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Swedish Pronouns Posted by on Jul 19, 2010 in Grammar

 Singular and Plural  1 st, 2 nd, 3 rd person  Grundform or Personal Pronouns  Object forms  Possessive  Reflexive  Reflexive possessive
 singular:  1 person  jag  mig  min  (verb) + mig  min
   2 person  du  dig  din  (verb) + dig  din
   3 person  han, hon  honom, henne  hans, hennes  (verb) + sig  sin
   3 person neutrum  den, det  den, det  dess  (verb) + sig  sin
 plural  1 person  vi  oss  vår  (verb) + sig  vår
   2 person  ni  er  er  (verb) + er  er
   3 person  de/dom  dem  deras  (verb) + sig  sin

Ok guys. More grammar on the Swedish blog, even though it is hot summer weather and you don´t want to open your books. I am not just giving you a table but of course some explanations to it. There are some things you should be aware of. I think we can skip the personal pronouns because that is easy but let me give you some examples.

a., Personal PronounsHon är vacker och rolig. She´s beautiful and funny. ( In cases like these you don´t have to put out the personal pronoun two times since you are talking about the same person Marie).   

b., Object forms; Jag ser honom. I see him. Vi träffade dem igår. We met them yesterday.  or De väntar på oss. They are waiting for us. Har du sett den senaste filmen med Sandra Bullock? Have you seen the latest movie with Sandra Bullock? Nej, jag har inte sett den. (Where den referes to the word movie since it is called en film in Swedish so you use the pronoun den. If I hade asked you; Have you seen my umbrella? Then the answer would have been; Nej, jag har inte sett det. Because it is called ett paraply in Swedish.

*Note that in SG/3 in this case people often use han/hon instead of honom and henne in spoken language, especially in Western Sweden. However this use is considered incorrect. But you can hear it a lot so it is good to know. Some lingvists say that in Old Swedish the forms were hon/han and not honom and henne so it might be the original form. Another theory is that people know that it should be henne/honom but we want to save some time when explaining things for example in situations when we both know the object of our conversation: Jag såg (han Christian) igår. And then it easily becomes Jag såg han igår. But you should stick to Jag såg honom igår. That is the correct one or you can say Jag såg Christian igår.

c., Possessive Pronouns; There is never bestämd form i.e definite form of nouns after these pronouns. For example: Mitt hus (since it is called ett hus in Swedish), Min kamera (since it is called en kamera in Swedish), or Våra hus or våra kameror in plural. Find the explanation and tables about Swedish plurals here.  It is also good to know that in PL1 and 2 forms can be pronounced as våran and eran but vår and er are also common of course. Only in spoken language but in written we always stick to the rules! Also note that I haven´t added the t-forms like vårt hus, ert hus and the plurals like våra hus and era hus in the table but they are in use. The forms are always depended on the article of the noun. If it is ett hus then you´ll get vårt, ert, if it is for example en bil, en man, en dotter you would get vår and er.

d., Reflexive Pronouns; You have some reflexive forms and might have some reflexive verbs in your language as well (like in German for example), but they seldom match with Swedish or they have other functions in other languages, so I recommend you to learn the reflexive verbs/phrases by heart like for instance: kamma sig (we say: to comb oneself), tvättar sig (to wash oneself) lägger sig (to lie down). Jag är jättetrött och  ska lägga mig en stund. I am very tired I´ll lie down a bit. Note that in English you use a so called phrasal verb (verb + preposition) to express this action. You wouldn´t say in English “I lie myself but it is exactly what you say in Swedish”.

Jag lägger mig, Du lägger dig, Han/Hon/Den/Det lägger sig, Vi lägger oss, Ni lägger er, De lägger sig.

e., Reflexive possessive; In this case to make a huge and hard topic blog short I would say that you should think about (one´s own) in English whenever using or hearing these constructions in Swedish. For example. Hon kom med sitt barn på mötet. She came with her (own) child to the meeting while Hon kom med hennes barn på mötet. She came with her (another woman´s child) child to the meeting. Don´t mix the two! Think always about that it is yours/someone else´s own something you talk about. You use sitt in case of t-forms like in the example and sin in case of n-forms like. Han körde sin blåa bil. He drove his (own) blue car. Also note that I havn´t added sina in plural in this table. It functions as a plural form for both sitt and sin. For example: Hon kom med sina döttrar på mötet. She came with her (own) daughters to the meeting or Hon sålde sina två hus i Málaga. She sold her two (own) houses in Málaga.

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Comments:

  1. Carol Goller:

    I hope you don’t mind my comment to your very helpful article. In the example, “She´s beautiful and funny,” I think you meant that she is beautiful and fun. This sounds like bad grammar but that’s how we say that she is beautiful and fun to be with. When we say that she is funny we mean that she makes us laugh–tells jokes or does a clown act.

  2. src:

    This subject tackled by Simple Swedish, episode 2.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3Oq8VbHAdI

  3. Letícia:

    Hey, Tibor, great post, I really appreciate it!
    I was wondering if you could please make a post on tappa/förlora/mista, like that one you made on tänka/tycka/tro. I always get those verbs mixed up.

  4. Minty:

    Well glad to see I have all the pronouns sorted out…Would definitely like a tappa/förlora post!

  5. Tibor:

    Hi guys!

    Minty, Leticia. I will try. Good idea thank you!

    Carol! No problem. It is actually good that you have made that observation. I am learning as well.But I have to point it out that rolig is funny or amusing in Swedish that is why I used this word. Otherwse I understand your point. Take a look at the use o rolig here:
    http://lexin2.nada.kth.se/cgi-bin/swe-eng

  6. Carol Goller:

    Thanks for your referral to the word definitions for fun, funny, rolig, etc. That is really a thorough site. Now I know why some of the best English-speakers sound so strange to us. Maybe it’s just California?

  7. Tibor:

    Hi Carol!

    It could be but I am of course not an expert on English language. I guess it can be different in different regions when it come to the use of certain words. I guess it is a kind of (grey zone) with funny and fun, and I am sure that people have different opinions on it as well. Funny is an adjective and fun has also become one in some expressions even though it is not always exchangeable like: Let´s have some fun. Does it make any sense?

  8. Kenia:

    Hej Tibor! This was a very helpful article. Great how you explained the use of “sin/sitt” and “hennes/honom”, it always confuses me. Tack!

  9. Daniël:

    Thank you Tibor for this very enlightening article. A lot of things makes sense now. 🙂

    How do you pronounce the double s in dess (3rd person, singular, posessive form)? Does it sound like a single s or is it more like “desses” (similar to hennes)?

  10. Tibor:

    Thanks!

    It is definitely a long s but I wouldn´t say it is like in hennes since there you have a single short s.
    vas-vassa
    mes-mässa or why not messa i.e. (sms:a) which is a slang word for sending text messages (note that long consonants make the vowel before them to a short one) But! There are always exceptions. Never forget it.

  11. Daniël:

    Thank you, Tibor, for your explanation!

  12. Svensk hen:

    This should be updated with the gender-neutral hen/henom/hens. It’s relatively new but becoming commonplace, I’ve seen it show up everywhere the past year. It’s a very useful pronoun. Otherwise, great reference!