Finnish for busy people

Automative Verbs -UTU/YTY- Korjautua Uusiutua

Automative verb derivates (automatiiviset verbijohdokset) are intransitive verbs that express that something happens without the subject being able to influence it. The subject of the sentence is passively rather than actively doing something. For example:

  • Transitive verb korjata:
    Minä korjaan virheeni.
    “I fix my mistake”. I’m doing the action to the object.
  • Intransitive verb korjautua:
    Virhe korjautuu.
    “The mistake is corrected.” The mistake undergoes the action.

1. Transitivity vs Intransitivity

The matter of transitivity and intransivity of Finnish verbs is quite complex. This article is part of a series about transitive and intransitive verbs.

In short, transitive verbs are verbs that get an object, e.g. Lataan puhelimeni “I charge my phone”. Intransitive verbs don’t get an object, e.g. Puhelimeni latautuu “My phone charges”. As you see, a transitive verb’s object can become an intransitive verb’s subject.

This article focuses on automative verbs ending in -utua/ytyä. This is just one derivation type. Automative verbs can, for example, also end in -ua/yä (e.g. kaatua, vaihtua). Both of these types deal with the transitivity and intransitivity of Finnish verbs.

There are many other verbs that belong completely or partly in this semantical group, but I’m limiting the scope of this article considerably. In addition, many of these verbs have several meanings. I’m only presenting the translations that make the most sense within the automative derivate system.

2. List of Automative Verbs Ending in -utua/ytyä

I have marked the most basic verbs in green, so you know which ones to focus on when you’re just getting started. This is another of those word lists that are useful to look through, but that you shouldn’t just copy, paste and learn by heart. Pick the ones you will actually be using!

Base verb English Derivate English
aiheuttaa to cause sth aiheutua to be caused by, ensue
korjata to fix sth korjautua to get fixed by itself
kuoria to peel sth kuoriutua to hatch, come out of shell
ladata to charge sth latautua to charge
levittää to spread sth levittäytyä to spread out by itself
lukita to lock sth lukkiutua to lock
määrätä to determine sth määräytyä to be determined by
laskea to lower, drop sth laskeutua to land, descend
purkaa to dismantle sth purkautua to erupt
sulauttaa to merge sth sulautua to assimilate, blend in
sulkea to close sth sulkeutua to close by itself (pic)
keskeyttää to interrupt sth keskeytyä to be interrupted
repiä to rip, tear sth repeytyä to tear
uusia to renew sth uusiutua to recur
vapauttaa to release, free sth vapautua to disengage
kasata to pile things kasautua to be piled up
kumota to repeal, refute kumoutua to be negated
palauttaa to restore palautua to be restored
pyyhkiä to wipe pyyhkiytyä to be erased
rikkoa to break rikkoutua to be destroyed
tuhota to destroy tuhoutua to be destroyed

2. Example Sentences of Automative -UTUA Verbs

Below, you can find the automative verbs from the table above in example sentences. They’re meant to give you more of an idea of how these verbs function within a sentence.

Transitive verb Intransitive verb
Kolari aiheutti valtavan räjähdyksen.
= The crash caused a huge explosion.
Kolarista aiheutui räjähdys.
= An explosion was caused by the crash.
Insinöörit korjasivat laajan vian nopeasti.
= Engineers fixed the major bug quickly.
Laaja vika korjautui nopeasti.
=The major bug was quickly corrected.
Happihoito korjasi aivovaurion.
= Oyxgen treatment repaired brain damage.
Lapsen aivovaurio korjautui.
= The child’s brain damage was repaired.
Kuori kananmunat ja lisää ne taikinaan.
= Peel the eggs and add them to the dough.
Kananmunasta kuoriutuu kukko.
= A cock hatches from the egg.
Lataan puhelimeni aina yöllä.
= I always charge my phone at night.
Puhelimeni latautuu tosi nopeasti.
= My phone gets charged really quickly.
Sovellus levitti haittaohjelmaa.
= The phone app spread malware.
Virus levittäytyi sovelluksen kautta.
= The virus spread through the app.
Lukitse ovi!
= Lock the door!
Varmista, että ovi lukkiutuu.
= Make sure that the door locks.
Työhistoria määrää eläkkeen tason.
= Work history determines pension level.
Se määräytyy työhistorian mukaan.
= It’s determined by work history.
Tulivuori purkaa kaasua säännöllisesti.
= The volcano expels gas regularly.
Tulivuori Etna purkautui.
= The volcano Etna erupted.
Kamera sulauttaa värit toisiinsa
= The camera blends the colors.
Värit sulautuvat toisiinsa.
= The colors blend together.
Sulje ovet varovasti!
= Close the doors carefully!
Varo, ovet sulkeutuvat!
= Careful, the doors are closing!
Bändi keskeytti konsertin.
= The band interrupted the concert.
The concert was interrupted.
= Konsertti keskeytyi.
Hän repi kangasta kolmesta kohdasta.
= She tore the fabric in three places.
Kangas repeytyi kolmesta kohdasta.
= The fabric was torn in three places.
Sinun täytyy uusia sopimus ajoissa.
= You have to renew to contract in time.
Sopimus uusiutuu automaattisesti.
= The contract renews automatically.
Venäjä vapauttaa miehen vankilasta.
= Russia releases the man from prison.
Mies vapautuu vankilasta.
= The man is released from prison.
Kasaan lehdet tien reunalle.
= I pile the leaves on the side of the road.
Lehdet kasautuvat teille.
= The leaves accumulate on the roads.
Oikeus kumosi irtisanomisen.
= The court annulled the dismissal.
Irtisanominen kumoutui.
= The dismissal was revoked.
Palautan tavarat kauppaan.
= I return the goods to the store.
Tavarat palautuivat kauppaan.
= The goods were returned to the store.
Pyyhin näytön puhtaaksi.
= I wipe the screen clean.
Katu pyyhkiytyi puhtaaksi sateessa.
= The street is wiped clean in the rain.
Antti rikkoi puhelimensa itse.
= Antti broke his phone himself.
Puhelin rikkoutui kolarissa.
= The phone broke in the car crash.
Tulipalo tuhosi asuinrakennuksen.
= The fire destroyed the apartment building.
Rakennus tuhoutui tulipalossa.
= The building was destroyed in the fire.

3. Passive Sentences vs Automative Verbs

When comparing the English translations to the Finnish verbs, we often run into the issue of intransitivity vs passivity. Verbs that are automative in Finnish often get translated using the passive in English.

This is a problem, because the Finnish passive has the connotation that there is always a person behind the action, even if we’re not mentioning them. This can cause some difficulty making the difference between the passive and the automative verb’s active form clear. Consider this example:

  • Transitive verb: Minä vapautan miehen vankilasta. “I release the man from prison.”
  • Passive sentence: Mies vapautetaan vankilasta. “The man is released from prison.”
  • Intransitive verb: Mies vapautuu vankilasta. “The man is released from prison.”

The latter two sentences are both translated with the passive in English. However, in Finnish, vapautetaan intrisically means that the release is the action of a person. The intransitive verb vapautuu doesn’t carry this meaning. Maybe the man just got released without any interference of a person.

4. Other Groups of -UTUA Verbs

Verbs ending in -utua/ytyä can have multiple other meanings:

  • Reflexive verbs express that the subject is doing something to themselves (e.g. washing , dressing or forcing themselves).
  • Translative verbs express that a change is happening to the subject (e.g. it’s getting longer, shorter, dirtier or more difficult). Often a verbtype 6 verb with the same meaning exists.

Please check out some of the other articles on this topic next!

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