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?”):
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.