Swedish Word Order

Learn correct word order in Swedish sentences

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Swedish Word Order

In general, the word order of Swedish is the same as English: Subject + Verb + Object. However, the word order is slightly different from English when something other than the subject of the verb begins the sentence. In declarative sentences, the main verb is always in the second position (but not necessarily the second word!). For example, if a sentence begins with an adverb or an object, the verb will be the second element in the sentence, and the subject will come after the verb. Then any other forms of verbs (such as participles or infinitives) will come after the subject.

Adverb or Object Main Verb Subject (Participle / Infinitive) Translation
I morgon åker jag till Sverige. I'm going to Sweden tomorrow.
I affären köper jag bröd. I buy bread in the store.

In sentences that begin with a subordinate clause, the second (independent) clause will have inversion of the verb and subject. The subordinate clause is the first element in the sentence, so the verb must be second, and the subject is third.

Subordinate Clause Main Verb Subject Rest of Sentence Translation
När jag var ung, bodde jag i Sverige. When I was young, I lived in Sweden.
Nu då hon har kommit kan vi börja. Now that she's arrived we can begin.

Furthermore, adverbs that modify the entire sentence come before the verb in subordinate clauses, whereas they normally occur after the verb in regular sentences. Besides inte (not), these adverbs include: aldrig (never), alltid (always), alltså (so, then), möjligtvis (maybe), gärna (gladly, with pleasure), bara (only) and säkert (surely).

Han säger att han inte kan åka bil till Stockholm. He said that he cannot come to Stockholm by car.


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