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The Swedish Teacher

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För, för att, därför att and eftersom

Hej alla!

I just received a question about conjunctions on my Facebook page. I thought the answer would be of interest for many of you Swedish students out there. The question is:

Here’s a doozy: so many ways to say “because”. Can you give examples of the difference in kinds of sentences that determine whether you use “för att” eller “eftersom” antingen bara “för” eller “ty”? också finns det “emedan”, “då”. . .

I’m going to do my best to straighten out these words for you :)

Därför att

”Därför att” is simply a subordinating conjunction that answers the question “why?”  Let us take a look at an example of how “därför att” might be used:

Anders stannade hemma från jobbet därför att han inte mådde bra.

(Anders stayed home because he didn’t feel well.)

Eftersom

“Eftersom” is also a conjunction that we can use when answering the question “why?” “Eftersom” has the same meaning and use as “därför att” and he only difference is that “eftersom” can be placed in the beginning of the sentence, when we choose to put the subordinate clause first.  “Eftersom” is sometimes translated to “since”.  Here is one example of how we can use  ”eftersom”:

Anders stannade hemma från jobbet eftersom han inte mådde bra.

(Anders stayed home since he didn’t feel well.)

We might also begin with “eftersom” and have the following word order:

Eftersom Anders inte mådde bra stannade han hemma från jobbet.

(Since Anders didn’t feel well, he stayed home.)

”Därför att”, on the other hand, cannot be put in the beginning of a sentence. If you want to begin your sentence with “because”, you have to choose “eftersom” instead of “därför att”.

Då and emedan

“Då” and “emedan” have the same meaning as “därför att” and “eftersom” but are used in more formal language.

För

För is a conjunction that links two independent clauses (“huvudsatser” in Swedish). “För” is synonymous with “därför att” and “eftersom” but can only connect independent clauses. Here’s an example:

Peter stannade hemma, för han var sjuk.

It doesn’t look much different when we don’t have a sentence adverb (inte, aldrig, alltid, kanske etc). Let me through in a sentence adverb and you’ll see the difference in the sentence construction.

With “för”: Peter stannade hemma, för han mådde inte bra.

With “därför att”: Peter stannade hemma därför att/eftersom han inte mådde bra.

Ty

“Ty” is synonymous with “för” but is used in formal, preferrably written, language.

För att

“För att” is another conjunction starting a subordinate clause (”bisats” in Swedish) when you want to express “in order to” or “with the intention to”. Here are a couple of examples that hopefully will illustrate what I mean:

Jag steg upp tidigt i morse för att jag skulle komma i tid till arbetet.

(I got up early this morning so that I would come to work on time.)

Göran tog på sig mössa och handskar för att han inte skulle frysa.

(I put on a hat and gloves so I wouldn’t be cold.)

It’s also good to know that you don’t have to repeat the subject in the subordinate clause in this type of sentence. Our examples above would then look like this:

Jag steg upp tidigt i morse för att komma i tid till arbetet.

Göran tog på sig mössa och handskar för att inte frysa.

Have fun learning Swedish and don’t forget to post questions!

Sara the Swedish Teacher

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7 responses to “För, för att, därför att and eftersom”

  1. Sawsan says:

    Thank you so very much for the easy way in explaining everything. I have a question of a different kind. It’s about the meaning of (Joråsatt) and when to use it??? Thank you!!

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  2. Jonathan says:

    Joråsatt is a modern slang/teen word that is built by compressing the words “jodå” (modified yes), “så” (so, then) and “att” (to do). It is a word that practically has no real function and is more a way to reply to a follow-up comment to what oneself has said previously, or someone elses reply to the same. It can be used pretty mcuh at any stage where you wish to say something, but have nothing sensible to say or just want to express a feeling of content or acceptance, alternatively even as a reply to insinuate something. An example of the latter: (this is so difficult to explain)

    A: Jag var ute och festade i helgen, grymt bra folk ute och kul var det!
    B: Jaså? FIck du hem någon då?
    A: Joråsatt…. ;)

    Report abuse »

  3. Orlando Merino says:

    I have a question about the meaning of grymt in Jonathan’s example in: “grymt bra folk ute”. In the dictionary grymt means cruel, does it mean here something else as really good people? Thanks.

    Report abuse »

  4. yenbee says:

    Hej Sara,

    Jag undrar om vad är skillnad mellan “därför att” och “så att”?

    Tack på förhand!

    Mvh,
    Yenbee

    Report abuse »

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