"Vi både skrattar och gråter."

Translation:We both laugh and cry.

November 28, 2014



In English, the 'both' is not clear as to whether it refers to both me and the other person, or both laugh and cry. Is it also ambiguous in Swedish, or does the 'both' clearly apply to one or the other?

November 28, 2014


It’s not ambiguous in Swedish, it refers to the actions here. Otherwise you’d use ”båda” if you were talking about the people. ”Båda” is here a pronoun whereas ”både…och” are two conjunctions that go together.

  • Vi är båda läkare. (We are both doctors.)
  • Både han och jag är läkare. (Both he and I are doctors.
  • Båda husen ligger vid sjön. (Both houses are situated by the lake.)
  • Att leva med honom är både himmel och helvete. (Living with him is both heaven and hell.)
November 28, 2014


This is the first time that I have realised that there was even a "både" - thanks for the information! I just thought there was one word (båda) for everything!

December 3, 2014


yeah, pretty the same here

December 13, 2014


Som mig

March 14, 2019


So to say "We both laugh and cry", meaning both I and someone else laugh and cry, do you have to say "Både av oss skrattar och gråter", or is there some way to communicate "we both" using "vi"?

June 2, 2015


You could say something like Vi båda skrattar och gråter or Vi skrattar och gråter båda två.

June 2, 2015


Ah, I see. Thanks!

June 2, 2015



August 16, 2018


Why do Swedes ask me all the time "Why are you laughing?" (Varför skrattar du?) when in fact I am only smiling? When I point out the difference the Swedes get "upset" Is it easier to say "Skrattar" than to say "ler"?

January 24, 2015


Hard to tell without meeting you. Maybe your smile when you meet Swedes is so big that we think you're laughing :D

January 25, 2015


Happy tears, I hope!

January 26, 2016


"We both are laughing and crying", any specific reason this is wrong? It wanted me to use "we're", but the above is still grammatically correct in English.

February 26, 2016


It's because in your English sentence the 'both' refers to the 'we' - i.e. 'both of us are laughing and crying' - but that's not the meaning of the Swedish sentence. See Lundgren8's explanation of både/båda above.

March 27, 2016


I read it, but I don't see how it is not the meaning of this sentence. Vi både skrattar och gråter: We [us, both, all] are laughing and crying [both]. Would the meaning change at all saying vi båda skrattar och gråter? Would it not simply be grammatically incorrect, but mean the same thing? Or is the insinuation that the 'we' could be more than two, and the use of båda would make it mean specifically only two people? Det är både roligt och svårt att lära sig svenska ;)

March 28, 2016


OK, perhaps it will help to change the sentence so the English translation loses its ambiguity. So let's imagine it says "Jag både skrattar och gråter" - "I am both laughing and crying". Now it's clear even in English that the 'both' refers to the verbs. The point is that in Swedish that was already clear, because they use a different form of the word. In fact, I think (someone who knows about this please correct me!) 'både' is a conjunction and 'båda' is a pronoun. In English we use the same word for two different functions but the Swedes don't. Your sentence is grammatically correct in English but it's not a correct translation from the Swedish, because you've changed the function of 'both'. Possibly I've just made it even less clear...

March 28, 2016


You're right about the conjunction/pronoun thing and everything else. I wrote some more about this recently here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/8387413$comment_id=15263308

May 15, 2016


I think a clearer English way to say that "We [us, both, all] are laughing and crying [both]" is to say "We are both laughing and crying", as opposed to the answer you gave above of "We both are laughing and crying".

May 16, 2016


You are quite right: that would remove the ambiguity which is in the present English sentence.

October 25, 2016


How do you know the “we” is only two people? The Swedish sentence does not say that.

July 8, 2018


From the Swedish sentence, we don't know how many people are involved here. But be do know that only two actions are involved: laughing and crying. In the Swedsih sentence here, it is to those two actions that the word både refers.

March 30, 2019


Shouldn't the V2 rule apply here?

March 1, 2017


The både x och y construction is a bit special - in a sense, you could say that the full phrase acts as a verb, whenever x and y are verbs, so the v2 rule is still in effect. Or you could consider it a special case. Either way, you're thinking correctly. :)

March 1, 2017


Why does this sentence not need a verb as the second word?

October 30, 2018


Please refer to my above reply to Mike.

November 10, 2018
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