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The Swedish Teacher

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“Känner sig” eller “mår”

Hej på er!

Thank you all for all the interesting questions you’ve sent me. Keep on asking! Today I’ll try to answer Deaw’s question about the difference between “mår” and “känner sig”. Deaw is wondering why you say “jag mår inte bra” but “jag känner mig sjuk” when both “mår” and “känner sig” mean “feel” in English.

Well, the easiest way to deal with “mår” is to look at it as set phrase and only use it together with the two adjectives “bra” and “dåligt”. This is how we can use “mår”:

Jag mår (inte) bra.

(I’m (not) feeling well.)

Jag mår dåligt.
You can also use “mår” with synonyms to “bra” and “dåligt”:

Jag mår finfint!

Jag mår prima!

Jag mår kanon!

Jag mår fantastiskt!

Jag mår utmärkt!


Jag mår uselt!

Jag mår förskräckligt!

Jag mår förjävligt!

One thing that is important to mention here is that the expression “Jag mår illa” means “I’m sick” as in motion sick.

Another way to distinguish “mår” from “känner sig” is that  “mår” only gives information about physical condition, it doesn’t say anything about your emotions. We can for example NOT use “mår” like this:

Jag mår arg.

(arg = angry)

Jag mår stark.

(stark = strong)

The conclusion here is that “känner sig” is a much wider expression than “mår” and we can use it in all kinds of situations. Let me give you some more examples:

Jag känner mig glad.

(glad = happy, in a good mood)

Jag känner mig trött.

(trött = tired)

Jag känner mig upprymd.

(upprymd = excited)

Jag känner mig nere.

(nere = low)

Jag känner mig avslappnad.

(avslappnad = relaxed)

Jag känner mig lurad.

(lurad = fooled)

Jag känner mig uppskattad.

(uppskattad = appreciated)

‘Til next time!

Sara the Swedish Teacher

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9 responses to ““Känner sig” eller “mår””

  1. Deaw says:

    Hej Sara, tack för hjälpen. Din förklaring är jättebra! :D

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  2. Jirum says:

    I really find this interesting. thanks for sharing such a wonderful information with us. More power to you!

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  3. Jenn says:

    I would say that “mår” can be used to inquire about a person’s mental state/psychological health/mood – not just physical condition – as well, though, wouldn’t you? Although when answering with specifics (beyond bra/dåligt) one uses “känner mig” or “är.”

    T ex “Hur mår du egentligen?”
    “Jag mår faktiskt inte så bra. Jag känner mig stressad och lite deprimerad.”

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  4. Gary says:

    This might not be a useful explanation but here is how I think as an English speaker: I like to think of “må” as something internal, and “känn” as something external. So “jag mår sjuk” is something you feel directly, the feeling comes from inside, your overall wellbeing; while “jag känner mig sjuk” means you’ve had a look at yourself, like an outside observer, and come to the conclusion that not everything is as it should be.

    Which may be why people usually ask “hur mår du?” instead of “hur känner du dig?” It’s a more personal inquiry into your wellbeing. Although people can ask, “hur känns det?” and then you’d take a look at yourself and reply, “det känns så där,” or more directly to the point: “jag mår illa.”

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  5. Alexandra says:

    Mår is more clinical in the sense that it refers to health. Hur mår du is “how is your health (condition)? “Hur känner du dig” can be answered many ways, whatever mood your in, how your health is. Känner means feel – literally.

    When the author says “jag mår illa means motion sick, she means nauseated or queasy LIKE when you are motion sick.

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  6. Rosa says:

    Hej Sara, hur är läget? hehe :D thanks for clear my doubts :) I’m gonna start to follow your page because it is so damn interesting and helpfull ^^ Greetings from Gävle

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