Swedish verbs

Swedish verbs Any sentence in Swedish will always contain a verb that occupies a stable place, since the Swedish language has fixed word order. Verbs describe what is happening around us, our actions, plans and intentions. A verb (especially with a subject) is what any sentence is based on. This is the main structure around which we build the sentence. Knowing one verb, you can construct at least ten different affirmative, negative and interrogative phrases in different tenses and grammatical moods.

In Swedish, working with verbs is simple:

A verb is a word that explains what you do (gör) or who/what you are (är), and describes:

  • action («Jag arbetar» — «I work»);
  • state («Hon verkar snäll» — «She seems kind»).

It answers the question «what to do?» in the form of an infinitive. The infinitive form in Swedish always has the particle att in front of it, and almost all Swedish verbs (except monosyllabic verbs, which consist of only one syllable and can end with any vowel) end in the infinitive form with – a.

In Swedish, verbs do not change by case, person or number (unlike Russian, English, etc.) The verb changes endings depending on tense (present/past/perfect tense (see the table below)).

It is important to learn how to build simple, short first-person phrases or sentences of 3 to 5 words, for example: «Jag går hem — I’m going home», «Jag har ett barn — I have a child», «Jag arbetar inte på lördag — I don’t work on Saturday» and so on.

Below you can find a list of basic and most frequent Swedish verbs. These verbs are a must for a beginner.

Infinitiv — dictionary formpresenspreteritumperfectum
To be – att varaärvarHar varit
To do – att göragörgjördeHar gjört
To say – att sägasägersadeHar sagt
To get – att fåfårfickHar fått
To ask – att frågafrågarfrågadeHar frågat
To use – att användaanvändaranvändadeHar användat
To come – att kommakommerkomHar kommit
To know – att vetavetvissteHar vetat
To go – att gågårgickHar gått
To make – att skapaskaparskapadeHar skapat

The Swedish verb has five main forms – infinitive, presense, preterite, supine and participle II.

These are simple verb forms, which consist of a root and a suffix. You need to know these forms in order to correctly use them in a sentence. The examples below include these 5 forms. Some of them, however, are not used in the language. Such cases will be explained further below.

Verb conjugations

According to the type of stem and the method of formation of simple tenses, all verbs are divided into four conjugations.

1 conj.: fråga – frågar – frågade – frågat – frågad (ask).

2 conj.: böja – böjer – böjde – böjt – böjd (bend).

3 conj.: sy – syr – sydde – sytt – sydd (sew).

4 conj.: finna – finner – fann – funnit – funnen (find).

The 1st – 3rd conjugations include regular verbs, the 4th conjugation – irregular ones. The first three conjugations form preterite, supine and participle II with variations of the suffix «-d/-t». In the 4th conjugation the preterite does not have a suffix, the supine is formed with the suffix «–it», and the participle II ‒ with «–en».

About 80% of all verbs belong to conjugation 1, including new ones, for example: programmera — to program. Verbs of this group retain the suffix «–a» in presense and preterite, for example: fråg-a-r, fråg-a-de.

2 conjugation usually includes such root vowels as «–e-, -i-, -y-, -ä-, -ö-«. The root ends either with a sonant or a voiced consonant. The presense form ends in «-er», and the preterite ends in «–de» (if the root ends in a voiced consonant) and «-te» (if it ends in a sharp one).

The 3rd conjugation includes verbs ending with a root vowel: sy, bo. In presense they end with «–r» (syr, bor), and in preterite ‒ with «–dde» (sydde, bodde).

Although 4 conj. includes only 8% of all verbs, they are the most used ones. They tend to have the suffixes «–it» in supine and «-en» in participle II and no suffix in preterite. Many of the verbs in this group have vowel alternation at the root. Verbs of this conjugation are called «irregular» because their basic forms have no regularity when changed.

Modal verbs

Modal verbs express not the action, but the speaker’s attitude to the action, for example: I can (want, must…) do something. The verb (infinitive) that follows the modal verb is always used without the particle «att», for example:

Jag måste gå. – I have to go.

