Appendix:Finnish verb forms

(Redirected from Appendix:Finnish verbs)

Notes

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  • Verbs are lemmatized under the first infinitive form, the standard dictionary form for Finnish verbs.
    • First infinitives cause gemination at the end of the word (marked by /ˣ/, usually but not necessarily manifesting as a glottal stop; see Appendix:Finnish pronunciation § Final gemination), but this does not necessarily apply to other forms; it does not, for instance, apply to third-person singular present indicative forms, even if the spelling is identical (as they are for some types of verbs).

Finite verb forms

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Persons

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There are seven persons for finite verb forms in Finnish: first-person singular/plural, second-person singular/plural, third-person singular/plural and impersonal (sometimes called "passive"). A second-person polite form exists as well, although it mostly uses second-person plural forms.

In colloquial language, the impersonal form has almost completely replaced the first-person plural form (me ajammeme ajetaan) and quite often the third-person singular form is used in place of third-person plural as well (he ajavathe/ne ajaa).

Impersonal or monopersonal verbs are only used in the third person and only often in the singular number (i.e. third-person singular). Some verbs are only impersonal with certain senses, e.g. pitää is impersonal when it is used to mean "have to, must".

Tenses

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There are two simple tenses: present (or rather nonpast, as it can also be used for future actions) and past ("imperfect", even though it can also function as a preterite). Two further compound tenses exist: perfect and pluperfect (past perfect), formed using the past participles and the present and past forms respectively of olla as an auxiliary. Only the indicative mood has past and pluperfect forms. The present, past, perfect and pluperfect largely correspond to their English equivalents.

There are also two more tenses, which can be described as the present or past prospective. These use present participles instead of past participles, like the corresponding perfect and pluperfect forms (in the plural, the singular form of the participle is usually used instead, though). However, these forms are quite rare in modern Finnish and mostly restricted to formal or literary contexts, so they are not shown in the inflection tables. A short example for ajaa in the first person and indicative mood are olen ajava (I am to drive), olin ajava (I was to drive).

Negative forms

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The verb ei is used to express negation. It inflects in person, number and mood (indicative or imperative); all forms are listed on its entry. The indicative forms begin with e- and express denial (you are not), while the imperative forms begin with ä- and express prohibition (don't be!). The indicative forms of ei are used in the other moods (conditional and potential). ei does not have infinitive forms. It is also used to change the meaning of some pronouns, such as kukaan and mikään and adverbs, such as koskaan, ikinä, välttämättä.

Moods

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There are four verb moods in Finnish.

The English translations provided in the tables below are only approximate.

Indicative

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The most common and basic verb mood, used e.g. for statements of fact.

Inflection of ajaa, indicative present and perfect tenses
present perfect
affirmative negative affirmative negative
1st sing. ajan
"I drive"
en aja
"I do not drive"
olen ajanut
"I have driven"
en ole ajanut
"I have not driven"
2nd sing. ajat
"you drive"
et aja
"you do not drive"
olet ajanut
"you have driven"
et ole ajanut
"you have not driven"
3rd sing. ajaa
"drives"
ei aja
"does not drive"
on ajanut
"has driven"
ei ole ajanut
"has not driven"
1st plur. ajamme
"we drive"
emme aja
"we do not drive"
olemme ajaneet
"we have driven"
emme ole ajaneet
"we have not driven"
2nd plur. ajatte
"you drive"
ette aja
"you do not drive"
olette ajaneet
"you have driven"
ette ole ajaneet
"you have not driven"
3rd plur. ajavat
"they drive"
eivät aja
"they do not drive"
ovat ajaneet
"they have driven"
eivät ole ajaneet
"they have not driven"
pass./impr. ajetaan
"is (being) driven"
ei ajeta
"is not (being) driven"
on ajettu
"has been driven"
ei ole ajettu1)
"has not been driven"
1) The non-standard "double passive" ei olla ajettu (passive voice ei olla + passive past participle ajettu) is common in colloquial speech.
Inflection of ajaa, indicative past and pluperfect tenses
past pluperfect
affirmative negative affirmative negative
1st sing. ajoin
"I drove"
en ajanut
"I did not drive"
olin ajanut
"I had driven"
en ollut ajanut
"I had not driven"
2nd sing. ajoit
"you drove"
et ajanut
"you did not drive"
olit ajanut
"you had driven"
et ollut ajanut
"you had not driven"
3rd sing. ajoi
"(he/she/it) drove"
ei ajanut
"(he/she/it) did not drive"
oli ajanut
"(he/she/it) had driven"
ei ollut ajanut
"(he/she/it) had not driven"
1st plur. ajoimme
"we drove"
emme ajaneet
"we did not drive"
olimme ajaneet
"we had driven"
emme olleet ajaneet
"we had not driven"
2nd plur. ajoitte
"you drove"
ette ajaneet
"you did not drive"
olitte ajaneet
"you had driven"
ette olleet ajaneet
"you had not driven"
3rd plur. ajoivat
"they drove"
eivät ajaneet
"they did not drive"
olivat ajaneet
"they had driven"
eivät olleet ajaneet
"they had not driven"
pass./impr. ajettiin
"was (being) driven"
ei ajettu
"was not (being) driven"
oli ajettu
"had been driven"
ei ollut ajettu1)
"had not been driven"
1) The non-standard "double passive" ei oltu ajettu (passive voice ei olla + passive past participle ajettu) is common in colloquial speech.

