Appendix:Finnish participles

Finnish has six types of participles which are treated like adjectives and can e.g. appear in both attributive and predicative positions.

Present participlesEdit

Present participles have two forms: active (-va) and passive (-tava, -ttava). The literal meaning of present active participles is "which does X" and of present passive participles is "which has X being done to it".

Present passive participles can be further used to mean "which is to be X". They can also mean "which can be X", although that is more commonly expressed by taking the present passive participle, inflecting it into the plural inessive case (adessive plural for some verbs, like saada) and then using it like an adverb (or as an adjective with oleva).

Many Finnish adjectives are etymologically present participles, such as osaava (capable), from osata (to have the ability or skill to).

Past participlesEdit

Past participles are similar to present participles in that they have two forms; active (-nut) and passive (-tu, -ttu). The literal meaning of past active participles is "which did or has done X" and of past passive participles is "which had or has has X done to it".

Finnish past participles are also used for building some compound forms, such as the negative for the indicative past tense, as well as perfect and past perfect tense forms for all moods. Whether the active past participle or the passive past participle is used depends on the voice (active or passive). The active past participles of intransitive verbs and passive past participles of transitive verbs also have an adjectival sense; many Finnish adjectives are actually past participles.

Agent participlesEdit

Agent participles (-ma) are only used for transitive verbs, i.e. verbs that can take an object. They are used to form participial phrases with the literal meaning "which someone does X or did X". Agent participles are used like adjectives, such as in "maalaamani talo" ("(the) house which I painted"), and chiefly used with either a possessive suffix or a subject in the genitive case (placed before the participle).

Negative participlesEdit

Negative participles (-maton) are used as adjectives and act as negative forms of any of the present or past participles, but most commonly for the passive participles (e.g. "which does not have X done to them", "which did not have X done to them"). The exact interpretation often depends on context.

Examples of participlesEdit

Forms of maalata (to paint).

Talo on:

Present Past
maalaava maalannut
maalattava maalattu

The house:

Present Past
can paint sth. is painting sth. has painted sth.
can be painted, is to be painted is painted.

Relative clausesEdit

Each of the six types of participles can be replaced by a relative clause.

maalaava talo ~ talo, joka maalaathe house that paints
maalannut talo ~ talo, joka maalasithe house that (has) painted
maalattava talo ~ talo, jota/joka maalataanthe house that is being painted / the house that is to be painted
maalattu talo ~ talo, joka/jota maalattiinthe house that was (being) painted
maalaamani talo ~ talo, jonka maalaan/maalasinthe house that I paint/painted
(somewhat ambiguous, as agent participles do not distinguish between present/past)
maalaamaton talo ~ talo, jota ei ole maalattuthe house that has not been painted
(most ambiguous, as the negative participle could also be present or be an active participle)