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Posts Tagged ‘time expressions’

i en timme, på en timme, om en timme

Monday, February 4th, 2013
The best inspiration for blog posts are questions from people learning Swedish. The other day I received this question about some common time phrases:
Swedish teacher, what are the differences between i en timme, på en timme and om en timme?

i en timme

When you use “i” in a time phrase you will express for how long you have been doing something, for example:

-Hur länge har du väntat?

(How long have you been waiting for?)

-I en timme.

(For an hour.)

Here is another example with “i”:

-Hur länge har du bott i Sverige?

(How long have you been living in Sweden?)

-I ett år.

(For a year.)

På en timme

With “på” (yes we use “på” a lot in Swedish) you will express how long time it will take you to do something, for example:

-Jag kan köra till Stockholm på en timme.

(It takes me one hour to drive to Stockholm.)

Here is another example with “på”:

-Jag läste ut “Män som hatar kvinnor”  på tre dagar.

(It took me three days to finish “Män som hatar kvinnor”.)

Om en timme

Finally, the phrase “om en timme” means that something will happen one hour from now. Here is one example:

-När börjar filmen?

(When does the movie begin?)

-Om en timme.

(In an hour.)

Here’s another example with “om”:

– När ska du åka på semester?

(When will you go on vacation/holiday?)

– Om fyra veckor.

(In four weeks.)

Thank you for reading! If you have any questions about grammar or vocabulary, please post them in the comments or send them to Have fun learning Swedish!

Sara the Swedish Teacher

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På lördag? I lördags? What’s the difference?

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Thank you everyone for posting questions! I will start answering the one about expressions for time:

“I spend a lot of time sorting out time – not clock time – but things like next Sunday, last Sunday, on Sunday, every Sunday, etc. And of course, tomorrow, the day before yesterday, etc.”

This is actually a very interesting subject, the expressions for time might seem easy when you first hear about them, but it takes a lot of practice to get them right.

1. Past time

i går – yesterday

Use it with simple past tense or pluperfect:

Jag arbetade igår.

(I worked yesterday.)

När jag hade kommit hem igår ringde telefonen.

(Yesterday when I had got home the phone rang.)

i förrgår the day before yesterday

Note that we don’t say “i förre går” or something like that, “förrgår” is one word. Use it with past tense:

Det regnade både i förrgår och i går, men i dag skiner solen.

(It was raining both the day before yesterday and today, but today the sun is out.)

i måndags last Monday

It is very important to get that -s in the end, since that is the signal that we are talking about the past. If you say “i måndag” the listener gets confused wether you are talking about “i måndags” or “på måndag” (on Monday does not have an -s). An example:

Jag åkte till Stockholm i måndags.

(I went to Stockholm last Monday.)

i morse this morning

Remember to articulate the whole word, don’t say /imosh/ without the -e in the end.

Jag åkte till jobbet klockan 8 i morse.

(I went to work at 8 o’clock this morning.)

i natt last night as in nighttime

For last night as in “evening” you should say i går kväll. This could also mean “tonight” so you have to show with the correct tense (preteritum) that you are talking about past time.

Jag kunde inte sova i natt.

(I couldn’t sleep last night.)

I natt ska jag hålla mig vaken och titta på vinter-OS.

(Tonight I’m going to stay up and watch the winter Olympics.)

Jag var på bio i går kväll.

( I went to the movies last night.)

i januari – in January

This could also mean January coming up, so again, make sure that you use the correct tense. If we talk about January last year, we would express it as i januari förra året.

I januari var det snökaos i hela Sverige.

(In January it was snow chaos all over Sweden.)

i somras – last summer

This is another one that requires an -s to be understood. In case it is summer at the time we are speaking we would rather use the expression förra sommaren for talking about the summer last year.

I somras hyrde vi en stuga på västkusten.

(Last summer we rented a cottage on the west coast.)

förra veckan last week

You can also combine förra with året, våren, gången etc etc. Note that you need to use the definite form in Swedish, you actually say “the last week”.

Jag köpte nya möbler på IKEA förra veckan.

(I bought some new furniture at IKEA last week.)

för två år sedantwo years ago

It is extremely important that you say both för and sedan. If you happen to say “för två år” the listener might think that you are trying to say “for two years”, which in Swedish is “i två år”. If you are saying “två år sedan” the listener might think that you are trying to say “since two years”, which is “sedan två år” in Swedish. Again, using the correct tense also helps you out.

Jag flyttade till Sverige för två år sedan.

(I moved to Sweden two years ago.)

2.Present time

i dag today

Use it with present, perfect or future tense for different meanings.

I dag börjar jag jobba klockan åtta.

(Today I start working at eight o’clock.)