Below is a list of the main modal verbs with brief explanations.

Måste/måste/måst – this verb has no infinitive form and participle II. Although it is related to the English «must», it usually means «have to»:

Jag måste köpa mat. — I have to buy groceries.

To convey the negation of «necessity», this verb is replaced by «behöva»:

Du behöver inte göra det, om du inte vill. – You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to.

Måste can be used without an infinitive:

Jag måste till stan. — I have to go to the city.

Böra – «must» expresses the moral and ethical need to do something:

Man bör göra sin plikt. – One must do one’s duty.

The form «borde» expresses the necessity of an action that is not implemented:

Det borde du nog förstå. — You should understand.

Skola/ska (skall)/skulle/skolat – «shall, will, be going to» has no participle form II:

Han ska komma i tid. – He shall/will come in time.

Kunna/kan/kunde/kunnat – has no participle form II. The main meaning of this verb is «can», expressing «the ability, opportunity, motivation» to do something, for example:

Jag kan simma. — I can swim.

Du kan gärna hjälpa. – You could help.

Without a subsequent infinitive, this verb has the meaning «to know»:

Ska han svenska? — Does he know Swedish?

Få – has the meaning «may» (to be able to do something with someone’s permission):

Får jag fråga? — May I ask?

Nu får du gå. – You may go now.

Vilja/vill/ville/velat – has no participle II. The main meaning of this verb is «to wish, to want», and it can also convey a polite request:

Gör som du vill. – Do as you wish.

Vill du inte vara så snäll och hjälpa mig. – Would you be so kind as to help me?

Låta – «to allow».

Lär – Has only one form. This verb indicates indirect speech:

Han lär ha många vänner. – It is said that he has a lot of friends.

And can also express a «softened statement»:

Det lär ingen betvivla. – Perhaps no one will doubt that.

Torde – has only one form. This verb expresses an assumption or a polite statement:

Någon torde fråga. – Perhaps they can ask.

Ni torde vända er till herr Berg. – Please contact Mr. Berg.

Reflexive and adjunctive verbs

Regardless of the type of conjugation, Swedish distinguishes a formal class of reflexive and postpositive verbs. These verbs are distributed across all four conjugations. In Swedish, as well as in English, reflexive verbs are pronominal.

They are always followed a reflexive pronoun sig “(one)self” that changes according to a person, for instance:

  • resa sig – get (lit. oneself) up,
  • Jag reser mig — I get up,
  • du reser dig — you get up, etc.

All forms of adjunctive verbs end in «–s». They should not be confused with other verbs, in which «–s» can be an indicator of the passive voice. Adjunctive verbs do not have a passive voice and, therefore, no participle II. Here’s what the four (without participle II) basic forms of these verbs look like:

1 conj.: andas / andas / andades / andats (breathe).

2 conj.: tyckas / tycks / tyckts / tyckts (seem).

3 conj.: brås / brås / bråddes / bråtts (resemble).

4 conj.: finnas / finns / fanns / funnits (exist) (derived from finna «find»).

In the imperative mood «–s» is addeded to the verb stem, for example:

Andas djupt! – Breathe deeper!


This form of the verb describes the action itself, regardless of its performer. Infinitive form is the one used in dictionaries. The infinitive form consists of the particle «att», which in a regular conversation is sometimes pronounced as [o], and the verb itself. However, the infinitive after modal verbs and verbs «bruka» (to tend to be), «låta» (to let, force), «synas, tyckas» (to seem), as well as in the collocations «object with infinitive» and «subject with infinitive», is used without the particle «att»; and after the verbs «bölja» (to begin), «försöka» (to try), «lära» (to teach) there is a fluctuation in the use of «att». The Swedish infinitive is often combined with prepositions, for example:

Han funderade på att gå på bio. – He was wondering if he should go to the cinema.