Conditional

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Used for actions that are conditional, i.e. that hinge on a condition or prerequirement. Often corresponds to English would: ajaisin jos voisin (I would drive if I could).

The second-person forms, when combined with the interrogative clitic -ko, can be used to form polite requests (similar to English "could you do ...?").

Inflection of ajaa, conditional present and perfect tenses
present perfect
affirmative negative affirmative negative
1st sing. ajaisin
"I would drive"
en ajaisi
"I would not drive"
olisin ajanut
"I would have driven"
en olisi ajanut
"I would not have driven"
2nd sing. ajaisit
"you would drive"
et ajaisi
"you would not drive"
olisit ajanut
"you would have driven"
et olisi ajanut
"you would not have driven"
3rd sing. ajaisi
"(he/she/it) would drive"
ei ajaisi
"(he/she/it) would not drive"
olisi ajanut
"(he/she/it) would have driven"
ei olisi ajanut
"(he/she/it) would not have driven"
1st plur. ajaisimme
"we would drive"
emme ajaisi
"we would not drive"
olisimme ajaneet
"we would have driven"
emme olisi ajaneet
"we would not have driven"
2nd plur. ajaisitte
"you would drive"
ette ajaisi
"you would not drive"
olisitte ajaneet
"you would have driven"
ette olisi ajaneet
"you would not have driven"
3rd plur. ajaisivat
"they would drive"
eivät ajaisi
"they would not drive"
olisivat ajaneet
"they would have driven"
eivät olisi ajaneet
"they would not have driven"
pass./impr. ajettaisiin
"would be driven"
ei ajettaisi
"would not be driven"
olisi ajettu
"would have been driven"
ei olisi ajettu
"would not have been driven"

Imperative

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Used to express commands. In the third person and with the passive/impersonal forms, the meaning is rather optative ("let them do X").

In modern Finnish, the third-person and passive/impersonal forms are most often used to express either acquiescence or resignation (e.g. "no ajakoon sitten" (well fine, let him/her/them drive then)), or disregard or indifference for what is or isn't done (e.g. "ajakoon, ei sillä minulle ole väliä" (well then let him/her/it drive, it doesn't matter to me)).

The first-person plural imperative is used as a hortative ("let's do ..."), but, outside of literary Finnish, is usually replaced with the present passive/impersonal form (ajakaammeajetaan).

The imperative connegative forms ending in -ko, -kö should not be confused with the (interrogative) clitic -ko.

The imperative perfect forms are only used in a jussive sense.