I dag har jag ätit pasta till lunch.

(Today I’ve had pasta for lunch.)

I dag ska jag sitta i ett möte.

(Today I will be in a meeting.)

i  kväll tonight

Can be used for present time and future.

I kväll är det Let’s Dance på TV.

(Tonight Let’s Dance is on.)

Såg du Let’s Dance i kväll?

(Did you watch Let’s Dance tonight?)

i sommar this summer

Means this summer as in present time and in the summer coming up. We can also say “nästa sommar” (next summer) if we are talking about the following summer or summer next year.

I sommar ska jag vandra i fjällen.

(This summer  I’m going hiking in the mountains.)

Det är varmt i sommar.

(It is warm this summer.)

på sommaren/på somrarna/varje sommar – “in the summer” or “every summer”

Use this when you want to express something that happens every summer. For being extra clear it is better to use the “på somrarna” version or “varje sommar”. Use them all with present tense.

På sommaren är alla barn lediga från skolan.

(In the summer all children are out of school.)

På somrarna äter svenskar mer glass än vanligt.

(In the summer Swedes eat more ice cream than they normally do.)

på lördagar/på lördagarna/varje lördag – on Saturdays/every Saturday. Same story as with the seasons.

3. The future

i morgon tomorrow

Should be written separately even though it sounds like one word when spoken. Sounds like “imorron”.

Det är torsdag i morgon.

(It’s Thursday tomorrow.)

i morgon bitti tomorrow morning

Jag börjar jobba tidigt i morgon bitti.

(I start working early tomorrow morning.)

i övermorgon the day after tomorrow

This expression is used quite a lot. Let’s say it is Monday today, then I would rather use “i övermorgon” when I’m talking about Wednesday, instead of saying “på onsdag”. Using “på onsdag” in such a situation might make the listener think that you are talking about Wednesday next week.

– Börjar kursen i morgon?

– Nej, den börjar på onsdag.

– Menar du onsdag nästa vecka?

-Nej, jag menar i övermorgon.

(-Does the course start tomorrow? – No, it starts on Wednesday. – Do you mean Wednesday next week? No, I mean the day after tomorrow.)

på lördag on Saturday.

Note that there isn’t any -s on this one.

Vill du gå och ta en öl på lördag?

(Do you want to go out for a beer on Saturday?)

nästa vecka – next week

Jag kommer att vara bortrest nästa vecka.

(I will be out of town next week.)

om två månader in two months

This is different from English and it is common to make a mistake. If you say “i två år” it means “for two years”, so it is important to separate these two.

Om månader måste man ha deklarerat.

(In two months from you must have filed your taxes.)

4. How often?

om dagen/per dag a day/per day. You could use any of these, although “om dagen” is more common in spoken Swedish and sounds less formal. Note that you need to use the definite form “dagen” after “om”.

Jag dricker två koppar kaffe om dagen.

( I drink two cups of coffee a day.)

Jag dricker två koppar kaffe per dag.

(I drink two cups of coffee per day.)

om året/per år a year/per year

Jag går till frisören tre gånger om året.

( I get a haircut three times a year.)

Jag går till frisören tre gånger per år.

(I get a haircut three times per year.)

i veckan/ per vecka a week/per week. For “veckan”, “timmen”, “minuten” and “sekunden” we use “i” instead of “om”. Still definite form.

i timmen/per timme an hour/per hour

i minuten /per minut a minute/per minute

i sekunden/per sekund a second/per second

5. For how long?

i 10 minuter for 10 minutes. English “in 10 minutes” is “om 10 minuter” in Swedish.

Hon duschade i tio minuter.

(She was in the shower for ten minutes.)

en stund, ett tag for a while

Not a specific length of time, although ett tag can be used for both longer periods of time such as a couple of months, while en stund is not used if we’re talking about more than an hour.

Vänta här en stund.

(Wait here for a while.)

Jag bodde utomlands ett tag.

(I lived abroad for a while.)

inte på … not in...

This one is worth noticing. If we have not done something for a period of time, we have to say “inte på” instead of “inte i”.

Jag har inte studerat svenska på länge.

(I haven’t studied Swedish for a long time.)


The little “s” is important, without it we get the meaning “to” (till).

Vänta där tills jag kommer.

(Wait there till I get there.)

inte förrän not until

I Sverige får man inte handla på Systembolaget förrän man är 20 år.

(In Sweden you’re not allowed to shop at Systembolaget until you’re 20 years old.)


Use this expression with perfect tense:

Carl Gustaf har varit kung sedan 1973.

(Carl Gustaf has been king since 1973.)

Phew, that was a lot of writing. Let me know if I left anything out! :)

Sara the Swedish Teacher

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