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SVD (angol) nyelv gyakorl Nyelvtan

Swedish Grammar
(Updated in August 2013.)
This grammar is (being) written by Leif Stensson, and is a part of the Language and Linguistics
pages at the academic computer society Lysator at Linkping University in Sweden.
(Note: this document is far from finished yet.)

Table of Content

Alphabet and Pronunciation (below)

Conjunctions, etc

I. Noun gender
II. Some two-part verbs

Alphabet and Pronunciation

Swedish basically uses the same alphabet as English, with the addition of three letters: , and . In
alphabetical order, these are at the end of the alphabet, in that order.
In some foreign words, borrowed from languages which use letters not present in the Swedish
alphabet, the foreign letter(s) are sometimes used, especially when the letters in question are (from
French) and (from German). In foreign names, the foreign spelling is practically always used. (It
would be considered wrong, and somewhat impolite toward the person whose name it is, to spell a
name such as Andr or Gnther without the accents, unless there is some practical reason -- such as
those letters not existing on the typewriter you're using -- to do it.)
Some the letters in the Swedish alphabet are pronounced roughly as they would be in English. The
others are pronounced as follows:

is different depending on whether the quantity of the vowel is long or short. When long, the
letter is pronounced approximately like the "a" in the English word "far". When short, the
letter is pronounced approximately like the "a" in Spanish "casa".
is usually pronounced as "s" before /e/, /i/, /y/, //, and //, and otherwise pronounced as "k".
is pronounced almost as in English, except that the tongue should not be half-curled back
(that is, Swedish /d/ is not a retroflex). (**)
is pronounced as in the English word "deck", even when long; that is, never like "e" in
English "be" or "deep". (The letter "i" is used for that sound.)
is pronounced hard, like English "g" before /a/, /o/, /u/, and //, and soft (as Swedish "j")
before /e/, /i/, /y/, //, and //. After the sound /l/ or /r/ in the same syllable "g" is usually
pronounced as /j/ as well. In other cases, it is usually pronounced as /g/. In loan-words,
especially Greek and Latin loan-words, "g" is often pronounced /g/ even after /r/. In rare
cases, such as "energi" (energy), the "g" is pronounced roughly like "sj" (see below). (**)
is pronounced as English "e" in "be".
is pronounced as English "y" in "yawn". Never as "j" in "jaw".
is pronounced as a soft "ch" before /e/, /i/, /y/, //, //, and otherwise as an English "k". (*) A
few exceptions exist for loan-words; most noticably perhaps "k" (queue) and "kr" (choir),
where a hard K sound is used.
is pronounced almost as in English, except that when the sound is made (with the tip of the
tongue touching the upper palate) the tongue should not be half-curled back, as in English,
but straight. (**)
is, depending on context, pronounced as either "oo" in English "too" (usually when the
sound is long), or "o" in English "for" (usually when short).
is a very rare letter in Swedish since the spelling reform about a century ago. It occurs
almost exclusively in names, and a few foreign loan-words (most from latin), and almost
always followed by a "u" or, less often, by a "v". The sound of "qu" or "qv" is equivalent to
Swedish "kv".
is normally pronounced with a very slight quiver of the tongue; more distinct than is normal
in English, but not quite as distinct as in German. (**) It should be noted, however, that out
of all consonant sounds, /r/ is the one that shows the largest variation between different
Swedish dialects.
is pronounced almost as in English, except that the tongue should not be half-curled back.
That is, not retroflex. (**)
in Swedish is pronounced in a way that is somewhat difficult to describe with reference to
English, which has no sound similar to it. Closest is perhaps the long /o/ in English "two",
"too" and "you", but more fronted, with the tip of the tongue touching the lower front teeth.
For those familiar with the IPA phonetic alphabet, it can be written
W w,

as Q, is a rare letter in Swedish, and almost exclusively used in names. It is pronounced as

"v", except when used in foreign (especially English) names, when it is usually pronounced
as it would be in the language the name came from (e.g: "whiskey", "Wayne" and
"Washington" would normally be pronounced more or less as they are in English).
is pronounced almost as "y" in English names such as "Terry", "Teddy" or "Cheryl", both
when long and when short. It is never pronounced as a diphtong (like the "y" in "reply").
Z z,
as Q and W, is a rare letter in Swedish. It is usually pronounced as English "s", but can be
pronounced as an English "z" if one wants to emphasise the fact that the word is spelled
with a "z", not an "s". As for the other infrequently used letters, in foreign names, the
pronunciation is often that of the language the names come from.

is pronounced as English "o" in "for".

is pronounced as English "ai" in "fair", and as a German "".

is pronounced much like German "", which is roughly like "u" in English "turn". Some
Swedish dialects (including the "standard" one) gives this sound a somewhat lower pitch
and a less fronted quality when it is followed by /r/ or a retroflex sound, and a somewhat
higher pitch and more fronted quality otherwise.
(*) Note: in traditional Swedish grammar books, vowels are grouped into "hrda" (hard: /a/, /o/,
/u/, //) and "mjuka" (soft: /e/, /i/, /y/, //, //), due to their effect when following the consonants C,
G and K, where the "soft" vowels cause a softening of the pronunciation. It can be noted that the
"hard" vowels are articulated with the tongue at the back of the mouth, while the "soft" vowels are
articulated at the front of the mouth. So the softening of the consonant sound mainly consists in
anticipating the fronting of the vowel sound already when pronouncing the consonant that preceeds
(**) Note: while the phonemes /d/, /l/, /s/, and /t/ are not generally pronounced in retroflex position,
the combinations /rd/, /rl/, /rs/, and /rt/ are pronounced as retroflex versions of /d/, /l/, /s/ and /t/
(with no separate /r/ sound).
In addition to the single letters, Swedish uses a number of digraphs and trigraphs to spell sounds
that lack a letter of their own. In most cases, pronouncing a written Swedish word is fairly
straighforward; usually, there is only one way of pronouncing each letter sequence (at least if the
next following letter is taken into account). The reverse, however, is not always true. Particularly
the Swedish spelling of the sounds similar to those written as "sh" in English, and as "sch" and "ch"
in German, can be confusing:
Sjas in "sj" (lake), "sjunka" (to sink), and "sjl" (soul). This spelling is rather common in
originally Swedish words, and rare in loan-words. Usually, "sj" in modern Swedish was "si"
plus a vowel in Old Swedish.
Skas in "sked" (spoon), "skta" (to take care of, to handle), "skina" (to shine), "skinn" (skin,
hide), and "skl" (a cause, a reason). Common when an e, i, or follows immediately
Skjas in "skjuta" (push, shoot), "skjuts" (a 'ride'), and "skjul" (shed, shack). Usually, "skj" was
"ski" + vowel in Old Swedish.

Stjas in "stjla" (to steal), "stjlk" (stalk (of a plant)), "stjlpa" (to tilt something, to tip
something over), "stjrna" (star), and "stjrt" (posterior, butt). These five words are the only
ones in the Swedish language that use the spelling "stj-", and they are sometimes
summarised in the mnemonic nonsense proverb "det r lttare att stjla en stjlk n att
stjlpa en stjrna med stjrten" ("it's easier to steal a stalk than to tilt a star with your butt").
Schas in "sch!" (hush!), "schwung" (oldish slang for 'speed and/or strength in an action', 'verve',
'go', etc), and names like "Scholl", "Schultz", "Scheele", etc. Primarily used in
onomatopoetic words, some names, and German loan-words.
Chas in "chock" (shock).
Shis frequent in foreign (especially English) loan-words and names. Examples: "sherry",
"Shelley", "shah" (Persian ruler).
is used in a few words such as "dusch" (shower), "krasch" (crash), "bransch" (branch of
trade, area of professional activity, type of business) and the interjection "usch!" (blech, ugh,
"Garage" (garage), "fromage" (meaning blancmange and similar, but not cheese). Mostly in
French loan-words.
"Fars" (farce), "farstu" (hallway).
is used in a few loan-words, such as "lunch".
"Sj-", "Sk-", "Skj-", "Stj-", and "Ch-" are usually pronounced a bit like German "ch", while "Sch-",
"-sch", "-ge", and "-rs" are usually pronounced more like German "sch" (English "sh").
To add to the confusion, "sk" is usually pronounced as two separate letters when followed by either
a consonant or one of the vowel sounds /a/, /o/, /u/ and //. Examples: "skrp" (trash), "skrika" (to
shout), "skata" (magpie), "sko" (shoe), "skum" (foam), "skp" (cupboard).
Also, foreign words and names from languages that use some variation of the Latin alphabet, and
where this variation includes the addition of a special letter for the "sh" sound, this special letter
might be used. Foreign words and names from languages that use other alphabets usually get their
"sh" sounds rendered as "sj", "sh" or "sch", depending on what transliteration rules are being used.
There are really no simple rules for how to spell the "sh" sound in the general case; it is usually best
to try to learn the spelling together with the word.

