Swedish I Tutorial: Basic Phrases, Vocabulary and Grammar

Thanks to Krystallia for the mp3s! Don't forget to check out the Foreign Service Institute Swedish Course and Swedish Listening Resources, where you will find authentic and spontaneous Swedish recordings with transcripts and English translations.


1. Basic Phrases

NEW! If you'd like to study these phrases (and their pronunciations) individually, please go to Basic Swedish Phrases.

God morgon
Good Morning
Hej / God dag
Hello / Good Day
God kväll
Good Evening
God natt
Good Night
Hej då / Adjö (more formal)
Goodbye
Snälla
Please
Tack (så mycket)
Thank you (very much)
Ingen orsak / Varsågod
Don't mention it / You're welcome
Ja / Nej
Yes / No
Herr / Fru / Fröken
Mister / Misses / Miss
Hur är det? / Hur har du det?
How are you?
Hur mår du?
How are you? (How are you feeling?)
Bra
Good / Fine
Inte så bra.
Not so good
Vad heter du?
What's your name?
Jag heter...
I am called...
Mitt namn är...
My name is...
Trevligt att träffas!
Pleased to meet you!
Välkommen!
Welcome!
 
Varifrån kommer du?
Where are you from?
Jag kommer från...
I'm from...
Var bor du?
Where do you live?
Jag bor i...
I live in...
Hur gammal är du?
How old are you?
Jag är ___ år (gammal).
I am ____ years old.
Talar du svenska?
Do you speak Swedish?
Jag talar [inte] engelska.
I [don't] speak English.
danska, norska, franska, italienska, spanska, tyska, holländska, ryska, japanska
Danish, Norwegian, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Dutch, Russian, Japanese
Ja, lite grann.
Yes, a little bit.
Nej, inte alls.
No, not at all.
Jag förstår [inte.]
I [don't] understand.
Jag vet [inte.]
I [don't] know.
Ursäkta / Förlåt
Excuse me / Pardon me
Ha det så bra!
Take care!
Vi ses senare / snart
See you later / soon
Hej / Hej då
Hi / Bye
Jag älskar dig.
I love you.
Jag saknar dig.
I miss you.

Pratar du svenska? is also a common way to ask Do you speak Swedish?, though it is considered more informal.


2. Pronunciation

Swedish letter(s) English sound
ch sh
ck k
g g before a, o, u, å, or unstressed e
g j before e, i, y, ä, ö and after l or r
g k before t
gj j
k soft ch sound, before e, i, y, ä, ö
q k
sch sh
ti(on) sh
tj soft ch sound
v, w v
x ks
z s


3. Alphabet

a ah k kaw u ooh
b bay l el v vay
c say m em x eks
d day n en y ew
e ay o oh z say-tah
f ef p pay å aw (with lips rounded)
g gay q koo ä eh (as in bed)
h haw r air ö er (with lips rounded)
i ee s ess  
j yee t tay


4. Nouns & Cases

Nouns in Swedish have two genders, common and neuter, which adjectives must agree with when modifying nouns. These genders are signified by the indefinite articles: en and ett. In the vocabulary lists, a noun followed by (n) means that it is a neuter noun and it takes the indefinite article ett. The majority of nouns in Swedish are common gender, so they take the indefinite article en.

The only case of nouns that is used in Swedish is the genitive (showing possession), and it is easily formed by adding an -s to the noun. This is comparable to adding -'s in English to show possession. However, if the noun already ends in -s, then you add nothing (unlike English where we add -' or -'s). Anders bok = Anders's book


5. Articles & Demonstratives

There are two indefinite articles (corresponding to a and an) in Swedish: en and ett. En is used with most of the nouns (words denoting people almost always use en), but you will just have to learn which article goes with which noun. The definite article (the) is not a separate word like in most other languages. It is simply a form of the indefinite article attached to the end of the noun. Note that en words ending in a vowel retain that vowel and add an -n instead of adding -en. And ett words ending in -e just add a -t.

En words (common)
Ett words (neuter)
Indefinite
Definite
Indefinite
Definite
en banan a banana bananen the banana ett bord a table bordet the table
en stol a chair stolen the chair ett kök a kitchen köket the kitchen
en gata a street gatan the street ett äpple an apple äpplet the apple

 

This, that, these and those are expressed in Swedish by using den, det or de plus the word här (here) and där (there). The noun is always in the definite form after these demonstratives. And if any adjectives follow the demonstrative, they must add an -a to the ending.

