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  5. Vad äter myran?


Vad äter myran?


I just learned that "Vad äter myran?" means "What does the ant eat?".

I am just confused as to why it is not "What is eating the ant?".

I tried to search for the answer, even trying Google translate (probably a bad idea) and both English questions seem to have the same Swedish translation.

Any explanation would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Gordon.

May 12, 2018



Vad äter myran would most accurately mean what does the want eat.

I don't exactly know the answer to why, but I'd assume you don't say "Vad" as that is a thing something which isn't living, which also results in not eating. But you could say "vem åt myran?" (Who ate the ant). As "vem" that is something or someone which eat.


Thanks for the reply.

I think I understand. If it was a person, obviously we wouldn't use "what", we would use "who".

In my crazy head I had the scenario of "What Is eating the ant?", "The anteater is eating the ant". My learning up to now would have said "What is eating the ant?" is "Vad äter myran".

I hope this makes sense.

Thanks again.


"Vad äter Gordon": Either "what is Gordon eating" or "what is eating Gordon".

"Vem äter Gordon": Either "whom is Gordon eating" or "who is eating Gordon".

Without more context, you can't be sure. Just check for bite marks! ;)


But if you replace the name with a pronoun, the meaning becomes clear:

"Vad äter han?": "What is he eating?"

"Vad äter honom?": What is eating him?"


After interrogative words (Who, What, When, Where, Why, How...Vem, Vad, Nar, Var, Varfor, Hur) there follows inverted subject/verb order. We do the same thing in English...one wouldn't say "What the ant is eating?" English interposes the subject between auxiliary and main verb. To ask your second question you could add "Vad ar det som ater myran?"

  • Would you like some food?
  • Yes!
  • What, then?
  • That. points
  • What the ant is eating? No can do. He's a better customer than you are, so I can't give you his steak.


Thank you for your help. Pretty sure I understand now. I will keep practicing and see how I get on.



In a question the subject will usually come after the verb.

For example:

Du äter. (You are eating.) Vad äter du? (What are you eating?)


This gives some explanation to what's happening: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V2_word_order


Thank you. Checking it out now.


It can mean both. It is usually obvious from the context just who's eating what.


Aah, Ok. The fact it can mean both helps me get my head around it.

I've found the "questions" section to be the hardest so far. I'll try to do some research outside of duolingo on it too.

This was my first post and everyone was very helpful. Thanks everyone.


In the lessons there is no context so sentences and questions like this one ARE confusing.


Which is why these discussion pages are useful. As long as the accepted translations feature both interpretations, we're good.


ok ok. I know im not a swedish learner technically (or im level 1) but im at university studying swedish and the reason why this happens is because the subject comes after the verb. The sentence needs a subject and if it isnt the fundement then it must come directly after the verb.

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