"Fåglarna äter upp alla jordgubbar."

Translation:The birds are eating up all the strawberries.

November 25, 2014

This discussion is locked.


Why doesn't strawberries need a definite article here (jordgubbarna)?


[Turned out that this comment was not accurate enough. I feel guilty about the lingots and the upvotes it has received. Please downvote the heck out of me.]


This is unfortunately not quite true. You can use either the definite or the indefinite after alla, depending on the situation. If you'd use the definite in English, I would prefer the definite in Swedish - and if you'd use the indefinite in English, I would prefer the indefinite in Swedish. There are definitely situations where one is much better than the other, or the only correct one.


In English, "The birds eat all strawberries" sounds very strange. To me, it implies that birds don't care what kind of strawberries they are, they eat all kinds.

So if I was talking about some particular strawberries, say the strawberries in my garden, I would say "The birds eat up all the strawberries".

I can't guess from this discussion whether it's similar in Swedish. But going by the official sentences, I guess not, since the official English form of the sentence is "all the strawberries" and the official Swedish form is "alla jordgubbar".


Is "upp" grammatically necessary here or does it serve another purpose?


It belongs to the verb. Äta upp is to eat till out of something.

Jag äter upp min mat = I eat my food (i.e. till my meal is all eaten up.)

Jag äter min mat = I eat my food (i.e. i'm currently preoccupied with eating my food.)


Is 'alla' strictly necessary here? Would it be understood the same without it?


Perhaps not strictly necessary, but it's idiomatic and part of the translation.


Is finish a better translation for äter upp in this context? Jag äter upp min mat. I finish my food. Jag äter upp alla mat. I finish all the food.


Is there that big of a difference between äta and äta upp? Like in English we could say "He eats all of his food" or "He eats up/finishes all of his food" and neither would be particularly different.

Of course, there would be a difference between "He eats his food" and "He eats up/finishes his food" (albeit not a large difference), but in english I feel like "eats all" means almost the same thing as "eats up all/finishes all". Is it this same with "äta upp alla" and "äta alla"?


Dou we need "alla" then? Isn't it enough to say "De äter upp jordgubbarna"?


I think it's to stress that ALL of the strawberries are gone because of these damn birds ;) If it were about bird food that you intentionally gave to them I think you wouldn't use alla. (but I'm not Swedish... so not an expert on this :P)


But an expert on birds by the sound of it ;-)

  • 2011

thanks for the distinction :)


We use the same construction in English. "Mary eats up all the ice cream, so I never get any."


Good point, although I think a closer analogue in English is the phrase "gobbles up". We would be far more likely to say "Mary gobbles up all the ice cream" than "Mary gobbles all the ice cream."

With eats, although you can add up, it doesn't feel like it's required. ("Mary eats all the ice cream, so I never get any" would work equally well, at least to my ear.) I suspect that is partly because if we just say "eats" in English, it would not be equally likely to be understood as meaning "is eating".

  • 2018

Here "alla" is followed by a noun in the indefinite plural, and apparently translates to "all the". But I could've sworn I've come across this particular sentence on Duo: "Hon har alla väskorna" (She has all the bags), where the noun is in the definite form. So why the difference, could anyone explain?


I am confused about when to use indefinite plural and definite plural after "alla". In this example, we use jordgubbar, i.e. the indefinite plural.

But in another example ( Älgarna äter upp alla äpplena i trädgården) we use the definite plural for "alla äpplena". Is there a rule or logic to these differences?


This is another phrasing that's similar in English Yorkshire dialect, we use "eat up" (even in South Yorkshire sounding like 'ate upp') and sup up to mean eat and drink until finished, respectively.

It seems the emphasis here, as in Yorkshire, would be that you're stressing the absolute totality of the situation.


In fact the phrase makes it into the Yorkshire anthem, "On Ilkley Moor baht 'at" but here it's the ducks that ate up the worms... http://lyricsplayground.com/alpha/songs/o/onilkleymoorbahtat.shtml


Such a beautiful song, thank thee! :D


We say the say same thing in the US. It's also an invitation to begin dining, "Eat up!"


Why is jordgubbar used here rather than jordbubbarna? Does jordgubbarna not mean the strawberies and jordgubbar only mean strawberies? Tack


why not jorgubbarna, It is so hard to learn the things that do not make sense.


"All of the" sounds more natural to me than "all the." Is there a reason why that would be marked wrong? I know that av is of, but "all the" as opposed to "all of the" sounds a bit weird like something is missing.


Would devour be a good English translation, or does that not convey the sense of completion indicated by äter upp?


That's better as e.g. sluka - I think it says much more about the manner of eating than it does about the end result.


It sounds like German "schlucken".


We say "eat up" in English (American) to mean that there's nothing left. "The birds eat up all the strawberries."


It confuses me a little this phrase. I find that "äter upp" and "alla" are redundant, they both express that all of the fruit is being eaten. Am i wrong? Why is it that way?

Also i find the "äter upp" phonetically similar to "eats up", does "x upp" is a similar construction than in english? like "finish up" or "clean up".


look at it as a quirk of the language. Most languages will have phrases that contain a bit of redundancy and there is not always a word for word translation that conveys the meaning. You have to translate a language phrase by phrase rather than word for word.


We also have such a phrase in German ("Wir essen alle Erdbeeren auf.")

I think, it stresses the result that there are no more strawberries left after we eat.


"Wir essen alle Erdbeeren auf" comes from the verb "aufessen" which just means to finish to eat something.

And the "alle Erdbeeren" means "all strawberries" and in Swedish its the same: Vi äter upp (We finish eating) and "alla jordgubbar" (all strawberries). So "alla" is the "ALL" that is implying that there are no more strawberries left.


Can the position of the particle move as it can in English?

For example, is this grammatically correct Swedish?

Fåglarna äter alla jordgubbar upp.

In English, both:

The birds eat up all the strawberries.


The birds eat all the strawberries up.

are possible.


It can't move to the end, no. Basically particles can't move at all unless larger units of the sentence move too. Like, you can say both hon har på sig skor and hon har skor på sig ('she is wearing shoes'), but then it's really skor that has moved.


Thank you. Swedish is so much like English, except when it isn't. :-)


That is so true :)


and like German too :)


I don't see why "the birds eat up all the strawberries" or "the birds are eating up all the strawberries" wouldn't be accepted here - especially given in many of the comments below we are using 'eat up' and 'eaten up' in English to explain this phrase. It's acceptable, even common in English to say.


We do accept both of those, actually.


ah ok - I typed "the birds are eating up all the strawberries" and it was marked as wrong. Maybe I had a typo in my answer somewhere.


Feel free to leave an error report next time. That way, I can either spot the error or send it off to the developers if it's a bug. :)


If äter upp alla means to eat until its all gone then why not "the birds have eaten all the strawberries" It wasn't accepted.


The sentence is in the present tense.


this to me means 'all kinds of strawberries' wheras jordgubbarna would mean 'all the strawberries'


äter upp normally cannot really imply "all kinds of", since it means to completion.

Using jordgubbarna here is not uncommon, but colloquial.

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