It’s great that you’re interested in learning Swedish, a Germanic language (just like English) spoken by about 10 million people. Soon, you’ll finally be able to tell what your IKEA rug is actually called or write fan letters to Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander in her native language! Lucky for you, Swedish is also an easy language […]
It’s great that you’re interested in learning Swedish, a Germanic language (just like English) spoken by about 10 million people. Soon, you’ll finally be able to tell what your IKEA rug is actually called or write fan letters to Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander in her native language! Lucky for you, Swedish is also an easy language to learn in the beginning. Why? Swedish verbs!
Swedish verbs are not conjugated according to the person performing them, but stay the same, regardless of whom they’re referring to. Another characteristic of Swedish verbs is that they only have one present tense form: there isn’t really an equivalent to the English -ing ending. This means you would literally say, “I go now. Bye!” (Jag går nu. Hejdå!)
Verbs are crucial (or rather, indispensable) for creating sentences, and if you know the most common Swedish verbs, you will have a really good starting point for learning your new language. Here we go!
Present tense: är
As in: Jag är svensk. (I’m Swedish.)
Present tense: får
The double meaning of this verb makes it a very common word!
As in: Jag får inte nog! (I can’t get enough!) and Får jag gå nu? (May I leave now?)
Present tense: har
As in: Har du eld? (Do you have a lighter [lit. fire]?)
Ska is present tense already — it’s a modal verb used with other Swedish verbs in the infinitive.
With ska, you can also talk about the future. As in: Vi ska få barn! (We’re having children!)
Like ska, kan is also a modal verb.
As in: Kan du hjälpa mig? (Can you help me?)
Yay, another modal verb!
As in: Vill du dansa? (Do you want to dance?)
Present tense: kommer
As in: Jag kommer! (I’m coming!)
Present tense: finns
As in: Finns det några snälla barn här? (Are there any kind children here?) This is actually the phrase Santa says when he visits a family on Christmas Eve.
Present tense: blir
As in: Jag blir galen! (I’m going [lit. becoming] crazy!)
The verb bli is also used to express the passive form of an event, as in Ekorren blir överkörd. (The squirrel is getting run over.)
Present tense: säger
As in: Jag säger alltid sanningen. (I always tell the truth.)
Present tense: går
As in: Vi går hem nu. (We’re going home now.)
Present tense: tar
As in: Jag tar en banan. (I’ll take a banana.)
Present tense: gör
As in: Vad gör du? (What are you doing?)
Present tense: frågar
As in: Frågar man inget, får man inget veta. (If you don’t ask anything, you’ll never know anything.)
Present tense: tror
As in: Tror du på tomten? (Do you believe in Santa Claus?)
Present tense: tycker
As in: Jag tycker att Bengt är jättesnygg! (I find Bengt really handsome!)
Present tense: vet
As in: Jag vet allt om akvariefiskar. (I know everything about aquarium fish.)
Present tense: ligger
As in: Stockholm ligger i Sverige. (Stockholm is situated in Sweden.)
Present tense: behöver
As in: Jag behöver ingen. (I don’t need anyone.)
Present tense: ger
As in: Ger du mig en kyss innan du går? (Will you give me a kiss before you go?)
Want our handy guide to getting these Swedish verbs down pat? View it and download it here!