"Det står en prinsessa med lång klänning utanför dörren."

Translation:There is a princess with a long dress outside the door.

December 6, 2014

This discussion is locked.


Is there an article missing with klänning, or is it grammatically correct to write 'med lång klänning'?


Yes, the article is optional in this context.


Strange.. Can you tell me why it can be left out?


It is a complicated subject and there is no easy answer.

Normally it can be left out when you’re speaking generally and it is not necessary to state the amount. You can say ”Vi har köpt bil” (We have bought a car) which means is more that you’re speaking generically. You didn’t have any cars before and now you’ve added the concept of cars to your life. If you say ”en bil” you’re referring to one single specimen and often you don’t need to state that it’s a single one, especially since you had none before.

This example is a bit tricky but you could perhaps say the same thing. You have no need of stating that it’s one single dress that she’s wearing so you can omit it.

This is a very blurry topic and there are no straight answer, and if you look in the most complete Swedish grammar there is you’ll find that ”the usage [of leaving out the indefinite pronoun] is incompletely mapped out”.


Thanks for the answer. I was trying to find an example in my own language, but I don't think it exists. It sounds like something you just have to learn by heart and slowly get an intuitive feeling for.


It’s clear enough when we actually deal with things you can count, like köpa bil (buy a car), skriva brev (write a letter), bygga hus (build a house).

Of course you can also skriva ett brev but then you’re sort of focusing that you’re writing one letter rather than focusing on the action of writing, where the number of letters are of less importance.

These sort of turn into semi-fixed expressions. It’s less clear when you have more abstract nouns and then it’s common in more formal language to leave it out: känna ansvar (feel [a] responsibility), ha möjlighet (have [a] possibility)


From the perspective of an English speaker... In english, "a"/"an" is just an indefinite article, and it is usually required if there is just one thing. But in Swedish, en/ett also means "one". So any time you say en/ett there is this dual meaning. So I can see why it would be optional in many more cases, especially if it is a situation like this sentence where it is already obvious that there is only one.


Hoi Marieke, misschien is 'autorijden' zo iets. Je kunt '(in) een auto rijden', maar dat 'een' laat je weg, want het gaat niet om die ene auto. Net zo: speerwerpen, feestvieren enz. Misschien gaat de vergelijking niet helemaal op ('autorijden' enz. zijn vaste combinaties terwijl 'köpa bil' dat niet zal zijn), maar het komt in de buurt, denk ik.


Hey Gaston en Marieke, deze discussie heeft inmiddels al een aardige baard gekregen, maar toch nog een toevoeging :).

Voor mijn gevoel kun je het geval van 'de prinses met (een) lange jurk' in het Nederlands wel redelijk een-op-een gebruiken. Meer algemeen geldt dat denk ik voor 'bijvoeglijke' constructies zoals deze met het voorzetsel 'met'. Maar het Zweeds gaat hierin verder, zoals Lundgren8 ook schetst.

Zoals Gaston ook al schetst, zie je het ook terug in sommige Nederlandse samengestelde werkwoorden die vaste samenstellingen zijn geworden.

Maar misschien is het nog verder te trekken. Het weglaten lijkt alleen te gebeuren bij de onbepaalde lidwoorden. In het Nederlands maken we onderscheid tussen 'één' en 'een'. Beschouw het verschil tussen 'iemand één brief schrijven' en 'iemand een brief schrijven'. Hier zie je het verschil in nadruk op enerzijds de brief en anderzijds het schrijven, zoals Lundgren8 al aangaf: ("Of course you can also skriva ett brev but then you’re sort of focusing that you’re writing one letter rather than focusing on the action of writing, where the number of letters are of less importance.") Dus misschien is dat [één vs. een] wel de manier zoals het Nederlands hiermee omgaat.

PS Erg leuk om bekende auteurs hier op Duolingo tegen te komen! :)


Hey Gaston, je voorbeelden lijken inderdaad wel op de Zweedse. Wat ik me ook kan voorstellen: zoiets als 'met zware stem'. Zoals je het bij een werkwoord gebruikt. Of: hij doet iets met tegenzin.


