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You mean if there are two cats and you want both? Then you say "Jag vill ha båda" or "Jag vill ha båda katterna". "Jag vill ha både och katter" does not work. "Både och" comes without a noun after.
For your last example "Tycker du mer om katter eller hundar?" (or "Tycker du mest om katter eller hundar?"), then answer "Både och" works or even better "Jag tycker om både och".
And when we say 'båda [två]', the number 'two' is implicit, talking about two persons, things (Do you want the apple or the orange? - Båda [två]) -- While 'både och' substitute more elaborated phrases, maybe actions, maybe if someone asked me, Are you going on vacation or will you be working? - Både och. (One week at a conference, and then stay on another week, as a vacation)
Friswing's example is great! For persons you always use "båda" or "båda två". For objects, the difference is that apple and orange are concrete nouns and here "båda" or "båda (två)" is also preferred. "Både ock" works with actions (verbs) and abstract nouns (conference, vacation etc).
I think that friwing means that comparing the nouns apples and oranges is more concrete than comparing the acts of working and going on holiday.
To me, the best answer to "Vill du ha hunden eller katten?" is "Båda", but "både och" sounds okey too.
Båda = både hunden och katten
både och = jag vill ha både hunden och katten
I thought I understood både och and båda but the apples and oranges has thrown a spanner in the works.
I don't get how 'apple' is a more concrete noun than 'holiday'.
Perhaps, if you can touch the noun, it is båda and if not, then både?
I was of the understanding that 'både och' is used when discussing or comparing two items, like;
"Vill du ha hunden eller katten?" "Både och."
Please can you help?
It's probably one of the harder ones since it's one of those where the grammar differs from English the most. But it's also rather early in the tree, and there are some difficult lessons later on as well. Most of the upcoming ones concentrate on vocab rather than grammar, though.
Didn't the "ch" in "och" originally sound as [x] like in German? That could explain why it is written this way, unlike "og" in Danish, Norwegian or Icelandic.
No, I believe not, in Old Swedish it was spelled 'ock, or 'ok' as in Old Norse. Unfortunately Swedish spelling is not a very consistent system. A thing we really share with English :P I love Italian for its consistent spelling rules. From the beginning people didn't really have any rules. Late in time (around 1900) spelling reforms where imposed, but like I said, not very consistent rules.
ock in itself is actually not a variation of och, but also means "also". Like in other Germanic languages, it could also acquire a så, much like e.g. English "also". Eventually, också - in one word rather than two - became the prevailing option.
But as friswing says, older Swedish spelling is anything but consistent, so it can be hard to tell which is which even for scholars at times.