Intonation, Accents, Stress, Pitch

Swedish, like most modern Indoeuropean languages, basically has "ictus", or "stress", accent; one
"stressed" syllable in a word is emphasised more than the other syllables.
Unlike most other modern Indoeuropean languages, but like some of the older ones, Swedish also
has a tonal, or pitch, accent. Only two levels are distinguished, "high" and "low", although one
might argue that the unstressed syllables have a third, "middle", level.

The accents in Swedish are not normally marked in any way in the written language, although "'"
(acute accent, high pitch) and "`" (grave accent, low pitch) have become a de facto standard way of
marking them when one wishes to mark the specifically (such as in linguistic discussions, or when
discussing rhythm and rhyme in poetry).
Often, pronouncing a word with the wrong pitch will sound odd, but not cause any
misunderstandings. There are, however, a number of words that are distinguished only by the
accent, and a sizable group of words that have a distinct tonal stress. Most of these words are
bisyllabic words with the stress on the first syllable. Examples: "bren" (the cage) - "bren"
(carried), "rgel" (a rule) - "rgel" (a latch), "slgen" (the blows) - "slgen" (beaten).
There is a vague general tendency towards interpreting bisyllabic words with an initial high pitch as
nouns, while words with a initial low pitch "feels" more like verbs, participles and adjectives.

Swedish nouns are divided into declensions depending on their stem, how the plural is formed, and
on their gender (which is either 'uter' or 'neuter'). Within these declensions, they are inflected
according to:

Number: singular or plural.

Definiteness: definite or indefinite.
Case: nominative or genitive. (In Old Swedish, also accusative and dative, which has
survived in a few standard phrases.)

Inflection by case is rather trivial: the genitive is the nominative with an "s" suffixed, if the word
doesn't already end in an "s" sound, in which case nothing (or, optionally, an apostrope) is added. A
few words and names borrowed from Latin have latin genitives, although it is possible to ignore this
and treat them like other words.
(Note: some grammarians today seem to prefer to analyse the genetive constructions of modern
Swedish as created with an enclitic particle S instead of as a separate case form. They seem to do
this as a way of explaining the casual tendency of making genetive of phrases by adding S to the
last word of the phrase instead of the head noun. A similar tendency can sometimes be observed in
casual English, e.g. "the guy over there's hat". However, this doesn't explain the genitive of
pronouns, and doesn't seem to contribute anything useful for someone trying to learn Swedish, so
let's stick with the traditional approach where the genitive is treated as a case form.)
There are essentially five declensions:
First declension, plural indefinite on -or.
There are two groups of words within this declension, those that have a singular indefinite
suffix -a, and those that use the bare stem. The words with an -a suffix in the singular
indefinite uses -an to make the singular definite. The other words use -en. All words in this
declension are uter.
Second declension, plural indefinite on -ar.

Like the first declension, the second also has two primary groups of words; those that add -e
in singular indefinite, and those which use the bare stem. The singular definite has an -en
suffix. All words in this declension are uter.
Third declension, plural indefinite on -(e)r.
Words of this declension always use the bare stem for the singular indefinite, and add -(e)n
or -(e)t in the singular definite. There are both neuter and uter words in this declension.
Fourth declension, plural indefinite on -(e)n.
Singular indefinite: bare stem. Singular definite: -(e)t. There are only neuter words in this
Fifth declension. Plural indefinite: bare stem.
Singular indefinite: bare stem. Singular definite: -(e)t or -(e)n. There are both neuter and uter
words in this declension.
All nouns, except neuters of the fifth declension and some irregular words, add -na to the indefinite
plural to form the definite plural. But words with a plural already ending in "n" do not usually
double this "n" except in special cases, most of which concern words that are irregular for other
reasons, too.
Fifth-declension neuters have definite plurals on -en.
Inflection paradigm for the five declensions:
sg.indef. flaska
vittne brev
sg.def. flaskan busken
minuten vittnet brevet
pl.indef. flaskor buskar
minuter vittnen brev
pl.def. flaskorna buskarna minuterna vittnena breven
English: bottle
bush, shrub minute
witness letter (`mail') wine
Hungarian: palack bokor
The gender can easily be determined by looking at the singular definite form of the word (which
always end in either "n" or "t"); the words with a singular definite on "n" are uter, and others are
In the third and fourth declension, there are a number of words that end in -er and -el; these usually
drop the `e' before the final consonant when an added inflection suffix begins with a vowel. E.g. en
konstapel (3u, constable), pl. konstaplar, and ett papper (4n, paper), sg.def. pappret. However, in
the sg.def. case in the third declension, the suffix is instead usually reduced from -en to -n, e.g.
konstapeln. Forms such as konstaplen are possible, but often sound strange or archaic, and their use
nowadays tends to be limited to poetry and humourous contexts.
The third declension contains some neuter words, in which case the sg.def. form above ends in -et
instead of -en. One example is parti, a word with several barely related meanings, inflected thus:
parti, partiet, partier, partierna. Three meanings of the word are (1) `party' in the sense of a
grouping of people, such as a political party or a `side' in a legal dispute, (2) a `game' in the sense of
the occasion of playing it from start to finish, e.g. `ett parti schack' = a game of chess, and (3) a set,
group, pack, lot, load, etc of items being treated as a unit, e.g. `ett nyss inkommet parti gods' (a
recently received delivery of goods).

Umlaut plurals

A number of words form plural with umlaut, i.e. a change of the vowel of the syllable before the
suffix. Sometimes, this causes a loss of the suffix. This phenomenon occurs in English too, e.g. man
- men, goose - geese, mouse - mice, etc, but it is somewhat more common in Swedish than it is in
English. Usually, if a word has umlaut plural in English and the English word sounds similar to the
Swedish one, the Swedish word also forms plural with umlaut, since both languages have then
typically inherited the word from older Germanic sources.
Some Swedish words with umlaut plurals are: en man - mn (man), en fot - ftter (foot), en hand hnder (hand), en tand - tnder (tooth), en rand - rnder (stripe, edge), ett land - lnder (land,
country), en strand - strnder (shore, beach), en brand - brnder (fire, conflagration), en fader fder (father), en broder - brder (brother), en moder - mdrar (mother), en son - sner (son), en
dotter - dttrar (daughter), en bok - bcker (book), en rot - rtter (root), en gs - gss (goose), en
and - nder (a kind of duck), en mus - mss (mouse).
Additionally, some words have the length of a vowel reduced without changing vowel, since the
vowel has umlaut form already. An example is en nt - ntter (nut).
Note also that the family words fader (father), moder (mother) and broder (brother) have short
variant forms of the indefinite singulars. These drop the -de-, giving: far, mor, bror. This contraction
only occurs in the singular indefinite, however. In casual slang, these contractions can then be
extended by adding -sa, giving farsa, morsa, brorsa, which are inflected as first-declension nouns in
all forms. Although the word syster (sister) doesn't have this kind of short form, it does have a
variant of the casual slang form: syrra.
Another thing to note that the noun man (man) has different plurals depending on nuances of
meaning. In the meaning of man as opposed to woman, the plural is mn. When the word refers to a
count of people in a crew, the plural is often `mannar', but when the individual members of a crew
are referred to collectively (without any specific counting, as in "the merry men of ...") `mn' is
typically used. In older Swedish, the combined umlaut and suffix form `mnner' is sometimes used,
especially in modes of address, e.g. `I mnner ver lag och rtt' (`Ye men of law and justice'; this is
the first line of an aria from Atterberg's opera Fanal).