The best translation I can think of after reading your explanation of the "generic" sense of words is "The boy letter-writes". It's neither the singular nor plural sense to make it a compound verb like that and it's not definite or indefinite. For your other example I'd think "We went car-buying" which actually doesn't sound too unnatural (I'm sure I've heard people use shoe-shopping which doesn't specify how many shoes), but a closer match to your example would be the much more awkward: "We have car-bought".
Generic sense unlocked!


That's quite understandable in Chinese. I'll give some examples for those who's also learning Chinese.

”Vi har köpt bil” = "我们买车了". Everybody will know y'all have bought ONE car without stating the amount, even if you can also say "我们买了一辆车".

"Det står en prinsessa med lång klänning utanför dörren. " = "门外有一位身着长裙的公主". One person can only wear one long dress, of course, so there is no need to stress the amount. In this sentence, the amount of princess is much more important than the amount of long dress. So the less important amount can often be omitted.


Thanks for the explanation, this is interesting! I wonder if there are any cognates that exist in English? The only one I can think of is "He catches cold" which is the same as "He catches a cold"... but this may just be an idiomatic expression. (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/catch_a_cold)


"She is with child" is the first one that pops into my mind.


In English we have set phrases. "He stood with gun in hand" "She had cup in hand" Its rather general, and you assume one cup maybe, but it doesn't really matter! "Sat with pen in hand" etc.


What if I had a car before can I say vi köpt en bil


Same in Greek language. "Αγοράζω αυτοκίνητο" and "Αγοράζω ένα αυτοκίνητο" have the same difference.


I'm reminded of phrases I've heard in British media like someone saying 'go to hospital.' In Americanish, we always use the article 'go to the hospital' or 'go to a* hospital,' etc. So, I will try to learn this 'incompletely mapped out' aspect of Swedish much as I've grown accustomed to hearing Brits drop articles, too.

*is that an article? That part of speech, anyways.


that's slightly different, though. go to hospital in BE means go there to take advantage of the services there (i.e. you're a patient, for instance) and the building is less important; you can say go to the hospital, in fact, you have to, when you actually want to emphasise the actual physical building


OMG! You are right about this being a "blurry topic." In English, we have to use words that indicate the amount or number ... but apparently this isn't the case with Swedish. Let me ask you about the example you gave. It seems that regardless of whether you use the phrase, "Vi har kopt bil" or "Vi har kopt en bil" ... the reference is still about one car and only one. Is that correct? That's the way I'm comprehending it, as I'm assuming that if more than one car is indicated that the word would be 'bilar.' So, I'm still a bit confused ....


This was super helpful, thanks.


yet, when I wrote just long dress, the program did not accept it as a correct answer


English needs it.


stupid English


I'm tired of my wife telling me this twice a week. I need to stop playing so many RPGs, the queue at my door is becoming a problem


Does this sentence imply that she is wearing the dress? I thought one would need some variation of har på sig to indicate that; I assumed that she was holding the dress rather than wearing it, but other comments here suggest that she is wearing it...


I agree, since it's not specified that she's wearing it (har på sig, or variation), it seems like it would mean that she just had it in her possession. Then again, there's also no specific phrase describing it as being in her hands/holding onto it, like 'håll tag (i)' (hold onto). Maybe the lack of a phrase like that is supposed to indicate to the reader that she then must be wearing it?


I'm still waiting for this moment. When will it come true?


Here I come. Long dress and all. Just kidding.


Is "A princess in a long dress is standing outside of the door" not correct, or just missing?


I believe it is a reference to Hans Christian Andersens "Prinsessen på ærten".


I'm sure on my next trip to Sweden there will be many opportunities to use this phrase ...............


I indicated she was wearing a long dress. Was she carrying it? How to tell the difference?


is she holding the dress in her hands, or is "står med en klänning" another way to say "wear a dress"?


This 'princess with the long dress outside the door' tell her that the ball is tomorrow night.


I think it assumes she is wearing the dress.


"There is a pricess standing with a long dress outside the door" is wrong?


To me, that would mean the princess is holding the dress, not wearing it. Since "with a long dress" modifies "princess," they can't be separated.


I think IN a long green dress is better in English. To me WITH a long green dress sounds like she's holding a dress in her hands.


how come no article is needed after "med"


People have tried to answer this, scroll up ^


ah sorry, I remember checking when i was on my phone and not seeing anything at the time... awkward phone interfaces!


Why not "there is standing" but only "there is" is recommended?

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