Inflection of ajaa, imperative present and perfect tenses
present perfect
affirmative negative affirmative negative
2nd sing. aja
"drive!"
älä aja
"do not drive!"
3rd sing. ajakoon
"let him/her/it drive"
älköön ajako
"let him/her/it not drive"
olkoon ajanut
"let (he/she/it) have driven"
älköön olko ajanut
"let (he/she/it) not have driven"
1st plur. ajakaamme
"let us drive"
älkäämme ajako
"let us not drive"
2nd plur. ajakaa
"drive!"
älkää ajako
"do not drive!"
3rd plur. ajakoot
"let them drive"
älkööt ajako
"let them not drive"
olkoot ajaneet
"let them have driven"
älkööt olko ajaneet
"let them not have driven"
pass./impr. ajettakoon
"let it be driven"
älköön ajettako
"let it not be driven"
olkoon ajettu
"let it have been driven"
älköön olko ajettu
"let it not have been driven"

Potential

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Used for verbs that are not entirely certain, but which are probable. Corresponds to English may, probably, it is possible that etc.

Mostly confined to literary Finnish. Adverbs like kai, luultavasti, ehkä etc. are often used instead: lienee ajanuton kai ajanut.

Inflection of ajaa, potential present and perfect tenses
present perfect
affirmative negative affirmative negative
1st sing. ajanen
"I might drive"
en ajane
"I might not drive"
lienen ajanut
"I might have driven"
en liene ajanut
"I might not have driven"
2nd sing. ajanet
"you might drive"
et ajane
"you might not drive"
lienet ajanut
"you might have driven"
et liene ajanut
"you might not have driven"
3rd sing. ajanee
"(he/she/it) might drive"
ei ajane
"(he/she/it) might not drive"
lienee ajanut
"he/she/it might have driven"
ei liene ajanut
"he/she/it might not have driven"
1st plur. ajanemme
"we might drive"
emme ajane
"we might not drive"
lienemme ajaneet
"we might have driven"
emme liene ajaneet
"we might not have driven"
2nd plur. ajanette
"you might drive"
ette ajane
"you might not drive"
lienette ajaneet
"you might have driven"
ette liene ajaneet
"you might not have driven"
3rd plur. ajanevat
"they might drive"
eivät ajane
"they might not drive"
lienevät ajaneet
"they might have driven"
eivät liene ajaneet
"they might not have driven"
pass./impr. ajettaneen
"might be driven"
ei ajettane
"might not be driven"
lienee ajettu
"might have been driven"
ei liene ajettu
"might not have been driven"

Rare moods

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These moods are not part of standard language.

Optative

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Poetic and archaic. Similar to imperative, but less forceful. Only a few personal forms are used; third-person forms coincide with those of the imperative mood.

Inflection of ajaa, optative present tense
affirmative negative
2nd sing. ajaos
"drive!"
ällös aja
"do not drive!"
3rd sing. ajakoon
"let him/her/it drive"
älköön ajako
"let him/her/it not drive"
2nd plur. ajakaatte
"drive!"
älkäätte ajako
"do not drive!"
3rd plur. ajakoot
"let them drive"
älkööt ajako
"let them not drive"

Eventive

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Rare and poetic; used in the Finnish national epic Kalevala. Combination of conditional and potential: ajan (I drive)ajaneisin (I probably would drive). Sporadically found in general usage as well, but with a literary nuance and not accepted as part of the standard language.

Nominal verb forms

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Infinitives

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There are anywhere from three to five groups of infinitives: first infinitive (I, with an additional long form), second infinitive (II) and third infinitive (III). Some definitions also include a fourth infinitive (IV) and fifth infinitive (V). There also exists a set of alternative names for all five: A infinitive, E infinitive, MA infinitive, MINEN infinitive and MAINEN infinitive respectively, after their endings.