Shifting stress
A number of word, mostly Latin loan-words ending in -or, shift the position of the stress when a
word is inflected in such a manner that the number of syllables increases; these words are uters of
the third declension, and typically, the stress is shifted so it always falls on the penultimate syllable.
Some examples are: vektor (vector) stressed vktor, but inflected vektrer(na) in plural; lektor
(university teacher), dator (computer), pastor (priest, pastor; although the Latin word means
`shepherd'). A number of technical words, especially electrical and electronical components are also
of this type: resistor, termistor (thermal resistor), varistor (variable resistor), kondensator
(capacitor), induktor (inducer, inductor), transduktor (transducer), motor (motor, engine), stator
(non-moving active part in electrical motor), donator (donor). Some more examples whose meaning
are essentially the same as the English words they resemble are: sektor, mentor, rotor, promotor,
reaktor, extraktor, gladiator, generator, senator, doktor.
Another common case where a similar shift in stress often occurs is when the word for a person of a
particular nationality is derived from the name of the nation by the addition of -n or -es (/:s/), e.g.
"Amerika" /am:rika/ but "amerikan" /amerik:n/ and "Sudan" /suda:n/ but "sudanes" /sudane:s/.
Note also "Japan" /J:pan/ but "japan" /jp:n/, where the -n suffix is lost since the name of the
nation already ends with an N. This also causes a shift of tonal accent, where the stressed long
vowel has the low tone.

Irregular nouns
A small number of nouns are simply irregular in their inflection, and have to learned separately.
Two very common ones are ga (eye) and ra (ear), which happen to be irregular in exactly the
same way. They are both neuters, and form their plurals by adding "-on", giving: ga/ra
(sg.indef.), gat/rat (sg.def.), gon/ron (pl.indef.), gonen/ronen (pl.def.).

Foreign inflections for some loan-words

Much as in English, some Latin and Greek loan-words can be inflected according to their native
inflection paradigms instead of the Swedish ones. In some older text, this was fairly frequent, and it
is occasionally still used today, although mostly in formal or religious contexts, and for some
technical terms where the Swedish suffixes are phonetically awkward to combine with the foreign
word. Today, the foreign inflections are mostly limited to names, certain professional titles, and
technical terms, and are in most cases considered optional, with native Swedish inflections being
equally acceptable. Consequently, this section is perhaps mainly of interest to readers of older or
literary Swedish texts.
There are some variations in how and to what extent foreign forms were used, so there is no single
complete set of rules for exactly how to use which forms, but the following observations can be
made for situations when this type of foreign inflections are used:

The foreign inflections are normally only applied to words that have been borrowed
essentially unchanged from Greek or Latin in their nominative singular form. Words that
have lost their original suffix in the borrowing process (usually because they were borrowed
indirectly via another language) are normally inflected as regular Swedish words even in
texts that otherwise use Latin and Greek forms for other loan-words. So, for example, "ett
schema" (schedule, schematic, schema), which has been borrowed unchanged from Greek
"", and which has the regular Swedish indefinite plural "scheman", can alternatively
use the plural form "schemata", mirroring the Greek plural ""; but "en katastrof"
(disaster, catastrophe) which comes from Greek "", but which has dropped the
Greek ending "-", only has the Swedish indefinite plural "katastrofer"; it is not an
acceptable alternative to use "katastrofai" (mirroring the Greek plural "") as the
Swedish plural.
Since modern Swedish has no morphological difference between nominative, accusative and
dative for nouns, the corresponding foreign inflections are not usually used to make such a
difference. In most cases, the foreign nominative (singular or plural) serves the function of
all those three cases.
Sometimes, foreign accusatives, datives and ablatives may nevertheless be used, typically
when the word qualifies another word in a different case form. Today, this is almost
exclusively limited to a few set phrases such as "till dags dato", where "dato" is a Latin
ablative of the loan-word "datum" (meaning "date" in Swedish, although the original Latin
meaning is broader), qualifying the genitive form "dags" (day), which is governed by the
preposition "till" (to) (observing the old-fashioned case governing rules, where "till" governs
the genitive); with the whole unit literally meaning "to the day of/by/on the date", or more
simply, "up until today", "as far as today", "until now" or "so far".
Since Swedish makes a morphological distinction between definite and indefinite form,
which neither Greek nor Latin does, a choice must be made regarding how to make definite
forms. Typically, one of these three strategies is used: (a) ignore the distinction and use the
foreign form as though it was both definite and indefinite, (b) add a Swedish suffix for
definiteness to the inflected foreign form when the definite form is needed, or (c) fall back

to using native Swedish inflection for the definite forms. The first strategy, to use the foreign
forms entirely, was probably the most common and regarded as the most strictly correct,
especially for religious and academic titles, offices and objects (e.g. "rektor" (principal),
"dekanus" (dean), "pastor" (priest), "mitra" (mitre)). However, losing the distinction
between definite and indefinite form was sometimes a disadvantage, leading to compromises
in the form of the other two strategies described.
Latin genitive singulars are used for the simple cases where the Latin genitive singular is "i", especially for names ending in "-us", both for names borrowed from Latin, such as
"Magnus", and latinised name forms, such as "Gustavus" and "Carolus" (for Swedish names
Gustav and Karl). The name "Jesus" doesn't inflect that way in Latin, however, but rather
has a genitive of "Jesu", and that form is often seen also in older Swedish texts. For names
ending in "-a", such as "Maria" and "Jesaja", the Latin genitive would end in "-ae", but this
is typically reduce to just "-a", making it look like the uninflected nominative is used as a
In hymns and other religous texts, phonetic variations on the genitive ending occur now and
then; for example, in the hymn "Det r en ros utsprungen" (originally the German hymn Es
ist ein Ros entsprungen), the form "Jesse" occurs as a phonetic variation of "Jesu", in the
line "Det r en ros utsprungen / av Jesse rot och stam" - "A rose has sprung forth / from the
root and stem of Jesus". Later in the same hymn, another example is seen in "Om denna ros
allena / ljd frr Jesaje ord" - "About this rose alone / sounded earlier Isaiah's word(s)".
In names of abstract entities, organisations, official buildings (especially old buildings) and
similar, with Swedish names ending in "-a", the uninflected form is sometimes used as a
genitive, in a manner that resembles the reduce Latin genitives. An example of this is
"Uppsala domkyrka" (Uppsala Cathedral). However, it should be noted that the phonetic
variation with "-e" doesn't normally occur for such names, and that despite the resemblance
with the reduced Latin genitives, those genitives may have a different origin, or a mixed
origin influenced by Latin but also by other factors. There are mainly three such other
factors: an older Swedish genitive in "-a" (strictly only applicable to plural words), an older
Swedish genitive in "-ar" with a weak "r" sound (applicable in singular, but mainly to words
of feminine gender), and the possibility of constructing that type of names as compounds (as
is common in English today), which in Swedish calls for using the stem of the word instead
of the genitive form. (For Swedish words ending in "-a", the "-a" is often part of the stem.)
Generally regarding the Latin-style genitives, it should be noted that it is unusual to use
those forms for names in general, even for names of a Latin origin. Use of the Latin-style
genitives tends to be limited to names of historical or religious figures.
The group of Latin plurals that are still seen today in Swedish are words on "-(i)um" taking
"-(i)a" in plural, denoting locations, facilities and similar, e.g. "gymnasium" (secondary
school; the level between the 9-year primary school and univerity in Sweden), "solarium"
(tanning salon), "planetarium", "herbarium". Although not exactly common, inflections of
this type are still used today now and then. An unusually handled word to note in this
context is the Latin loan-word "museum", where the Latin form is used for the nominative
singular, but where the Latin stem "muse-" is used together with Swedish inflection suffixes
for other forms.
For Greek plurals form, none is especially common in modern Swedish, but the probably
least uncommon group are some singulars on "-a" taking "-ata" in plural, e.g. "schema"
(schedule, schematic, schema), as mentioned above. Another such group of words are
singulars on "-on" with plural on "-a", but most such words are found in the form of
technical terms and phrases that rarely occur in everyday speech. An example is "hapax
legomenon" (Greek " ", "(something) said (only) once", a linguistic term for
a word or phrase occuring only in a single place within a particular corpus of text; for that,
which the Greek-style plural "hapax legomena" could be used, or it can be inflected with

Swedish suffixes, (sg.indef. --, sg.def. -et/-at, pl.indef --, pl.def. -en/-ena; but the pl.def.
sounds so awkward it's tempting to rephrase to avoid that form).
Greek genitive case forms are practically never used.
Occasionally, Latin and Greek vocative case forms may occur, but that is mostly limited to
"Jesu" and "Kriste" in religious context, with the phonetic variation "Kristi" (which would
strictly be a genitive form) also occuring.

