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Translative Verbs: Verbtype 6 and Others

Verbtype 6 is known for verbs that present a change of state, e.g. lämmetä “to become warmer”, kylmetä “to become colder” or vanheta “to become older”. However, other verbtypes can also have verbs that carry this meaning. Verbs that express a change of state or being are usually called translative verbs. In this article, we will take a look at verbtype 6 and other translative verbs.

1. Translative Verbs Based on Adjectives

The clearest group of translative verbs are based on adjectives and express something gaining the quality of the adjective, or gaining more of the quality.

The verbs that are marked with an asterisk (*) have corresponding verbtype 6 verbs that are synonyms for the translative verbs. You can read more about the relationship between these verbs further down.

Adjective English Derivate English
vaikea difficult vaikeutua to become (more) difficult
sokea blind sokeutua to become (more) blind
kipeä painful kipeytyä to become (more) painful
rapea crispy rapeutua to become (more) crispy
nopea quick nopeutua to become fast (faster)
selkeä clear selkeytyä to become clear (clearer)
murea tender mureutua to become (more) tender
ruskea brown ruskeutua to become (more) brown
kuuro deaf kuuroutua to become (more) deaf
juro sullen juroutua to become (more) sullen
irti loose irtautua to become loose, looser
suuri big suurentua* to become big, bigger
nuori young nuorentua* to become young, younger
heikko weak heikentyä* to become weak, weaker
mieto mild miedontua to become mild, milder
vanha old vanhentua* to become older
laaja broad laajentua* to become (more) broad
paha bad pahentua* to become bad, worse
halpa cheap halventua* to become cheaper
kuuma hot kuumentua* to become hot, hotter
kylmä cold kylmentyä* to become cold, colder
synkkä dreary synkentyä* to become (more) dreary
pitkä long pidentyä* to become longer
lievä gentle lieventyä* to become (more) gentle
lyhyt short lyhentyä* to become short, shorter
pimeä dark pimentyä* to become dark, darker
vaalea light vaalentua* to become light, lighter
vaimea subdued vaimentua* to become (more) subdued
himmeä matt, dim himmentyä* to become (more) dim
tumma dark tummua* to become dark, darker
laiha thin laihtua to become thin, thinner
katkera bitter katkeroitua to become bitter
matala low mataloitua to become lower
vakava serious vakavoitua to become (more) serious
terävä sharp terävöityä to become sharper
pätevä proficient pätevöityä to become qualified
hoikka slim hoikistua* to become skinnier
herkkä sensitive herkistyä to become sensitized to
nolo embarrassed nolostua to become embarrassed
terve healthy tervehtyä to become healthy

2. Translative Verbs Based on Nouns

Some translative verbs are based on nouns, and express that the subject becomes more like the noun. This is much less common, and these verbs don’t have verbtype 6 verbs that mean the same thing.

Noun English Derivate English
lima slime limautua to become slimy
rasva grease rasvautua to become greasy
lika dirt likaantua to become dirty
sohjo sludge sohjoutua to become (more) sludgy
home mould homehtua to become mouldy
tukko clog tukkeutua to get clogged
muoto shape muotoutua to take shape
haava wound haavautua to get wounded
vamma injury vammautua to get injured
ruuhka (traffic) jam ruuhkautua to get jammed
liitto union liittoutua to become allies

3. Corresponding Verbtype 6 Verbs

Below, you can find a condensed version of verbs that have two translative verbs, one of which belongs to verbtype 6. Generally both verbs are used in the same contexts, without there being one that’s clearly used more often.

Verbs Verbtype 6
halventua halveta
heikentyä heiketä
himmentyä himmetä
hoikistua hoiketa
kuumentua kuumeta
kylmentyä kylmetä
laajentua laajeta
lieventyä lievetä
lyhentyä lyhetä
nuorentua nuoreta
pahentua paheta
pidentyä pidetä
pimentyä pimetä
selkeytyä seljetä
suurentua suureta
synkentyä synketä
tummua tummeta
vaalentua vaaleta
vaimentua vaimeta
vanhentua vanheta

4. Verbs with Mixed Paradigms

Usually, verbs can be conjugated in all the tenses and moods. However, occasionally there will be holes in the system. Two verbs might get fused together, in a way where some forms from the one verb are used and some from the other.

A good example for this are the verbs parata and parantua. The verbtype 6 verb parata will not be used in forms where there is a consonant stem: the infinitive, the participles and the passive.

    • Minä paranen nopeasti. (present first person singular)
    • Mies parani heti. (past third person singular)
    • Parane pian! (singular imperative)
    • Minä haluan parantua. (infinitive)
    • Minä olen parantunut. (NUT-participle)
    • Me parannuttiin. (past passive)

Two more examples would be “to get smaller” and “to get bad, worse”:

    • Vakuutusmaksu pienenee.
    • Kesälomabudjetti pieneni.
    • Päiväkotiryhmät pienenevät.
    • Asukasluku alkoi pienentyä.
    • Ostettujen kirjojen määrä on pienentynyt.
    • Kustannukset ovat pienentyneet.
    • Sää huononee.
    • Jospa sää ei huononisi.
    • Heidän suhteensa huononi.
    • Sää ei saa huonontua.
    • Heidän suhteensa on huonontunut.

5. Interesting Reads in Finnish

If you want to learn more about this topic, you could check out the following sources:

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About the third point: “Generally both verbs are used in the same contexts, without there being one that’s clearly used more often.”

So do i understand it correctly, i can use both of these, or the one i like(more) and the natives will not find it weird if i would use one form over another

himmentyä vs himmetä

Ulkona himmentyy vs Ulkona himmenee

I can pick the one which i like more? 🙂

Last edited 3 years ago by Rambsu
Inge (admin)

Generally, yes! Nothing is ever 100%. It can also depends on what form you’re using.

Just like in point 4, certain forms may be more popular in point 3 as well. The sinä-form, for example, is more commonly the verbtype 6 version, in order to avoid the consonant gradation -nn- (sinä pidennyt vs. sinä pitenet). The NUT-participle is more commonly based on the verbtype 1 version, in order to avoid for -nn- of verbtype 6 (on pidentynyt vs. on pidennyt). See how pidennyt could mean two things? It’s nice to be able to avoid that confusion.

However, you are likely to come across both versions, especially in the basic form and in the hän/se form.