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Particle Verbs Posted by on Nov 28, 2013 in Grammar

Particle verbs (or phrasal verbs) aren’t always easy. In fact, tacking on that particle, usually a preposition or adverb, at the end of a verb can really change the meaning of a word. We have them in English too: pick on, look after, make out.

So how do you tell the difference? When speaking (and listening) one important thing to listen for is stress. What word is the stress put on? If the stress is on the verb, it is just a normal verb with a preposition. If the stress is on the particle, you’ve got yourself a particle verb.

Let’s take a look at an example:
Tycker du om din bil?
Here, we see “tycker om” as a particle verb which means, ”Do you like your car?” If you were to say this sentence aloud, the stress would be on “om.”

Vad tycker du om din bil?
Here, we just have the verb “tycker” and the preposition “om.” In this case, the sentence above means, “What do you think about your car?” The stress would be on the word “tycker.”

Looking up the verbs can sometimes help. Many dictionaries include the phrase “med betonad partikel,” which goes on to define the word if stress is put on the particle.

Other tips include listening for specific particles like  “om,” which usually means the verb is being repeated (skriva om – re-write, läsa om – re-read).

I’ve included 20 common particle verbs below:

Svenska Engelska
göra bort sig embarrass
hålla med agree with
hålla på to do/be busy with
hälsa på visit
hänga med follow along
hoppa över skip
klä ut sig dress up as
koppla av relax
köra på go ahead
lägga av quit it
läsa om re-read
säga ifrån speak up
säga till tell/order
se upp pay attention
skjuta upp put off
slå av turn off
slå på turn on
slappna av relax
stressa ner relax
tala om (för någon) tell/explain
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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.


Comments:

  1. seohui:

    Tack så mycket!

  2. Kevin N:

    Thank you SOOO much! “Tycker du om…” makes so much more sense now!

  3. Marcus Cederström:

    Glad to hear it!

  4. Joëlle:

    Thanks for the article! I have a question though, about hälsa på. I thought I read once that ‘hälsa på’ can mean both ‘greet’ (as in: greetings to your mom) and ‘visit’, and that the stress is on the different words in the cases. Was it that the stress was on ‘på’ in ‘visit’ and on ‘hälsa’ in ‘greet’? (Correct me if I’m wrong) Tack på förhand!

  5. Marcus Cederström:

    That’s correct, if you’re putting the stress on på in hälsa på, you’re visiting someone. If the stress is on hälsa, you’re greeting someone.