In Swedish, adjectives are inflected according to the number, gender and definiteness of the word
they qualify (no matter whether the adjective is in attributive or predicative position, i.e. whether it
is used as in "a red apple" or "the apple is red").
In older Swedish, adjectives were also inflected according to case. There are a number of set
phrases where these case-inflected adjectives still survive, for instance "i ljusan lga" (= "in bright(accusative) flame", (= "in bright flame", "on fire", "burning brightly") and "allom bekant" (= "all(dative) familiar" = "known to all").
Regular adjectives typically have three different forms: singular indefinite uter, singular indefinite
neuter, and a common form for the other six possible variations on number, gender and definiteness.
The first of these three forms is referred to as the "basic" or "uninflected" form, and is the form
normally found in dictionaries. There is also a fourth form, a masculine variant of the definite form,
and which consists of changing the final "-a" of the common definite form to "-e" (in those cases
where that form doesn't already end in "-e"). Use of this form is optional nowadays.
Regular adjectives derive their second form by suffixing a -t to the basic form. However, in terms of
spelling, a number of modifications can occur:

"nn+t" becomes "nt",

"d+t" becomes "tt",
"Cd+t" and "Ct+t" becomes "Ct", where "C" is any consonant. This means that the first and
second form of adjectives such as "svart" (black) and "fast" (firm, solid) are spelled and
pronounced the same.

The third form of regular adjectives is obtained by suffixing an -a to the basic form. Adjectives
whose basic form end in an unstressed -al/-el/-en/-er lose the unstressed vowel, yielding -la/-la/-na/ra, respectively, when the suffix is added. (Note on spelling: if the basic form ends in an short vowel
plus an "m" or an "n", the consonant is doubled before adding the -a.)
A few adjectives, most notably `liten' (little, small), are irregular and may change or modify the
stem during inflection, but this is a small group of exceptions.
In addition to "pure" adjectives, participles can also function as adjectives. The past participle is
typically inflected -ad/-at/-ade for weak verbs (see Verbs below) and -(e)n/-(e)t/-na for other verbs,
with the first two forms being uter and neuter for the singular indefinite, and the third is for all the
other forms. The present participle always end in "-(e)nde", and is normally not inflected when used
as an adjective.

`grn' `vit'
`vid' `svart' `liten' `mlad' `sliten'
(green) (white) (wide) (black) (little) (painted) (worn) grn vit
svart liten mlad
sliten grnt vitt
svart litet mlat
grna vita
vida svarta lilla mlade slitna
grna vita
vida svarta sm mlade slitna
Except for a very small number of irregular adjectives such as `liten', the plural form is always the
same as the definite singular.
In all cases above where the definite form ends in "-a", the traditional-style masculine form is
obtained by changing that "-a" to an "-e"; thus: "grne", "vite", "vide", "svarte", "lille" and "slitne";
but with no separate masculine form for "mlade", and no separate masculine form for the plural

Comparatives and superlatives

Much like English, Swedish has comparative and superlative forms of the adjectives, and can form
them in two ways: by suffix, or by using mer (more) and mest (most).
Most monosyllabic adjectives always form comparatives and superlatives by suffixing, adding -are
for comparative and -ast for superlative, e.g. rd-rdare-rdast (red), vt-vtare-vtast (wet), sensenare-senast (late), vid-vidare-vidast (wide). These words can use mer/mest too, but usually don't,
and when they do, it can often suggest a slightly different nuance of meaning; for instance, "mer
rd" may suggest a meaning like "more like red", "more distinctly red", or "more towards red"
rather than a plain "redder"; and for the superlative, "mest rd" can suggest things like "mostly red"
(as in red in the largest part, but possibly with spots of other colours, literally or metaphorically)
rather than plain "reddest".
Adjectives formed with the derivational suffix -ig from a monosyllabic root nearly always use
-are/-ast, and those formed from a bisyllabic root often do this, too. Polysyllabic roots waver, but
unless the final word is far too long, it is nearly always considered acceptable to use -are/-ast even
though mer/mest might be preferable in these cases.
Other adjectives with more than one syllable in the stem tend to go with mer and mest, although
some bisyllabic (and the occasional polysyllabic word stressed on the last syllable of the stem)
waver and can use suffixes as well, e.g. bekvm (comfortable) and intressant (interesting). The list
can be made rather long, and different people have different opinions as to which of these words
can properly take the -are/-ast suffixes, and which are restricted to only the mer/mest model.
A small group of adjectives have irregular forms in this respect. The probably most significant of
these are: f-frre-- (few, fewer, (no superlative form)) stor-strre-strst (large), liten-mindre-minst
(small), hg-hgre-hgst (high, tall (about objects)), lng-lngre-lngst (long, tall (about people)),
lg-lgre-lgst (low), bra-bttre-bst (good), dlig-smre-smst (bad). In an attributive position,
the irregular superlatives take the suffix of definiteness (-a, or -e in the optional masculine form),
while in predicative position, they remain in the form given here, e.g. "det strsta huset" (the largest
house), but "detta hus r strst" (this house is (the) largest). The attributive form is used even when
the noun the adjective qualifies is omitted: "detta hus r det strsta" (this house is the largest [one]).
Or, by an alternative grammatical analysis, one could say that the attributive form can function as a
noun by itself.


(Being written.)
There are basically three kinds of Swedish adverbs: plain/basic adverbs, older noun or adjective
case forms (mostly datives) surviving as adverbs, and neuter adjectives used as adverbs. The latter
group is straightforwardly formed just as when one would form an indefinite neuter singular
adjective, so there isn't much more to say about them.
Some basic adverbs are: igen (again), tillbaka (back in the sense of returning), fram(t) (at/in the
front, forward), bak(t) (at/in the back, backward), in (inwards, inside).
Some prepositions can double as adverbs, sometimes in a sense very similar to the prepositional
meaning, and sometimes in a slightly different sense. Examples: p (on), av (preposition: of, from;
adverb: off), ur (out of), frn (preposition: from, adverb: a wide and vague sense of away, out of
reach, ahead of, etc), i (preposition: in, adverb: into).
Some preposition+noun phrases have been contracted to adverbs, e.g. ivg (away), isr (apart in a
sense of drifting apart), itu (apart, in the sense of cutting or breaking, especially into two parts).
Some of these have become petrified and only exist in connection with a limited set of words, e.g.
ihg (originally i+hg, e.g. `in mind', `in intension') which now mainly occurs in connection with
the verb komma (to come), as komma ihg ngonting (to remember something; the original
construction similar to the English expression of something "coming to mind").
Some older adverbs (and other words) have petrified, much like the preposition+noun phrases
mentioned above, into idiomatic adverbs with only a vague meaning of their own. The most
common of these are probably an, till and fr. But note that both till and fr are perfectly alive as
common prepositions, though, meaning `to' and 'for', while an is mostly dead as a separate word in
Swedish, although it has survived in German. (Refer to the discussion about particle verbs for some
more details about these words.)
Various directional, locational and demonstrative words can be considered adverbs, too; e.g. hr
(here), hit (hither), dr (there), dit (thither).

