Jump to Modal Verbs, Adverbs, Word Order, Reflexive Pronouns, Imperative, Exercise

Lesson 7


    kunna (i) [*kuna] inf. of can - to be able to
    vilja (i) [*vilja] inf. of want to
    få (i) [få:] to be allowed to / get
    skola (i) [*sko:la] inf. of shall, will
    måste [*måste]
    (present tense)
    have to / must
    mörk [mörk] dark
    ljus [ju:s] light, bright
    extrem [eks'tre:m] extreme
    titta på (1) to look at
    säga (i) [säja] to say
    alltid [*alti:d] always
    aldrig [*aldrig] never
    ingen(t,a) [*igen] no
    noggran [*no:gran] careful
    måndag ['månda] Monday
    tisdag ['ti:sda] Tuesday
    onsdag ['onsda] Wednesday
    torsdag ['tosda] Thursday
    fredag ['fre:da] Friday
    lördag ['löda] Saturday
    söndag ['sönda] Sunday

Modal Auxiliary Verbs

Modal verbs are verbs who tell in what way a certain action is carried out. Some examples of modal verbs are shall, must, want to. In Swedish, the modal verbs conjugate very irregularly:

    Present tense
    kunna kan kunde kunnat
    vilja vill ville velat
    skola ska(ll) skulle skolat
    får fick fått


An adverb is a word that tells in what way an action is performed. It can hence be an indicator to a verb, an adjective or another adverb. In English, adverbs have the suffix -ly. In Swedish, the suffix is -t.

    She walks slowly - Hon går långsamt
    She walks extremely slowly - Hon går extremt långsamt
    She is extremely beautiful - Hon är extremt vacker

Word order, advanced phrases

Some conjunctions:

    att [at] that
    som [såm] who(m), that, which
    eftersom [efter'såm]
    därför att ['därför]
    fastän ['fastän] although
    för att in order to
    så att so that
    innan [*inan] before
    om [åm] if
    då [då:] as
    medan [*me:dan] while

The Swedish word order differs in some way from that of the English language. In English, the word order is straight, except for phrases like "I want to leave", said John. In Swedish, the word order is straight too, as long as the subject + verb aren't preceded by anything in the sentence. But as soon as an expression precedes the subject + verb, the word order gets reversed. It could be any word, an indication of time or place or anything.

    Jag kom igår - Igår kom jag
    Jag bor där - Där bor jag
    Man talar svenska i Sverige - I Sverige talar man svenska

Subordinate clauses

  • In normal clauses the modifier is placed after its verb.

      I never come - Jag kommer aldrig
      I don't come - Jag kommer inte

  • But in a subordinate clause, the modifier is placed before its verb.
    • He says, that I never come - Han säger, att jag aldrig kommer
      He says, that I don't come - Han säger, att jag inte kommer

  • The conjunction som is used as English that, who, which
    • The ball that I look at - Bollen som jag tittar på
      The person who helped me - Personen som hjälpte mig
      The person by whom I was helped - Personen som jag hjälptes av
      That's the house at which we were looking - Det är huset som vi tittade på

Reflexive verbs / pronouns

Reflexive verbs are verbs like to wash oneself. They require a reflexive pronoun. In Swedish they are:

    Jag mig
    Du dig
    Vi oss
    Ni er
    De sig
  • In Swedish, to wash oneself is tvätta sig. Thus, I wash myself would be - Jag tvättar mig etc.

The Imperative

The imperative is used to give orders, like be quiet, come here. It is very easily formed in Swedish. You just take the stem of the verb. The only irregular form is vara whose imperative form is var.

    Come here - Kom hit
    Help me - Hjälp mig
    Be happy - Var glad

Exercise - Translate the following sentences into Swedish

    1 - Yesterday, he washed his big hands, since they were dirty.
    2 - Yesterday, he washed himself carefully.
    3 - In two days, she will see her brothers and sisters.
    4 - If she intend to come, I will help her.
    5 - Go there, in order to help your mother.
    6 - Buy the big house, although you don't like it.

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Last updated the 27th of March

Copyright Björn Engdahl 2008