Vanha nainen paloi kuoliaaksi.

English Translation

An old woman was burnt to death.

“was burned” indicates someone else’s doing, I think, i.e. passive. Otherwise it would just be “burned”.

→ poltettiin

It seems it’s not that easy.
For one, most of the other translations on tatoeba, that I can decipher, seem to agree with the finnish sentence, meaning effectively “An old woman died in a fire”. So I’m not sure whether my understanding of the english sentence is correct.

The second thing is, from what I read, that “burnt” is normally only the adjective, as in “The burnt cookies are still in the oven.”, while “burned” is used for the past tense, and probably the passive? Although not all sources agree, and some say that they are used interchangeably.

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I believe the normal implication is “burned (burnt) by the fire”. This may be analogous to “was killed (in an accident)”

The choice of burned or burnt seems to depend on regional preference.

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A native speaker of british english reacted with this:
yep. “was burnt to death” sounds like witch trials.

so :man_shrugging:

But if it is that ambiguous, then all translations are valid, I guess.

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True. By the way, I don’t think you will ordinarily see this type of language in a newspaper, as opposed to “was killed in a fire”, etc. Most people trapped in a fire supposedly die from inhalation of smoke, if that can be of any comfort.

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