Much like English, Swedish has two kinds of number words, the cardinals ("one", "two", etc) and
the ordinals ("first", "second", etc).
The number words are mostly uninflected, with the following exceptions: en/ett ("one") agrees in
gender with the word it qualifies, and the two first ordinals, "frsta" (first) and "andra" (second),
have an optional masculine form ending in "-e" rather than "-a".
Numeral Cardinal Ordinal
1 en/ett
2 tv
3 tre
4 fyra

Numeral Cardinal
0 noll
20 tjugo
30 trettio
40 fyrtio


5 fem
6 sex
7 sju
8 tta
9 nio
10 tio
11 elva
12 tolv
13 tretton
14 fjorton
15 femton
16 sexton
17 sjutton
18 arton
19 nitton

50 femtio
60 sextio
70 sjutio
80 ttio
90 nittio
100 (ett)hundra (ett)hundrade
200 tvhundra tvhundrade
500 femhundra femhundrade
1 000 (ett)tusen (ett)tusende
2 000 tvtusen
5 000 femtusen femtusende
10 000 tiotusen
20 000 tjugotusen tjugotusende
50 000 femtiotusen femtiotusende
nittonde 1 000 000 en miljon miljonte

Compound cardinals are formed by aggregating the individual number words, largest first:
42 = fyrtiotv (40+2)
123 = (ett)hundratjugotre (100+20+3)
4 711 = fyratusensjuhundraelva (4000+700+11)
262 144 = tvhundrasextiotvtusenetthundrafyrtiofyra ((200+60+2)*1000+100+40+4)
Usually, compounds are only formed for units of up to six digits. When millions and higher
numbers are involved, they are usually broken off into a separate words, e.g. 531 243 385 =
"femhundratrettioen miljoner tvhundrafyrtiotretusentrehundrattiofem".
For legibility, thousands are sometimes also broken off into separate words, e.g. 42 751 =
"fyrtiotvtusen sjuhundrafemtioett", but this is less common.
Compound ordinals are formed like cardinals, except that the last (and only the last) compound
element is an ordinal:
42nd = fyrtioandra (40+2nd)
123rd = (ett)hundratjugotredje (100+20+3rd)
4711th = fyratusensjuhundraelfte (4000+700+11th)
262 144th = tvhundrasextiotvtusenetthundrafyrtiofjrde ((200+60+2)*1000+100+40+4th)
(But not "*fyrtionde+andra" (40th+2nd) etc.)
Large numbers than millions may not be so common, but there are several words for larger
1 000 000 miljon
1 000 000 000 miljard
1 000 000 000 000 biljon
1 000 000 000 000 000 biljard
1 000 000 000 000 000 000 triljon
1 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 triljard
1 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 kvadriljon

1 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 kvadriljard
1 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 kvintriljon
1 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 kvintriljard
In principle, the list can continue with further stems borrowing Latin number words and adding
alternatively "-iljon" and "-iljard", i.e., "sextiljon/-jard", "septiljon/-jard", "oktiljon/-jard", etc,
adding six more zeroes for each new Latin number word, but anything beyond what can be
comfortably expressed with "triljon" tends to cause confusion both because the number is unusually
large and because the large-number words are unusual, and it is usually better to rephrased the
number in other terms, such as scientific notation with powers of ten.
In cases when scientific notiation isn't likely to reduce the confusion, various fallbacks are used
(much like in English). One such fallback is to divide the number by a triljon, put the resulting
number in the genitive, and then add triljon at the end, e.g. "femhundratjugotta biljarder
sextiotusentvhundratjugofyra biljoners triljoner".


Personal pronouns
The personal and possessive pronouns in Swedish are

nominative form object form

you (singular)
one (indefinite generic third-person)
it (uter)
it (neuter)
you (plural)
(mutual-reflexive) varandra
The masculine and feminine pronouns are used when talking about people, and sometimes
metaphorically about objects.
Some of the possessives have three forms, corresponding to the three forms of adjectives. The first
form is the uter singular, the second is the neuter singular, and the third is the common plural.
Note that the pronouns corresponding to "it" and "they" coincide with the definite article, but that
the plural of the pronoun has a distinct object-case form dem, whereas the plural form of the definite
article is always de.
The reflexive pronoun refers to the agent of the sentence. It is used where "himself", "herself",
"itself" or "themselves" would be used in English.

The indefinite third-person pronoun "man" is gender neutral, but is not normally used to refer back
to a specific person, but rather for indefinite general cases similar to the French pronoun "on", and
to the way the English word "one" is sometimes used as a pronoun (e.g. "one does what one can").
For gender-indefinite specific references, the uter pronoun "den" is sometimes used (e.g. "den som
spar den har", meaning literally "the one who saves, that one has", i.e. the corresponding proverb to
"a penny hained is a penny gained"; the Swedish proverb also occurs as "den som spar han har" and
"den som spar hon har", using a technically gendered pronoun to refer back to the gender-neutral
Another way of making gender-neutral references is by using the first-declension noun "mnniska",
and then refer back to that by "den" or "hon" (she, based on the word "mnniska" historically being
grammatically feminine, and thus in some older and literary contexts being referred to with a
grammatically gendered pronoun even though the reference isn't necessarily semantically
gendered). Yet another way, which is employed especially in some formal contexts, is to use the
noun "vederbrande" (which is the present-tense participle of a verb meaning "concern", "affect",
"refer to", "apply to", with the participle effectively meaning "the person in question"). It should be
noted that overuse of "vederbrande" tends to make a text sound bureaucratic, but also that it is
sometimes used thus for humorous effect.

Relative pronouns
Relative pronouns typically introduce subordinate clauses, and typically follow another pronoun or
a noun phrase, with the relative pronoun referring to the same things as the thing it follows, but with
a new syntactic rle in the subordinate clause.
Swedish has two primary relative pronouns: som and vilken. Som is restricted in the sense that it
cannot follow a preposition, it can't be inflected, and doesn't have a genitive form, while vilken is
inflected to vilket in the neuter, vilka in plural (so far exactly like an adjective), and has the form
vars in genitive. (Sometimes, vars is said also to be the gentive of som; but it makes no practical
There are also some secondary relative pronouns, which occur now and then. They tend to be rare
in colloquial speech, but are somewhat more frequent in literature and formal speech. Many of these
are formed by a method also used in German and English: by joining the locational
relative/interrogative pronoun with a preposition, forming words like "varifrn" (wherefrom), "vari"
(wherein), "varav" (whereof), "vartill" (whereto), "varfr" (wherefore) and "varvid" (whereat).
Their usage is highly similar to their English counterparts.
A few demonstrative pronouns, such as "dr" (there) and "dit" (thereto) can also be used as relative
pronouns. This differs from English, where it is instead the interrogative forms (where, whither)
which doubles as relative pronouns.

Demonstrative pronouns
Demonstrative pronouns are often structurally similar to personal pronouns, except that they
typically have more emphasis, and serve a slightly different purpose. Whereas personal pronouns
typically refer neutrally to something previously mentioned, demonstrative pronouns typically
introduce new things, or in some other manner put special focus on something.
Swedish has two basic demonstrative pronouns: den/det/de (this/that/these/those) (same as the
definite article, but stressed as a separate word) and denna/detta/dessa (this/these), the latter being

somewhat more formal or emphatic. Den/det/de can be further qualified by adding hr (here) or dr
(there), to mark the distinction English marks with the choice between "this" and "that".
Both den/det/de and denna/detta/dessa can be used either as replacements for a definite article in a
noun phrase, or independently, e.g. "Jag vill ha den hr bilen", "Jag vill ha denna bil" (I want this
car) or "Jag vill ha den hr", "Jag vill ha denna" (I want this one).

