Swedish: An Essential Grammar, 3rd Edition (Paperback) book cover


An Essential Grammar, 3rd Edition

By Ian Hinchliffe, Philip Holmes


240 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

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This fully revised third edition of Swedish: An Essential Grammar incorporates changes proposed to Swedish grammar by Svenska Akademiens grammatik. Examples have been fully updated and the bibliography has been expanded.

Swedish: An Essential Grammar provides a fresh and accessible description of the language. Explanations are free of jargon and emphasis has been placed on areas of Swedish that pose a particular challenge for English-speaking learners.

The book offers:

• clear, accessible format

• authentic examples of language use, taken from a range of media

• clear, jargon-free explanations of grammar

Suitable for independent study or for class-based tuition, Swedish: An Essential Grammar continues to be an invaluable source to all learners looking to improve their knowledge of Swedish grammar.

Table of Contents


Symbols and abbreviations used in the text


0.1 Some advice for the beginner

0.2 Similarities between Swedish and English

0.2.1 Vocabulary

0.2.2 Grammar

Chapter 1 Pronunciation

1.1 Vowels

1.1.1 Stressed vowels and their pronunciation

1.1.2 Pronunciation of unstressed vowels

1.1.3 Vowel length

1.1.4 Syllable length

1.2 Consonants and consonant groups

1.2.1 s, z, c, sc

1.2.2 j, gj, dj, hj, lj

1.2.3 r, t, l, x, w

1.2.4 g, k, sk

1.2.5 ng, gn, kn, mn

1.2.6 rs, rd, rt, rn, rl

1.2.7 Omitting -d, -g, -t, -k, -l

1.2.8 Omitting -e

1.2.9 Voiced consonants pronounced unvoiced before -s, -t

1.2.10 Complete assimilation of -t-

1.2.11 Written and spoken forms of some common words

1.2.12 Assimilation

Chapter 2 Stress and accent

2.1 Sentence stress

2.2 Word stress

2.3 Accent

2.4 Functions of accent 1 and accent 2

2.5 Rules for accent 1 and accent 2

Chapter 3 Nouns

3.1 Gender and noun type

3.1.1 Gender

3.1.2 Gender rules

3.1.3 Types of noun

3.2 Indefinite declension

3.2.1 Indefinite forms

3.2.2 Plurals

3.2.3 Plurals – predictability

3.2.4 Rules for predicting plural forms

3.3 Plural forms

3.3.1 Plurals in -or (first declension)

3.3.2 Plurals in -ar (second declension)

3.3.3 Plurals in -er (third declension)

3.3.4 Plurals in -r (fourth declension)

3.3.5 Plurals in -n (fifth declension)

3.3.6 Zero plurals (no plural ending, sixth declension)

3.3.7 Plurals in -s (seventh declension)

3.3.8 Collective nouns

3.3.9 Nouns with no plural form or no singular form

3.4 Differences in number between Swedish and English

3.4.1 Differences in number

3.5 Definite declension

3.5.1 Forms with end article singular

3.5.2 Forms with end article plural

3.6 Article use

3.6.1 End article in Swedish, no article in English

3.6.2 End article in Swedish, indefinite article in English

3.6.3 No article in Swedish, definite article in English

3.6.4 No article in Swedish, indefinite article in English

3.6.5 End article in Swedish, possessive pronoun in English

3.6.6 Article use with demonstrative pronouns

3.6.7 No article after the possessive

3.7 Genitives

3.7.1 The genitive

Chapter 4 Adjectives

4.1 Adjectives in outline

4.2 Indefinite declension

4.2.1 Indefinite forms – regular

4.2.2 Indefinite forms – variations

4.2.3 Indeclinable adjectives

4.2.4 Indefinite constructions

4.2.5 Agreement and lack of agreement

4.3 Definite declension

4.3.1 Definite form of the adjective: -e or -a?

4.3.2 Definite construction Type 1 – den nya bilen

4.3.3 Definite construction Type 2 – firmans nya bil

4.3.4 Definite construction Type 3 – svenska språket

4.3.5 Definite construction Type 4 – första klass

4.3.6 Definite constructions – summary chart

4.4 Adjectival nouns and nationality words

4.4.1 Adjectival nouns

4.4.2 Nationality words

4.5 Comparison of adjectives

4.5.1 Comparison with -are, -ast

4.5.2 Comparison with -re, -st

4.5.3 Irregular comparison

4.5.4 Comparison with mer, mest

4.5.5 Comparison – indefinite and definite with -are and -ast

4.5.6 Use of comparatives and superlatives

Chapter 5 Pronouns

5.1 Personal and reflexive pronouns – form

5.2 Use of personal pronouns

5.3 Reflexive pronouns

5.4 Själv

5.5 Possessive pronouns

5.6 Non-reflexive and reflexive possessives: hans or sin?

5.6.1 Non-reflexive forms

5.6.2 Reflexive forms

5.6.3 Some special uses of sin, sitt, sina

5.7 Forms of address

5.8 Demonstrative pronouns

5.9 Determinative pronouns

5.10 Relative pronouns

5.11 Interrogative pronouns

5.12 Indefinite pronouns

Chapter 6 Numerals

6.1 Cardinal and ordinal numbers

6.2 Use of cardinal and ordinal numbers

6.3 Other numerical expressions

6.4 Clock time

Chapter 7 Verbs

7.1 Verb forms in outline

7.2 The four conjugations

7.2.1 First conjugation

7.2.2 Irregular verbs of the first conjugation

7.2.3 Second conjugation

7.2.4 Irregular verbs of the second conjugation

7.2.5 Third conjugation

7.2.6 Irregular verbs of the third conjugation

