Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Swedish language

This is a list of FAQ that I have found when learning Swedish. The answers may not be available on Swedish dictionary or grammar books; however, I asked my Swedish teachers, colleagues and friends about them.

1. ‘Det är’ and ‘det finns’

What is the difference between det är and det finns in Swedish? It’s the distance that makes the difference. If it is near, then you use ‘det är’, but if it is far away, use ‘det finns’.

For example:

Det är tidningar på bordet. (There are newspapers on the table).

Situation: I am sitting near the table

Det finns tidningar på bordet. (There are newspapers on the table).

Situation: I am standing in my office which is quite far from the table mentioned.

 2. Sub clause 

In English regardless you start a sentence with a main clause or a sub clause, it does not change the subject and verb position, e.g.

I love you if you are nice.

If you are nice, I love you. 

In Swedish, it changes like this:

Jag älskar dig om du är trevlig.

Om du är trevlig, älskar jag dig.

If the sentence starts with a sub clause, then main clause starts with a verb, followed by the subject.

3. Ta reda på and ta hand om

Ta reda på det = find out, check it out.

Ta hand om det = take care of it.

E.g. Jag ska ta reda på väskan så jag kan ta hand om det.

4. Få reda på det: get to find out or check it out (with someone’s help).

5. Some nouns can be transformed into verb.

Salt in Swedish means salt in English.

Pepper in Swedish means pepper in English.

  • att salta: to put salt (to the food)
  • att peppra på: to put pepper (to the food)
  • att sanda: to spread small rocks (sand in Swedish) on the road. During winter time it can be slippery. Therefore the small rocks are spread out on the icy and snowy road side to prevent people from falling off the slippery surface.

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