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Icke instead of inte

I have some old books in Swedish in which icke (like the Danish ikke) is used in stead of inte.

I am wondering if this still happens in dialects or spoken Swedish.

November 23, 2014



It’s used:

  • In older texts.
  • In fixed phrases.
  • As the prefix ”non-” (icke-ekologisk)
  • More rarely as a stronger form of ”inte”.

Despite it’s widespreadness in Danish and Norwegian, there is no dialect that prefers ”icke”.


I use it sometimes just for fun!


It is used but inte is way more common.

I wouldn't use it in a modern casual context.


On a related note, the word 'ej' seems to be similar. You often see it written down, such as 'Ej i trafik' on a bus meaning 'Not in service'. I have been told this is also an old way to say inte and isn't really used in spoken Swedish. Perhaps a native speaker might have something to say about that though.


Yeah, it’s not really used in spoken Swedish except for some fixed phrases like ”weather you like it or not” (vare sig du vill eller ej), but it’s typically a word you mostly see on signs or in juridical texts That’s why it’s on buses, and you’ll also find ”kort medges ej” (card not accepted), ”får ej blockeras” (must not be blocked), ”obehöriga äga ej tillträde” (no access), ”rör ej” (do not touch) etc. There are also people however who use it in chat language because it’s shorter than ”inte”, so despite not being used so much in speech, it’s a word that everyone knows about and is accessible to everyone.

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