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Today we’re going to talk about something that is a little bit complicated but very useful- perfekt particip (“perfect participle” in English). When you are no longer a beginner you might feel that you want to extend your vocabulary and make more complex constructions. A very good and useful way to do this is by learning how to construct the so called “perfekt partcip” form of verbs. Perfekt particip is a verb form used and treated as an adjective. When you master the perfekt particip you can use it as an adjective and when speaking in passive voice. Some might say that it is easier to just remember each word in its particip form (actually most verb lists also contain the particip) but I think it can be quite good to learn how to construct it.
Like I just said, a perfekt particip is a verb form that we can use as an adjective and just like we do with the adjective we need to conjugate the participle according to the gender (en/ett) and number (singular/plural) of the noun that it’s combined with. To create the participle we also need to know which conjugation, or group with another grammar term, our verb belongs to. Before we move on to how to construct the participle forms let’s refresh our memories about the verb groups.
First conjugation/first group – the -ar- verbs
This is the largest and most regular group and the most common way to conjugate a verb. Here we will find common words such as “arbetar”, “tittar” and “bakar”. This group is also full of words borrowed from other languages, like “jobbar”, “sms-ar” and “googlar”. This is what the tenses and forms look like in the first conjugation:
Infinitive (infinitiv): att arbeta
Imperative (imperativ): arbeta
Present tense (presens): arbetar
Past tense (preteritum): arbetade
Supine (supinum): arbetat
Supine is the form we use together with either “har” as in “har arbetat” or with “hade” as in “hade arbetat”.
Second conjugation/second group – the er-verbs
This is also a large group of verbs and quite often students don’t know if a verb belongs to this conjugation or the first one. Examples of common er-verbs are “ringer”, “bygger”, “läser”, “köper” and “kör”. We can call them -er-verbs since they have -er ending in present tense. These are the different forms and tenses of the verbs in the second conjugation:
Infinitive (infinitiv): att ringa, att köpa
Imperative (imperativ): ring, köp
Present tense (presens): ringer, köper
Past tense (preteritum): ringde, köpte
Supine (supinum): ringt, köpt
Third conjugation/third group
In the third conjugation there are verbs that contain of one syllable only. I’m sure that you recognize words like bo (live), tro (believe) and må (feel). The different tenses and forms of verbs in the third conjugation look like this:
Infinitive (infinitiv): att bo
Imperative (imperativ): bo!
Present tense (presens): bor
Past tense (preteritum): bodde
Supine (supinum): bott
Fourth conjugation/fourth group
The verbs in the fourth conjugation follow a certain pattern for the different tenses and forms, but they are far from as regular as the verbs in group one, two and three. Typical for the group four verbs is that instead of showing the past tense with an ending like -ade, -de or -te they change vowel; i in skriver (write) becomes e in skrev (wrote) and u in sjunger (sing) becomes ö in sjöng (sang). Many words that we use every day belong to this group so it normally doesn’t take students very long to recognize them.
Infinitive (infinitiv): att skriva
Imperative (imperativ): skriv!
Present tense (presens): skriver
Past tense (preteritum): skrev
Supine (supinum): skrivit
All right, now when we know a little more about the verb conjugations it is time to discover how we can create the “perfekt particip” forms and see some examples of how to use them. A perfect participle form of the verb is mostly used as an adjective. We might for example place it after a verb like vara (be), bli (become), se ut (look), känna sig (feel), verka (seem) and låta (sound). In the following examples our adjectives come from the verb “stänger” (close):
Dörren är stängd.
(The door is closed.)
Fönstret är stängt.
(The window is closed.)
Fönstren är stängda.
(The windows are closed.)
