SHARE
COPY LINK

LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

The Swedish Teacher: When do you use ‘hit’ and ‘dit’?

Swedish teacher Sara Hörberg takes a closer look at the difference between hit and här, dit and där.

The Swedish Teacher: When do you use 'hit' and 'dit'?
'Kom hit, stop chasing that bird!' Photo: AP Photo/Michael Probst

Did you ever construct a sentence like “Jag åkte där” and were corrected? You are not alone. 

Swedish for “here”, “there”, “home” and so on come in two versions. You have to choose between “hit” and “här”, “dit” and “där” and “hem” and “hemma”. It might seem completely random when you should use these words, but fortunately, there is a system.

We should use one type of location adverb, for example “här”, when we use a verb that describes where we are, and we should use the other type of location adverb, for example “hit”, when the verb describes where we are going to.

Here are some examples of verbs that describe that someone/something is located somewhere (and not moving from point A to B):

är, sitter, står, bor, finns, ligger, hänger, arbetar

Here are some examples of verbs that describe that someone/something is going somewhere:

går, åker, reser, kör, kommer, flyger, flyttar

It is usually easier to get the picture if you see the adverbs and verbs in full sentences. Here are some examples:

Här (ask “where?”):

Han arbetar här.

(He works here.)

Han bor här.

(He lives here.)

Göran sitter här.

(Göran sits/is sitting here.)

Det finns ett kafé här.

(There is a coffee shop here.)

Hit (ask “where to?”):

Kom hit!

(Come here!)

If you are calling your dog in Swedish, you have to call “kom hit”. He or she will not listen if you say “kom här”. 😉

Han kör hit varje morgon.

(He drives here every morning.)

Hon flyttade hit 1973.

(She moved here in 1973.)

Där (ask “where?”)

Jag bor där.

(I live there.)

Anna sitter i rummet där borta.

(Anna is sitting in the room over there.)

Dit (ask “where to?”)

Vi måste åka dit nu.

(We have to go there now.)

Kan du köra honom dit?

(Can you drive him there?)

Uppe (ask “where?”)

Vi satt uppe och pratade hela natten.

(We were up talking all night.)

Vad gör du uppe så här sent?

(What are you doing up this late?)

Upp (ask “where to?”)

Vakna! Det är dags att gå upp.

(Wake up! It's time to get up.)

Kom upp till mig på en kopp kaffe.

(Come to my place and have a cup of coffee.) The person inviting lives upstairs and the person invited for coffee lives downstairs.

Nere (ask “where?”)

Var är Anders? Han är nere i källaren och lagar sin cykel.

(Where is Anders? He's down in the basement repairing his bike.)

Åhléns ligger nere i centrum.

(Åhléns is down in the city centre.)

Ner (ask “where to?”)

Hur gick det att köra ner till Skåne?

(How was the drive down to Skåne?)

Brandmännen hjälpte katten att komma ner från trädet.

(The firemen helped the cat to get down from the tree.)

Ute (ask “where?”)

På sommaren sitter vi gärna ute i trädgården och äter middag.

(In the summertime we like to sit out in the garden and have dinner.)

Det regnar ute.

(It's raining outside.)

Ut (ask “where to?”)

Kom så går vi ut. Det har slutat regna.

(Let's go outside. It has stopped raining.)

Inne (ask “where?”)

När det är kallt ute måste man stanna inne.

(When it's cold outside one must stay inside.)

Barnen ville inte sitta inne och läsa. De ville gå ut.

(The children didn't want to sit inside and read. They wanted to go outside.)

In (ask “where to?”)

Oj vad kallt det är. Kom så går vi in!

(It's so cold. Let's go inside!)

Kom in och ät.

(Come on in and eat.)

Hemma (ask “where?”)

Lisa ska stanna hemma hela semestern.

(Lisa is going to stay at home her whole vacation.)

Hem (ask “where to?”)

Jag vill gå hem.

(I want to go home.)

Anders körde hem klockan 18.

(Anders drove home at 6 pm.)

Let me know if you still have questions and I'll try my best to answer them.

Sara Hörberg began teaching Swedish as a foreign/second language in 2001. Ask her anything about grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. Read more here: Sara the Swedish Teacher.

 

For members

LEARNING SWEDISH

Eight Swedish words I now use in English

One of the consequences of learning a foreign language is that some words end up slipping into your everyday English. Becky Waterton explains why she uses these Swedish words more often than their English equivalents.