In Swedish, the infinitive is represented by a number of variations. Since the infinitive is defined by temporal and collateral values, there are three active voice infinitives, different in their temporal meaning and, accordingly, three passive voice infinitives. Based on the method of formation, the active infinitive I is similar to the forms of the presense and is also called the «presence infinitive». The infinitive II is similar to the forms of the perfect – the «perfect infinitive», the infinitive III forms of the future tense – the «future infinitive».

Active infinitives

The most commonly used active voice infinitive is the 1st, which formally coincides with the stem of the present tense (in verbs 1 and 3 conjugations) or is formed from it by adding an unstressed «-a».

  • 1 conj.: att tala.
  • 2 conj.: att bygga.
  • 3 conj.: att sy.
  • 4 conj.: att äta.

The infinitive I denotes an action simultaneous with the action indicated by the predicate (1), subsequent action (2), or an action, indefinite in time (3):

1. Han kan tala svenska. – He can speak Swedish.

2. Jag vill besöka henne. – I want to visit her.

3. Vi brukar titta på tv-nytt. – We usually watch the news.

The active infinitive II consists of the infinitive of the auxiliary verb «ha» plus the supine of the main verb:

  • 1 conj.: att ha talat.
  • 2 conj.: att ha byggt.
  • 3 conj.: att ha sytt.
  • 4 conj.: att ha ätit.

The infinitive II denotes an action that ended before the predicate:

Efter att ha undersökt patienten skrev läkaren ut ett recept. — After examining the patient, the doctor wrote out a prescription.

The active infinitive III always consists of the infinitive of the auxiliary verb «skola» (or «komma») and the infinitive of the main verb. It is also worth noticing that after «skola» there is no particle «att», and after «komma» there is. This infinitive is rarely used.

1 conj.: att skola tala / att komma att tala.

2 conj.: att skola bygga / att komma att bygga.

3 conj.: att skola sy / att komma att sy.

4 conj.: att skola äta / att komma att äta.

The infinitive III denotes an upcoming action:

Mötet tros komma att äga rum nästa vecka. – It is believed that the conference will be held next week.

Passive infinitives

As mentioned above, along with the three active ones, there are three passive infinitives that correspond to the same tenses as the active infinitives. Each of the passive infinitives is represented by three forms according to the three types of passive voice.

Forms of the passive infinitive I:

att byggas, att bli byggd (to be built), att vara byggd (to be built).

Forms of the passive infinitive II:

att ha byggts, att ha blivit byggd, att ha varit byggd.

Forms of the passive infinitive III:

Att skola (att komma att) byggas, att bli byggd, att skola (att komma att) vara byggd.


Genom att inte ha lagats i tid gick bilen helt sönder. – Due to the fact that the car was not repaired on time, it completely broke down.

Active infinitives in the passive meaning are often used instead of passive infinitives.

Dessa varor står inte att få. – These items cannot be received.


Supine is an immutable verb form that is used to form perfect, pluskvamperfekt and infinitive II. It is formed by combining the verb stem and one of the following suffixes: «-t/-tt/-it».

  • 1 conj.: älskat.
  • 2 conj.: läst.
  • 3 conj.: sytt.
  • 4 conj.: skrivit.

Supine itself does not have a translation, but sometimes it can become the predicate in a subordinate clause without any auxiliary verb, for example:

Jag hoppas ni ursäktar att jag låtit er vänta. – I hope you will forgive me for keeping you waiting.

Occasionally supin is also used in the main sentence without an auxiliary verb, for example:

Kanske han redan glömt vad han sagt. ‒ Maybe he’s already forgotten what he said.


There are two types of participle in Swedish – participle I and participle II.

The participle I is formed using the suffix «–ande/-ende». If the verb forms are derived from several stems, the suffix is added to the stem of the presense. Verb stems with a stressed vowel, combined the suffix «–ende», form the participle I, and participle II ends with «-ande», for example:

En älskande/syende kvinna – a loving/sewing woman.

The participle I, unlike the adjective and participle II, does not change. It has the same meaning as the active voice and denotes an action simultaneous with the predicate, for example:

Han hör dånet av bristande is. – He hears the ice breaking.