 

with en words with ett words with plural words
this / these den här biljetten - this ticket det här tåget - this train de här biljetterna - these tickets
that / those den där biljetten - that ticket det där tåget - that train de där tågen - those trains

6. Subject & Object Pronouns

Subject & Object Pronouns
jag I mig (mej) me
du you (singular) dig (dej) you
han he honom him
hon she henne her
den it (with en words) den it
det it (with ett words) det it
man one en one
vi we oss us
ni you (plural) er you
de (dom) they dem (dom) them

Man can be translated as one, we, they or the people in general.  When referring to nouns as it, you use den for en nouns, and det for ett nouns. Formerly, du was the informal you and ni was the formal, but these distinctions are rarely used anymore. The forms in parentheses are the informal ways of spelling these words, which is closer to the actual pronunciation.


7. To Be & to Have

The present and past tenses of verbs in Swedish are very simple to conjugate. All the forms are the same for each personal pronoun. The infinitive of the verb to be in Swedish is vara, and the conjugated present tense form is är and the past tense is var. The infinitive of the verb to have is ha, and the conjugated present tense form is har and the past tense is hade.

att vara - to be
att ha - to have
I am jag är I was jag var I have jag har I had jag hade
you are du är you were du var you have du har you had du hade
he is han är he was han var he has han har he had han hade
she is hon är she was hon var she has hon har she had hon hade
it is den är it was den var it has den har it had den hade
it is det är it was det var it has det har it had det hade
one is man är one was man var one has man har one had man hade
we are vi är we were vi var we have vi har we had vi hade
you are ni är you were ni var you have ni har you had ni hade
they are de är they were de var they have de har they had de hade

 

To form the future tense of verbs, just add ska before the infinitive. Jag ska vara = I will be; hon ska ha = she will have; etc.


8. Useful Words

sometimes ibland already redan
always alltid perhaps kanske
never aldrig both båda
often ofta some någon, något, några
usually oftast again igen, åter
now nu between mellan
and och a lot, many många
but men of course naturligtvis
or eller a little lite grann
very mycket / väldigt not at all inte alls
here här almost nästan
there där really? verkligen
with med it is det är
each other varandra there is/are det finns


9. Question Words

Who vem Whose vems
What vad Which vilken, vilket, vilka
Why varför Where to vart
When när Where from varifrån
Where var How hur

Which has three different forms depending on the gender and number of the noun that follows it.
Vilken is used with en words, vilket is used with ett words and vilka is used with plural words.


10. Cardinal & Ordinal Numbers

0 noll  
1 en, ett 1st första
2 två 2nd andra
3 tre 3rd tredje
4 fyra 4th fjärde
5 fem 5th femte
6 sex 6th sjätte
7 sju 7th sjunde
8 åtta 8th åttonde
9 nio 9th nionde
10 tio 10th tionde
11 elva 11th elfte
12 tolv 12th tolfte
13 tretton 13th trettonde
14 fjorton 14th fjortonde
15 femton 15th femtonde
16 sexton 16th sextonde
17 sjutton 17th sjuttonde
18 arton 18th artonde
19 nitton 19th nittonde
20 tjugo 20th tjugonde
21 tjugoen, tjugoett 21st tjugoförsta
22 tjugotvå 22nd tjugoandra
30 trettio 30th trettionde
40 fyrtio 40th fyrtionde
50 femtio 50th femtionde
60 sextio 60th sextionde
70 sjuttio 70th sjuttionde
80 åttio 80th åttionde
90 nittio 90th nittionde
100 hundra 100th hundrade
1,000 tusen 1,000th tusende
million en miljon  
billion en miljard  
trillion en biljon  


11. Days of the Week / Veckans dagar

Monday måndag
Tuesday tisdag
Wednesday onsdag
Thursday torsdag
Friday fredag
Saturday lördag
Sunday söndag
day dag
morning morgon
afternoon eftermiddag
evening afton (before 6 pm) / kväll
night natt
today idag
tomorrow imorgon
day after tomorrow i övermorgon
tonight ikväll
yesterday igår
day before yesterday i förrgår
last night igår natt
week vecka
weekend helg
daily daglig
weekly veckolig

To say "on" a certain day, use before the day.


12. Months of the Year / Årets mAnader

 

January januari
February februari
March mars
April april
May maj
June juni
July juli
August augusti
September september
October oktober
November november
December december
month månad
year år
monthly månatlig / varje månad
yearly årlig

To say "in" a certain month, use i before the month.


