1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Swedish
  4. >
  5. Verkligen vs egentligen vs fa…


Verkligen vs egentligen vs faktiskt, and other adverb questions!

Q1. I'm trying to figure out if there are differences between the three. So far, the internet tells me this:

Hon är verkligen trevlig --> "She is REALLY nice." (emphasis)

Hon är egentligen trevlig --> "Actually, she's nice." (correcting/contradicting a previous notion/opinion)

Hon är faktiskt trevlig --> "She is really nice." (informing someone of something)

Does this seem accurate? Too limiting a definition? Do they overlap more than that?

EDIT based on comments:

Verkligen emphasizes, like "really" in English. Simple.

Egentligen contradicts the appearance of something, ("it would seem like this thing is abc, but it is actually/egentligen xyz")

Faktiskt contradicts a notion or opinion, ("people say abc thing about this other thing, but it is actually/in fact/faktiskt xyz")


Q2. Is antagligen commonly used? How does it differ from the word "nog"?


Q3. Is strax interchangeable with snart or do they mean slightly different things?

thanks as always

May 18, 2016



I think faktiskt would pretty much always contradict some previous statement/notion/opinion in this context. I don't think it could be said if that notion hadn't been somehow contradicted beforehand. (It could be 'I didn't think so at first, but …')

But egentligen contradicts not so much a previous notion/opinion, as an appearance of something. It's more like 'despite there having been evidence to the contrary, this is how it is'. Or, 'outwardly, it seems like … but in reality …'

Also, verkligen can be either emphasis, as you say, or confirmation. 'Is she nice? Yes, she really is nice.'


This is a very good description IMO. Perhaps it could be illustrated it with the following examples:

  • Jag tycker inte att han verkar vara så smart. - Han är faktiskt väldigt smart. (contradicting an opinion)

  • Han ser inte så smart ut. - Han är egentligen väldigt smart. (contradicting appearances)

  • Han är så smart! - Ja, han är verkligen smart. (agreement/emphasis)…

  • OR Är han smart? - Ja, han är verkligen smart. (confirmation/emphasis)


I know you wrote that two years ago, but thank you so much for the examples. "Verkligen" isn't that hard for me to understand as it is close to the German word "wirklich", which means "really". The problems I had were with "fasktiskt" and "egentligen".

  1. Yes, that seems at least quite accurate. Verkligen stresses what it describes and egentligen contradicts or corrects. Faktiskt is probably the trickier one here. It overlaps with both of the previous ones, and can also mean to inform on factual circumstances.

  2. Yes, it is used. For one thing, it'd most often sound strange to use "nog" without a verb.
    "Kommer du?" (Are you coming?)
    "Ja, antagligen." (Yes, probably)

  3. Yes and no. There is probably overlap depending on whom you ask, but a strax is a little shorter than a snart. Maybe it could help to think of them as "just a moment" and "just a short while" respectively.


I'll add an example for strax vs. snart.
Jag ska snart flytta till Kina 'I'm moving to China soon' – this is fine – snart has a big extension.
?Jag ska strax flytta till Kina – doesn't really work – "I'll move to China in just a minute" – the extension of strax is too short for this to seem reasonable.


Excellent examples everyone! (Also feeling the lingot love in here, lol)

I had thought about certain words in Swedish sounding strange without a verb. Can you say kanske without a verb (because kanske technically is a verb + infinitive)?

"Are you coming?" "Maybe."


Sure. But I could also answer Absolut, which has nothing verbal in it.


so strax means in a short while as in a few minutes


I'm wondering if snart "just a short while" is akin to the American "in a little bit." We also say "in a little while." For example, on a road trip a child in the car says, "Are we there yet?" and the adult placates (or accurately states) "in a little bit..." It subjectively means a 'short' while. CAUTION: short for children is different from short for adults ;)


So is the best translation for egentligen "despite appearances"


For what it's worth, in my personal experience "faktiskt" semantically translates most accurately to "actually" or "in fact", rather than your suggested "really" (even though "really" is not wrong either.)


It would be nice to talk about "Valdigt" as well. I thought it would have an almost 1:1 correspondence with "Verkligen" but it doesn't seem to be the case. I was given the sentence "I really like my boss" and i translated as "Jag tycker valdigt om min chef" but it was marked wrong, the right answer being allegedly "Jag tycker verkligen om min chef."

Any insights?


I got the same question! Between "valdigt"and "sarskilt".


Very and especially. He is very good = Just good in general. He is especially good = Higher standard among peers/people and has a special quality


What about väldigt vs. verkligen?

Learn Swedish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.