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 barder 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 article 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 clothe
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 (eg. 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.

3.1. Health, hygiene and beauty

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

3.2. Physical work

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

3.3. Violence

Finnish English
Stalin ammutti hänet vuonna 1937. Stalin had him shot in the year 1937.
Hän marssitti joukot rajalle. He had the troops marched to the border.
Diktaattori vangitutti vastustajiaan. The dictator had his opponents captured.
Hän murhautti vastustajansa. He 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
Hän piirrätti talon arkkitehdillä. He had an architect draw the house.
Hän suurennutti valokuvia. He had the photos enlarged.
Hän kävi kuvauttamassa itsensä. He went to have his picture taken.
Hän otatti passikuvan. He had a passport picture taken.
Hän kehitytti filmin liikkeessä. He had a film developed at a store.

3.5. Paperwork and bureaucracy

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

Inge (admin)
Inge (admin)

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… Read more »

Michael Hämäläinen
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… Read more »