"The woman eats the beef."
Translation:Kvinnan äter nötköttet.
Associate the word with a ridiculous mental image that incorporates the word, one you'll remember. Mine for nötkött is someone emphatically saying "NOT just meat, BEEF!" So I know the "nöt" is in front of the "kött". Works with every word! Learned it from Benny Lewis' "Fluent in 3 Months" book, check out the website.
Because of grammatical gender, a feature prominent in basically all major Germanic languages except English. Every Swedish word has either common (en) or neuter (ett) as the indefinite article, and this effects the way the word agrees with adjectives and the way it's definite and plural forms are constructed.
Kött, and thus words derived from it, such as nötkött, is an ett-word. Lucklily, its' a regular word. Therefore it get's -et in the definite singular. It's the same for almost all other ett-words, which is why you'll find that bord > bordet (the table), skal > skalet (the shell/peel) and skåp >skåpet (the drawer), for example.
There is no easy way out of learning the gender of each noun, as they have to be learnt by heart. However, the en-words far outnumber the ett-words by a factor of three or four to one.
Does that help? I'm sure you'll get the hang of it with time and practice.
Well, it can be compared to how grammatical genders work in other languages to make it easier to comprehend. :)
In Swedish, the common gender (en) is historically masculine and feminine merging together, while the neuter gender (ett) remained. That's why you won't find the same masc/fem aspects as in the Romance languages.