2 Hän sanoi minua itsekkääksi. He called me selfish.
2 Minä sanoin hän valehtelijaksi. I called him a liar.
2 Si voisi sanoa anarkiaksi. It could be called anarchy.
2 Sanoisin tuota jumalanpilkaksi. I would call that blasphemy.

5.2. Nimittää + partitive + translative (to call someone as)

The verb nimittää “to name, call” is often used for when you call someone by a different name than their official name (#1). It’s usually used when the nickname is either completely new, or in the very least new to the person you are talking to. Because of this, the translative meaning of change fits well, as it expresses that someone’s name has changed.

Secondly, the verb nimittää can also be used to mean “to appoint someone as a”. While Finnish uses the same verb for this, the difference lies in the object: when calling someone by a name, the object will appear in the partitive case (#1). When you’re appointing someone, the object will be a regular total object (#2).

# Finnish English
1 Hän nimittää Kaita Kaitsuksi. He calls Kai Kaitsu.
1 Minä nimitän Erkkiä Egeksi. I call Erkki Ege.
2 Hänet nimitettiin professoriksi. He was appointed professor.
2 Yliopisto nimitti miehen tohtoriksi. The university appointed the man as a doctor.

5.3. Kutsua + partitive + translative (to invite someone as a)

The verb kutsua “to invite” can be used with the translative to express inviting someone somewhere in a certain role (#2). In this type of sentences, the object will behave as a regular total object.

The verb kutsua can also be used exactly like nimittää to mean “to call someone/something by a name“, only it expresses that the use of the alternative name is already well-established and in wider use (#2). In this type of sentences, the object will appear in the partitive case.

In addition to its uses with the translative, it’s also very common to use the verb kutsua in combination with an object and the mihin-form to express where you’re inviting someone to (#3). You can do this both with nouns (eg. kutsua ravintolaan, kylään) and verbs (eg. kutsua syömään).

# Finnish English
1 Kutsuin Antin meille jouluvieraaksi. I invited Antti over as a Christmas guest.
1 Hänet kutsuttiin häihin valokuvaajaksi. He was invited to the wedding as a photographer.
2 Kastejuhlaa kutsutaan konfirmaatioksi. The holy communion is called “confirmation”.
2 Me kutsutaan hän Sakuksi. We call him Saku.
3 Kutsuin Anttia syömään meille. I invited Antti to come eat at our place.
3 Kutsu äitisi mukaan teatteriin! Invite your mom with us to the theatre!

5.4. Kehua + partitive + translative (to praise someone for being a)

The verb kehua “to praise” can be used in combination with the translative to express praising someone for being something (#1). Often, you’ll find the verb on its own, to express that someone (in the partitive case) is simply being praised (#2).

# Finnish English
1 Media kehui hän megatähdeksi. The media praised her as a mega star.
1 Kehuin hän hyväksi valmentajaksi. I praised her for being a good coach.
1 Hän kehuttiin helpoksi lapseksi. He was praised as an easy child.
2 Mies kehuttiin kovasti. The man was greatly praised.
2 Yleisö kehui minua. The audience praised me.

5.5. Haukkua + partitive + translative (to bad-mouth someone to be a)

The verb haukkua means that you’re insulting someone, eg. you’re calling them fat or lazy. This is perfect for the translative because it means a change in how someone is being perceived. In addition to calling someone names (#1), the verb can also be used to mean “to bark (#2).

# Finnish English
1 Mallia haukuttiin rumaksi läskiksi. The model was called ugly and fat.
1 Ex-mieheni haukkui minua huoraksi. My ex-husband berated me as a whore.
1 Minua haukuttiin hirveäksi isäksi. I was told off for being a terrible father.
1 Rouva haukkui tyttöä apinaksi. The lady called the girl a monkey.
2 Koira haukkui. The dog barked.

5.6. Väittää + partitive + translative (to claim something is a)

When using the verb väittää “to claim” in combination with the translative case, you’re claiming that the perception people have of someone is wrong. The verb is used to express that you’re not taking sides as to whether the accusation is true or not.

In addition, you can use the verb väittää with the reference structure (referatiivirakenne) when you want to express that someone claimed something to have happened.

# Finnish English
1 Pekka väitti Mattia valehtelijaksi. Pekka swore that Matti was a liar.
1 Hän väitti tyttöä vaimokseen. He claimed that the girl was his wife.
1 Väitätkö hän viattomaksi? Do you claim that he’s innocent?
2 Hän väitti tehneensä parhaansa. He claimed that he’d done his best.
2 Hän väitti pojan itse aloittaneen. He claimed the boy started it himself.

5.7. Epäillä + partitive + translative (to suspect of being a)

The verb epäillä “to suspect” is used in three ways. First, in combination with the mistä-form (the elative case) to express what someone is suspected of (eg. murder, theft) (#1).