7.2.7 Fourth conjugation: introduction

7.2.8 Fourth conjugation: gradation series i – e – i

7.2.9 Fourth conjugation: gradation series y/(j)u – ö – u

7.2.10 Fourth conjugation: gradation series i – a – u

7.2.11 Fourth conjugation: gradation series a – o – a

7.2.12 Fourth conjugation: gradation series ä – a – u

7.2.13 Fourth conjugation: minor gradation series (mixed)

7.3 Form and function

7.4 The infinitive

7.4.1 Infinitive – verbal use

7.4.2 Infinitive – nominal use

7.4.3 Use of the infinitive in English and Swedish

7.4.4 Translating ‘-ing’ forms

7.5 Present tense

7.6 Past tense

7.7 Perfect tense

7.8 Pluperfect tense

7.9 Future tense

7.10 Participles and supine

7.10.1 Supine and past participle forms

7.10.2 Use of the supine and past participle

7.10.3 Present participle

7.11 Mood and modal verbs

7.11.1 Use of modal verbs

7.11.2 Subjunctive

7.11.3 Imperative

7.12 Transitive, intransitive and reflexive verbs

7.12.1 Transitive and intransitive verbs

7.12.2 Reflexive verbs

7.13 -s forms

7.13.1 Use of -s forms

7.13.2 Passive

7.14 Translating verbs

7.14.1 Some problems in translating English verbs

7.14.2 Translating the English verb ‘to be’

7.15 Compound verbs

7.15.1 Inseparable and separable compound verbs

7.15.2 Stylistic and semantic differences between separable

and inseparable compounds

Chapter 8 Adverbs

8.1 Forms of adverbs

8.2 Use of adverbs

8.3 Adverbs indicating location and motion

8.4 Some problematic adverbs

8.5 Discourse particles

Chapter 9 Interjections

9.1 Interjections

Chapter 10 Prepositions

10.1 Prepositions – introduction

10.2 The most common Swedish prepositions

10.2.1 Av

10.2.2 Från

10.2.3 För

10.2.4 I

10.2.5 Med

10.2.6 Om


10.2.8 Till

10.2.9 Under

10.2.10 Vid

10.3 Translating prepositions

10.3.1 Some common English prepositions and their Swedish equivalents

10.3.2 Translating ‘in, on, at’, etc. in expressions of time

10.3.3 Prepositions in expressions of time – summary

10.3.4 Translating ‘in, on, at’ in expressions of place

10.3.5 Translating ‘of’

Chapter 11 Conjunctions

11.1 Coordinating conjunctions

11.2 Subordinating conjunctions

11.3 Other subordinators

11.4 Some problematic conjunctions

Chapter 12 Word order and sentence structure

12.1 Word classes and sentence elements

12.2 Simplified introduction: Four basic rules

12.3 Sentence types

12.4 Main clause structure

12.5 Link position

12.6 Extra positions

12.7 Main clause positions (sentence elements)

12.7.1 Subject and formal subject

12.7.2 Finite verb

12.7.3 Non-finite verb

12.7.4 Clausal adverbial

12.7.5 Other adverbials

12.7.6 Objects and complements

12.7.7 Verb particle

12.7.8 Passive agent

12.7.9 Main clause structure – extended positional scheme with examples

12.8 Moving elements within the main clause

12.8.1 Topicalization

12.8.2 Weight principle

12.8.3 Adverbial shift

12.8.4 Unstressed objects

12.8.5 Position of inte

12.8.6 Passive transformation

12.8.7 Existential sentence

12.8.8 Cleft sentence

12.9 Subordinate clauses

12.9.1 Subordinate clause as an element in the main clause sentence

12.9.2 Subordinate clause structure

12.9.3 Three types of subordinate clause with main clause structure

Chapter 13 Word formation

13.1 Compounding

13.2 Affixation

13.3 Abbreviation

Chapter 14 Orthography

14.1 Upper-case or lower-case letters?

14.2 Spelling of words ending in -m, -n

Chapter 15 Punctuation

15.1 Comma

15.2 Full stop

15.3 Colon

15.4 Exclamation mark

15.5 Apostrophe

15.6 Direct speech conventions

15.7 Hyphen

Chapter 16 Written and spoken Swedish

16.1 Words frequently omitted in spoken Swedish

16.2 Words and constructions frequently found in

spoken Swedish

16.3 Words usually found only in written Swedish

Linguistic terms

A note on Finland-Swedish

Short bibliography


About the Authors

Ian Hinchliffe, a former lecturer in Swedish, is a freelance translator, copywriter and founder member of the Swedish Association of Professional Translators.

Philip Holmes, Reader Emeritus in Scandinavian Studies at the University of Hull, UK, was for many years also a freelance language editor and translator.

About the Series

Routledge Essential Grammars

Essential Grammars describe clearly and succinctly the core rules of each language and are up-to-date and practical reference guides to the most important aspects of languages used by contemporary native speakers. They are designed for elementary to intermediate learners and present an accessible description of the language, focusing on the real patterns of use today.
Essential Grammars are a reference source for the learner and user of the language, irrespective of level, setting out the complexities of the language in short, readable sections that are clear and free from jargon.
Essential Grammars are ideal either for independent study or for students in schools, colleges, universities and adult classes of all types.

All Essential Grammars are available as inspection copies.

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