"We sleep before we eat."

Translation:Vi sover innan vi äter.

December 8, 2014

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I said "fore" instead of "innan" - so "fore" relies to physical location in space, and innan is more the concept in time?


No, not really. They used to have slightly different grammatical uses, but they're entirely interchangeable nowadays.


In the Tips Notes for this lesson you said that "innan" is one of those conjunctions/adverbs that might affect the sentence's word order.

I wrote "vi sover innan ater vi" but that was incorrect. Why is it considered wrong? What have I missed here?


Innan starts a subclause. In subclauses, the subject goes before the verb (and if there's an inte, it goes before the verb too).
So the deal is: main clause: verb second. Subclause: subject before verb.


Yes I get that but why isn't innan starting a subordinate clause here? What I mean is: why is the inversion here not accepted? And how do I know when to invert noun-verb? Im sorry for all these silly questions. I'm just passionate about Swedish.


Innan does start a subordinate clause here. The whole concept of 'inversion' isn't a good way of thinking about Swedish word order, if we have it in any of the lesson notes we should weed it out (they aren't searchable so I don't know).

The thing is this:

  • In main clauses, the verb goes second
  • In subclauses, the subject goes before the verb, and inte goes before the verb too.

This means that you may well have the subject before the verb in both a main clause and a subclause (but for different reasons), so it's not a good idea to call it "inversion".

So for instance in this specific case, the only difference in word order between main clause and subclause is where inte would appear if you put it in – it would be like this:
Vi sover inte innan vi Inte äter.
So as you can see, in the main clause inte would be after the verb, but in the subclause it would be before the verb. But since there isn't an inte in our sentence, both main clause and subclause get the same word order.


That gave me a headache but I think I got it! Hopefully in later lessons things like this will be covered! Tack!


do you always need the subject? can I say "vi sover innan äter"?


It's needed there. To say "vi sover innan äter" does not make sense.


I think that would be "We sleep before eat" which is wrong, but when we learn the present participles in a later lesson, maybe we won't need the subject ?: "We sleep before eating".


We don't use the present participles that way in Swedish, so that won't work either (we use them mainly as adjectives). If you really really want to skip the second subject, you'd have to switch to a noun instead: Vi sover innan maten works, which literally means 'We sleep before the food', only it sounds natural.


And how does the sentence "Vi sover innan att äta" sound in Swedish, if we desperately wanted to avoid repeating the "vi" pronoun? :-) I think this construction might work in Norwegian.


Nope. Gotta repeat the "vi".


Huh, that's just like in German. Good to know.


But would a Swedish native understand what we meant if we got it wrong but used these main words?


Varför inte "innanför vi äter"?


innanför is only used in a spatial sense. It can be translated as inside or within in English, but not before.


More common: "vi sover innan maten"

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