Swedish Language Blog

Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How. In Swedish. Posted by on Aug 19, 2016 in Grammar

Ja by Joakim Jardenberg. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr

Ja by Joakim Jardenberg. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr

Learning a new language involves a lot of statements. My name is Marcus. I speak English and Swedish. I like gummy bears. You know, the usual. But to learn how to take that language and turn it into a conversation, you’ll need to know your question words: who, what, when, where, why, and how. In this post, we’ll give you the translation for each question word, as well as a few example questions to get you started.

First, the easy stuff:

  • Who = vem
  • What = vad
  • When = när
  • Where = var/vart
  • Why = varför
  • How = hur

Noticed that there are two words for “where,” didn’t you. It’s pretty simple really. Vart is used when you’re talking about where someone is going, where as var is used when you’re talking about where someone is. If there’s movement involved, vart is what you’re looking for. That being said, this distinction isn’t being made as much in spoken Swedish, but is still used in written Swedish.

Got it? Now let’s actually use those words in a few examples!


  • Vem vill du fika med? = Who do you want to fika with?
  • Vem talar du med? = Who are you talking to?
  • Vem ska laga middag? = Who is going to make dinner?


  • Vad heter du? = What is your name?
  • Vad ska vi göra imorgon? = What should we do tomorrow?
  • Vad vill du äta till frukost? = What do you want for breakfast?


  • När flyttade du till Sverige? = When did you move to Sweden?
  • När börjar filmen? = When does the movie start?
  • När ska vi äta? = When are we going to eat?


  • Var är du? = Where are you?
  • Var bor du? = Where do you live?
  • Var ligger Brasilien? = Where is Brazil?


  • Vart ska du? = Where are you going?
  • Vart tog hon vägen? = Where did she go?
  • Vart går bussen? = Where does the bus go?


  • Varför är himlen blå? = Why is the sky blue?
  • Varför flyttade du till Sverige? = Why did you move to Sweden?
  • Varför lär du dig svenska? = Why are you learning Swedish?


  • Hur mår du? = How are you?
  • Hur mycket kostar en biljett till Helsingborg? = How much does a ticket to Helsingborg cost?
  • Hur hittar man vänner i Sverige? = How do you find friends in Sweden?

And for help with pronunciation, check out Steven’s series on asking questions:

Asking questions, Part 1
Asking questions, Part 2
Asking questions, Part 3

Good luck!

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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.


  1. freta:

    wow amzaing

  2. Shannyn Lee:

    Thank you very much, this is really helpful!!

  3. Marcus Cederström:

    Glad this has been helpful!