Appendix:Finnish participles

Finnish has six different types of participles.

Present participlesEdit

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

Present passive participles can be further used to mean "that which is to be X".

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 (-tava, -ttava) and passive (-ttu, -tu). The literal meaning of past active participles is "that which did or has done X" and of past passive participles is "that which had or has has X done to it".

Finnish past participles are also used when building indicative simple past tense negative, indicative perfect tense positive and negative and indicative past perfect tense positive and negative. It depends on the voice whether to use the active past participle or the passive past participle. The active past participles of Finnish intransitive verbs and passive past participles of Finnish transitive verbs have also an adjectival sense and, thus, lots of 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 meaning "which somsone does X or did X", which are then used like adjectives, such as in "maalaamani talo" ("(the) house which I painted").

Agent participles are chiefly used with either a possessive suffix or a subject in genitive.

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 passive forms of these participles (e.g. "that which does not have X done to them", "that 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. has painted sth.
can be painted, is to be painted is painted.

Relative clausesEdit

All six types of participles can be replaced by relative clauses.

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)