Determinative pronouns
Determinative pronouns aren't usually morphologically distinct pronouns, but rather a variation on
the usage of definite or demonstrative pronouns. In Swedish, the definite article also functions as
determinative pronoun, but is then followed by an indefinite noun (which in turn is typically
followed by a clause qualifying the noun phrase further). E.g. "Visa mig det hus som du vill bo i!",
as opposed to plain demonstrative "Visa mig det huset, som du vill bo i!". Both sentences can be
translated as "Show me the house you want to live in!", but the shade of meaning is different. In the
latter case (plain demonstrative), the meaning is "Show me that particular house, which you want to
live in", while the former (determinative) means "Show me the house that you want to live in!" or
"Show me such a house as you want to live in!". But the distinction is often rather small, and may
easily be overlooked by the reader/listener if not further emphasised.

Indefinite pronouns
The topic of indefinite pronouns is one where there may be larger than usual differences between
different classification systems. In Swedish, in particular, there are quite a few words which can be
counted either as adjectives or as indefinite pronouns, or both, especially considering that many
adjectives in Swedish can freely be used as noun phrases without a head noun, in cases where for
example English would often insert a filler word such as "one" or "thing" to take the place of the
head noun. (An example of this could be "skicka mig den grna!", meaning "pass me the green
Basically, indefinite pronouns are pronouns that don't have a specifically defined reference.
Examples in English are words such as "all", "everyone", "nobody", "something", "anyone" and
There are various ways of grouping indefinite pronouns. Here, I choose a morphological approach
and divide them into three main groups: those that are similar to adjectives both in inflection and
usage, those that are similar to adjectives in usage but less similar in inflection, and those that aren't
similar to adjectives in either usage or inflection. Additionally, there are a number of set phrases that
fill the grammatic and semantic function of indefinite pronouns, although since they aren't single
words, its a matter of definition whether they should be counted as pronouns at all; but I will list a
few of the most common ones below, after the three main groups.
The following indefinite pronouns are inflected as adjectives, in the forms uter singular, neuter
singular, and a common form for plural. Most of these words can be used both in an adjective-like
manner to qualify a noun or noun phrase, and by itself as a complete object phrase. However, for
most of the words listed below, the uter singular form stands out, either by rarely being used, or by
being used to refer to people, while the neuter singular is used to refer to things.

all, allt, alla (all). Used much like in English. The neuter singular on its own tends
to mean "everything", while the plural tends to mean "everyone", although the plural can
also mean "each and every thing". The uter singular is not normally used on its own, except

possibly as a sentence fragment when responding to or supplementing a previous statement,

typically in colloquial use such as "Vilken juice jag drack? All!" (Which juice I drank? All
(of it)!).
ingen, inget, inga (none, nothing, nobody). Used much like in
English. This is one of the words that use the uter singular on its own is used to refer to
people, while the neuter singular on its own refers to things. When used as adjectives,
however, the uter and neuter singular form reflects the grammatical gender of the noun it is
used together with, no matter whether it is a person or a thing that it refers to.

ngon, ngot, ngra (someone, something, some people,

some things). Used much like in English. This word behaves like "ingen, inget, inga"
above when the singular forms are used on their own, with "ingen" meaning "nobody" and
"inget" meaning "nothing", but follow the grammatical gender of the head noun when used
as adjectives.
somlig, somligt, somliga (some type, some kind). When used on
its own, "somligt" means "some types of things", while "somliga" means "some type of
people" or "some people" (sometimes with a mildly exasperated or derogatory tone, much as
can be the case with the English phrase "some people"). The uter singular is not normally
used on its own.
annan, annat, andra (other, another). This word can be used as an
adjective meaning "other" or as a noun meaning "another" (or, for the plural, "some others").
However, when used a noun, it behaves fully as a noun and requires a definite or indefinite
article when used in the singular. Thus for example, as an adjective, "en annan bok" (another
book), "de andra bckerna" (the other books), but as a noun, "en annan" (another), "de
andra" (the others). Note, though, that no article is required in the indefinite plural, since
regular Swedish nouns don't require that either.
mngen, mnget, mnga (many). It may seem odd to have singular
forms for a word meaning "many", and indeed, the usage of those forms would probably
often be perceived as unusual or possibly even odd in casual speech, and their use is mainly
restricted to literary contexts, older texts, and when a very specific nuance of meaning is
required. But there is actually a very similar usage in English, where the colloquial language
might say "they ate many apples" (Swedish: de t mnga pplen), but where the literary
language may instead choose to say "they ate many an apple" (Swedish: de t mnget
var, vart, -- (each). For obvious reasons, this word has no plural form. For less
obvious reasons, it also cannot be used as an independent word; but this is probably just as
well, since the forms exactly coincide with two unrelated interrogative/relative pronouns,
"var?" (where) and "vart?" (whereto? wither?).

The following words do not inflect like adjectives in regard to gender and plural, but they are
normally used to qualify nouns in a manner grammatically (though not necessarily semantically)
similar to adjectives:

varje (each). This is an uninflected version of the "var/vart" pronoun mentioned

above. Unlike "var/vart", this word can be used as a separate noun phrase, although that kind
of usage is rarely useful in practice.
mnga (many). See "mngen, mnget, mnga" above.
flera (a number of). This word can be used as a regular adjective meaning simply
"more, larger in number" (as in "hmta fler servetter!" - "get more napkins!"), but in that
usage, it's debatable whether it makes sense to count it as an indefinite pronoun. However,

the word can also be used in a non-comparative sense, with a meaning of "a number of" or
more than just a few of", and in that sense, it is more similar to an indefinite pronoun.
f; frre (few; fewer). This word a a bit similar to an adjective in the sense that it
has a comparative form in addition to its basic form. Traditional Swedish grammar considers
this adjective to lack a superlative form, although by analogy with some regular adjectives
with similar inflection, a superative form "frst" is occasionally used. However, that is
traditionally considered a grammatically incorrect form; and aside from concerns of
grammatical tradition, the form "frst" is a bit phonetically unwieldy, and easily misheard as
"frst" (first), "frs" (mincemeat), or "vrst" (worst) in casual speech, depending on dialect.
Some more accepted alternatives when a superlative to "f" is called for are "minst" ("least",
the superlative of "liten", which means small), "minst till antalet" (least in numbers), or for
emphasis possibly longer phrases such as "de det finns minst av" (those there are least of).
Occasionally, the desire to avoid the form "frst" also leads to constructions such as
"ftaligast" (literally: few-numbered'est) or "mest ftalig" (literally: most few-numbered).

The following words function as indefinite pronouns but in ways not particularly similar to

man, en, ens. When used as an indefinite pronoun, this word is similar to the French
pronoun "on", and also to the way "one" is sometimes used in English. The form "en" is the
object form (accusative/dative), and "ens" is the genitive, but just as for other personal
pronouns, it is common to use the reflexive pronouns "sig" (object form) and "sin/sitt/sina"
(genitive) to refer back to the subject of the sentence, often making "en" and "ens" reserved
for cases when the same indefinite subject is referred to over a span of several sentences.
See also the notes about the pronoun "man" in the section on personal pronouns above.
envar. Older form still occasionally used, meaning "each person", "each an every one",
"each person separately".
varannan, vartannat. This is essentially a contraction of the "var/vart" (each)
pronoun above with the word "annan/annat/andra" (other, second), with a meaning of "each
second one", "one out of every two". (Care should be take to not confuse this with the
mutual-reflexive plural pronoun "varandra" which has a similar grammatical origin, but a
different meaning. It is typically used as "de sg varandra" - "they saw each other".)
ingenting (nothing). This form cannot be used as an adjective, only as a separate
ngonting (something). This form cannot be used as an adjective, only as a
separate pronoun.

The following phrases are constructions of several words rather than single words, and might thus
not really qualify as pronouns, but since they fill a similar semantic and grammatic rle, I will list
them here anyway:

var och en, vart och ett (each one, each and every one).
Much as for the single-word pronouns "var/vart", this construction has no plural form, but
does reflect grammatical gender, with the uter form by default referring to people and the
neuter form by default referring to things. Unlike the single-word pronoun "var/vart", these
phrases can only be used independently; they can't be used to qualify a noun phrase.
However, the genitive variant of this phrase, "vars och ens" (and more rarely "varts och
etts") can be used as a regular genetive to qualify a noun phrase.

