Subjects vs. Objects Posted by Marcus Cederström on Oct 20, 2010 in Grammar
Sometimes Swedish pronunciation can be a bit tricky. Är sounds like e, dagen sounds like dawn, sedan sounds like sen. Plenty of letter are ignored. Then of course, there is de. Which sounds like dom. And dem, which also sounds like dom. Both are pronouns, one however, de is a subject, while dem is an object. No problem right?
When speaking, there isn’t a problem. No one hears the difference between de and dem. When writing though, there can be a problem.
There are ways around all of this, the first being just knowing what part of the sentence is your subject, what part of your sentence is the object.
In English subject pronouns are our common, I, you, he, she, it, we, you guys, and they.
Subject pronouns are me, you, him, her, it, us, you guys, and them.
So, if you were to say I love you in Swedish. We get to use both our subject, I, and our object you, giving us: Jag älskar dig.
Then comes the tricky one: de vs. dem.
First, a sentence using dem as an object:
Jag vill prata med dem. (I want to talk with them.)
And now, a sentence using de as a subject:
De vill prata med mig. (They want to talk with me.)
It’s important to keep your subjects and objects in line, especially when writing de vs. dem. Of course when all else fails, if you find yourself using de when you should be using dem, just blame it on a typo. It wouldn’t be the first time a letter was left of of a word. (See what I did there?)