Tjena vänner! In my previous post, I talked about one way to say “this” in Swedish: den här. This post will talk about an alternative way to express “this”: denna.
As I explained in part one, when den här is used before a noun, the noun has to be put in definite form:
den här stolen – this chair
In other words, to say *den här stol would be incorrect. However, you also have the option of using denna to mean “this”. Unlike den här, denna does not require the noun to be in definite form. In fact, it generally isn’t used with the noun in definite form (except in certain parts of Sweden). In Standard Swedish, to say “this chair” using denna, you would say:
denna stol – this chair
As you can see, I did not pot the noun in definite form. The form denna is used with nouns of common or “n-gender”. With nouns of neuter or “t-gender”, the form detta is used:
detta piano – this piano
Makes sense, right? Denna corresponds to den här and detta corresponds to det här. Just like det här, detta can also be used to refer to a state of affairs. For example:
Kalle tyckte inte om detta, så han gick därifrån. – Kalle didn’t like this, so he walked away.
Great! Moving on. For plural nouns, you say dessa, which corresponds to de här:
dessa stolar – these chairs
dessa pianon – these pianos
As you can see, dessa is used in plural regardless of the gender of the noun that follows it. Easy enough, right?
Just like the three forms of den här, denna–detta–dessa can stand independently:
Han vill ge honom denna. – He wants to give this to him.
Vi märkte inte detta. – We didn’t notice this.
Dessa var ganska starka. – These (ones) were rather strong.
Both versions of “this”, den här and denna (as well as their declined forms), are correct and accepted and can be used in all situations and contexts. However, den här is typically seen as more colloquial and less formal than denna. Even so, which one you choose to use is really a matter of personal taste.
So, now you can say “this” in two different ways in Swedish. Najs! Now that I’ve taken you through “this”, it’s time to take you through “that”. Stay tuned for part 3!