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Translative Verb Rections – Translatiivi Rektiot

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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.

In addition to verb rections, there are also some other verb constructions and some participle uses that require the translative case.

Table of Contents
  1. Translative verb rections
    1. Valmistua -ksi (to graduate as)
    2. Opiskella -ksi (to study to be a)
    3. Erikoistua -ksi (to specialize to become a)
    4. Ryhtyä/Ruveta -ksi (to become a)
    5. Päästä -ksi (to achieve becoming a)
    6. Muuttua -ksi (to change into a)
    7. Vaihtua -ksi (to change into)
    8. Kehittyä -ksi (to develop into a)
    9. Kasvaa -ksi (to grow into a)
    10. Yletä -ksi (to advance into a position)
    11. Osoittautua -ksi (to turn out to be a)
    12. Sopia -ksi (to be suitable to be a)
    13. Hajota -ksi (to break down into)
    14. Yhdistyä -ksi (to merge into a)
    15. Paljastua
    16. Leimautua
  2. Partitive + translative verb rections
    1. Luulla + partitive + -ksi (to think something is a)
    2. Epäillä + partitive + -ksi (to suspect of being a)
    3. Sanoa
    4. Väittää
    5. Nimittää
    6. Kutsua
  3. Object + translative verb rections
    1. Kääntää
    2. Maalata
    3. Määrätä
    4. Todeta
    5. Äänestää
    6. Tuntea
    7. Kouluttaa
    8. Tehdä
    9. Leikata
    10. Kuvitella
    11. Kuvata
  4. The verb tulla

1. Translative Verb Rections

1.1. 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 Hän valmistui insinööriksi yliopistosta. He graduated as an engineer from the university.
1 Valmistun kohta lastentarhanopettajaksi. I will soon graduate as a kindergarden 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.

1.2. 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.

1.3. 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.

1.4. 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 jon, 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.

1.5. päästä + translative (to achieve becoming a)

The verb päästä is hard to translate because it has many meaning. You can use it to express that you became something (#1). In these cases, it implies that you never had any certainty that you would achieve it. 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!

1.6. 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.

1.7. 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 (#3). If it is included, it is very common to appear in the mihin-form (the illative case).

# 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 Arki vaihtui lukukseen. Everyday life changed into luxury.
2 Loma vaihtui arkeen. Vacation changed into everyday life.
3 Hinta vaihtuu vuosittain. The price changes each year.
3 Firman tilinumero vaihtuu. The company’s account number changes.

1.8. kehittyä + translative (to develop into a)

Kehittyä can be used to express a development into. 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.

1.9. 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.

1.10. 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.

1.11. 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.

1.12. 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 fits into customer service.

1.12. 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.

# 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.

1.13. 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.

1.14. paljastua + translative

Finnish English

1.15. leimautua + translative

Finnish English




2. Partitive + translative verb rections

Some verbs require two rections. In this section, you will find verbs that require the partitive case for the object of the sentence, and the translative for the adverb.

2.1. luulla + partitive + translative

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.

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

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



2.2. sanoa + partitive + translative

The verb “sanoa” (to say) is used for accusations which could actually be true.

Finnish English
Hän sanoi minua itsekkääksi. He called me selfish.
Minä sanoin hän valehtelijaksi. I called him a liar.

2.3. väittää + partitive + translative

When using the verb “väittää” (to claim), you’re expressing that you’re not taking sides as to whether the accusation is true or not.

Finnish English
Pekka väitti Mattia valehtelijaksi. Pekka swore that Matti was a liar.

2.4. nimittää + partitive + translative

The verb “nimittää” (to name, call) is used for when you call someone by a different name than their official name. It’s usually used when the nickname is either completely new, or in the very least new to the person you are talking to.

Finnish English
Hän nimittää Kaita Kaitsuksi. He calls Kai Kaitsu.
Minä nimitän Erkkiä Egeksi. I call Erkki Ege.

2.5. kutsua + partitive + translative

The verb “kutsua” will be used exactly like “nimittää”, only it expresses that the use of the alternative name is already well-established.

Finnish English
Kastejuhlaa kutsutaan konfirmaatioksi. The holy communion is called “confirmation”.
Me kutsutaan hän Sakuksi. We call him Saku.


3. Object + translative verb rections

This section is meant for other verbs with what you call a double rection: verbs with a normal object in addition to the translative. The object can appear in the basic form (or accusative), the partitive or the genetive, according to the general object rules.

3.1. kääntää + object + translative

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!

3.2. maalata + object + translative

Finnish English
Maalasin yhden seinän punaiseksi. I painted one wall red.
Hänen täytyy maalata auto vihreäksi. She has to paint the car red.

3.3. määrätä + object + translative

This is another verb with many meaning. In this context, the verb “määrätä” means to appoint someone or to be appointed.

Finnish English
Hänet määrättiin oppaaksi. He was appointed as the guide.

3.4. todeta + object + translative

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.

3.5. äänestää + object + translative

The verb “äänestää” can be used with the partitive: “Äänestän presidenttiä”, which refers to the act of voting. When adding the translative, we’re voting someone (the object of the sentence) for a certain position (which will appear in the translative).

Finnish English
Hänet äänestettiin parhaaksi urheilijaksi. He was voted to be the best sportsman.
Ministeri äänestettiin presidentiksi. The minister was voted to be the president.

3.6. tuntea + itse + translative

Some learners of Finnish find they have a hard time to express their feelings in Finnish. The verb “tuntea” is one way to do so, but it will require this specific sentence construction, which includes the pronoun “itse”. You will need to add the appropriate possessive suffix to this.

Finnish English
Tunsin itseni väsyneeksi ja kiukkuiseksi. I felt tired and irritable.
Maarit alkoi tuntea itsensä epätoivoiseksi. Maarit was starting to feel desperate.
Tunnetko itsesi ujoksi puhuessasi tuntemattomalle? Do you feel shy when talking to strangers?

3.7. kouluttaa + object + translative

“Poliisiopisto koulutti Pekan poliisiksi.”

“Isä koulutti molemmat lapsensa lääkäriksi.”

Finnish English

3.8. tehdä + object + translative

“Tein ruoan valmiiksi.”

“Hän teki minut onnelliseksi.”

Finnish English

3.9. leikata + object + translative (to cut into a)

“Leikkasin tukan lyhyeksi.”

“Hän leikkasi makkaran ohuiksi siivuiksi.”

“Leikkaa leipä viipaleiksi!”

“Liha leikataan kapeiksi suikaleiksi.”

Finnish English

3.9. kuvitella + object + translative

Finnish English





4. The verb tulla

The verb “tulla” gets its own section on this page because the same phrase can be said both using the translative and the mistä-form (the elative case). In addition, there is the participle construction “tulla tehneeksi/tehdyksi”, which will be discussed elsewhere.

Translative Mistä (elative) English
Hän tuli äidiksi 39-vuotiaana. Hänestä tuli äiti 39-vuotiaana. She became a mother at 39 years old.
Hän tuli kodittomaksi. Hänestä tuli koditon. She became homeless.
Me tulimme kuuluisiksi. Meistä tuli kuuluisia. We became famous.

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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 add them to the article itself. 🙂