Scandinavian language challenge day 35

Today I worked through chapter 11 of Swedish in three months, covering:

  • transitive and intransitive verbs
  • creating verbs from adjective
  • past participle as adjective
  • passive
  • other words

Transitive and intransitive verbs

Pairs of related transitive and intransitive verbs:

bränna (2) (burn)
dränka (2) (drown)
röka (2) (smoke)
väcka (2) (wake)
lämna (1) (leave)
kyla (2) (chilll)
ställa (2) (put, stand)
lägga (4) (put, lay)

brinna (4) (burn)
drunkna (1) (drown)
ryka (1) (smoke)
vakna (1) (wake)
gå (4) (leave, go)
kallna (1) (grow cold)
stå (4) (sit, be sitting)
ligga (lie, be lying)

  • Jan väckte mig kl. 7 (Jan woke me at 7)
  • Jag vacknade kl. 7 (I woke at 7)

Creating verbs from adjective

Many intransitive verbs are formed by adding the suffix -na to an adjective. The verbs are all in class one. Examples:
blekna (go plae); gulna (go yellow); blåna (go blue); svartna (go black); lyusna (go light); mörkna (go dark)

But :rodna (blush) from röd (red).

Past participle as adjective

The perfect and pluperfect tenses are formed using the supine. A closely related form is the past participle, which is an adjective. Verbs in classes 1, 2 and 3 form the past participle by adding endings to the infinitive. Class 4 verbs add endings to the supine. The following table shows how it is formed, giving the endings for common gender, neuter and plural / definite.

tala (1)
beställa (2a)
köpa (2b)
sy (3)
sjunka (4)



Plural / def

The supine of sjunka is sjunkit.


There are two forms of the passive. The first form uses the verb bli (become) with the past participle. The participle must agree in gender and number with the subject. If the agent is stated, it is introduced by the preposition av.

  • flickan blir ofta inbjuden [av honom]
    (the girl is often invited [by him[)
  • barnet blev inbjudet [av honom]
    (the child was often invited [by him])
  • flickorna har blivit inbjudna [av honom]
    (the girls have often been invited [by him])
  • kvinnan kommer att bli inbjuden [av honom]
    (the woman will be invited [by him])

The other version of the passive is formed by by adding the suffix -s.

  • saken diskuteras (the matter was being discussed)
  • saken diskuterades (the matter was being discussed)
  • saken har diskuterats (the matter has bene discussed)
  • saken ska diskuteras (the matter will be discussed)
  • saken måste diskuteras (the matter must be discussed)

In the present tense, that suffix is added after dropping:

  • the final -r of verbs in class 1 and 3, and those class 4 verbs (such as se [see] and ta [take]) with infinitives similar to class 3 verbs: bakas from bakar
  • the final -er of verbs in classes 2 and 4: stängs from stänger
  • only the final -r if the stem of the verb ends in -s: läses from läser

The -s form:

  • is more common, especially in writing, and is pervasive in bureaucratic writing
  • is normally used if the occurrence is habitual
  • is often used if the agent isn’t mentioned

The bli passive:

  • is usually used if the occurrence happens only once
  • is often used if the agent is mentioned

The passive can be avoided by using the impersonal pronoun man:
Man äter mycket fisk is Sverige.

Some verbs (‘deponent verbs’) have a passive form but active meaning. Examples: hoppas (1) (hope); trivas (feel at home, like it); andas (1) (breathe); finnas (4) (be, exist); kräkas (2) (vomit); lyckas (1) (succeed); låtsas (1) (pretend); minnas (2) (remember); synas (2) (appear); tryckas (2) (seem); umgås (2) (go round with, be friendly with); åldras (1) (age).

Some of these deponent verbs (hoppas; lyckas, låtsas; tyckas) are model equivalents, and thus are not followed by att:

  • Han lyckades bli rik men han låtsades vara fattig.
    (He succeeded in becoming rich but pretended to be poor.)

A reciprocal idea can be conveyed by using the -s form of some verbs, or more explicitly by using -varandra:

  • Ni träffades i London, eller hur?
    (You met each other in London, didn’t you?) [a tag question]
  • De kysste varandra hela kvälllen
    (they were kissing each other all evening)

Some of the other words in this chapter

Nouns: (en grund, ar, reason, ground); gä (-ar, guest); människa (plural: -n, -or, person); en burk (-ar, tin can); anmälan- (application, announcement); en eld (-ar, fire); ljus (light); sovrum (bedroom); en säng (-ar, bed); en å (ar, river); ägare (-) (owner)

Verbs: duga (4, duger, dög, dugt, be fitting / good enough = German taugen?); verka (1) seem, gave the impression); åldras (1) (age); laga (1) (prepare, fix, mend)

Adjectives: allvarlig (serious); dylik (of that sort); färsk (fresh)

Other words; bland (among); däremot (on the other hand); framför (in front of); innan dess (before then); et kök (-, kitchen); nästan (almost); vidare (further)

Phrases sometimes written as one word, sometimes as separate words:

  • nu för tiden /nu förtiden (nowadays);
  • i dag /idag; i morgon (i / imorgon); i kväl / kväl; [just ikväll (this very evening)]

Other points:

  • no ‘of’ in the following examples: ett kilo ost (a kilo of cheese); två liter mjölk (two litres of milk); en flaska wein);
  • potatis (potato), has a plural but generally used as advective)
  • Swedish just means precisely, not just:
    • just det (precisely that)
    • bara du og jo (just you and me)
  • another use of the comparative: an äldre par (an elderly couple); en mindre stad (a smallish town)

Examples of abbreviations:

t.ex. till ; bl.a. (bland annat / andra (among others); ca (approximately) dvs (det vill säga (that is to say); el. dyl (eller deli, or the like). e.k. (efter Kristus, AD); f.Kr (före Kristus, BC); eftermiddag (pm); fm. (förmiddag); enl. (enligt, according to); före detta (ex-, former); fro.o.m; (frå och med (from and including times); ggr (gånger, times); hr (Herr) (Mister); (jämföra, compare) obs! (observera, NB); omkr (omkring!) (approximately); och (och så vidare) (etc.) p.g.a (på grund av) (because); su:a (summa, total); s.o.b (söndagara och helgdag, Sundays and Bank Holidays); st (styck, each); t.h (till höger, to the right); t.v. (till vänster, to the left); t.o. (till och med, even); tr. (trappa, floor)

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