Swedish Language Blog

Spice it Up with Bisatser! Posted by on Jul 17, 2020 in Culture, Swedish Language, Vocabulary

Credits: Henrik Trygg/imagebank.sweden.se

Credits: Henrik Trygg/imagebank.sweden.se

Simple main clauses getting you down? Spice them up with a bisats! A bisats, or dependent clause, helps us add flavor to sentences by adding context, conditions, and reasoning to verbal and written Swedish. 

Again, a bisats is a subordinate clause, or dependent clause, that accompanies a main clause. It can’t stand alone as its own sentence, it depends on the main clause. A bisats is considered a complement to a main clause, adding more information.

till exempel

Main clause – Ahmed ska flytta till Italien.   Ahmed will move to Italy.
bisats – …om han får jobbet                                   …if he gets the job. 

Ahmed ska flytta till Italien om han får jobbet.
Ahmed will move to Italy if he gets the job

…doesn’t that make that main clause a little more informative? 

Another thing to note here, is that you can use a bisats as a fundament, the foundation and introduction to the sentence. If you choose to put your bisats first, you must practice flipped word order, placing the verb second and the subject third:

          1                         2       3
Om han får jobbet ska Ahmed flytta till Italien. 

I’ll underline all the bisatser below so they are easier to identify. To make a bisats, you need a bisatsinledare, an introductory word to start it off. Below we’ll review some common bisatsinledare with examples. 

om – if

            1                            2       3 
Om jag har ont i benet, kan jag inte springa med dig imorgon.
If my leg hurts, I can’t run with you tomorrow.

              1                                      2         3 
Om jag hade 20 tusen dollar skulle jag betala mina studielån.
If I had $20,000, I would pay my student loans. 

när – when

Jag åt sand när jag var ung.
I ate sand when I was young.

With flipped order this sentence would look like this:

1                   2   3
När jag var ung, åt jag sand.
When I was young, I ate sand.


innan – before

Innan 2015 hade jag inte lämnat USA.
Before 2015, I hadn’t left the U.S.

Innan Chelsea börjar dagen måste hon dricka kaffe. 
Before Chelsea starts the day, she must drink coffee.   (It’s true.)

medan – while

Medan Elina jobbar lyssnar hon på musik.
While Elina works, she listens to musik.

därför att – because

Därför att hon är under 20 år kan hon inte köpa alkohol på Systembolaget.
Because she is under 20 years old, she can’t buy alcohol at Systembolaget.   

trots att – although

Trots att han är min chef är jag bättre på jobbet.
Although he is my boss, I am better at the job.

eftersom – since, as

Eftersom Kate inte* gillar att flyga, måste vi åka tåg till Österrike.
Because Kate doesn’t like to fly, we must take the train to Austria.

*note here that when you negate a bisats in Swedish, the satsabverbial, in this case, “inte” comes before the verb. We’ll dig into this more with a future post!

Mastering bisatser with flipped word order is paramount in taking your Swedish to the next level. If you’re already there, think about using longer, more complicated bisatser, and diversifying the bisatsinledare that you typically use. I’d love to continue working on this in a future post. What other grammar topics are you folks hoping to see on the blog? Write me below!

Tack för your readership !

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About the Author: Chelsea B

Chelsea is a Swedish language instructor and translator living in Minnesota, U.S. She has a degree in Scandinavian Studies from Gustavus Adolphus College and has experience living and working in Sweden from north to south! In her free time, she enjoys cooking, hiking, listening to music, and practicing slöjd, the Swedish word for handcraft.


  1. Anupsingh Chandel:

    Ditt post är altid mycket informative. Tack för det.
    Jag har svårigheter med Bisatster och jämförelser meningar … som lite, mindre, mest..Jag vill gärna läsa mer om det. Tack igen. Du gör en stor hjälp. Ta hand om dig.

    • Chelsea B:

      @Anupsingh Chandel Tack, vad kul att du gillar bloggen! Komparativ / superlativ kan vara svårt. En super bra idé till ett inlägg i framtiden, tack för förslaget 🙂