We have learned that to make verbs from to do into I do or he does you simply remove to and add an r. That was the first category and it includes over 80% of all words so that’s a pretty safe bet to do so. There are, however, a few other ways to do so. Let’s learn one more:
Swedish for to need is att behöva.
Think I need to behave.
The word behöva is one of the verbs that we will call the er-words. They are special because:
The er-words do not like a so they do not simply add the r but also change the letter before to e.
How would you say:
So we know how to talk about needing (att behöva), wanting (att vilja), having (att ha) and so on. The problem is, we can’t use this knowledge fully until we learn to talk about the things that we are doing. For this reason, let’s do so: we will also be learning words that are similar to those in English.
Swedish for a house is ett hus.
Look at this ett from ett hus. This is the same et from det (it is shortened a bit in det because it is always shortened unless it stands as the word for a). And in this case, this ett actually does stand for a.
You could say:
As we are talking about a house, let’s have a detour:
Swedish for in is i.
Couldn’t get simpler than that, could it. How would you say?
Fine, if we are talking about the house, we could also talk about the Swedish words for thing. One of them is almost the same as in English:
Swedish for a thing is ett ting.
Notice that it is another ett word. The other word for thing, the one that we will be using is the following:
Another Swedish word for a thing is en sak.
Attention now! Why is a house - ett hus but our second word for a thing - en sak. Well, that’s because the word hus is of the neuter gender and the word sak is of non-neuter, that is, masculine or feminine (feminine in this case) gender. You see, all words (or rather nouns) are of one of three genders in Swedish: masculine, feminine or neuter. You can tell their gender by the article they have. For example, ett hus has the article ett (which usually gets shortened to et in other forms) in front of it and that means it’s neuter while en sak has an article en in front of it so it’s not neuter.
So words can be either I) neuter if their article is ett or II) non-neuter (either masculine or feminine but that doesn’t really matter for our practical purposes) if the article is en. We won’t bother with genders and will just call the first group et-words and the second group en-words.
Having in mind that sak is an en-word, how would you say:
Alright, it is true that these sentences are quite unusual. When you talk about things you usually want to at least specify what things you are talking about or at least say the thing or the house and so on. We run into a problem here, though:
Swedish words for the are virtually the same as their words for a: en and et.
Well, you have a modification in that ett becomes et but that’s nothing, really.
So if you want to say the thing you can’t say en sak because that would be the same as a thing which would result in confusion... So: how do you solve this problem? Well, the Swedish figured it out:
The Swedish word for the goes at the end of the word instead of in front of it.
Now that clears up the confusion. For example, if you have an et-word hus, you could say ett hus and that would mean a house or you could put et in the end of the word and have huset to mean the house.
So how would you say:
(You could also say jag behöver ha tinget without any major problems.)
That solves it! Now you can talk about things and stuff. Let’s learn one more word:
Swedish for time is tid and it’s an en-word.
How would you say:
Now notice something. How would you say generally:
Do you see that et in det? That’s an et because it assumes you are referring to an et word, such as ett hus, by using it. It is kind of the default case.
However, if you were to refer to a thing that is non-neuter therefore an en-word, det changes to den. So, how would you say talking about a thing - en ting:
Since we have all the words almost the same as in English (hus, ting/sak, tid), let’s learn more:
Swedish for good is god.
No, it’s not God, it’s god (Swedish for God is Gud (en-word) for that matter).
How would you say:
Finally, you could use the word god for greetings as well. The simplest Swedish greeting is hey - hei. However, you could be more sophisticated and sa, for example good morning if you knew that:
Swedish for morning is morgon.
It is the same word with a little different ending. How would you say:
Another small detour:
If you use the word i with morgon that can mean either in morning or tomorrow.
Swedish for night is natt.
Alright, vi learnt a god amount of svenska. We will learn the other word for good in the next lesson. Also we will learn how to ask questions. Interested? Check the next lesson out then.Next lesson >