As you can see we have to think of the gender and number of the noun, just like regular adjectives. The perfect particip can also be placed before a noun. In this case we have constructed the particip with the verb bakar (bake).
en hembakad kaka
(home made cake)
ett hembakat bröd
(home made bread)
några hembakade bullar
(some home made cinnamon buns)
How to construct the particip form
To construct the particip form correctly you need to know to which conjugation your verb belongs. If it is a verb from the first group it is quite easy, just add a –d to the imperative form (tvätta) when the particip is combined with an en-word, –t when it’s combined with an ett-word and –de when combined with a noun in plural. Like this:
en nytvättad skjorta
(a newly washed shirt)
ett nytvättat fönster
(a newly washed window)
(newly washed shirts)
With verbs belonging to the second conjugation we also add an ending to the imperative form to get the perfekt particip.Words in the second conjugation end with a consonant in their imperative form and therefore the perfekt particip forms look like this:
Lars är anställd på Volvo.
(Lars is hired/employed at Volvo.)
Lars och Anders är anställda sedan förra året.
(Lars and Anders are hired/employed since last year.)
Here are some more examples with a verb from the second conjugation:
Dörren är stängd.
(The door is closed)
Fönstret är stängt.
(The window is closed.)
Dörrarna är stängda.
(The doors are closed.)
Some verbs in the second conjugation end with k,p,t or s in their imperative form. You might already know that these verbs never use -de as an ending for the past tense but -te: for example we cannot say “läsde” but must say “läste” with a -te. The same spelling rule applies to the perfect particip form of these verbs. Take a look at this example created from the verb “låser” (lock):
Anna försökte öppna dörren men den var låst.
(Anna tried to open the door but it was locked.)
Even though “dörren” is an en-word we still have to say “låst” with a “t”.
Verbs in the third conjugation get double -d or-t in the perfekt particip form. This is a pattern you might recognize from the past tense of verbs in this group for example “trodde”, “bodde” and “klädde”. Here are examples of perfekt particip forms of a verb in the third conjugation – “sy” (sew)
Den här jackan är sydd i Italien.
(This jacket is made in Italy.)
Det här lakandet är sytt i Portugal.
(This sheet is made in Portugal.)
De här jackorna är sydda i Kina.
(These jackets are made in China.)
When dealing with verbs in the fourth conjugation things get a little more complicated. Now we cannot look at the imperative form of the verb anymore we have to know the supine form. Again, the supine form is the “ätit” as in “har ätit” or “druckit” as in “har druckit”. To construct the perfekt particip form we take the supine form, remove the -it and add another ending depending on which noun we are working with. A few examples hopefully clear things up:
Let’s say we have the verb “att stjäla” (to steal), which has the supine form “stulit”, then our perfekt particp forms will be
Min bil blev stulen igår kväll.
(My car got/was stolen last night.)
Mitt pass blev stulet.
(My passport was/got stolen.)
Alla mina diamanter blev stulna.
(All my diamonds was/got stolen.)
From “försvinna” (disappear) we gwt the following perfekt particip forms:
Min plånbok är försvunnen. Jag kan inte hitta den.
(I have lost my wallet. I can’t find it.)Note that you in Swedish could say both “my wallet is disappeared” (Min plånbok är försvunnen.) or “my wallet has disappeared” (Min plånbok har försvunnit.)
Mitt pass är försvunnet.
(My passport is/has disappeared. My passport is gone.)
Mina pengar är försvunna.
(My money has disappeared. My money is gone.) Note that “pengar” in Swedish is always plural.
Perfekt particip from partikelverb
We are almost finished but not quite. When constructing perfekt particip form of partikelverb there is something you need to keep in mind – put the particle first and make one word instead of two. Like this:
Normal partikelverb: kasta bort (throw away)
Perfekt particip of partikelverb: bortkastad (en), bortkastat (ett), bortkastade (plural)
Det var bortkastad tid.
(It was a waste of time. Literally: It was wasted time.)
Normal partikelverb: köra på (hit, run into)
Perfekt particip: påkörd (en), påkört (ett), påkörda (plural)
Han blev påkörd av en SL-buss.
(He was hit by a Stockholm bus.)
Normal partikelverb: ställa in (cancel)
Perfekt particip: inställd (en), inställt (ett), inställda (plural)
Mötet klockan 14 är inställt.
(The meeting at two o’clock is cancelled.)
Phew! Congratulations on reading this far! Now you can test yourself with this quiz: http://www.proprofs.com/quiz-school/story.php?title=perfekt-particip
Sara the Swedish Teacher
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