Present participle, "va-participle"

Participles are like infinitives: they are verbs, but they are not inflected in person, but instead behave like nominals and take case endings. Wereas infinitives are like nouns, participles are used like adjectives. Finnish has two participles, the present and the past. Both have active and passive forms. In English, participles are those forms ending ing,-en or -ed.

koira haukkuu -> haukkuva koira
a dog barks -> a barking dog


Forming va-participles is relatively easy. It has the same stem as the third person plural of the verb (this means it's always in strong grade). Replace the -vat with -va.

forming participles
haukkua haukkuvat haukkuva
to bark they bark barking
elää elävät elävä
to live they live living
juosta juoksevat juokseva
to run they run running

There's only one exception: olla -> oleva.

When to use?

As a modifier

You can use va-participles as a modifier just like adjectives. Often they are like the ing-verbs in English. Note, that the present participle / va-participle refers to something that is happening right now or is true in general (as opposed to the past participle / nut-participle)

Millainen koira se on? Se on pelottava koira.
What kind of dog is it? It's a frightening dog.
Haukkuva koira ei pure.
A barking dog doesn't bite.

To refer to future

Even though there's no actual future tense in Finnish, va-participles can be used to refer to future.

Ensi keväänä alkava kurssi.
The course starting next spring.

Also, there's this very old fashinoned construction that is found mostly in outdated formal texts:

Oikeus on voittava lopulta.
The justice shall triumph in the end.

Declinating va-participles

Since participles are actually adjectives, they are declinated alike.

present participles in singular
nominative kasvava
genitive kasvavan
partitive kasvanvaa
essive kasvavana
translative kasvavaksi
abessive kasvavatta
inessive kasvaneessa
elative kasvaneesta
illative kasvaneeseen
adessive kasvaneella
ablative kasvaneelta
allative kasvaneelle


present participles in plural
nominative kasvaneet
genetive kasvaneiden
partitive kasvaneita
essive kasvaneina
translative kasvaneiksi
abessiivi kasvaneitta
inessive kasvaneissa
elative kasvaneista
illative kasvaneihin
adessive kasvaneilla
ablative kasvaneilta
allative kasvaneille

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