Participle II is created from the stem of the verb, and if the verb has forms from several stems, with the stem the preterite is formed from. A regular verb stem (1-3 conj.) is combined with one of the following suffixes «–d/-t/-dd», and a regular verb stem — with «–en». Suffix «–d» is combined with the verb stems that end with unstressed «–a», a voiced consonant or a sonant, «-t» — with the stems ending in a sharp consonant, «-dd» — with the stems ending in a stressed vowel. The root vowel in participle II, formed from the 4th conjugation verbs, often changes.

  • 1 conj.: älskad.
  • 2 conj.: läst.
  • 3 conj.: sydd.
  • 4 conj.: skriven.

When the participle II is made from verbs with separable verbal particles, this particle is brought forward and becomes a prefix, for example:

skriva upp – uppskriven.

Participle II is declined as an ordinary adjective, however, participle II, made from verbs of conjugation 1, ends in «-e» instead of «-a» in all forms of irregular and plural forms of regular verbs.

Irregular declension of the participle II (Sg. neutr.; Plur.):

  • 1 conj.: Älskad; älskat; älskad.
  • 2 conj.: Läst; läst; lästa.
  • 3 conj.: Sydd; sytt; sydda.
  • 4 conj.: Skriven; skrivet; skrivna.

Similar to adjective, the form of the regular declension of participle II coincides with the plural form of the irregular declension. The difference is that here we use a separable article: den brutna grenen — a broken branch.


When we talk about tenses, it should be understood that we are not talking about time as such, but about the types of actions that occurred, occur or will occur, which are expressed by verbs. Every action in the past, present or future has its own specific ways of expression. These ways of expressing grammatical tenses are what we will discuss now.

Presens (present tense).

Presens is made with the suffix «–r» (for verbs of 1 and 3 conjugations) or «–er» (for verbs of 2 and 4 conjugations). If the verb stem ends in «–r, -l», no suffix is used, for example: (göra) Vad gör du?.

It is important to remember that the predicate does not change either by person or by number.

Presens is used to:

1. Describe an action simultaneous with another one in the present:

Titta, där kommer han. — Look, he’s coming.

2. Describe a constant action:

Västerås ligger vid Mälaren. — Västerås is located by Lake Mälaren.

3. Express the continuity of an action:

Han kommer varje dag. – He comes every day.

4. Describe future plans:

Han kommer ikväll. — He is coming tonight.

5. Describe «historical» present tense:

år 1912 dör Strindberg. – Strindberg died in 1912.

Preterite (past simple)

The preterite consists of suffixes «–de/-te/–dde» and verb stems of 1 – 3 conjugations. The suffix «–de» is added to the stem with an unstressed «–a», a voiced consonant or sonant, «-te» – to the stems ending with a deaf consonant, «-dde» – to the stems ending with a stressed vovel, for example: kallade, läste, byggde, bodde. The 4th conjugation verbs have root vowel alteration and no suffix, for example: skriva – skrev.

The preterite denotes an action in the past that is not related to the moment of speech (this is how it differs from the perfect). Therefore, if there are circumstances in the sentence indicating a moment of time in the past, then the preterite is used, for example:

Hon bodde i Lunda förra året. — Last year she lived in Lund.

The preterite is usually used to form a consecutive narrative of events in the past.

Perfekt (perfect tense).

The perfect is always formed in the same way: the auxiliary verb «ha» (in the form of the present tense «har») plus the supine of the semantic verb, for example:

jag har läst – I have read (the book).

The perfect describes an action in the past, but unlike the preterite, it is an action in some way connected to the present. Often the speaker shares their experience, reports on what was done:

Väckarklockan har redan ringt. – The alarm has already rung (and I’m getting up).

Den hhär boken har jag köpt i Stockholm. – I have bought this book in Stockholm (and here it is).

The perfect is used when there are time circumstances that indicate a period of time that has not yet ended at the moment of speech, for example: denna dag (on this day), detta år (this year), alltid (always), aldrig (never).

