Suomen kieli ulkomaalaisille/Sisältö/Verbityyppi 2

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Type 2 Verb Characteristics[edit]

  • These verbs have monosyllable stems ending in a long vowel or a diphthong, or have longer stems ending -oi and dictionary forms ending -da or -dä which do not belong to the stem .
All Finnish verbs have a first infinitive (i.e. dictionary listed) form ending with the letter -a or -ä which is added to the stem. But as no Finnish verb can have 3 consecutive vowels, the infinitve -a or -ä cannot be added directly to the stem of these verbs. Instead, an intervening -d is added after the stem and before the addition of the infinitive -a or -ä. Hence this group of verbs has dictionary forms ending -da or -dä but the d is not part of the stem and only appears in the infinitive forms.

Because of the long vowel stem ending, the third person singular does not extend the last vowel again (c.f. Type 1 verbs).


Present tense[edit]

voida - to be able to or to have the power to do or "can"

voi da to be able to
...... .... .......
minä voi n I can
sinä voi t you can
hän voi he/she can
me voi mme we can
te voi tte you can
he voi vat they can
voida an (passive)

Very many of the verbs that have single syllable stems ending in a long vowel or a dipthong are in this group (e.g. saada to get, löydä to find).

But there are also some longer verbs in this group that have often been formed from nouns. For instance imuroida to vacuum clean formed from a shortened form of the word pölynimuri vacuum cleaner (literally, sucker of dust).

Formation of the simple past tense (imperfect)[edit]

The imperfect ending marker is -i- but this cannot be added directly to the stem. This is because the stem already ends in two vowels and no Finnish verb can contain three consecutive vowels.

The solution to this problem is that Type 2 verbs is as follows.

  • if the final vowel of the stem is an i then the i of the stem is dropped.
Thus the simple past tense form is identical to the present tense.
  • however, if the last vowel is not an i, the FIRST of the two vowels in the stem is dropped.
Thus the dictionary form is not always easily apparent from the past tense form, especially for the short form verbs

voida - to be able to or to have the power to do or "can"

voi da to be able to
...... .... .......
minä vo i n I was able to
sinä vo i t you were able to
hän vo i he/she was able to
me vo i mme we were able to
te vo i tte you was able to
he vo i vat they were able to

Syodä to eat

syö to eat
...... .... .......
minä sö i n I ate
sinä sö i t you ate
hän sö i he/she ate
me sö i mme we ate
te sö i tte you ate
he sö i vät they see

Distinguishing Past, Present and Future[edit]

If present tense is also used as the future tense (as it is for all Finnish verb types), and the past tense in many Type 2 verbs forms is identical to these, why is this not confusing?

This is a good question (assuming you have already been wondering about this)!!

The answer will most likely be clear from the context. For example if it may includes a time clue like the word tomorrow, next week, last week etc. But this may not be the case.

An additional clue will come in the object form following the verb. Consider the following.

1. Imuroin auton

2. Imuroin autoa

Imuroida means to vacuum clean and auto is car, but here appears in two forms. the accusative -n form and the partitive -a form. Imuroin could mean I will vacuum (future tense), or I am vacuuming (right now, present tense) or I vacuumed past tense.

If the meaning is present tense, then the phrase has to be Imuroin autoa. Because the action is ongoing, object rules dictate that the object must be in the partitive case, indicating incomplete action. However imuroin autoa could also mean that I vacuumed part of the car some time ago (but perhaps this is unlikely) or I will vacuum part of the car, but not all of it (equally unlikely). If the car has been vacuumed and completely vacuumed, then the phrase will be imuroin auton. But equally if the job has not yet been started and the meaning is in the future I will vacuum (all of the car), it will equally be imuroin auton, so one must rely on other contextual information to distinguish the meaning.

In practise, this is hardly ever a problem.

Consonant Gradation[edit]

The good news is that type 2 verbs are not affected by consonant gradation.

Some Important Irregular Verbs[edit]

There are two verbs in Type 2 that have slightly irregular forms. As often happens with irregular verbs in many languages, they are also very common verbs, so its worth spending some time looking at them and committing them to memory. Fortunately, Finnish has remarkably few irregular verbs.

TEHDÄ TO DO or TO MAKE (the same verb serves both meanings)

teh to do
...... .... .......
minä tee n I do
sinä tee t you can
hän tek ee he/she does
me tee mme we do
te tee tte you do
he teke vät they do


h to see
...... .... .......
minä näe n I see
sinä näe t you see
hän näk ee he/she sees
me näe mme we see
te näe tte you see
he näke vät they see

And their past tense forms are slightly different too.

TEHDÄ TO DO or TO MAKE (the same verb serves both meanings)

teh to do
...... .... .......
minä te i n I made
sinä te i t you made
hän tek i he/she made
me te i mme we made
te te i tte you made
he tek i vät they made


h to see
...... .... .......
minä nä i n I saw
sinä nä i t you saw
hän näk i he/she saw
me nä i mme we saw
te nä i tte you saw
he näk i vät they saw

Similarity to Type 4 verbs[edit]

Type 4 verbs are similar to Type 2 verbs in that both types of verbs have stems ending in long vowels or diphthongs and conjugate for person in exactly the same way.

The big difference is that Type 4 verbs do not have the -da or -dä infinitive endings and as a result have a variety of stem forms. Due to changes in the stems type 4 verbs are much more complex and consonant gradation effects. Type 4 verbs also form the past participle and past tense forms slightly differently.

You can learn more about Type 4 verbs in the appropriate section of this book.