partitive/accusative = present/future?

Discussion in 'Suomi (Finnish)' started by Gavril, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA

    I think that the accusative/partitive distinction can also serve to distinguish between a present-tense action and a future action:

    Luen kirjaa. "I'm reading the book (right now)."
    Luen kirjan. "I will read the book (at some point in the future)."

    If there are no further contextual clues (such as a word like huomenna or a phrase like tällä aikaa), would these be the normal interpretations of the two Finnish sentences above?

    As far as I know, the only "present-tense" interpretation of Luen kirjan would be "I read a book (every day, every month, etc.)". But, Luen kirjaa could mean "I'll read some of the book" given the appropriate context (e.g., a word such as huomenna or tulevaisuudessa), correct?
  2. Grumpy Old Man Senior Member

    I see nothing wrong with your argumentation.

  3. akana Senior Member

    English - USA
    How does this work for existential sentences? Can you use the partitive in existential sentences as a way of indicating the present tense?

    Siitä tulee isompaa (katsoessani sitä).
    Siitä tulee isompi (tulevaisuudessa).

    I feel like I've seen similar examples with the partitive, but I couldn't find them. I did see this one recently...

    Talosta ei tule tukevaa.

    But I think that must be because of the negative?
  4. Grumpy Old Man Senior Member

    Without context, and expert knowledge, I can only say that I cannot think of a situation in which Siitä tulee isompaa would work. I'm not saying that it is absolutely wrong, though. Siitä tulee isompi sounds very natural and there are countless situations in which it is applicable.

    Talosta ei tule tukeva/tukevaa may both be officially correct. My ear accepts both of them, but my ear isn't Kielitoimisto!:D

  5. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    All three of your examples have an adjective rather than a noun in the predicate, and it might be more common to use the translative case with an adjective following tulla: i.e.,

    Se tulee isommaksi katsoessani sitä/tulevaisuudessa
    (as opposed to Siitä tulee isompi)
    Se tulee/ei tule tukevammaksi

    What about when the predicate is a noun?

    Could you say, for example,

    Toukasta tulee perhosta

    "The caterpillar is turning into a butterfly (as we speak)"


    Toukasta tulee perhonen

    "The caterpillar will turn into a butterfly"
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2012
  6. reamary Member

    The first one, "Toukasta tulee perhosta" is an incorrect form. If you want to say that the caterpillar is turning into a butterfly as we speak, you should say Toukasta on tulossa perhonen. So it works differently when the predicate is a noun. The second phrase is ok. :)

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