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The Swedish Teacher

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“Tycker” or “tror”?

The difference between the words “tycker”, “tänker” and “tror” might be confusing when you are learning Swedish, since all three of them translates to “think”. I will try my best to sort things out for you in this matter.

We can start with”tycker”. It can be translated to “think” meaning consider, be of the opinion or feel. So when we use “tycker” we are dealing with a (personal) evaluation of something, not a fact. I think something and you might think something else, and we can’t say that one of us is right and the other one is wrong. I should give you a couple of examples.

1. Jag tycker att Maria borde gå hem. (I think that Maria should go home.)

2. Jag tyckte att filmen var bra. (I thought that ít was a good movie.)

In example number 1 i use “tycker” because it is my personal opinion that Maria should go home. Maria herself might not want to leave. In example number 2 I also have to use “tycker” since I am saying that the movie was good (bra), it is my personal opinion. Maybe you think that the movie was crap. The same thing goes for words like “dålig”, “ful”, “snygg” and “tråkig”. They go together with “tycker”.

“Tror” on the other hand translates to “think” in the sense “believe” or “assume”. It is also a way to express the meaning of English “likely” or “probably”. Therefore, if you are a student or a researcher and have got some interesting results, you should talk about what you “tror” and not what you “tycker”. A couple of examples with “tror”:

1. Jag tror att Maria ska gå hem nu. (I am assuming that Maria is going home now.)

2. Jag tror att filmen är regisserad av Lasse Hallström. (I assume/think that the movie is directed by Lasse Hallström.)

3. Forskarna tror att de har hittat ett bot mot sjukdomen. (The scientists think that they probably have found a cure for the disease./ The scientists have probably found a cure for the disease.)

Comparing example number 1 with “tycker” we can now see that when using “tror” I don’t express any personal feelings about Maria and her leaving. The same thing goes for example 2, I don’t express anything about the quality of the movie, only who I assume directed it.

Have fun speaking Swedish! And dont be shy asking me questions :)

Sara The Swedish Teacher

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10 responses to ““Tycker” or “tror”?”

  1. alec says:

    This is great, Sara, fantastic posts. What about ‘tänker’ though? You didn’t go into detail about that one.

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  2. karen says:

    Great site- I haven’t seen this before!!!
    yeah, this subject hits the spot this week. I was trying to get the swedish husband to clarify the other night at cocktail hour- but after the 3rd drink, any clarification went up in the air…….
    I did get that tycker was more of a personal opinion , but there is ” tänker”and ” tror” to deal with…
    are those two at least interchangeable? I seem to go on kicks- one week I say “tror” the next I use “tänker”……
    probably not right….
    clarify “tänker” please!
    I’m sending my SFI buddies your link!
    great site here!

    Report abuse »

    • Thanks Karen, I’m happy that you enjoy my blog. I just started it so any feedback is highly appreciated. Don’t be too hard on the Swedish husband, Swedish language can be hard to explain especially after a few drinks ;-)

      I will go into “tänker” next time.

      Sara the Swedish Teacher

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  3. Steven says:

    Den eller Det.
    Please can u explain.When u use den eller det?

    Cheers A simple Englishman

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  4. martin says:

    Thanks, great explanation. I found it quite useful as a slow learner :)
    Let me share another post similar to this topic:

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  5. cristian sabau says:

    After reading your explanation, it sems svenska is no a shch difficult language… One KAN lern it…
    Thank very much, Sara,
    Tack sa mycket!

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  6. Chris Cowell-Shah says:

    Super clear explanation of an issue that has been bugging me for awhile. Thanks, Sara!

    Report abuse »

  7. jacky says:

    thankx Sara , the swedish teacher

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