Var har du varit hela det här året? – Where have you been all this year?

Han har alltid rest buss till stationen. – He has always traveled by bus to the station…

Perfect can also denote an action that will occur in the future before any other action or before any particular moment.

Har du läst tidningen när jag kommer tillbaka om en timme? «Will you have read the paper when I get back in an hour?»

Pluskvamperfekt (past perfect).

The pluskvamperfekt form is always made in the same way, by combining the auxiliary verb «ha» (in the form of the preterite «hade») and the supine of the semantic verb, for example:

Jag hade läst – I had read it.

Pluskvamperfekt denotes an action that occurred before another one or a certain moment in the past:

Jag steg upp kl. 7, min mor hade stigit upp ännu tidigare. – I got up at 7 o’clock, my mother had gotten up even earlier.

Future tense

The future tense form is made by combining the auxiliary verb «skola» (in the form of «skall/ska») or the verb «komma» (in the form of «kommer») and an infinitive of a semantic verb, for example:

jag ska(ll) läsa/jag kommer att läsa – I will read it.

Kommer is always followed by the infinitive particle «att», whereas ska(ll) does not require it.

The future form with the ska(II) often expresses additional modal shades of intention, promise, etc.

The main function of this tense is to express the upcoming action:

Vart ska(ll) du gå? – Where will you go?

Hon kommer att stanna där en längre tid. – She will stay there for a long time.

Presens is often used instead of the future tense (see Presens 4.).

Futurum 2 (preliminary future).

This tense is formed by combining the auxiliary verb «skola» (in the form of «skall») and the infinitive II of the semantic verb, for example:

jag skall ha läst – I will read it.

Futurum 2 denotes an upcoming action that will be completed before a certain point in the future:

Skogen vandrar fram. Snart skall han ha slukat upp stugan. – (The forest is moving forward quickly.) Soon it will engulf the hut.

Instead of futurum 2, a perfect is often used to express an upcoming action (see Perfect).

«The future in the past.»

This tense is formed by combining the auxiliary verb «skola» (in the form of «skulle») and the infinitive of the semantic verb, for example:

jag skulle läsa – I would read.

The future in the past denotes an action that was forthcoming at some point in the past:

Pojkes far lovade honom, att han skulle få en hund. – The boy’s father promised him that he would get a dog.

Sequence of Tenses

If the predicate in the main sentence is a verb of speech or thought (säga — say, tro — think, believe, veta — know) in the form of preterite, there are 3 possible sequences of tenses:

1. If the actions in the main and subordinate clauses are simultaneous, then the predicate in the subordinate clause is in the form of preterite:

Han sade att han bodde i Lund. — He said he lived in Lund.

2. If the action in the subordinate clause precedes the action in the main (expressed by the preterite), then the predicate in the subordinate clause is in pluskvamperfekt:

Han sade att han hade bott i Lund. — He said that he used to live in Lund.

3. If the action in the subordinate clause is subsequent to the action in the main one, then the predicate in the subordinate clause is in «future in the past» tense:

Han sade att han skulle bo i Lund. – He said he would live in Lund.


In Swedish, the verb can have active and passive voices. In sentences where the subject is the agent of the action, the verb is in the active voice:

Vi reparerade bilen igår. — Yesterday we fixed the car.

In sentences where the subject is the patient, target or undergoer of the action, the verb is in the passive voice:

Bilen reparerades igår. — The car was repaired yesterday.

However, there are several types of passive voice in Swedish.

1. The inflectional passive voice is formed using the affixation «–s», which is added to the simple forms of the active voice (infinitive, presense, preterite, supine). At the same time, the ending «–r» (and in some cases even «–er») disappears in the presense, for example:

jag frågar – jag frågas.

For verbs ending in «–s», the ending of the passive voice presense is always «–es»: läser – läses. The doer of the action in a sentence with a passive voice is introduced by the word «av»:

Han väcktes av väckarklockan. – He was woken up by an alarm clock.

