Finnish for busy people

Verbs like teettää and korjauttaa – Teettoverbit

Verbs like teettää and korjauttaa express that you are making someone else do an action. While korjata “to fix”, the verb korjauttaa means “to have fixed, to make someone else fix something”. In Finnish, you call a verb like this a teettoverbi, which is a type of transitive verb. In English, I’ve come across the term “curative causatives”. Read more about transitivity!

Some of these verbs have other meanings too, but the focus is on their causative meanings.

1. Verbs List

Base verb English Causative English example
ajaa to shave ajattaa having the barber shave your beard
ampua to shoot ammuttaa having the executioner shoot criminals
arvioida to assess arvioittaa having a specialist assess something
hakata to chop hakkauttaa having a lumberjack chop trees down
hakea to go get haettaa having someone go get a doctor
harjoitella to practice harjoituttaa making students practice for a play
hieroa to rub hierottaa having a masseuse give you a massage
hinata to tow hinauttaa having your car towed
hioa to hone hiottaa having your knives sharpened
hirttää to hang hirtättää having the executioner hang someone
hoitaa to take care hoidattaa having an employee take care of things
huoltaa to service huollattaa having your car serviced
hyväksyä to approve hyväksyttää having someone approve of something
laittaa to put laitattaa having a barber put your hair up
juosta to run juoksuttaa making other people run
kaivaa to dig kaivattaa having a ditch dug
kaivertaa to engrave kaiverruttaa having someone engrave a ring
kaataa to fell kaadattaa having a forest felled
kammata to comb kampauttaa having a hairdresser comb your hair
kantaa to carry kannattaa having someone carry your stuff
katsastaa to inspect katsastuttaa having your car inspected
kehittää to develop kehityttää having your pictures developed
kirjoittaa to write kirjoituttaa having someone write your biography
korjata to fix korjauttaa having your car fixed
kuljettaa to transport kuljetuttaa having a firm move your stuff for you
kuvata to photograph kuvauttaa having a professional photograph you
kääntää to translate käännättää having a translator translate a book
laulaa to sing laulattaa making the students sing
leikata to cut leikkauttaa having a barber cut your hair
leimata to stamp leimauttaa having an official put a stamp on papers
lukea to read luettaa making students read out loud
maalata to paint maalauttaa having an artist paint your portrait
maistaa to taste maistattaa having clients taste different wines
marssia to march marssittaa having soldiers march to the front
murhata to murder murhauttaa having your foes murdered
muuttaa to exchange muutattaa having someone change your tires
nostaa to lift nostattaa having movers lift your piano
odottaa to wait odotuttaa making others wait
ommella to sew ompeluttaa having a dressmaker sew your clothes
ostaa to buy ostattaa having someone buy alcohol for you
ottaa to take otattaa having your picture taken
painaa to print painattaa having a book printed for you
pukea to dress puettaa having your mom dress you
pestä to wash pesettää having your clothes washed
piirtää to draw piirrättää having an artist draw your picture
poistaa to remove poistattaa to have a stain removed
puhdistaa to clean puhdistuttaa having a specialist clean something
purkaa to unload purattaa having movers unload the cargo
rakentaa to build rakennuttaa having a firm build the house
siirtää to transfer siirrättää having the movers move the piano
silittää to iron silityttää having a cleaner iron your clothes
sitoa to bind sidottaa having someone tie your eyes
suurentaa to enlarge suurennuttaa having an employee enlarge a picture
säätää to adjust säädättää having your car’s brakes adjusted
tappaa to kill tapattaa having a mercenary kill your foes
tarkastaa to review tarkastuttaa having someone proofread your thesis
tarkistaa to check tarkistuttaa having an official check the register
tasata to even tasauttaa having a barber straighten your bangs
tatuoida to tattoo tatuoittaa having a tattoo artist tattoo you
tehdä to do teettää having a dressmaker make you a suit
tutkia to examine tutkittaa having an eye doctor check your eyes
vangita to capture vangituttaa having an official capture a criminal
vetää to pull vedättää having a dentist pull your tooth
värjätä to dye värjäyttää having a barber dye your hair

2. Sentence Construction of Teettoverbit

The sentence construction of verbs like teettää and korjauttaa is unusual. The subject of these sentences, which is usually a person, causes the verb’s action to come about, but doesn’t do the action themselves. The do-er or the action can usually be expressed using the adessive case (-lla).

However, often the do-er not mentioned at all. For example, when you say “I had my beard shaved” it is quite likely that the do-er is a barber, and that it doesn’t for the context matter at all who did the shaving: Hän ajatti partansa.

There are many linguistic sources (e.g. kielikello) available in which the problematic usage of this sentence construction is discussed. The main issue is that it can cause misunderstandings, and that there are other, more easily understadable sentence constructions available. For example, we can say “Matti antaa Pekan rakentaa talon.” instead of “Matti rakennuttaa Pekalla talon.” “Matti makes Pekka build the house”

Nevertheless, it’s good to learn of the existence of verbs like teettää and korjauttaa.

3. Example Sentences

Below, I’m only including full example sentences of the verbs like teettää and korjauttaa that you are the most likely to run into. I’m using the third person hän-form in the imperfect tense for these example sentences.

We can, however, conjugate these verbs like any other verb. As such, the example “Ari ajatti partansa” could be “Ari on ajattanut partansa” in the perfect tense and we can also change it to “Minä ajatin partani“.

