Swedish Language Blog

Fun with Swedish Grammar– Perfect Perfekt Posted by on Dec 16, 2010 in Grammar, Swedish Language

Now that we know the imperative form (and we are all experts now of course), we can move on to the perfect tense.  The perfect tense describes an action that has been completed, but the consequences are still ongoing.  For example: Marcus har sprungit till jobbet.

This suggests that I have run to work, the run is complete, but I am still at work.  Unfortunately.

It’s a useful tense and gives you yet another tense to play with.

To create the perfect tense though, we first have to put a verb in the supine form (supinum in Swedish).

We need to start with our imperative form to get where we need to be.

Most verbs in the imperative end in –a.  And that means we can just add a –t to the end.

For example:
Sluta ————–> Slutat
Krama ————–> Kramat
Stanna ————–> Stannat

But there are exceptions of course. Again, these are those verbs that you just kind of need to know:

Få ————–> Fått
Se ————–> Sett
Var ————–> Varit
Gör ————–> Gjort

And finally, we have one other set of verbs that take a different ending in the supine form.  Those verbs are known as starka verb.  Strong verbs.  We’ve got them in English as well, in fact, several of the strong verbs in English are also considered strong verbs in Swedish.  Here are a few examples to get you started:

Ta ————–> Tagit
Spring ————–> Sprungit
Dö ————–> Dött
Sov ————–> Sovit
Sit ————–> Suttit
Skriv ————–> Skrivit

Now that we have the supine form down, we are well on our way to understanding the perfect tense.  In fact, now comes the easy part.  Just add har.  Har + Supine = Perfect

A few example sentences to get you started:
Jag har skrivit.
Han har slutat.
Vi har redan fått mat.
De har redan gjort det.

Good luck!

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About the Author: Marcus Cederström

Marcus Cederström has been writing for the Transparent Swedish Blog since 2009. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Oregon, a Master's Degree in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and a PhD in Scandinavian Studies and Folklore from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He has taught Swedish for several years and still spells things wrong. So, if you see something, say something.