"A letter"

Translation:Ett brev

November 19, 2014

This discussion is locked.


How do I distinguish the difference between Ett and En?


you can't, it's completely random. some words are "Ett" and some are "En"


In general, the plural form of nouns that end in -or or -ar are common nouns (en nouns).

Also, about three quarters of all nouns are 'en nouns'. That might help to narrow it down a bit. ☺


Unfortunately, it seems to be completely arbitrary. You just need to memorize it.


Will people still be able to understand if you use the wrong one?


Yes. It sounds very broken but people usually understand anyway. There can be misunderstandings with plural/singular. Since brev is an ett word, brevet means 'the letter' and breven means 'the letters'. Of course people are likely to misunderstand you if you use the wrong form in cases like this.


Even though I understand that the 'v' is ever so soft at the end of this word, to my ears, it sounds a lot like 'bre(əm)'... (?)


What is the difference between "Ett brev" and "En bokstav" ?


bokstav = alphabetical character (bok = book, stav = rod, in this case it hails from the vertical rods people used to write runes in stone! :) and the verb "att stava" = "to spell" is also related)

brev = mail/post (etymology: a little connected with english "brief" - short message)


Also the plural of bokstav is bokstäver.


Until now Ett brev has been taught for "a letter" the answer shown here is "ett brev" but when I wrote it I was told it had to be "en bokstav". How is that possilbe that the correct translation as seen above is not accepted?


The machine tries to match your input to the closest accepted answer. If you pick the wrong article and type "en brev", it will unfortunately think that the closest answer is en bokstav rather than ett brev. At least this is how it works at the moment.

If you really did type ett brev and didn't have that accepted, there must have been some bug/glitch.


Now I can't remember. I might have typed "en brev" but I would think that it would accept the noun and correct the article. That is interesting how it works. Well, now I'll remember it's "ett brev" and "en bokstav" and that's a good lesson. Thanks for the explanation.


so it doesn't matter what context it's in, it just is the way it is with ett and en?


Yes, it depends on the word, not the context. All nouns are either en or ett nouns. There are some tendencies, but mainly you just have to learn the gender along with each word.


why do both apear if one is rong?

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The hints only tell you which words a certain word could be translated into. That does not mean that all the words listed under hints are correct. After all they are just hints, not answers.


Wait, doesn't bokstav mean letter as in the alphabet? I was raised speaking Swedish and English, so I learned Swedish verbally, and I've always used bokstav to mean a letter (like a, b, c, etc.)


Sure does, that's why en bokstav is another accepted answer here.


I think in most cases the En is mostly used classifying living things like man and animal while Ett is mostly used when classifying non living things like letter, books etc


That's a bit too simplified. About 70-75% of all words are en words, so most non living things are en words too. But it's true that most living things are en words, with some very notable exceptions. This post lists some tendencies: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/6329293


what is the difference between ett and en ?


All nouns have a grammatical gender in Swedish. You use en or ett depending on the gender. Just like e.g. ein/eine in German or un/una in Spanish, but they're not masculine/feminine.


So how exactly do i pronounce "brev"?



The eh/ey is a sort of mix between eh and ey, like eh but with a y sound tucked in there.


Usually b-r-eh-v. Only specific provicial accents use b-r-ey-v (mainly in the southwest).


Is brev pronounced brem? Cause it sounds a lot like it, I just can't distinguish


No, sorry - it's distinct from that.


what is wrong with en brav


brav isn't a word - it's brev. And that's an ett-word, so: ett brev.


why is it ett and not en?


All nouns in Swedish have a gender - en or ett. You need to learn for each which gender it has.

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