(relative-pronoun-phrase) som helst (whoever, whatever,

whichever). This phrase is used together with a relative pronouns such as "vem", "vad",

"vilken/vilket/vilka", e.g. "vem som helst", meaning "whoever", "anyone at all", "an
arbitrarily chosen something", "whichever one might be preferred", "any ... at all". Other
words and phrases can follow the relative pronoun before the "... som helst", especially
when the relative pronoun used is "vilken/vilket/vilka", e.g. "vilken bok som helst" (any
book at all) or "vilka av eleverna som helst" (any ones of the students). The phrase "... som
helst" on its own consists of words originally meaning "which" and "most preferred",
although in this usage, the phrase doesn't necessarily imply that any particular preference
has been heeded; and in fact often implies that the choice may be completely random.

Interrogative pronouns
(Being written.)

whither? whereto?

Composite pronouns and pronoun phrases

(Being written.)
In addition to the pronouns listed above, several more can be produced by combining pronouns with
prepositions or special suffixes. In particular, the location pronouns "var" (where), "hr" (here) and
"dr" (there) can be suffixed with any of a large number of simple prepositions as a suffix, e.g.
"vartill" (to where, to which), "hrtill" (to/for this), "var(i)frn" (from where), "varur" (out of
which), "varmed" (with which), "hrmed" (with/by this) "vari" (wherein), "varfr" (wherefore,
why), "drfr" (therefore).

Other pronouns and pronominal phrases

Swedish has a reciprocal pronoun varandra, which corresponds well to the English phrase "each
other" (and sometimes "one another"), e.g. "Vi ser varandra" (we see each other) and "de tittar p
varandra" (they look at each other). It can only occur in object position in a sentence, and only
when the subject is plural.
Swedish also has a distributive possessive pronoun varsin/varsitt (in theory also with a plural
varsina, but this isn't normally used), meaning approximately "one each of our/your/their/one's
own". E.g. "Barnen fick varsin present" (the children received a present each). A similar meaning
can be expressed with the adverb vardera: "barnen fick en present vardera", which is more flexible
since it allows including a number, e.g. "barnen fick tre presenter vardera" (the children received
three presents each), whereas varsin/varsitt implicitly indicates only one each.


The common element var which is a prefix to both varandra and varsin is an adverb meaning
"each"; which is not to be confused with (1) the relative and interrogative pronoun var (where), (2)
the verb form var (was), (3) the uncountable neuter noun var (ichor, pus), or (4) the nearly obsolete
uter noun var (warding, warder, care, caretaker) which appears in some compound nouns such as
grdvar (groundskeeper) and bevar (care, protection).

Prepositions in Swedish work much like in English as stand-alone words, but can interact a bit more
with verbs than they usually can in English, in the sense that they can be attached as a prefix to a
verb, modifying the verb so that the noun phrase that would have been "governed" by the
preposition instead become a direct object of the verb. However, the meaning of the verb can be
altered as part of this process, so it is can reasonably be argued that this is not an action of the
preposition itself, but rather a derivation of a new compound word which has a preposition and a
verb as its components.
Some common Swedish prepositions are:

i -- in
p -- on
av -- of, by
frn -- from
till -- to
ur -- out of, deriving from
(e)mot -- toward, against
om -- about, around
under -- under, during (time)
ver -- over
vid -- at, by, near
t -- to, toward, for ... sake, on ... behalf
fr -- for, affecting
med -- with
utan -- without
innan -- on the inside of, before (time)

Much like in English, Swedish has a few adverbs that have the same or a similar form as a related
preposition. Some of the most common such adverbs are p (on), av (off), om (again; again but
differently; into something else), utan (outside, outer surface), in (direction into; note difference
from pronoun i).
Some other adverbs often occurring together with prepositions are: fram (forth, fore-), bak(a)
(back), ut (out (direction)), bort (away), ute (outside (location)), inne (inside (location)).
Also much like in English, Swedish prepositions can also be loosely joined with adverbs to form
two-word units functioning as a single preposition, or sometimes even be made a compound word.
Some common examples are:

in i -- into

ut i -- out into
inne i -- inside of
ute i -- out in
ute p -- out on
bakom -- behind
framfr -- in front of
bredvid -- next to
inom -- within
ut ur -- out of, out from inside of
bort frn -- away from
bortom -- beyond

The list can be made quite long, but most of these two-part prepositions only have one meaning,
which applies in practically all cases, which makes them fairly easy to look up in a dictionary, as
opposed to some of the basic prepositions that can have specific grammatical and semantic
functions depending on the verb they occur together with.

Swedish verbs fall into one of five conjugations, the first three of which are termed "weak", because
of their having undergone reduction and loss of the older Germanic stem changes. The fourth
conjugation is often referred to as the "strong" conjugation, and the fifth as the "mixed" conjugation
(since it has a "strong" imperfect stem, but a "weak" supine).
Swedish verbs are not inflected by person or number (although they still used to be inflected by
number as late as in the 1930'ies), but they are inflected by tense, mood, and voice.
Example paradigms of the verb "vara" (to be / lenni), "ha(va)" (to have / birtokolni), and "visa" (to
show / mutatni):

har varit har haft
hade varit hade haft

har visat
hade visat




havd/haft/havda visad/visat/visade




The names of the forms above are given in Swedish, but being borrowed from Latin, they are quite
similar to the English terms, since these are also borrowed from Latin. The only notable differences
are imperfekt which is the "was" tense, and pluskvamperfekt (also known as konditionalis
(conditional)), the "had been" tense.


The perfekt and pluskvamperfekt tenses are always formed with the present and imperfekt forms of
the auxiliary verb ha (to have) followed by the supine of the main verb, much like in English.
Passive forms of the verbs are in most cases formed by adding "s" to the corresponding active form.
The only general exception is in the present tense, where the normal ending "-r" is usually dropped
before adding the "s". Note, however, that a few verbs whose stem end in "r", such as styra (to
steer; to control; to govern), use the bare verb stem in the present tense, and these verb do not drop
their "-r" before the passive "-s".
There are a number of verbs that are irregular in the way they form the present and imperfekt tense.
Irregular verbs are usually listed with a tema (literally `theme', but in the context of verbs, it refers
to a sequence of inflected forms): the present tense, the imperfekt tense, and the supine form.
Sometimes the infinitive is added as a fourth form, at either the beginning or the end of the tema.
The infinitive is usually signalled explicitly by the infinitive marker att.
The tema for a few of the most common irregular verbs are: att vara(to be)-r-var-varit, att se(to
see)-ser-sg-sett, att gra(to do/make)-gr-gjorde-gjort, att veta(to know)-vet-visste-vetat, att
vilja(to want)-vill-ville-velat, att tla(to endure/`stand')-tl-tlde-tlt, att kunna(to be able to)-kankunde-kunnat, att f(to receive, to be allowed to)-fr-fick-ftt.
Note also the regular verb att vara(to last)-varar-varade-varat whose infinitive coincides with the
verb for `to be'.
(To be added: an overview of all five conjugations.)
(To be added: verb theme umlaut patterns.)

Conjunctions, etc
The most common conjunctions in Swedish are och (and), eller (or) and men (but). They are used
much like their English counterparts. Och and eller can be used to connect sentences as well as
elements in a noun phrase.
(More to be written here...)

(More to be written here...)
Swedish syntax is fairly straightforward for someone used to English, but there are a few things that
differ. The probably most noticable part is that Swedish sentences often use inverted word order
(the verb before the subject) to indicate questions, conditionals and consecutives. Inverted word
order is also used when the sentence starts with an adverbial or when any object of the verb is
placed at the front of the sentence.

Lven fll ner p marken (the leaves fell down on the ground),

Fll lven ner p marken? (did the leaves fall down on the ground?),
Ner p marken fll lven (down on the ground fell the leaves),
Faller lvet ner p marken s r det nog hst (if/when the leaves fall on the ground, it is
probably autumn). Note that both sub-sentences in the last example uses inverted word

(More to be written here...)