Table

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infinitive voice case form (approximate) translation notes
I ajaa to drive
I (long)1 ajaakseni For the purpose of me driving, in order for me to drive
ajaaksesi for the purpose of you driving, in order for you to drive (singular)
ajaakseen for the purpose of him/her driving, in order for him/her to drive
ajaaksensa
ajaaksemme for the purpose of us driving, in order for us to drive
ajaaksenne for the purpose of you driving, in order for you to drive (plural)
ajaakseen for the purpose of them driving, in order for them to drive
ajaaksensa
II active inessive ajaessa when/while driving, as one is driving/as one drives subject in the genitive case, (possible) object in the partitive case
instructive ajaen2 while/by driving used as part of a larger verb phrase, so the subject is not directly mentioned. (possible) object in the partitive case
passive inessive ajettaessa when one drives X; when something is being driven (possible) object in the partitive case
III active inessive ajamassa olin ajamassa: I was driving most often used with olla
elative ajamasta lakkasin ajamasta: I stopped driving most often used with tulla ("to come from doing X") or with verbs of stopping or ceasing
illative ajamaan lähdin ajamaan: I began driving, I went to drive most often used with mennä (to go), lähteä (to begin, go) or with verbs of starting or beginning
adessive ajamalla by driving object in accusative or partitive
abessive ajamatta without driving; olin ajamatta viikon (I did not drive for a week), tein sen ajamatta (I did it without driving)
instructive ajaman sinun on ajaman: you must drive dated
passive instructive ajettaman tätä autoa on ajettaman: one has to drive this car dated
IV3 nominative ajaminen sinun on ajaminen: you must drive dated
partitive ajamista4 sinne ei ole ajamista: one must not drive there dated
V1 ajamaisillani olin ajamaisillani: I was about to drive literary
ajamaisillasi ...you were about to drive (singular) literary
ajamaisillaan ...he/she was about to drive literary
ajamaisillansa
ajamaisillamme ...we were about to drive literary
ajamaisillanne ...you were about to drive (plural) literary
ajamaisillaan ...they were about to drive literary
ajamaisillansa
1 Always used with a personal/possessive suffix.
2 Also used with a possessive suffix with a modal sense ("as one X"), although this use is now quite formal.
Tein sen tieteni.I did it knowingly (as I knew).
3 The 'fourth infinitive' is a term for certain special uses of the verbal noun in specific contexts; see the section below.

First infinitive

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The most common form for complement verbs (those used with an auxiliary), corresponding roughly to English "to do". It is also the dictionary form. It triggers final gemination.

se pitää tehdäit must be done
alan tehdäI'll start to do
helppo tehdäeasy to do
onko oikein tehdä niin?is it right to do so?
tiedätkö mitä tehdä?do you know what to do?
olin tehdä virheenI was (about) to do a mistake
työtä jota tehdäsome work to do

The "long" first infinitive, or more properly the translative form of the first infinitive, has the translative suffix ending (-ksi) followed by a possessive suffix, which is required. It generally means "in order to do X", as part of the so called "final construct".

kertoakseni sen minun pitää ensin...in order to tell it, I must first...

Second infinitive

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The second infinitive has three forms. The inessive case has both active and passive forms, while the instructive only has the active form. The active inessive form regularly receives possessive suffixes, but the instructive form only does so rarely, while the passive form cannot.

The active inessive form means "as/while X is/was doing Y":

saapuessani kotiin...as I was coming home...
miehen saapuessa kotiin...as the man was coming home...

The passive inessive form means "as/while X is/was being done":

sitä syötäessä...as it is being eaten...

Technically speaking the active form should replace an active form of a verb and the passive form a passive form of a verb, but the active form is occasionally, especially in less formal situations, indiscriminately used in place of the passive form.

The active instructive form means "by/while doing X":

lähdimme ravintolaan kävellenwe left to the restaurant by walking (on foot)
tietäenknowingly
näin ollenthis being the case

Third infinitive

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The third infinitive has six case forms: inessive, elative, illative, adessive, abessive and instructive. Only the instructive has both active and passive forms, while the other five cases only have active forms. Forms of the third infinitive are fairly common when chaining verbs.

The inessive form refers to an ongoing action as a state of being:

olla nukkumassato be (in the process of) sleeping
käydä juomassato visit (a place) to drink

Sometimes it is used alone, although this kind of usage is characteristic of newspaper headlines:

hanke suistumassa kaaokseen!the project about to plunge into chaos!