These are the examples of inflectional passive voice of verbs of all four conjugations:

1 conj.: öppnas / öppnas / öppnades / öppnats (to be opened).

2 conj.: byggas / bygg(e)s / byggdes / byggts (to be build).

3 conj.: sys / sys / syddes / sytts (to be sewn).

4 conj.: sjungas / sjung(e)s / sjöngs / sjungits (to be sung).

2. Another way of expressing the passive voice is to use the auxiliary verb «vara» (in the appropriate form) and the participle II of the semantic verb. The verb «vara» indicates the time of action, and the participle II agrees with the subject:

Romanen är skriven. – The novel is written.

Brevet är skrivet. – The letter is written.

Breven är skrivna. – The letters are written.

Brevet var skrivet. – The letter was written.

Brevet skall vara skrivet. – The letter will be written.

3. The third type of the passive voice consists of the verb «bli» and the participle II of the semantic verb. The verb «bli» indicates the time of action, and the participle II agrees with the subject in gender and number:

Brevet blir skickat imorgon. – The letter will be sent tomorrow.

The meanings of the passive voice expressed by the verb «bli» and the affixation «-s» mostly coincide:

Hon blev skickad / skickades till Lund. – She is being sent to Lund.

However, there are semantic differences in the presense. The affixation «-s» is used when the action is being performed at the moment, and in sentences with «bli» — the upcoming action.

Nu öppnas biblioteket. – The library is opening now.

Biblioteket blir öppnat kl. 10. – The library will be opened at 10 o’clock.


There are three types of moods in Swedish – indicative, imperative and subjunctive.

1. The indicative mood defines the action is/was/will be real, for example:

Hon studerar nordiska språk. – She is studying Scandinavian languages.

This mood is represented by verb tenses (see above).

2. The imperative mood expresses an urge, a request or an order to perform an action, for example:

Skriv! – Write!

The imperative mood form always coincides with the stem of the verb, as well as with the infinitives of 1 and 3 conjugations:

  • 1 conj.: kalla – Kalla! (call!).
  • 2 conj.: läsa – Läs! (read!).
  • 3 conj.: sy – Sy! (sew!).
  • 4 conj.: äta – ät! (eat!).

Normally, the person to whom the command is addressed is implied and not indicated by a pronoun.

1st person plural of the imperative mood expresses a call to a coaction and consists of «låt oss» and the infinitive of the semantic verb:

Låt oss lämna det här ämnet! – Let’s change the topic!

NB. Archaic forms of the imperative mood can still be found in fiction. That is the form of the 1 person plural ending with «–om», for example: Sjungom! – Sing!; and the form of the 2 person plural with the ending «–en», for example: Kallen! – Call!

3. The subjunctive mood defines the meaning of the predicate as desirable, possible or impossible. In English, the mood is represented by such phrases as: I wish… it would be good… you should… etc.

In Swedish, there are simple and complex forms of the subjunctive mood.

Simple forms of the subjunctive mood have the ending «-e» and are divided into «subjunctive I» and «subjunctive II». To make the form of the subjunctive I, the ending «–e» is added to the stem of the infinitive:

Man läse. — (Someone) should read.

In forms of the subjunctive II, made from irregular verbs, the ending «–e» is combined with the stem of plural preterite.

Om jag funne (from finna)… — If I found…

The infinitives, which do not end with «–a», can not produce the subjunctive I, except for the verbs gå – gånge, stå – stånde. The subjunctive II of irregular verbs formally coincides with the form of the preterite of the indicative mood, but there is a time difference between them:

Om han nu läste… — If he was reading now…

Simple forms of the subjunctive mood are not very common in modern Swedish. The subjunctive I is now used only in legal, religious texts or in idioms (except for «leve» — «long live»).

Subjunctive II is rarely used in a conversation, except for a number of forms: vore (from vara) – would be, ville (from vilja) – would like. In fiction you can also meet the forms ginge (from gå) – would go, finge (from få) – would get.

