"Hon brukade komma hem sent."
Translation:She used to come home late.
I really don't consider used to and usually to mean the same thing in english. "Used to" means I once did but no longer do, and "usually" is something which you often do.
In English, "usually" is ALWAYS an adverb. There is no present tense or infinitve form of "used to." In Swedish, however, "bruka" is used as a verb in the present tense to mean "usually" and apparently in the past tense to mean "used to." It makes sense if you understand that "used to" denotes what was usual.
I agree - "used to" tells you it was in the past and hasn't continued, but doesn't say anything about how common the action was. It's a poor translation of "brukade", and a much better one would be "tended to".
The Swedish phrase works both for "usually" and "used to", though - there's some range to its meaning. That range doesn't really cover "tended to", however.
Interesting - can you say how it's different? Because to me "She usually came home late" and "She tended to come home late" are extremely close in meaning, and the second option preserves the form of the Swedish sentence.
It's a good question, isn't it? In my mind, they do differ - I don't think I would ever use one instead of the other.
To me, tending to do something is about inclination, and about being pre-disposed to do something.
To usually do something is about frequency rather than about behaviour.
I should mention that I'm a native Swedish speaker, not a native English one, so it's perfectly possible that my notion of the difference in Swedish is influencing my take on the English difference as well.
OK, I've discussed this with several other native (British) English speakers (inc. one studying for an MA in English linguistics), and a Finno-Swede. The Swedish speaker agreed with you @devalanteriel, and the English speakers agreed with me!
If we take three sentences: 1) She usually came home late; 2) She used to come home late; 3) She tended to come home late - to an English speaker options 1 and 3 are virtually identical in meaning, while option 2 is significantly different.
"Used to" doesn't tell us anything about frequency, really; the main thing it conveys is that it happened in the past and hasn't continued into the present.
That's very interesting, Nina - thanks for following up. :)
I think, hypothetically, that how I would use them depends on the frequency. If she came home often, and a majority of those times were late, then I'd opt for "used to". But if she came home only rarely, and the majority of those times were late, I'd go for "tended to".
Not saying I'm right - just wanted to add how I'd use them. :)
Reading through the comments, I feel there's still some confusion... Would the Swedish sentence typically imply that this is no longer the case?
I would probably assume so, yes, but it doesn't necessarily have to mean it.
Kan du förklara ? I think "to be used to" and "used to" in my native language which clearly is not english means the same, so that's must be the problem .
To say "I'm used to sleeping very litte" means I have a habit of being able to sleep very litte.
Saying "I used to sleep very little" means I got very little sleep in the past, but that is no longer the case.