"Ett öl" is the actual liquid/beer itself and "en öl" is like regarding it as a unit, so you order "en öl" and that's correct but what you're drinking is "ett öl." The same thing applies to coffee: you order "en kaffe" but you drink "ett kaffe." Super confusing haha but Swedes are very particular about what they're doing so it's logical for the language.
so do you use the neuter in a definite form too? Like since neutral öl(et) means beer as a liquid or concept and common öl(en) means a beer one is drinking or a bottle of beer shouldn't it be ölen here? I mean she is drinking her (bottle of) beer, is she not? Sorry to bug you just trying to figure it out
EDIT: This below is incorrect. "Öl" is indeed two seperate words, one in neuter and one in common gender.
No, a word is either common or neuter, not both. So "öl" in definitive form becomes "ölet" since it belongs to the neuter gender. "Ölen" is actually the plural defitive form (=the beers).
Here it says that it exists as both neuter and common depending on the meaning emplozed. Also, this distinction has been confirmed to me by some native speakers here on DL...
(Btw my previous comment is actually wrong, cause öl(et) can be used too in this case, but still one could also perfectly well say that hun dricker ölen, that is, her (bottle of) beer)
Yes. Unlike in many other languages, they're not just guidelines for pronunciation. They're letters in their own right. The å is as different from a as the f is from p, for instance.
And since they're different letters, mixing them up will frequently change the meaning of a word entirely. For instance, höra = hear, but hora = prostitute.