Don't know if it's legal, but it is very good.
In my case this habit has developed out of the fact that whenever making köttbullar (or pyttipanna for that matter), I almost always make gravlax too (it's the one Swedish food that everyone in my house can agree on), and I always end up with both left over köttbullar and left over gravlaxsås, but almost never any left over gravlax, so I often put gravlaxsås on the sandwiches I make with the left over köttbullar in place of Dijon mustard.
Sure, it's quite similar. And in practice, you might of course say "with the meatballs" even if the precise location of the mustard would be on the meatballs.
But in a course that teaches a language through translation, it's important to be aware of the exact meaning of the sentence. "på köttbullarna" unequivocally means "on the meatballs".
How would one say, "He puts mustard on his meatballs," in Swedish? (As in, "Usually, when he eats meatballs, he eats them with mustard.")
(Sorry if this was already answered; for some reason the comments are out of order and I can't figure out which replies go with which comments.)
Sorry, we can't help you. If we add 'in the meatballs' as an accepted answer, that'll be shown to other users as 'another correct answer' – which it obviously isn't, because that would be i köttbullarna in Swedish. You'll have to live with learning some English too, I'm afraid.
I'd more naturally express it some other way (with basically a different sentence). Such is language ;)
Indeed! If you can come up with a way of expressing this naturally in English, I think a lot of confused people in this thread would be interested... But of course, it is unlikely that one single translation would map perfectly onto all the different possible usages and nuances of an expression.
I guess "Han har senap på slipsen" would be an easier sentence to translate. :-)
I'm starting to develop an unhealthy obsession with mustard and meatballs, but it struck me that there's a fine line between "Han har senap på köttbullarna" and "Han har senap på sina köttbullar". In many cases, you might use either, but in some, they carry a slightly different nuance.
The former is the more neutral sentence -- there's mustard on the meatballs. The latter can carry a hint of a contrast: It could be that there are different foodstuffs on the plate, and you want to stress that the mustard is specifically on the meatballs. Or it could be that several people are eating meatballs, and only this guy has mustard on his ones. Or it could be used just as the former sentence.
Both sentences can mean various things depending on what part of the sentence one stresses.
I guess the main lesson to be learned from this sentence is that one doesn't need to define whose meatballs they are in Swedish as often as one does in English.
If I went with "He has mustard on his meatballs", it also makes sense, but to me it implies a little less agency, like maybe they just come with mustard as per the menu, and he may or may not like that fact. I think the biggest trip-up for me and the other English speakers is actually "the meatballs", instead of "his meatballs". Saying "he has mustard on the meatballs" just sounds like an L2 error to me :/ Somehow the sentence needs to show that the meatballs belong to the subject.
Yeah, it's really hard to find exact equivalents in meaning between languages, even when you use the same words. Thinking about this sentence more, I suppose I'd say something like "He got mustard on his meatballs", where "got" implies "ordered" or "requested". Like "What did John get??" - "Oh, he got mustard on his meatballs. I got bbq sauce on mine." The context I'm imagining is having dinner out with friends and someone comments on the friend who got meatballs w/ mustard. But in isolation this is ambiguous, because "got" could also imply an accident, like someone next to him splashed mustard on his plate when they were dispensing it. Hahaha, this is really tough.
True, but "he has" sounds a bit unnatural to me. The only context I can think of is if there were two orders of meatballs, one with mustard, and people were trying to explain which order belongs to which person. I would use "he puts" to describe a specific person's taste, like he likes mustard on his meatballs. What context comes to mind for "Han har senep på köttbullarna"? Now that I think about it, the part that feels the most unnatural in the English translation is "the meatballs" instead of "his meatballs"
It feels completely natural to a Swedish speaker.
He has meatballs, mashed potato and hopefully some vegetables on his plate. He has mustard on the meatballs. He could also not have any mustard at all, or he might have the mustard on the plate, but not touching the meatballs (you know how some people are very strict about things like that).
You wouldn't use "han har" for a general statement of liking mustard with his meatballs, that would be "han gillar" or "han tycker om" or, depending on the context, even "han vill ha" or "han äter".
No, for three reasons.
1: lägger senap sounds really weird, lägger requires that we feel something is 'lying down' after the action, and that feels absurd about mustard.
2. på köttbullar is indefinite, 'on meatballs' – maybe if he does this habitually somehow? perhaps he works as a cook? anyway, not in this sentence.
3. There is no sense of direction in the Swedish sentence Han har senap på köttbullarna. It does not mean that he puts mustard on them, it means that he/someone else has already done so.