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Swedish Preposition Breakdown: OM Posted by on Jul 1, 2020 in Grammar, Swedish Language, The Swedish blog team, Vocabulary

“Om.” No, today we’re not going to discuss the sacred Sanskrit mantra chanted in prayer or yoga… but I’ll guarantee that mastering your prepositions will lead to more balance in your Swedish speaking.  Meaning “about”, “if”, “in” and also used as a particle when paired with verbs, this little tricky word is everywhere, so let’s get going!

Credits: Patrik Svedberg/imagebank.sweden.se

Credits: Patrik Svedberg/imagebank.sweden.se

First, om can be “if.” 

Du får äta glass om du äter upp dina grönsaker!
You may eat ice cream if you eat all of your vegetables. 

Vi skulle kunna promenera till stan och fika… om du vill.
We could walk into town and fika … if you want. 

Henrik undrade om ni skulle komma på festen.
Henrik wondered if you’re coming to the party. 


Second
, om can mean “about.” 

-Vad pratar du om?                        –What are you talking about?
Jag pratar om min nya kollega. -I’m talking about my new colleague. 

-Vad drömmer du om?                    –What do you dream about?
-Jag drömmer om maten vi åt till lunch igår!    I’m dreaming about the food we ate for lunch yesterday!

Astrid Lindgren skriver ofta om föräldralösa barn.
Astrid Lingren often writes about orphaned children.

Next, om is commonly used in time expressions when talking about the future. 

om 10 minuter              in 10 minutes 

om en vecka                   in a week 

om en månad                 in a month 

om ett år                          in a year

-När ska Timbuktu släppa ett nytt album?  -When will Timbuktu release a new album?
-Förhoppningsvis om några månader.         -Hopefully in a few months. 

-När tänker ni flytta tillbaka till USA?   -Where are you all thinking of moving back to the U.S.?
-Om ett år ungefär.                                     -In about a year. 

 

It’s also used for frequency, to describe how often you do something:

en gång om dagen              once a day

en gång om dygnet            once every 24 hours

en gång om året                 once every year

Familjen Sandén brukar bila till olika platser i Småland på sommaren. 
The Sandén Family usually road trips to various places in Småland in the summer.


*
OBS! Not every time expression uses om. I, på, and för often join the party. But that’s for another blog post 😉

And last but not least, om transforms many verbs by becoming a particle. Here are some common particle verbs with om

kör om                                      to pass (in a vehicle)

 Man får köra om på motorvägen.   One may pass on the highway. 

tycker om                                 to like 

-Tycker hon om sill?                      –Does she like pickled herring?
Ja! Hon tycker mycket om sill.  –Yes! She likes pickled herring a lot.

börjar om                               to restart, start over

Åh nej, jag brände kakorna. Jag måste tyvärr börja om.
Oh no, I burned the cookies. Unfortunately, I must start over.

See this video from the Svenska med Kalle YouTube channel for more om examples of partikelverb:


Had enough preposition fun yet?  See these preposition breakdowns from my blog entries earlier this spring:

Of, By, From? The Swedish Preposition “Av”

Expressing Yourself with Swedish Prepositions

Swedish Preposition Breakdown –  “i” and “på”

Can you think of other uses of om? Write them below!

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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.


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