The elative form mostly refers to leaving the state in which one is doing something:

palata syömästäto come back from eating
lakata satamastato stop raining

but has some special uses too:

kieltää juoksemasta kadulleto forbid to run into the street
varo herättämästä häntäbeware of waking him up

The illative form refers to entering the state in which one is doing something:

mennä nukkumaanto go to sleep
ruveta puhumaanto begin to speak
saada suostumaanto get (someone) to agree (to do/be something)
tulla olemaanto be going to be / will be
valmis lähtemäänready to leave

The adessive form refers to an action as a means of doing something, "by doing X":

jano lähtee juomallathe thirst goes away by drinking
hävittää polttamallato dispose of by burning

The abessive form means "without doing X" (when used with olla, it literally means "to be without doing X", but is better translated as "to (intentionally, consciously) not do X", "to avoid doing X"):

aiotko lähteä täältä syömättä?are you going to leave without eating?
olen ollut jo kuukauden syömättä herkkujaI've avoided eating sweets for a month now
olla tekemättäto not be done, be left undone

The instructive forms are used in commands or prohibitions. They are restricted to archaic language:

sinun pitää lähtemänyou must leave
se pitää tehtämänit must be done

Forms of the third infinitive coincide with those of the agent participle and of the -ma noun, if they exist for the verb in question.

Fourth infinitive

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The term "fourth infinitive" is used in many (particular older) grammars for certain uses of the verbal noun formed with -minen (see below).

The first use is with the verb olla (using the nominative singular in the affirmative and the partitive singular in the negative) to mean "one must do X" or "one must not do X". This use is largely restricted to formal language and is rare in modern and colloquial Finnish:

se on tekeminenit must be done
sitä ei ole tekemistäit must not be done

The second use is with the verb itself to mark an action that is being done continuously/for a long time:

Hän ajoi ajamistaan.He drove and drove. / He kept on driving and driving.

Fifth infinitive

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Used in the literary language, rare in colloquial Finnish. Always in the adessive case, and always takes a possessive suffix aligning with the person.

Most often used with olla as a predicative adverbial to mean "as X was about to Y", which in the past sense usually implies an interruption that prevents X from doing Y.

olin ostamaisillani sen, kun...I was about to buy it, when...

It can also be used with olla in the present tense, in which case it has a more general sense of "to be about to X":

olen ostamaisillani senI am about to buy it

Less often but still at times encountered is use with other verbs. In those cases, it can generally be translated either as "as if X were about to Y" or sometimes even "as X is about to Y":

heilua putoamaisillaanto swing as if one were to fall (down/off)

The term "fifth infinitive" remains common, although more recent views do not treat it as an infinitive, but as a kind of adverb. Other names for this form include propinquative and proximative. Arguably it could also be called a "long third infinitive", given that it is etymologically closely related to it.

Infinitive constructs

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These are kinds of absolute constructs (lauseenvastike), alongside participle constructs:

  • inessive of the second infinitive (+ possible possessive suffix): as X is/was doing... (present "temporal construct")
    saapuessani kotiin...as I was coming home...
    pormestarin puhuessa...as the mayor was speaking...
    sitä syötäessä...as it is being eaten...
  • instructive of the active second infinitive: by/while doing... ("modal construct")
    lähdemme ravintolaan kävellenwe'll leave to the restaurant by walking (on foot)
    Kaisa odotti bussia lukienKaisa was reading while waiting for the bus
  • long first infinitive + possessive suffix: in order to do ("final construct")
    lähdimme Lappiin tavataksemme joulupukinwe went to Lapland (in order) to meet Santa Claus

Participles

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All participles can be inflected and used like adjectives. Many participles are in fact used as independent adjectives: syötävä (edible), kuollut (dead) etc.

Appendix:Finnish participles contains additional information on the usage of these participles and constructs using them. This page will only give a short description and example inflections.