Compound forms of the subjunctive mood can be made in two ways:

1. the infinitive of the main verb without the particle «att» is combined with one of the auxiliary verbs «må, måtte, skulle», for example:

Måtte (må) du aldrig ångra det! – May you never regret it!

2. the supine of the main verb is combined with the auxiliary verb «hade», for example:

Om jag hade vetat det! – If I only knew that!

If the main verb in the compound subjunctive is the infinitive I, it denotes an action that relates to the present or the future. If the main verb is in the infinitive II, it denotes the action that preceded the moment of speech. Let’s compare:

Må han läsa. – Let him read.

Må han ha läst. – (lit.) Let him have read.

The compound subjunctive with «hade» formally coincides with the pluskvamperfekt of the indicative mood, but is different in modality and temporal meaning. Unlike pluskvamperfekt, it indicates an event in the past, but not necessarily preceding any other event or moment in the past.

The subjunctive mood can convey several modal meanings.

1. The subjunctive with «må» and the simple subjunctive I describe the desired and possible action, for example:

Må det gå dig väl! – May everything be fine with you!

2. The subjunctive with «måtte» expresses an intended, desired and possible action, for example:

Jag måtte ha sett honom förut. – It’s like I’ve seen him before.

Måtte han vara frisk! – May he be healthy!

3. The subjunctive with «skulle» and the simple subjunctive II denote the desired, but impossible or unlikely action, for example:

Vore jag bara där! – If only I was there!

Jag önskade, det skulle ske. – I wish it would happen.

In addition, the subjunctive with «skulle» expresses a polite request, statement or an emotional response, for example:

Jag skulle vilja ha en kopp kaffe. – I would like a cup of coffee.

Hur skulle jag ha kunnat drömma om det! – How could I even dream about it!

The subjunctive with «skulle» (and the subjunctive II in fiction) can express the so-called «conditional mood». This is an action that is possible only under certain conditions, for example:

Om inte månen fanns, skulle det inte finnas något tidvatten. – If there was no moon, there would be no tides.

4. The subjunctive with «hade» expresses a desired, but impossible or unlikely action:

O, att min far hade levat så länge! «Oh, if only my father had lived to see it!

It also expresses a non-realised action that serves as a comparison or an impossible condition for another action:

Om läkaren hade kommit tidigare, skulle den sjuke ha räddats. – If the doctor had come earlier, the patient would have been saved.


Combined with most infinitives, the verb «hålla på» creates collocations that denote an action that is still hapenning at a specific moment, referenced in a sentence. On its own the verb «hålla på» is usually translated as «to do something». In this collocation, the infinitive is always preceded by the particle «att»:

Samhället höll på att förändras. – Society was in the process of changing.

In a conversation «hålla på» is often combined not with the infinitive of the main verb, but with the verb in the same tense as «hålla på». In this case, the main verb is preceded by the conjunction «och», for example:

Han berättar att han håller på och skriver en roman. – He says that he is writing a novel.

Collocations with verbs that denote short-term, rapidly ending actions tell us how close an action is to happening, for example:

Han höll på att drunkna. – He almost drowned.

2. The verb bruka «to have a habit», combined with the infinitive of the main verb without the particle «att», denotes a repetitive action, for example:

På fredag kväll brukar jag vara hemma. – On Friday evening, I am (usually) at home.

3. The verb «få» forms two types of collocations.

a. The verb «få» forms collocations which describe how effective the action is with the verbs of perception such as se — see, höra — hear, känna — feel:

Han hade väl redan fått veta allt. – He probably already found out about everything.

Han fick se henne. – He got to see her.

b. Participle II of transitive verbs is used to form collocations which indicate the state of an object as a result of some influence:

äntligen fick man elden släckt. – Finally they got the fire extinguished).

Collocations, which consist of the verb «komma» (in different tenses) and the participle I of verbs of movement express arrival or approach in a way, described in participle I:

Komma åkande – to come by, to go by (car, train, etc.).

Komma simmande – to swim to, towards.