Swedish Modal Verbs

Learn how to conjugate and use modal verbs in Swedish

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Swedish Modal Verbs

kunna - to be able to, can
vilja - to want to
få - to be allowed to
--- have to, must
present
kan
vill
får
måste
past
kunde
ville
fick
---

Just as in English, there is no past form of must / måste. You can either use var tvungen or behövde instead, as in jag var tvungen att ... = I had to...

 
skola - supposed to, will, should
böra- should, ought to
bruka - usually, used to
behöva - need to
present
ska
bör
brukar
behöver
past
skulle
borde
brukade
behövde

Vi kan tala engelska. We can speak English.
Han kunde inte spela. He could not play.
Sven vill sova. Sven wants to sleep.
Hon vill ha kaffe. She wants coffee. (When vilja is followed by a noun, ha is added before the noun.)
Du får röka. You may smoke.
De måste gå hem nu. They must go home now.
Du får inte röka. You must not smoke. (Must not is translated with får inte rather than måste inte, which means don't have to.)
Jag brukar dricka kaffe efter lunch. I usually drink coffee after lunch. (Brukar in the present tense means usually + main verb.)


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