Eight Swedish words I now use in English

People often say that the moment you know you speak a language fluently is when you begin dreaming in it.

What they don’t tell you is that the next marker of your fluency comes when you start substituting words in your native language with words from the foreign language. Here are a few Swedish words I’ve started using more and more when I speak English.

Mys

Equivalent to the English word “cosy” or the Danish “hygge”, I find myself using the Swedish word mys (noun) or mysigt (adjective) often in English, even making up my own compound Swedish-English words using mys.

One example is mysväder, literally “cosy weather”, which can roughly translate as the kind of weather where it’s socially acceptable to lie on your sofa with a hot chocolate under a blanket and watch TV (so perfect autumn weather, essentially). The perfect clothing for mys-weather is mys-clothes, like tracksuit bottoms or pyjamas, a soft wooly jumper and a pair of warm socks.

I’ve found myself on more than one occasion saying “oh the weather today is really mys-weather, isn’t it?”, indicating to whoever I’m talking to that I plan on going into hibernation as soon as I get home. If a friend asked me to join them for a day trip somewhere or a fika at a nice cafe, I might say “oh, that sounds mysigt!”, roughly in the same way an English speaker could say “yes, that sounds nice!”. Mys just feels less generic than “nice”, when used in this way.

Swish

Maybe a bit of a cheat in this list of supposedly Swedish words, I regularly use the verb swisha in English if I pick up the bill in a restaurant for a friend. “Oh, it’s okay, you can just swish me,” I say, telling the friend to use payment service Swish to pay me back.

In the same vein, I might tell my husband “I’ve sent you a swishförfrågan (Swish request) for the dagisavgift (preschool fee) this month”, as a not-so-subtle hint for him to log in to the app and send over his half of the payment.

Typ

Typ is a bit of a filler word in Swedish, used in the same way as “like” in English. Not in the sense of liking something, but in the sense of filling a gap in speech or indicating you’re not sure of something. So instead of saying “it costs, like, 30 kronor,” you might say “det kostar typ 30 kronor”.

I use typ so unconsciously in Swedish that it’s started creeping into my English when I fill a gap in speech while I think, in sentences like “I think that was… typ… four days ago?”, or if I’m not sure of the exact amount of something, like if someone asks me how I baked a cake, I might say “and then I added 200g of flour… typ.” 

Macka

This maybe says more about my lifestyle than anything else, but I use the Swedish word macka (bread with topping) every single day, usually when I ask my daughter what she wants for breakfast.

Swedes love to eat bread with toppings for breakfast, referred to as a macka, occasionally a rostmacka if toasted. Unlike toast, which is usually only eaten with butter, a macka can be hot or cold, and topped with anything from ham to salami, hummus or cheese. The words “do you want macka or porridge?” and “what do you want on your macka?” are uttered every morning, without fail, in our household.

Snippa

Another Swedish word linked to child-rearing, the word snippa is an informal, not-rude Swedish word for female genitalia. The male variant would be snopp, similar to the English word “willy”.

I haven’t been able to find an informal English version of snippa which is child-friendly and easy for my daughter to pronounce, so I usually use the Swedish word if I’m telling my toddler daughter to wait after a visit to the toilet and wipe her snippa.

Sugen

Sugen is a great Swedish word similar to “hungry”, but more in the sense of “snacky” – you’re not really hungry, but you fancy eating something small and most likely unhealthy, like a biscuit or some crisps.

It’s the kind of word you would say if your partner caught you gazing into the kitchen cupboards a few hours after lunch looking despondent. “Are you hungry?”, they might ask, only for you to respond “nah, not really, I’m just a bit sugen.”

Mellis

It’s similar to the word mellis, another Swedish word which has crept into my English. Mellis is short for mellanmål, literally “between-meal”, but more often used as a small snack to tide you over to the next meal, like an apple or a macka.

VAB

Finally, an essential word for all parents in Sweden, VAB. VAB stands for vård av barn, and is the term for taking time off work to look after a sick child. Usually used in talking to your boss, you might say “my child has a fever so I’m going to have to vab today”, or negotiate with your partner “if I vab this time, can you vab next time?”

It’s just so much easier than saying “I’m going to have to take paid time off work to look after my sick child”.

SHOW COMMENTS