There are many things in the Swedish language that can give you a grey hair or two, and when to put a -t on a word (eg “snabbt”) and when not to (eg “snabb”) sure is one of them. In this post I will try my best to sort this out for you all.
First of all there is something called an adjective. An adjective is, as you might already know, a grammar term for a word that describes or gives character to a noun. Like this:
Anna har en snäll hund.
(Anna has a friendly dog.)
In this example “snäll” is the adjective, it gives extra information about the noun (hund).
In Swedish there has to be so called “kongruens” or “likformighet” (congruity) between the noun and the adjective. That means that if the noun has the en-gender, the adjective stays in its base form, but if the noun has the ett-gender we have to ad a -t to the adjective. Here is a couple of examples:
en stor bil
(a big car)
ett stort hus
(a big house)
en dyr bil
(an expensive car)
ett dyrt hus
(an expensive house)
Also, if the noun is in plural form the adjective has to change into plural form as well:
There are many words in a language that can fit in the category adverbials. Sometimes it almost feels like that “adverbial” is what you call something when you can’t sort it in under anything else I will go through the different type of adverbials one by one.
Frågande adverb (question adverbials)
The question adverbials are simply these words:
Vart (where to)
Varifrån (where from)
Tidsadverb (time adverbials)
Time adverbial is a grammar term for what I usually call “time expressions”. The can in one or several words express the past, the present or the future. For example:
i går (yesterday)
häromdagen (the other day)
i dag (today)
i morgon (tomorrow)
Rumsadverb (adverbial of place)
In class I usually simplify things and call these adverbials “place” or plats in Swedish. Common adverbials of place are:
härifrån (from here)
därifrån (from there)
hemma (at home)
hemfrån (from home)
Satsadverb (sentence adverbials)
The sentence adverbials are, as I have mentioned in a previous post, small words that change the whole meaning of a sentence. Here are a few examples of sentence adverbials:
Sättsadverb (adverbials of manner)
Last but not least there are sättsadverb- adverbials of manner. These can easily be and often are mistaken for being adjectives. Although, when an adjective describes a noun a sättsadverb describes a verb – an action. It tells you how something is done. Take a look at this:
Han kör försiktigt.
(He drives carefully.)
Hon lär sig snabbt.
(She learns quickly.)
Han springer långsamt.
(He is running slowly.)
As you might have noticed already all the adverbials of manner has a -t. This t-ending is often confused for being a reference to a ett-word, but it is comparable to the English ly-ending as in quickly, slowly and carefully. Let us compare a couple of sentences to make this even more clear:
X2000 är ett snabbt tåg.
(X2000 is a fast train.)
X2000 åker snabbt.
(X2000 runs fast/quickly.)
Anders är försiktig.
(Anders is careful.)
Anders cyklar försiktigt.
(Anders rides his bike carefully.)
It might also be worth to know that since the sättsadverb says something about the verb, the action, it doesn’t change no matter what gender and number the noun has:
Anders kör sin bil försiktigt.
(Anders drives his car carefully.)
Anders kör sina bilar försiktigt.
(Anders drives his cars carfully.)
There are also a few sättsadverb that does not have a -t. A few of these are:
noga (precisely, carefully, closely)
All right, I hope I have straightened some things out for you when it comes to -t or no -t on words.
‘Til next time!