Stop or shut? Posted by Stephen Maconi on Jan 17, 2012 in Grammar, Swedish Language, Vocabulary
Similar to the nouns in last Tuesday’s post, there are a number of Swedish verbs that have the same infinite form but different meanings and different conjugation.
One of the best examples is the words sluta, meaning either “stop”, “end”, or “shut”, depending on its context and grammatical conjugation. It is also worth noting that sluta as “stop” or “end” is intransitive, meaning that you can not sluta something – inserting a direct object after it makes no sense. You can, however, sluta doing something or sluta med something. Here are some examples
Lektionen slutarom fem minuter. – The lesson ends in five minutes.
Sluta tjata på* mig! – Stop nagging me! (*På in this case is tied to the verb, but not emphasized. You can’t say, for example, tjata mig.)
Sluta med tjatandet! – Stop with the nagging!
[Note: If you want to “stop” something (i.e. from doing something), you can use the word stoppa. If you want to “stop” something from being in motion, use the word stanna.]
Here is the conjugation of sluta meaning “end” or “stop”:
|sluta – to stop/end|
|slutar – stop/end, stops/ends, am/is/are stopping/ending|
|slutade – stopped/ended, was/were stopping/ending|
|har slutat – have/has stopped/ended, have/has been stopping/ending|
|hade slutat – had stopped/ended, had been stopping/ending|
Sluta with the definition of “shut”, however, is a transitive verb, meaning that something can’t just sluta; it has to sluta something else. Here is an example:
Jag slöt ögonen och somnade. – I shut my eyes and fell asleep.
If you want to say “His eyes shut“, because sluta in this definition is transitive, you have to say either:
Hans ögon slöt sig. (if they shut themselves on their own, i.e. via reflex) or:
Hans ögon slöts. (if they were shut, most likely by him himself, saying it from a first-person, relatively literary perspective).
Sluta meaning “shut” is conjugated like so:
|sluta – to shut|
|sluter – shut/end, shuts/ends, am/is/are shutting|
|slöt – shut, was/were shutting|
|har slutit – have/has shut, have/has been shutting|
|hade slutit – had shut, had been shutting|
Another good example of this phenomenon is sticka, meaning either “knit” or “be off” or “leave”.
|sticka – to knit||sticka – to be off/leave|
|stickar – knit, knits, am/is/are knitting||sticker – am/is/are off, leave/leaves, am/is/are leaving|
|stickade – knit(ted), was/were knitting||stack – was/were off, left|
|har stickat – have/has knit(ted), have/has been knitting||har stuckit – have/has left/gone|
|har stickat – had knit(ted), had been knitting||hade stuckit – had left/gone|
These are only two examples of such words. There are several more that will pop up as you learn more Swedish!