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Döda eller dö? Transitiva och intransitiva verb

Hej alla!

Reading the title you might think have been reading too many crime novels lately. Well, actually I did bring the Stieg Larsson books back from Sweden, but the fact is that many of my students do use “döda” when they mean “dö” (Luckily they haven’t been talking about me 😉 ) Anyway, “döda” and “dö” are examples of so called transitive and intransitive verbs.

A transitive verb, or causative verb, is a verb that is causing something to an object.  Take a look:

Katten dödade råttan.

(The cat killed the rat.)

The cat caused the rat to die.

An intransitive verb does not express that someone was the cause for something to happen:

Råttan dog.

(The rat died.)

So far so good, but in the Swedish language there are a bunch of intransitive/transitive pairs just like dö/döda. I will show you some of the most common ones and give you some examples of how to use them.

1. bränner – brände – bränt

(burn something)

Åh nej, jag brände steken! Vad ska svärmor säga?!

(Oh no, I burned the steak! What will my mother in law think of me now?!)

Aj aj, jag brände mig i solen. Jag måste köpa solkräm.

(Ouch, my skin is so sore from the sun. I have to buy some sunscreen.)

2. brinner – brann – brunnit


Det brinner hos grannen! Ring brandkåren!

(The neighbor’s house is on fire! Call the fire department!)

3. lägger – lade – lagt

(put down)

Har du lagt barnen?

(Have you put the children to bed?)

Var f** lade jag nycklarna! Jag kan inte hitta dem.

(Where the **** did I put my keys! I can’t find them.)

4. ligger – låg – legat

(lie, be lying down)

På lördagar brukar jag ligga kvar i sängen till kl 9.

(On Saturdays I usually stay in bed til 9 o’clock.)

Jag hittade nycklarna. De låg på skrivbordet.

(I found my keys. They were (were lying) on my desk.)

5. släcker – släckte – släckt

(put out light or fire, turn off light)

Glöm inte att släcka ljusen. Det kan börja brinna.

(Don’t forget to put out the candles. They could start a fire.)

Släck ljuset när du går, är du snäll.

(Turn off the light when you leave, please.)

6. slocknar – slocknade – slocknat

(go out)

Elden slocknade innan brandkåren hade kommit.

(The fire went out before the fire department had arrived.)

7. ställer – ställde – ställ

(put, place … upright, keep)

Ställ mjölken i kylskåpet.

(Put the milk in the fridge.)

Ställ dig där borta så ska jag ta ett kort.

(Stand (i.e. place yourself) over there so I can take a picture.)

8. står – stod – stått

(stand, stand up, be, be placed upright)

Var står bilen?

(Where is the car?)

9. sätter – satte – satt

(put, place, set, seat, stick)

Var snäll och sätt dig!

(Please, take a seat. Please, sit down.)

Sätt upp planschen på väggen.

(Put the poster on the wall.)

10. sitter – satt – suttit


I går satt Anna framför TV:n hela kvällen.

(Yesterday Anna was in front of the TV all night.)

11. väcker – väckte – väckt

(wake someone up)

Anders ringde och väckte Åsa mitt i natten. Han var ute och festade med sina kompisar.

(Anders called Åsa and woke her up in the middle of the night. He was out partying with his friends.)

12.  vaknar – vaknade – vaknat

(wake up)

Åsa vaknade när Anders ringde.

(Åsa woke up when Anders called.)

Sara the Swedish Teacher

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5 responses to “Döda eller dö? Transitiva och intransitiva verb”

  1. Jackie says:

    Thanks for this blog! It is really helpful…

    Report abuse »

  2. Grace says:

    Hi Sara, thanks for the clarification. It’s very useful indeed… I’m still processing it in my head – LOL!

    Report abuse »

  3. PL says:

    English has some similar pairs:
    You fell a tree. The tree falls.
    You lay something down. It lies down.
    You set something up. It sits up.
    You raise something — a flag, an objection, your voice …. What you raised rises or arises.

    Report abuse »

  4. gareth says:

    Can you please write something explaining the differences between adjektiver och adverbs? Many thanks,

    Gareth Day

    Report abuse »

  5. Oscar says:

    At the office were just talking about the kind of new problem with swedes writing “och” when they should be writing “för att” since out loud they are both pronounced as “å”.

    An example:
    “Jag ska bara ner på stan och handla”
    When it should be:
    “Jag ska bara ner på stan för att handla”

    It should be troubling for non swedes when people are saying “å” and it meens quite literally anything. Or is it?

    Report abuse »

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