Swedish word of the day: alltså

Swedish word of the day: alltså
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
One of the best shortcuts for sounding like a local, this is a very useful word to perfect.

Alltså can be hard for non native speakers to pronounce, but you can listen to this clip to hear how it’s said:


Alltså means “so” or “therefore”, as well as “in other words” or “that is to say” when you are clarifying something or saying that it happened as a result of something else. For example:

Problemet är alltså ingen nyhet (“The problem is, in other words, nothing new”)

Jag föreslår alltså att regleringen ändras (“Therefore, I propose that the regulation is changed”) 

Hans barn är sjuk, han kommer alltså inte idag (“His child is sick, so he’s not coming today”)

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That’s the first meaning of alltså, but there are two other ways to use it which you should master if you want to fit in.

First is as a filler word, especially at the start of sentences when you’re not quite sure yet what to say:

Alltså, det är svårt att säga (“Well, it’s hard to say”)

Alltså, ja (“Um, yes”)

Alltså, ja ba’, va? (“So I was like, ‘what?'”)

And secondly, it’s used as an interjection or exclamation. For example:

Alltså! Kommer hon inte? (“For God’s sake! Isn’t she coming?”)

Vilken idiot, alltså! (“Ugh, what an idiot!”)

These second two meanings are more informal, and if alltså is used this way in writing, it is often written more phonetically (close to the way it is pronounced): asså.

Villa, Volvo, Vovve: The Local’s Word Guide to Swedish Life, written by The Local’s journalists, is now available to pre-order. Head to lysforlag.com/vvv to read more about it, and use the discount code VOVVELOVE (valid until October 27th) to get a 10% discount on all pre-orders.

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