Present active participle

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"that does X", e.g. kovaa ajava auto (fast driving car, car that drives fast)

Inflection of ajava (present active participle of ajaa)
case singular plural
nominative ajava ajavat
genitive ajavan ajavien
ajavain
partitive ajavaa ajavia
accusative ajava ajavat
ajavan
inessive ajavassa ajavissa
elative ajavasta ajavista
illative ajavaan ajaviin
adessive ajavalla ajavilla
ablative ajavalta ajavilta
allative ajavalle ajaville
essive ajavana ajavina
translative ajavaksi ajaviksi
abessive ajavatta ajavitta
instructive ajavin
comitative ajavine

Present passive participle

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"that has X done to it" or "that can have X done to it", e.g. ajettava auto (car to be driven, car that can be driven = drivable car)

Inflection of ajettava (present passive participle of ajaa)
case singular plural
nominative ajettava ajettavat
genitive ajettavan ajettavien
ajettavain
partitive ajettavaa ajettavia
accusative ajettava ajettavat
ajettavan
inessive ajettavassa ajettavissa
elative ajettavasta ajettavista
illative ajettavaan ajettaviin
adessive ajettavalla ajettavilla
ablative ajettavalta ajettavilta
allative ajettavalle ajettaville
essive ajettavana ajettavina
translative ajettavaksi ajettaviksi
abessive ajettavatta ajettavitta
instructive ajettavin
comitative ajettavine

Past active participle

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"that did X" or "that has done X", e.g. ohitsemme ajanut auto kääntyi vasemmalle (the car that passed us turned left).

Inflection of ajanut (past active participle of ajaa)
case singular plural
nominative ajanut ajaneet
genitive ajaneen ajaneiden
ajaneitten
partitive ajanutta ajaneita
accusative ajanut ajaneet
ajaneen
inessive ajaneessa ajaneissa
elative ajaneesta ajaneista
illative ajaneeseen ajaneisiin
ajaneihin
adessive ajaneella ajaneilla
ablative ajaneelta ajaneilta
allative ajaneelle ajaneille
essive ajaneena ajaneina
translative ajaneeksi ajaneiksi
abessive ajaneetta ajaneitta
instructive ajanein
comitative ajaneine

Past passive participle

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"that had X done to it" or "that has had X done to it", e.g. tätä autoa on ajettu (this car has been driven)

Inflection of ajettu (past passive participle of ajaa)
case singular plural
nominative ajettu ajetut
genitive ajetun ajettujen
partitive ajettua ajettuja
accusative ajettu ajetut
ajetun
inessive ajetussa ajetuissa
elative ajetusta ajetuista
illative ajettun ajettuihin
adessive ajetulla ajetuilla
ablative ajetulta ajetuilta
allative ajetulle ajetuille
essive ajettuna ajettuina
translative ajetuksi ajetuiksi
abessive ajetutta ajetuitta
instructive ajetuin
comitative ajettuine

Agent participle

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"done X by Y", e.g. minun ajamani auto (the car I drove/have driven). Not used with all verbs.

Inflection of ajama (agent participle of ajaa)
case singular plural
nominative ajama ajamat
genitive ajaman ajamien
ajamain
partitive ajamaa ajamia
accusative ajama ajamat
ajaman
inessive ajamassa ajamissa
elative ajamasta ajamista
illative ajamaan ajamiin
adessive ajamalla ajamilla
ablative ajamalta ajamilta
allative ajamalle ajamille
essive ajamana ajamina
translative ajamaksi ajamiksi
abessive ajamatta ajamitta
instructive ajamin
comitative ajamine

Negative participle

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Negation of the other participles.

Inflection of ajamaton (negative participle of ajaa)
case singular plural
nominative ajamaton ajamattomat
genitive ajamattoman ajamattomien
ajamatonten
partitive ajamatonta ajamattomia
accusative ajamaton ajamattomat
ajamattoman
inessive ajamattomassa ajamattomissa
elative ajamattomasta ajamattomista
illative ajamattomaan ajamattomiin
adessive ajamattomalla ajamattomilla
ablative ajamattomalta ajamattomilta
allative ajamattomalle ajamattomille
essive ajamattomana ajamattomina
translative ajamattomaksi ajamattomiksi
abessive ajamattomatta ajamattomitta
instructive ajamattomin
comitative ajamattomine

Verbal nouns

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The suffix -minen can be used to create a verbal noun or action noun out of any verb. Other verbal noun suffixes also exist, but can only be used with specific conjugation classes, and often have a more lexicalized meaning (such as to refer to the result of an action, rather than the action itself).

For example, the verb ajaa has the regular action noun ajaminen, as well as ajo (with the suffix -o). They are used somewhat differently (see the corresponding entries).