13. Seasons

Winter vinter in (the) winter på vintern
Spring vår in (the) spring på våren
Summer sommar in (the) summer på sommaren
Fall höst in (the) fall på hösten

You can also use i before the names of the seasons to express this: i vinter = this winter


14. Directions

North norr Northeast nordost
South söder Northwest nordväst
East öster Southeast sydost
West väster Southwest sydväst
       
left till vänster    
right till höger    
straight ahead rakt fram    


15. Colors

orange orange, orangea
pink rosa / skär, skärt, skära
purple lila
blue blå, blått, blåa
yellow gul, gult, gula
red röd, rött, röda
black svart, svart, svarta
brown brun, brunt, bruna
gray grå, grått, gråa
white vit, vitt, vita
green grön, grönt, gröna

 

Since colors are adjectives, most of them agree with the noun they describe. The first word is used with en words, the second with ett words and the third with plural words. Some words remain the same for all three (such as lila.)


16. Time / Tid

What time is it? Vad är klockan?
It is 2 AM Klockan är två på natten
6:20 tjugo över sex
half past 3 halv fyra
quarter past 4 kvart över fyra
quarter to 5 kvart i fem
10 past 11 tio över elva
20 to 7 tjugo i sju
noon mitt på dagen
midnight midnatt
in the morning på morgonen
in the evening på kvällen
It's exactly... den är precis
About/around 8. omkring åtta
At 8. klockan åtta
early tidigt
late(r) sent (senare)

Sweden uses the 24 hour clock for official times such as train schedules.


17. Weather / VAder

How's the weather today? Vad är det för väder idag?
It's cold det är kallt
beautiful vackert / fint
hot jättevarmt
clear klart
icy isigt
warm varmt
windy blåsigt
cloudy molnigt
hazy disigt
muggy rått
humid fuktigt
foggy dimmigt
It's snowing det snöar
It's raining det regnar
It's freezing det är kallt/kyligt


18. Family / Familj

Parents föräldrar
Mother mamma / mor / moder
Father pappa / far / fader
Son son
Daughter dotter
Brother bror
Sister syster
Grandfather farfar (father's father) / morfar (mother's father)
Grandmother farmor (father's mother) / mormor (mother's mother)
Grandson sonson (son's son) / dotterson (daughter's son)
Granddaughter   sondotter (son's daughter) / dotterdotter (daughter's daughter)
Niece brorsdotter (brother's daughter) / systerdotter (sister's daughter)
Nephew brorson (brother's son) / systerson (sister's son)
Cousin kusin
Uncle farbror (father's brother) / morbror (mother's brother)
Aunt faster (father's sister) / moster (mother's sister)
Boy pojke
Girl flicka
Child / Baby barn / baby / bebis / spädbarn
Adult vuxen (n)
Man man
Woman kvinna
Friend (m) vän
Friend (f) väninna


19. To Know People & Facts

känna - to know people
veta - to know facts
present (know, knows)
känner
vet
past (knew)
kände
visste
future (will know)
ska känna
ska veta

20. Formation of Plural Nouns

An en word takes one of the following endings when it is pluralized: or, ar, er. An ett word takes an n or no ending at all.

Indefinite Plural

En words that end in -a
drop -a and add -or
en klocka - klockor
a watch - (some) watches
En words that end in -e
drop -e and add -ar
en pojke - pojkar
a boy - (some) boys
En words with stress on last vowel
add -er
en kamrat - kamrater
a friend - (some) friends
Ett words that end in a vowel
add -n
ett ställe - ställen
a place - (some) places
Ett words that end in a consonant
no ending
ett rum - rum
a room - (some) rooms

To form the definite plural, you must first form the indefinite plural and then add these endings to that word.

Indef. Plural En words add -na klockor - klockorna (some) watches - the watches
Indef. Plural Ett words that end in a vowel add -a ställen - ställena (some) places - the places
Indef. Plural Ett words that end in a consonant add -en rum - rummen (some) rooms - the rooms

There are some nouns that change their vowel in the plural. These nouns usually take the -er ending when forming the indefinite plural.

en natt - nätter a night - nights en bonde - bönder a farmer - farmers
en stad - städer a town - towns en ledamot - ledamöter a member - members
en hand - händer a hand - hands en fot - fötter a foot - feet
en tand - tänder a tooth - teeth en rot - rötter a root - roots
en strand - stränder a beach - beaches en bok - böcker a book - books
en rand - ränder a stripe - stripes en man - män a man - men
ett land - länder a country - countries mannen - männen the man - the men

Go on to Swedish II →


Return to top of page ↑


© 1997 - 2014 Jennifer Wagner

ielanguages [at] gmail [dot] com

DisclaimerSite Map