I Love You in Swedish Posted by on Oct 5, 2011 in Culture, Living in Sweden, Vocabulary

Ah those magic words, so lovely to hear and sometimes so hard to say. Well, especially if you don’t know HOW to say them. Therefore, we decided that a blog post about these three little words would be absolutely essential. So here goes:

I love you = Jag älskar dig
(“dig” is pronounced “dej”)


And for those of you who might not be that loved up, here are some alternatives:

Jag tycker om dig (I like you)
Jag gillar dig (I like you)
Jag är kär i dig (I am in love with you)

I think in general Swedes are a bit reluctant to say “Jag älskar dig”.  It is – and should be – big words and I actually think that lots of Swedes rather say “I love you” than “Jag älskar dig”. Perhaps it feels a bit less… I don’t know, pompous? Like you are saying it, but in disguise. Anyone agrees?

A fun thing about being an expat in England is getting used to being called “darling”, “honey”, “love” and “sweetheart” by the cashier at Tesco, the lady in the post office and the gym receptionist. This is extremely rare in Sweden and I would find it very strange if the cashier at ICA would call me “älskling” (darling, honey, love). In fact, I think it safe to say it would never happen. It’s a very affectionate word in Swedish and I would only call my husband älskling. Or my children if I had any.

Anyway, let’s spread the love and finish off with some lovely vocabulary.

Älskling (darling, honey, love)
Älskade (lovely)
Sötnos (Sweetheart – but literally means sweet nose)
Kärlek (love)
Att vara kär (to be in love)
Att älska (to love AND to make love – beware!)
Puss/Pussas/Pussar (Kiss/to kiss/kisses AND is kissing-  without the tongue)
Kyss/Kyssas/Kyssar (Kiss/to kiss/kisses  – with the tongue)
Kram/Kramas/Kramar  (hug/to hug/hugs AND is hugging)

Make sure to use it and spread it, okay?

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  1. kristina baker:

    I have lived in West Yorkshire for 20 years and still react when total strangers call me love.

  2. Rachel:

    We live in the Southern part of the United States and everyone gets called “dear”, “honey”, or “sugar”. Nicknames for people is very popular. Thanks for sharing it’s not popular at all in Sweden. Our Swedish friends don’t like being called Mr. or Mrs. by our children is that another thing not used? Such as Miss. Anna or Mr. Henrik.

  3. CD:

    thanks for clarifying the difference between kyss and puss 🙂

  4. Jerry Nelson:

    I remember buying a T-shirt in Uppsala when I lived there 1975-76 upon which was written “Puss Och Kramm” which I believe, if I remember correctly, was the name of a jeans/clothing company at the time. I wore the T-shirt out, it got plenty of comments!

  5. Esther:

    It’s so true. No stranger in Sweden would ever call you love, hun, or any of those things. And yes, saying “I love you!” in English is much easier than “Jag älskar dig!”. And if one would say it in Swedish, a quick “Älskar dig!” is easier than the complete “Jag älskar dig!” That’s just so intimate! Lol!

  6. janerowena:

    Well, my dear, 🙂 there are also areas of the UK where you are quite likely to meet elderly farm workers who will greet you with ‘Hello, my lover!’ In Lincolnshire, ‘My duck’ or just ‘ducks’ is quite common. They are all affectionate terms for someone they think looks like a friendly person. The UK has a lot of different acents and regional words, as with any country, and in the end, it’s not about the words themselves, it’s about the way in which they are used and the tone in which they are said, I suppose.

  7. philberty kavishe:

    hahahahah i do love that difference between kyss and puss.thanx