Appendix I: Noun gender

The grammatical gender of Swedish nouns are essentially a property of the word that has to be
learned together with the word itself. In a number of cases, one can make reasonable guesses based
on the form of the word, but this is not always the case. The only simple situation is if you already
know the singular definite form of the word, in which case the word is a uter word if it ends in -n,
and a neuter word if it ends in -t. But it is the singular indefinite that is the traditional dictionary

The simple situations

Words ending in -a usually belong to the first declension, in which there are only uter words.
Exceptions to the -a rule exist, but they are few; two common exceptions are ga (eye) and ra
(ear) which are irregular neuters. They are inflected thus: ga, gat, gon, gonen; ra, rat, ron,
ronen. Another common exception is hjrta (heart), which is a regular neuter of the fourth
Some derivational suffixes belong to predictable declensions and genders, e.g. -else (3u), -ning (2u),
-het (3u), -eri (3/5n), -skap (5n).
Other words ending in -e can be either uters of the second declension, e.g. pojke (boy), buske
(shrub), vante (mitten), ande (spirit, ghost, genie), or neuters of the fourth declension, e.g. mte
(meeting), bete (bait), vete (wheat), dike (ditch). Chemical elements and other substances and
materials ending in -e are usually also fourth-declension neuters, e.g. vte (hydrogen), kvve
(nitrogen), syre (oxygen), brnsle (fuel).

Present participle used as a noun

The present participle has a suffix -(e)nde and can be used as a noun whose gender and inflection
depends on whether it refers to the acting person (uter) or the abstract action (neuter). For instance,
the verb g (go, walk) has a present participle gende (walking), which can function either as an
adjective (den gende mannen = the walking man, the man who is walking), or as a noun: en
gende = a walking [person], a pedestrian; and ett gende, somewhat awkwardly translatable as
something like: a walking, an event consisting of walking, the act of walking.
As a uter word, the participle is not inflected by number or definiteness (although it is inflected by
case, meaning an -s suffix in the genetive case). As a neuter word, it is inflected as a neuter noun of
the fourth declension. Thus: en gende, den gende, tv gende, de tv gende; but ett gende, det
gendet, tv genden, de tv gendena.


Other nouns
For words ending in other ways than the ones mentioned in the previous sections, guessing the
gender from the morphological form of the singular indefinite is more difficult. Especially as there
are minimal pairs distinguished only by gender, such as `en lr' (a crate) and `ett lr' (a thigh).

Appendix II: Some particle verbs

Swedish, much like English, has a number of verbs that change their meanings in the presence of
certain adverbs and particles. Some examples of this phenomenon in English are: set off, set up, put
on, put up with, give in, tell someone off. These are referred to as partikelverb, particle verbs (in
English also called phrasal verbs).
Unlike English, but like German, the Swedish adverbs and particles can shift between being used as
a verb prefix and as separate words. The same verb+adverb/particle combination can appear in both
prefixed form and as two separate words; sometimes, the difference signifies different meanings,
but usually, the difference is just dictated by the verb form. For instance, the past participle is
almost always formed with the adverb/particle prefixed to the verb, while using the prefix in a plain
present indicative can have an overformal or bureaucratic sound unless the form is well established.
Sometimes -- typically when the adverb/particle is also a a preposition -- the words that could have
made up a particle verb are used as a plain verb plus preposition; below, this will be referred to as
`non-compound' use. In the spoken form, this is usually signalled by both the verb and the
adverb/particles bearing medium stress, while the verb bears heavy stress and the preposition is
unstressed. This difference in stress is usually not indicated in writing, although it can be indicated
by underlining or italics as any other emphasis, if required to avoid ambiguity.
It should also be noted that there exist some more firm compound verbs that cannot causally be split
into two words, and that the forms of such firm compounds occasionally coincide with the kind of
particle verbs that are the main subject of this appendix; sometimes with completely different
meanings. Some compound verbs of this type will also be listed below, given in the compound for,
as opposed to the particle verbs that are usually given in their two-word form except when the twoword form is rare or has a different meaning.
Lastly, it should be noted that this appendix only gives an overview of some common particle verbs,
and is far from a complete list.

Compounds with `ta' (take)

`Ta p x' = put on x (about clothes), Non-compound use: touch x. (Also note `ta p sig x' which can
mean the same thing as the compound `ta p x, but which can also be used to mean to take on a
duty or responsibility.)
`Ta med x' = bring x; about persons: bring x along.
`Ta av x' = take off x (about clothes). Non-compound use: take some part of x. (E.g. `ta av sina
besparingar' = take from one's savings.)


`Ta till x' = resort to x. Usually not used in prefix form, since that conflicts with the existing
compound verb `tillta' (increase, mount, strengthen), e.g. `vinden tilltar' = the wind gets stronger.
`Ta till sig x' = absorb/accept/embrace x (about abstract matters, teachings, opinions, etc).
`Ta sig till x' = resort to x, with a sense of urgency, confusion or desperation. More common in
questions than statements, e.g. `Vad ska vi ta oss till?' = `What(ever) shall we do?'. Note noncompound use: get oneself to x, manage to go to x; e.g. `Vi tnker ta oss till Stockholm i helgen' =
`We mean to take ourselves to Stockholm this weekend' (i.e. We're planning to go to Stockholm this

Compounds with `stta' (set, put)

`Stta av x' = allocate x, set x aside for some particular use. Used both in prefix and two-word form,
even though the latter conflicts with the firm compound `avstta' (depose, remove from office).
`Stta om x' = relocate/rearrange x, change the setting of x. The two-word form is mainly used
about plants, switches and other things that are physically rearranged in nearly the same place,
while the prefix form mainly refers to abstract transactions. In the context of economic, the derived
noun `omsttning' is the standard word for `turnover', and the compound verb is sometimes used in
this sense to, e.g. `Fretaget omsatte mer pengar i r n tidigare' = `The company "turnover'ed" (=
had a turnover of) more money this year than previously'. Note that the subject of the `omsttning'
can be something other than money, in which case `exchange', 'circulation', `replacement' etc may
be a more suitable better translation than `turnover'; e.g. a company that has replaced much of its
staff in a certain period can be said to have had a high `personalomsttning' (Swedish 'personal =
staff, personnel).
`Stta p x' = switch something on. (Caution: this phrase is also used in slang for `have sex with'.)
`Stta till x' = resort to x, employ/activate x. Usually with a suggestion of increasing the pace,
perhaps for some final stage of some kind of competition. E.g. `stta till alla tillgngliga resurser' =
`employ all available resources'.
`Tillstta x' = (1) fill a position (typically about employment, official appointments to non-elected
offices, etc). E.g. `platsen r redan tillsatt' = `the vacancy has already been filled'; (2) add
something, about ingredients.

Compounds with `tala' (speak)

`Tilltala x (som y)' = address x (as y). Beware that `som', much like English `as', can appear in both
the sense `by the title of' and `in the capacity of', and that the latter can refer either to the speaking
person or the addressed person. In other words, this Swedish phrase has about the same ambiguities
as the corresponding English one.
`Tilltala x' = appeal to x (in the sense of being pleasing to x, not in the sense of making a petition).
`Tala om x (fr y)' = inform y of x. Note non-compound use: tala om x = speak about x.
`Talas vid' = have a talk/discussion, typically about some specific topic. (Note: deponent alwayspassive form.) The prefixed form `vidtalas' sounds formal, serious, or bureaucratic. Note that the
verb itself is in the passive form, and that the subject is typically plural.

`Avtala x' = agree on x, make an agreement about x, make a contract to the effect of x.
`Intala y x' = make y believe x, convince y of x (usually implying that x is not completely
believable by itself and that the belief has to be forced). Often used reflexively `intala sig x' = make
oneself believe x, tell oneself x.
`Tala ut (om x)' = speak completely, tell the full story (about x). The compound form `uttala x' has a
different meaning, which is "pronounce x", both in the sense of articulating vocally and in the sense
of pronouncing a judgment.