Swedish word of the day: just det

Swedish word of the day: just det
Slip this into your Swedish to sound more local. Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
These two words come together to form a very common little phrase in Swedish.

Just det is the thing to say when you remember something you had previously forgotten.

It could be that someone reminds you of something or corrects you:

  • Have you filled in that timesheet the boss asked for? Just det, I’ll get right on that.
  • Your homework was good but don’t forget to cite your sources. Just det, thanks for the reminder.
  • Abba won Eurovision in 1974, not 1973. Ah, just det.

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Or it might have just occurred to you after slipping your mind:

  • Just det, did I tell you that I’m getting a puppy?
  • Just det, how did your driving test go [that I meant to ask you about, but forgot about until now]?
  • Just det, I need to take the potatoes out of the oven!

Just det literally translates as “exactly/just that” and can be used as that, but is often used to mean “oh, right!”, “ah, of course!”‘ or “I’d forgotten that, it’s coming back to me now!” This is a very common interjection, so slipping it into your Swedish will help you sound a lot more local.

When used in this way, the phrase is often pronounced as one word, with the “t” of just and the “d” of det running together and the emphasis on the just, and it’s used either as a standalone phrase or at the start of a sentence.

But it’s worth knowing that sometimes just det is used within a sentence and then it takes on a slightly different sense, for example: det är just det vi pratar om (it’s exactly that which we’re talking about) or det var just det som hände (that’s exactly what happened). In a context like this, just and det are usually pronounced as separate words, with the emphasis on the det.

Villa, Volvo, Vovve: The Local’s Word Guide to Swedish Life, written by The Local’s journalists, is now available to order. Head to lysforlag.com/vvv to read more about it. It is also possible to buy your copy from Amazon US, Amazon UK, Bokus or Adlibris.

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