Grammar::Swedish language


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Grammar {{#invoke:main|main}} Swedish nouns and adjectives are declined in genders as well as number. Nouns belong to one of two genders—common for the en form or neuter for the ett form<ref>{{#invoke:Footnotes|harvard_citation_no_bracket}}</ref>—which also determine the declension of adjectives. For example, the word fisk ("fish") is a noun of common gender (en fisk) and can have the following forms:

Singular Plural
Indefinite form fisk fiskar
Definite form fisken fiskarna

The definite singular form of a noun is created by adding a suffix (-en, -n, -et or -t), depending on its gender and if the noun ends in a vowel or not. The definite articles den, det, and de are used for variations to the definitiveness of a noun. They can double as demonstrative pronouns or demonstrative determiners when used with adverbs such as här ("here") or där ("there") to form den/det här (can also be "denna/detta") ("this"), de här (can also be "dessa") ("these"), den/det där ("that"), and de där ("those"). For example, den där fisken means "that fish" and refers to a specific fish; den fisken is less definite and means "that fish" in a more abstract sense, such as that set of fish; while fisken means "the fish". In certain cases, the definite form indicates possession, e.g., jag måste tvätta håret ("I must wash my hair").<ref name="Haugen"/>

Adjectives are inflected in two declensions—indefinite and definite—and they must match the noun they modify in gender and number. The indefinite neuter and plural forms of an adjective are usually created by adding a suffix (-t or -a) to the common form of the adjective, e.g., en grön stol (a green chair), ett grönt hus (a green house), and gröna stolar ("green chairs"). The definite form of an adjective is identical to the indefinite plural form, e.g., den gröna stolen ("the green chair"), det gröna huset ("the green house"), and de gröna stolarna ("the green chairs").<ref name="Haugen">{{#invoke:Footnotes|harvard_citation_no_bracket}}</ref>

Swedish pronouns are similar to those of English. Besides the two natural genders han and hon ("he" and "she"), there are also the two grammatical genders den and det, usually termed common and neuter. Unlike the nouns, pronouns have an additional object form, derived from the old dative form. Hon, for example, has the following nominative, possessive, and object forms:<ref name="Haugen"/>


Swedish also uses third-person possessive reflexive pronouns that refer to the subject in a clause, a trait which is restricted to North Germanic languages:

Anna gav Maria sin bok.; "Anna gave Maria her [Anna's] book." (reflexive)
Anna gav Maria hennes bok.; "Anna gave Maria her [Maria's] book." (not reflexive)

Swedish used to have genitive that was placed at the end of the head of a noun phrase. In modern Swedish, it has become an enclitic -s, which attaches to the end of the noun phrase, rather than the noun itself.<ref>{{#invoke:Footnotes|harvard_citation_no_bracket}}</ref>

hästen; "the horse" — hästens "the horse's"
hästen på den blommande ängens svarta man; "the horse in the flowering meadow's black mane"

In formal written language, it used to be considered correct to place the genitive -s after the head of the noun phrase (hästen), though this is today considered dated, and different grammatical constructions are often used.<ref>{{#invoke:Footnotes|harvard_citation_no_bracket}}</ref>

Verbs are conjugated according to tense. One group of verbs (the ones ending in -er in present tense) has a special imperative form (generally the verb stem), but with most verbs the imperative is identical to the infinitive form. Perfect and present participles as adjectival verbs are very common:<ref name="Haugen"/>

Perfect participle: en stekt fisk; "a fried fish" (steka = to fry)
Present participle: en stinkande fisk; "a stinking fish" (stinka = to stink)

In contrast to English and many other languages, Swedish does not use the perfect participle to form the present perfect and past perfect. Rather, the auxiliary verb har ("have"), hade ("had") is followed by a special form, called supine, used solely for this purpose (although often identical to the neuter form of the perfect participle):<ref name="Haugen"/>

Perfect participle: målad, "painted" – supine målat, present perfect har målat; "have painted"
Perfect participle: stekt, "fried" – supine stekt, present perfect har stekt; "have fried"
Perfect participle: skriven, "written" – supine skrivit, present perfect har skrivit; "have written"

When building the compound passive voice using the verb att bli, the past participle is used:

den blir målad; "it's being painted"
den blev målad; "it was painted"

There exists also an inflected passive voice formed by adding -s, replacing the final r in the present tense:

den målas; "it's being painted"
den målades; "it was painted"

In a subordinate clause, the auxiliary har is optional and often omitted, particularly in written Swedish.

Jag ser att han (har) stekt fisken; "I see that he has fried the fish"

Subjunctive mood is occasionally used for some verbs, but its use is in sharp decline and few speakers perceive the handful of commonly used verbs (as for instance: vore, månne) as separate conjugations, most of them remaining only as set of idiomatic expressions.<ref name="Haugen"/>

Where other languages may use grammatical cases, Swedish uses numerous prepositions, similar to those found in English. As in modern German, prepositions formerly determined case in Swedish, but this feature can only be found in certain idiomatic expressions like till fots ("on foot", genitive).<ref>{{#invoke:Footnotes|harvard_citation_no_bracket}}</ref>

As Swedish is a Germanic language, the syntax shows similarities to both English and German. Like English, Swedish has a subject–verb–object basic word order, but like German, it utilizes verb-second word order in main clauses, for instance after adverbs, adverbial phrases and dependent clauses. (Adverbial phrases denoting time are usually placed at the beginning of a main clause that is at the head of a sentence.) Prepositional phrases are placed in a place–manner–time order, as in English (but not German). Adjectives precede the noun they modify.<ref>{{#invoke:Footnotes|harvard_citation_no_bracket}}</ref>

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