Scandinavian language challenge day 11

Today I worked through the third chapter of Swedish in three months, covering:

  • possessive
  • commands and requests
  • modal auxiliary verbs
  • adjectives: indefinite suffixes
  • it: common and neuter forms
  • numbers above 20
  • other words


Nouns add the suffix -s to form the possessive (genitive). Example: Sveriges huvedstad (Sweden’s capital).

A definite article may be added to the possessor (first noun) but never to the item possessed (second noun). Example: dagens rätt (dish of the day)

Commands and requests

The imperative form of verbs, used to express commands, is:

  • for class 1 and 3 verbs (and for those class 4 verbs that don’t end in -a): the same as the infinitive.
  • for class 2 and 4 verbs, the infinitive without the ending -a.
    When that ending is deleted, -mm or -nn is usually shortened to -m or -n.

To form the negative imperative, add inte before the imperative.

Please is:

  • var så god. Use when offering or allowing something.
    Example: var så god och kom in. Please come in
  • var snäll. Use when asking for something.
    Example: var snäll och stanna her. Please stand here.

Verbs (like English and German): springa (4, run); öppna (1, open); bada (1, bathe); parkera (1, park); simma (1, swim); säga (4, say); skina (4, shine); föstå (4 understand); läsa (2, read); regna (1, rain)

Verbs (other): köra (drive, class 2); tro (3, believe); tycka om (2, like); låsa (2, lock);

Modal auxiliary verbs

The most common modal auxiliaries:


Present tense
ska (skall)

shall, will, is to
want to

Example: Hon får gå på bio. She may go to the cinema.

In negative constructions, inte follows the modal verb.

  • Han kan inte komma. He can’t come.
  • Du får inte komma. You must not come. (får inte = must not)

Adjectives: indefinite suffixes

Common gender
– (no ending)

-tt after vowel
-tt from vowel + d
-t from -d after consonant
-nt from -nn

-ma from -mm
-ra from -er
-la from -el
gamla from gammal (= old)

Liten (small) is irregular: liten; litet, små.

A few adjectives never change their form. Examples: bra (good); fel (wrong).

These indefinite suffixes are used:

  • with no article, or with an indefinite article
  • when the adjective is used in the predicate.
    Example: Vädret är varmt. The weather is warm
  • after numbers, example: två tråkiga böcker. Two boring books.
  • after indefinite adjectives, for example: någon (något, några, some, any); all (allt, all = all); varje (each, every), många (many);
  • with interrogative questions, for example vilken (vilket, vilke, which)

A few adjectives can only be used in predicates. Examples: sönder (broken); slut (finished). Filmen är slut. The film is finished.

Some other adjectives can only be used before the noun.
Example: stackars Jan! (poor Jan)

Adjectives (like English or German):

  • dyr (expensive); billig (cheap); kall (cold); lång (long); tunn (thin); tock (thick); varm (hot); vit (white); god (neuter: gott, good); hård (hard); bred (wide); blå (blue); våt (wet); lätt (light, easy); mild (mild); dum (stupid); nykter (sober); säker (sure); bekväm (comfortable); skön (beatiful)

Other adjectives:

  • svensk; stor (big); tråkig (boring); trött (tired); sann (true); tom (empty); enkel (simple)

It: common and neuter forms

Den = common. Det = neuter

Den is used in the construction it is + adjective if the item is common gender.

Det is used:

  • in the construction it is + adjective if the item is neuter
  • in the construction it is + noun, irrespective of gender
    Example: Det är en hund.
  • when used in a generic impersonal way.
    Example: Det är svårt att förstå. That is hard to understand.
  • corresponding to English there in phrases, such as:
    • Det finns ett hotel här (there is a hotel here)
    • Det var en gång (there was once …)

Numbers above 20

Tjugo (20); tjugoett (tjugoen); tjugotvå; trettio (30); fyrtio; femtio, sextio; sjuttio; åttio; nittio; hundra / etthundra; hundraett / etthundraett; (ett)hundrafemtiotvå; tusen/ ettusen; (et)tusenett (-en); en miljon (-er); en miljard (-er)

Only numbers ending in one (like twenty-one) show the gender of the noun.

Pronouncing years: 1886 = artonhundraåttiosex

Some of the other words in this chapter

Nouns (like English or German): ett brev (-, letter); en teve [or TV] (-ar, TV); en dörr (-ar, door); en stol (-ar, chair); ett avstånd (-, distance); en parkeringsplats (-er, car park); en strand (plural stränder, shore); mor (definite: modern, plural: , mother); en syster (plural: systrar, sister); väder (weather)

Nouns (family):




Nouns (other): ett hav (-, sea); en sol (-ar, sun); en gång (-er, occasion / time); en lägenhet (-er, apartment, flat); en mat (food)

Adverbs: fortfarande (still, continuing); särskilt (specially); faktiskt (actually)

Other: för att (n order to); därfär att (because); det finss (there is, there are)

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