Second, in combination with the että-participle to express what someone is suspect of having done. (eg. killing, stealing) (#2).

The usage with the translative is less common, but fairly easy to understand: it expresses what someone is suspected of being (eg. a murderer, a thief) (#3). The translative shows that a change in perception is taking place.

# Finnish English
1 Häntä epäillään 15 murhasta. She’s suspected of 15 murders.
2 Häntä epäillään murhanneen 15 ihmistä. She’s suspected of killing 15 people.
3 Hän epäillään joukkomurhaajaksi. She’s suspected of being a mass murderer.
2 Poliisi epäili hänen sytyttäneen tulipalon. The police suspected him of starting the fire.
3 Poliisi epäili hän tulipalon sytyttäjäksi. The police suspected him of being the arsonist.
3 Vaimo epäili hän ensin hulluksi. The wife suspected he was crazy at first.

5.8. Syyttää + partitive + translative (to accuse of being a)

You can use the verb syyttää to express accusing someone of being something (#1), where the translative expresses that a perception change is needed. More commonly, however, syyttää is used with the mistä-form (the elative case) in order to express accusing someone of something (#2).

# Finnish English
1 Tyttö syytti minua valehtelijaksi. The girl accused me of being a liar.
1 Joku syytti hän rasistiksi. Someone accused him of being a racist.
1 Hän syytti meitä huonoiksi tyttäriksi. He accused us of being bad daughters.
2 En tiedä, mistä minua syytetään. I don’t know what I’m being accused of.
2 Hän syytti meitä sopimusrikosta. He accused us of breach of contract.

5.9. Todeta + object + translative (to declare to be)

One of the uses of the verb todeta is with the translative in order to express that something was declared to be a certain way.

Finnish English
Lääkäri totesi miehen kuolleeksi. The doctor declared the man to be dead.
Aidan rakentaminen todettiin liian kalliiksi. The building of the fence was declared to be too expensive.

That’s it for translative verb rections!

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Michael Hämäläinen
Michael Hämäläinen

Thanks for the excellent examples and description of the nuances!

As mentioned on the Partitive Verbs page, the reference book Tarkista tästä (uploaded here) provides many other examples of verbs that can take the translative case. I sorted through them and roughly categorized them according to the verb types presented on this page.

[similar to opiskella]
erikoistua + N tra (to specialize);
kouluttaa + N tra (to train [to become]);

[similar to ryhtyä]
ruveta + N tra (to become [occupation]);

[similar to päästä]
kehittyä + N tra (to develop into);
tehdä + O + N tra (to make into [final state]);
yletä + N tra (to be promoted to [rank]);

[similar to muuttua]
hajota + N tra (to break into [final state]);
hajottaa + N tra/ill (to smash into [final state]);
halkaista + N tra (to split into [final state]);
vaihtua + N tra/ill (to become replaced, swapped.);
yhdistyä + N tra (to unite);

[similar to osoittautua]
kasvaa + N tra (to grow [into final state]);
leikata + N tra (to cut [into final state]);

[similar to luulla]
epäillä + N tra (to suspect [of wrongdoing]);
kuvitella + O + N tra (to imagine [as something]);

[similar to sanoa]
haukkua + N tra (to badmouth);
moittia + N tra (to blame);
syyttää + N tra (to accuse);

[similar to väittää]
kehua + N tra (to praise);
mainostaa + N tra (to advertise as);
osoittaa + O + N tra (to show (prove) [a fact]);
todistaa + O + N tra (to prove);

[similar to nimittää]
kastaa + N tra (to baptize [with name]);
ristiä + N tra (to christen [with name]);

[similar to kääntää]
vaihtaa + N tra (to change [money]);

[similar to maalata]
muuttaa + O + N tra (to convert);
paloitella + N tra (to cut into pieces);
pilkkoa + N tra (to chop into [final state]);
repiä + N tra (to tear [into final state]);
rikkoa + N tra (to break [into final state]);
särkeä + N tra (to break [into final state]);

[similar to määrätä]
alentaa + N tra (to demote);
jättää + N tra (to leave [in a role]);
pyytää + O + N tra (to request [someone to take a role]);

[similar to todeta]
hyväksyä + O + N tra (to approve [someone in a role]);
julistaa + N tra (to proclaim);
tunnistaa + N tra (to recognize);

[similar to äänestää]
ehdottaa + N tra (to suggest [someone for a role]);
kruunata + N tra (to crown [grant royal title]);
suositella + N tra (to recommend [somebody for a position]);
valita + O + N tra (to recommend [somebody for a position]);
ylentää + O + N tra (to promote [somebody to a position]).

Inge (admin)
Inge (admin)

Hmm, thanks for collecting these! I think I will redo this article and add (most of) them to the article itself. 🙂