Friday, March 21, 2014

Present participle active

Some of you might have noticed that I haven't posted anything about the participles, except for this post about the agent participle. Well, here we go. I'm trying to be as clear as possible and have example sentences that I'd actually use in my real life. This one is also known as the active VA-participle. (Update: You might want to take a look at Participles in a nutshell.)

The active present participle ends with -va, and it is used as an adjective. It is surprisingly easy to form: just drop the from the third person plural:

  • he asuvat > asuva 
  • puussa asuva mies - a man living in a tree (in the tree living man)

Of course, there has to be an exception, olla:

  • he ovat > oleva
  • raskaana oleva nainen - a pregnant woman (a woman being in heavy condition) 
  • alla oleva viesti - a message below (below being message)

You can always make a subclause with joka:

  • kiljuva lapsi - a screaming child
  • lapsi, joka kiljuu  - a child who screams

Behaving like an adjective, the participle can have all the possible case endings in singular and in plural.

  • Ravintolavaunu oli täynnä kiljuvia lapsia. - The restaurant car was full of screaming children.
  • Eikö noilla kiljuvilla kakaroilla ole vanhempia? - Don't those screaming brats have parents?
  • Onko tuo se viulua soittava tyttö? - Is that the girl who plays violin? (violing playing girl)
  • Tunnetko sä ketään venäjää puhuvaa henkilöä? - Do you know anyone who speaks Russian? (a Russian speaking person)
  • Tuo on se mun naapurissa asuva mies. - That's the man who lives next door to me. (in my neighbour living man)
  • Tuo sun rinnassa oleva patti pitää tutkia. - That lump in your breast has to be inspected. (in your breast being lump)
  • Alla olevassa viestissä on lisätietoja. - There is more information in the message below. (below being message)
  • Mun tulevalla aviomiehellä pitää olla hieno auto. - My future husband has to have a fancy car. (coming husband)
  • Käydään siinä Prisman vieressä olevassa Alkossa. - Let's go the Alko that is next to Prisma. (next to Prisma being Alko)

Was this all? No. The active present participle can also be used in a structure that replaces the subclause with että, that. Notice that both the pronoun (or a proper name) and the participle are in genitive.  These sentences are something that you would not hear in an everyday spoken language speech, yet they are common in literature. 

  • Luulen hänen asuvan Helsingissä. 
  • = Luulen, että hän asuu Helsingissä. - I think that he lives in Helsinki. 
  • Matti kertoi Liisan tulevan illalla.
  • = Matti kertoi, että Liisa tulee illalla. - Matti told that Liisa will come in the evening. 

If the subject is the same in both sentences, you'll need a possessive suffix after the participle.

  • Tiedän olevani oikeassa. = Tiedän, että olen oikeassa. - I know that I'm right.
  • Matti kertoi muuttavansa Tampereelle. = Matti kertoi, että hän muuttaa Tampereelle. - Matti told that he will move to Tampere.

One more thing: If you have the VA participle in plural essive and add a possessive suffix, it means that you are pretending to do something:

  • Olin nukkuvinani, koska en jaksanut jutella. - I pretended to sleep because I was too tired to talk. 
  • Joku tulee. Ole siivoavinasi. - Someone's coming. Pretend that you are cleaning.
  • He olivat syövinään kakkua, vaikka todellisuudessa piilottivat sen käsilaukkuun. - They pretended  they were eating the cake, although in reality, they hid it in the purse. 

Notice that kiva, mukavakova and lihava are just a bunch of adjectives that end with va but have nothing to do with participles. Painava, heavy, on the other hand has become such a normal adjective that you don't even think that if comes from the verb painaa. Fascinating, isn't it?

Rentouttavaa viikonloppua! - Have a relaxing weekend!

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About the author of this blog:

My name is Hanna Männikkölahti. I am a professional Finnish teacher who gives private online lessons and simplifies books into easy Finnish. You can contact me through You can subscribe to this blog from the right-hand banner. 


Nick O. said...

Yes it is :D

Anonymous said...

Kiitos hanna. Älytömän hyvä blog! Really helpful :)

Hanna said...

Kiitos, kiva kuulla! :)

How I'm chilling out said...

Hi Hanna, do you mind explaining which kind of this sentence is?

"On tuotava yhteen ihmisiä eri elämänaloilta, yrittäjiä, tutkijoita ja bisnesjohtajia, ja luotava näistä tuloksia kasvattava sekoitus."

Present active participles are so difficult that I dont quite know what these participles mean.

Thanks in advance

Hanna said...

Fun! :) Those are actually forms of the present participle passive, or the passive form of the VA-participle, as it is nowadays called. In this case, the participle is used in a structure that expresses necessity.

On tuotava = one has to bring (basic form tuoda)
On luotava = one has to create (basic form luoda)

Anonymous said...

Hei Hanna, miten negatiivinen lause muodostetaan? Esim. Hän usko että en tiedä tätä asiaa. 'Hän usko en tietäväni sitä asiaa?'

Random Finnish Lesson / Hanna Männikkölahti said...

Ei mitenkään. Negatiivisesta lauseesta ei voi tehdä tuota rakennetta. Voit sanoa vain näin: "Hän uskoo, että en tiedä tätä asiaa." tai "Hän ei usko, että tiedän tätä asiaa."

Unknown said...

Selvä juttu, kiitos :) :)