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Swedish Prepositions Posted by on Jul 19, 2012 in Grammar, Swedish Language

Prepositions are hard. In just about any language. Just think about some of the prepositions we use in English. They don’t always make sense. Trying to learn a different language, like Swedish, prepositions can be a challenge. There are plenty of prepositions to choose from. Below you’ll find a quick list, but this post will be focusing on the prepositions and i.

Swedish

English

bakom behind
bredvid next to
framför in front of
hos at someone’s
i in
mellan between
ovanpå on top
över/ovanför over/above
on
under under (or during)
vid at

Ok, so now we have a solid list of prepositions. But what do we do with them? We can’t always use the English equivalent when we’re speaking Swedish. Especially when it comes to and i or on and in. Luckily, while there might not be a hard and fast rule, there are a few things we can follow.

When it comes to på, there are a few categories that we want to use it with. First, just a few places that you use på with:

Swedish

English

(en) bank bank
(en) bio movie theater
(en) restaurang restaurant
(en) semester vacation
(ett) dagis daycare
(ett) sjukhus hospital
(ett) universitet university/college

When describing a specific street address, you also need to use the word på. Along with these places, if you find yourself on an island, you’ll need to use .

So if you’re on vacation at 123 Main Street on the island of Gotland you would say, in Swedish: Jag är semester och bor 123 Main Street Gotland.

No problem right? Now let’s take a look at i. Same thing here, there are a few places that you just need to use i with. They are as follows:

Swedish

English

(en) skola school
(en) affär store
(en) kyrka church
(ett) centrum center

You’ll notice that we use with university, but i with school. Just a heads up. Finally, in Swedish, we also use the word Ii when describing a country, city, or place. For example, if you live in Stockholm, in Sweden you would say: Jag bor i Stockholm i Sverige. Or for a place, maybe you want to describe that you saw a fish in the Pacific Ocean (I know, not the most exciting conversation starter, but work with me here) you would say in Swedish: Jag såg en fisk i Stilla havet.

Good luck with your prepositions!

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About the Author: Marcus Cederström

Marcus Cederström has been writing for the Transparent Swedish Blog since 2009. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Oregon, a Master's Degree in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and a PhD in Scandinavian Studies and Folklore from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He has taught Swedish for several years and still spells things wrong. So, if you see something, say something.


Comments:

  1. Jennifer:

    Tack så mycket! Proper use of prepositions is one of the biggest areas I need help in.

  2. Steve:

    Tusen tack. Jag tycker om dem.

  3. Muntazir:

    Tack så mycket. Kan vi ha en post om partikle verb i svenska i framtiden.

  4. Marcus Cederström:

    Prepositions are tricky, but hopefully this helps a bit.