Monthly Archives: September 2014

What do you think think means?

In Swedish, the word “think” has three significantly different meanings (at least three, there might be more meanings that I can’t think of right now). If you mean that your mind is occupied with the act of thinking about something, as in “ponder”, you say “jag tänker”, whereas if you use the word think to express your opinion about something you say “jag tycker”. The third meaning is “I believe”, which is “jag tror” in Swedish.

To make things complicated, even if “att tänka”, “att tycka”, and “att tro” may all be translated with “to think” in certain contexts, they also quite often mean something else than “to think”. Below are some sample sentences using the words “tänka”, “tycka” and “tro” in various ways.

Vad tycker du?
What do you think (as in “What’s your opinion?”)

Tror du på spöken?
Do you believe in ghosts?

Vad tänker du på?
What are you thinking about?

Jag tror dig.
I believe you.
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Whetted appetite

Mentioning my newly started blog to some of my colleagues, and the discussion that followed, whetted my appetite for posting more.

Today I want to give some examples on how to express quantities in Swedish. I want to point out that the purpose of this blog is to provide examples of correct Swedish sentences and expressions, with – and sometimes without – translations and/or examples on contexts when the sentences/expressions would be appropriate.

Vissa tycker att det är okej, andra inte – Some people think it’s OK, others don’t

Jag kände igen några av låtarna på konserten, men de flesta var nya för mig – I recognized some of the songs at the concert, but most of them were new to me
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You could use a break

If you’re at a longer meeting in Sweden, you might hear one of these sentences as a suggestion for a short break:

Jag föreslår att vi tar en kort paus.
Jag föreslår att vi tar en liten bensträckare.
Jag föreslår en bensträckare.
Låt oss ta en bensträckare och så ses vi igen här om tio minuter.
Vi tar en [liten/kort] bensträckare på fem minuter.

The word “bensträckare” literally means “the act of stretching your legs”, or “the straightening out of your legs”, and is an informal word used synonymously with “a short break”. Note that although bensträckare implicitly already is short, “liten” (little) or “kort” (short) might still be used in front of it. In either way, it’s in my experience usually not used for breaks longer than ten fifteen minutes.
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Sometimes quantity is quality

This blog has one main purpose: to provide examples of correct Swedish sentences and phrases that sound natural to me, a native Swede, to help people out there who are learning Swedish to improve their language skills.

I ask you to bear with me when it comes to my English. I know it’s not perfect. I’m a bit of a perfectionist (or, you can actually skip the “a bit” part), so this blog will also be therapeutic for me. Instead of not posting, because I’m worried my English isn’t perfect, I plan to post many posts. Because sometimes quantity is quality.
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