3.1. Health, hygiene and beauty

Finnish English
Ari ajatti partansa. Ari had his beard removed.
Sari laitatti kampauksensa. Sari had her hair made.
Sari kampautti hiuksensa. Sari had her hair combed.
Sari leikkautti tukkansa. Sari had her hair cut.
Sari tasautti otsatukkansa. Sari had the bangs evened out.
Ari värjäytti tukkansa punaiseksi. Ari had his hair dyed red.
Ari hierotti hartioitaan. Ari had his shoulders massaged.
Ari haetti lääkärin luokseen. Ari made them get a doctor.
Ari hoidatti hampaansa kuntoon. Ari had his teeth fixed.
Ari tutkitti näkönsä. Ari had his vision checked.
Ari vedätti hampaan. Ari had a tooth pulled.
Ari ompelutti vaatteita ompelijalla. Ari had a sewer sew the clothes.
Ari teetti puvun Aasiassa. Ari had the suit made in Asia.
Ari poistatti tahran pesulassa. Ari had a stain removed at the cleaner’s.
Ari pesetti pyykit pesulassa. Ari had laundry washed at the cleaner’s.
Ari silitytti pukunsa. Ari had his suit ironed.

3.2. Physical work

Finnish English
Ari hinautti auton huoltamoon. Ari had the car towed to the garage.
Ari huollatti autonsa huoltamossa. Ari serviced his car in the garage.
Ari katsastutti autonsa tammikuussa. Ari had his car inspected in January.
Ari muutatti autoon talvirenkaat. Ari had his winter tires changed.
Ari säädätti jarrunsa ajoissa. Ari had his brakes adjusted in time.
Ari rakennutti itselleen talon. Ari had a house built for himself.
Ari maalautti talonsa. Ari had his house painted.
Ari korjautti katon. Ari had the roof repaired.
Ari kaivatti ojan. Ari had a ditch dug.
Ari kaadatti puita. Ari had some trees felled.
Ari kuljetutti tavaransa. Ari had his things transported.
Ari siirrätti pianon. Ari had the piano moved.
Ari puratti lastin. Ari had the cargo unloaded.

3.3. Violence

Finnish English
Stalin ammutti hänet vuonna 1937. Stalin had him shot in the year 1937.
Ari marssitti joukot rajalle. Ari had the troops marched to the border.
Diktaattori vangitutti vastustajiaan. The dictator had his opponents captured.
Ari murhautti vastustajansa. Ari had his opponents murdered.
Diktaattori hirtätti vastustajansa. The dictator had his opponents hanged.
Diktaattori tapatti vastustajiaan. The dictator had his opponents killed.

3.4. Pictures and films

Finnish English
Ari piirrätti talon arkkitehdillä. Ari had an architect draw the house.
Ari suurennutti valokuvia. Ari had the photos enlarged.
Ari kävi kuvauttamassa itsensä. Ari went to have his picture taken.
Ari otatti passikuvan. Ari had a passport picture taken.
Ari kehitytti filmin liikkeessä. Ari had a film developed at a store.

3.5. Paperwork and bureaucracy

Finnish English
Ari kirjoitutti muistiinpanot puhtaaksi. Ari had someone type up the notes.
Hallitus hyväksytti lain. The government got the law approved.
Ari tarkistutti tietonsa. Ari had his information checked.
Ari käännätti kirjan suomeksi. Ari had the book translated to Finnish.
Ari painatti kirjan salaa. Ari secretly had the book printed.
Ari sidotti väitöskirjansa. Ari had his dissertation bound.
Ari leimautti jäsenkorttinsa. Ari had his member card stamped.

Read more about the topic elsewhere:

That’s it for verbs like teettää and korjauttaa! Do read more about it elsewhere if you’re into linguistics!

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Michael Hämäläinen

In addition to marking the do-er with the adessive (-llA), Jukka Korpela’s Handbook of Finnish section on the syntax of causation also includes the following:

Use of allative (-lle) to mark the (e.g., animal) recipient: ‘Liisa juotti hevoselle vettä‘ (Liisa gave the horse water).
Alternatively, expressed directly by marking the recipient with the genitive form: ‘Liisa juotti hevosen‘ (Liisa let the horse drink, i.e. watered the horse).

Yes, there are multiple ways to express the do-er and confuse students even more, wheee! :p Good thing that for some of us those gritty details are so delicious to explore. <3

Juottaa and syöttää aren’t on this page especially because I “feel” they differ from this page’s “teettoverbs” (which I don’t have a proper translation for). The verbs in this list all express that “you’re having someone do something to/for you”. Juottaa and syöttää aren’t really like that: they mean that you’re causing something to happen to someone (feeding a baby is “making a baby eat”, watering a horse is “making a horse drink”).

If you find the correct terms for these two groups in English, Michael, I would be grateful, as I’ve put off making an article on syöttää-type verbs exactly because I don’t have a name for them. Some of them are actually really common.

Michael Hämäläinen

If I added more (unnecessary) complexity, rest assured it is a case of “misery loves company”! Mostly, I’ve only come across these concepts in Wiktionary and my feeble attempts to translate the key concepts in ISK. The classification I’ve seen most often is “causative” and it’s subcategory “curative”. Perhaps even without a perfect English translation, the concept can still be illustrated by making comparison tables, marking the role of each participant and the associated linguistic markers? I often do this in my study notes, especially when the textbook says that one of the participants is unknown or unmentioned. As for other verb types to explore in the same grouping, maybe captative verbs (e.g. ‘kalastaa’ (to fish))?

José Luis Ortiz Berenguer

Maalautta: having an article paint your portrait. Article=artist.

Yep! Kiitos! You have 7 points now 🙂