The 5 Finnish Participles – Overview
The 5 Finnish participles are used quite a lot in Finnish, but if you’re a beginner, you shouldn’t scratch your head with the subject just yet. My experience is that – as long as you recognise the underlaying verb – you can puzzle the meaning together without having to look at the actual grammar rules. That said, more advanced learners will want to take a closer look at these forms.
1. What are Participles?
A participle is a specific form of the verb, used to either turn a verb into an adjective, noun or to replace a subordinate clause. That’s a pretty broad description. All these participles can be used in a multitude of different ways.
1.1. What do the participles look like?
Below, you can see what the 5 Finnish participles look like for the verbs to be, to do, to come, to read and to meet.
Please note that each of these participles is used for different purposes! While some may have some things in common with each other, each participle also has at least one quirky situation that’s unique to only that participle.
1.2. Main function of participles for beginners
If you’re a beginner, perhaps the following table is enough for you at this point. It contains information on how the participles are used as verbal adjectives. This is the most basic usage of the 5 Finnish participles. Down below, you can find a little bit more detailed information about the most common ways of using each participle.
|VA-participle||lukeva lapsi||the reading child / the child who reads|
|NUT-participle||lukenut lapsi||the child who has read / the child who was reading|
|TAVA-participle||luettava kirja||the book that’s being read, will be read, or has to be read|
|TU-participle||luettu kirja||the book that has been read|
|MA-participle||lapsen lukema kirja||the book that the child is reading, or has read|
2. The 5 Finnish Participles for Intermediate Students
I’m hiding each of the following participles behind a “read more” box so as not to overwhelm you. I was trying to keep this article concise and limit it to only the very basics, but unfortunately there is just too much information that needs to be included.
3. The 5 Finnish Participles for Advanced Learners
Below, you can find the links to the full article on each participle. This includes more detailed information about how to form them, as well as about the more rare ways to use these in spoken or written language.
- Active Present Participle (VA-partisiippi)
- Passive Present Participle (TAVA-partisiippi)
- Active Past Participle (NUT-participle)
- Passive Past Participle (TU-participle)
- Agent Participle (MA-articiple)
In addition, you can also read our articles on lauseenvastikkeet. I lack a decent translation for the term in English, but have started calling them substitute constructions. All of these constructions replace a subordinate clause with one of the 5 Finnish participles.
- Finaalirakenne (ollakseni / tehdäkseni)
- Modaalirakenne (ollen / tehden)
- Temporaalirakenne (ollessani, oltuani / tehdessäni, tehtyäni)
- Referatiivirakenne (olevani, olleeni / tekeväni, tehneeni)