Swedish Language Blog

Swedish Expressions of Time – Round två! Posted by on Feb 19, 2021 in Swedish Language, Vocabulary

Credits: Lina Roos/imagebank.sweden.se, Österlen, Skåne.

Are you ready for Swedish Expressions of Time – Round två?! In last week’s post, I gave you three tips to build a solid foundation with Swedish tidsuttryck. To build on this for today, we’ll cover additional present tense expressions, and examine the way Swedish prepositions i and accompany expressions of time throughout the tenses.

“This Week” and “That Year”

The way we express “this” and “that” varies in Swedish.  But in the case of time expressions, start with the noun you want to use. It is day, week, or year? Then we must get its article right. Is it an en, or an ett noun? Or is it plural?

en dag → dagar                   a day days
en månad → månader       
 a month months
ett år → år                           
a year → years 
en vecka → veckor             
a week → weeks
en morgon → morgnar       a morning mornings
en vinter → vintrar              a winter → winters

Once we know its article, we can add the first part of the phrase, either den, det, or de.
Den corresponds to singular en nouns, det corresponds to singular ett nouns, and de corresponds to plural nouns (regardless of the en or ett in their singular form). Add här for “this” and där for “that.” De + här or där becomes “these” or “those.” Top it off with the definite (or bestämd) form of the noun. For example:

den här veckan → this week
den här månaden → this month
det här året → this year

de där dagarna → those days
de här veckorna→ these weeks

Prepositions i and – Present and Past

Folkuniversitetet’s Form i fokus Del A, sorts i and nicely with the graphic below. The authors provide four categories at top of the chart; förra, denna, nästa, and varje. Each of these is used to help us distinguish the time frame. Let’s review those first, as they are tidsuttryck on their own:

förra = last, past tense
Use this with the definite form of the noun
förra sommaren → last summer

denna/detta = this or that present tense
Use denna or detta depending upon the article of the noun. Then combine it with the indefinite form of the noun
denna sommar → this summer
detta år → this year

nästa = next, future or present
Use nästa with the indefinite form of the noun
nästa sommar → next summer

varje = every or each, present tense
Use this to describe something that happens regularly or seasonally. Varje is paired with an indefinite noun.
varje sommar → every summer

Now use these 4 categories to look at the i versus phrases throughout the tenses. Note that there are several variations in the nouns, too!

Form i fokus, Del A. Fasth & Kannermark, 1996. p. 235

Swedish Expression of Time Practice Exercise

Put your knowledge to the test and translate these sentences from English into Swedish using the tidsuttryck we covered today and last week:

  1. Next summer we’re going to Europe. 
  2. This winter the family is going skiing.
  3. Last August we went to Sweden.   
  4. We travel abroad each spring. 
  5. The orchestra played in Rome last year. 
  6. In the fall of 2018 he’s moving
  7. They have made ginger cookies every Christmas.
  8. Sigge gets a walk in the mornings.
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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.