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"När vi skulle åka till sjukhuset gick bilen sönder."

Translation:When we were going to go to the hospital, the car broke down.

June 20, 2016



what is the purpose of 'gick' in this sentence?


gå sönder is a phrasal verb in Swedish and means to break. So, you have to conjugate because it is a verb.

Commas are sparsely used in modern Swedish, but you can also rewrite the meaning as
När vi skulle åka till sjukhuset , gick bilen sönder.
Then you can see better that När vi skulle åka till sjukhuset is a subordinate clause that takes the first place in the main clause bilen gick sönder and the subject is therefore placed after the first verb: ... gick bilen sönder.


thanks for that! I understand the v2 rule fine, I just wasn't aware that gå was used with sonda, I must've missed that.


gå sönder means to break (down).


gå sönder corresponds to German "kaputtgehen". Bilen gick sönder = "Das Auto ging kaputt", Plötsligt gick bilen sönder = "Plötzlich ging das Auto kaputt".


Indeed, and in older Swedish you had the word "söndergå" (just like German "kaputtgehen").

In your last example the Swedish version should be "Plötsligt gick bilen sönder".


Thank you so much, I corrected my example.


if När vi skulle åka, means when we were going, how would you say, when we would go?


I would translate "when we would go" as "när vi skulle åka" (i.e. multiple possible English translations of the Swedish phrase). (I'm native, but usually wrong in this forum)


Then this version should be accepted... But it is not, as i just found out


In Swedish it makes a difference how you get there when you go. Most of the time when you're going to the hospital you're taking some kind of vehicle (not always, granted). This might be why it defaults to "åker".


My answer failed because i missed the comma....


I think it's a bug. Occasionally Duo becomes punctuation sensitive for no reason for a week or so. Not so bad most of the time, but a nightmare in the 'listen and type' exercises!


Broke down wasn’t on the translation


There has been an increasing number of complaints regarding missing word tiles since the new design was introduced. Unfortunately, there's not much I can do about it - but there are some things you can try. First, try zooming out in your browser, this will usually cause the missing tile(s) to reappear, and you can then zoom back in after answering the question. If that doesn't help, I encourage you to submit a big report here: https://support.duolingo.com/hc/en-us/requests/new


It may be my sound system, but I really think that 'gick' ought to be pronounced as 'yick' and not 'lick'!


I wrote "when we were to go to the hospital, the car broke down. I can't believe there's any difference in the meaning...

[deactivated user]

    Is "gå sönder" a particle verb? We have seen "ha sönder" which also means "break" (Varför skulle du ha sönder kameran? ). I am confused.


    "I broke the object" = "Jag HADE SÖNDER objektet"

    "The object broke" = "Objektet GICK SÖNDER" .

    "I will break the object" = "Jag kommer HA SÖNDER objektet"

    "The object will break" = "Objektet kommer GÅ SÖNDER" .

    "I break the object" = "Jag HAR SÖNDER objektet"

    "The object breaks" = "Objektet GÅR SÖNDER"

    "Jag GÅR SÖNDER objektet" = "I will walk on the object so that it breaks"... :-) It's not entirely incorrect to phrase it like that, but it sounds weird and I don't think I've ever heard anyone phrase it like that.

    (Sorry - I can't explain why it works this way. I'm a native Swede, but this has never been explained to me in school. I think the concept is called "loosely connected verbs", but I can't explain why it sometimes uses "ha" and sometimes "gå".)

    [deactivated user]

      Tack så mycket! The usage became clearer.


      so, folwing those rules, it would be correct say ¨ "När vi skulle åka till sjukhuset, bilen GICK SÖNDER. " ???


      If you would've written "Bilen gick sönder, när vi skulle åka till sjukhuset." it would've been completely correct. The way you've chosen (using another grammar concept that I don't know the word for) you would've been forced to write "När vi skulle åka till sjukhuset GICK bilen SÖNDER." in Swedish. There are a few cases when the word order changes in Swedish, and this is one of them (using the same word order that you often use for questions as well - "Gick bilen sönder?").


      OwainLlyfr is correct but also incorrect. The sentence order they suggest is correct but it is due to the V2 rule which is a very rigid rule with very few exceptions rather than this being a “question order” sentence.

      The V2 rule applies here because När vi skulle åka till sjukhuset is the subclause (bisats på svenska) which is acting as the tidsadverbial (time sentence adverb) here. This subclause takes up the first place in the huvudsats (main sentence). With the subclause in first place the verb (gick) must take second place as per the V2 rule.


      Aha - so THAT's the reason! Thanks for enlighting me! :-D

      I wonder how many grammar rules there are in Swedish that are usually unknown to most native speakers... :-) Before checking this forum I had never heard of the V2 rule, but perhaps they never mention it in the Swedish schools because it's so basic that a native will know by instinct.


      Besides the intransitive verb and the transitive verbs ha, ta, slå, can we also use other transitive verbs to express a destructive action, for example kasta sönder en tallrik, bita sönder ett snöre, klippa sönder ett kreditkort, skära sönder ett hjuls däck, trycka sönder ett ägg?

      Similarly, ihjäl can be preceded with transitive verbs: ha, slå, skjuta, sticka, or intransitive e.g. frysa.


      The English verb "to break" can be either intransitive ("the ladder broke and I fell down") or transitive ("The thief broke the window with a hammer"). The same thing happens with many English verbs, e.g. "She returned from a journey" or "she returned the book to the library"; "I walk along the beach" or "I walk my dog every morning"; "Children grow"or "I grow strawberries in my garden". Other languages often use different verbs for the transitive and intransitive meaning of the same English verb.

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