If – om, Adverbial Clauses Posted by Transparent Language on Feb 10, 2009 in Grammar
A couple of posts back Mo asked how to say stuff like “if you are….I am ….”
And since she asked, I thought it would be a good idea to talk today about adverbial clauses (adverbialsbisatser).
What is an adverbial clause? It’s when an entire subordinate clause sentence can act as an adverbial. Uh-huh, I hear you say. We’re moving into a heavy-duty grammar territory.
Not really. You use subordinate clauses every day in your normal conversations, you’ve just probably never realized that they have a fancy grammatical name.
Those subordinate clauses that are also adverbial clauses can be recognized by those typical opening words (bisatsord), such as:
- när – when
- innan – before
- medan – while
- därför att – because
- om – if
- trots att – although
- eftersom – since, as
Mo had a question regarding a sentence construction with “if.”
So, let’s pick “if” from our list and see what happens.
- Om – if
Jag blir arg om han kommer hit. – I get angry if he comes here.
See? Not so difficult.
It works just like in English.
Now, let’s take this example apart.
- Jag – subject
- Blir – verb
- Arg – adjective
- Om han kommer hit – adverbial
In English, you can flip the order without any problems, you can say either:
I get mad if he comes here.
If he comes here I get mad.
Either way is fine.
Well, it’s a tiny bit more complicated in Swedish.
Remember what we said about the word order in sentences? That you can front an adverbial? And that the verb always comes second in a sentence?
So now, instead of a one-word adverbial, we have a whole sentence that’s an adverbial:
- Om han kommer hit (if he comes here)
Then must come the verb: blir.
Then the subject: jag
And finally, the adjective: arg.
So what do we get if we put it all together? This:
- Om han kommer hit, blir jag arg.
So, remember: those pesky little bisatsord like om must be followed by a subject of the clause. (example: om HAN kommer hit – han is the subject of this adverbial clause.)
If those pesky little bisatsord open a sentence, then you know that sentence is a long, huge adverbial clause that must be followed by a verb. (example: Om han kommer hit, BLIR jag arg. – blir is the verb in the main sentence.)
If those pesky little words sit inside, or rather, between sentences, it’s easy peasy, nothing changes. (example: Jag blir arg, OM han kommer hit.)
Well, nothing changes as long as you don’t have a not/inte in that sentence. But we’ll talk about that next time.