"He sleeps at any time."

Translation:Han sover när som helst.

December 23, 2014

This discussion is locked.


I am just wondering how is it that när som helst means at any time? When you translate the words individually, it seems kind of weird that combined, they would mean at anytime. Can anyone shed some light on this? I am rather curious.


It is not that easy to translate word by word. The construct "som helst" is used together with question words to form several words that translate to English words ending in -ever or -soever.

"när som helst" - whenever / anytime

"vem som helst" - whoever / whomever / anyone

"vad som helst" - whatever / anything

"hur som helst" - however / anyhow / anyway

"var som helst" - wherever / anywhere (as in it may be anywhere)

"vart som helst" - whithersoever / wherever / anywhere (as in we may go anywhere)

"vilken som helst" - whichever

"vilka som helst" - whichever (plural) / anyones

Of course there is an exception: you can not translate whyever in that way whyever that is.


I thought that I should point out that the "som helst" construct may be separated from the question word and still keep the meaning "soever" / "to any extent" / "at all".

Hon kan vara hur opassande som helst. - She can be soever inappropriate. / She can be inappropriate to any extent.

Viken person som helst som läser detta förstår. - "Any person (whatsoever/at all) who reads this understands."


Vilken can also mean any ? I though that it only meant which


Only together with som helst.


Tack så mycket (the response deserves the extra så mycket). That is actually very helpful, and logically makes sense (though I feel as though remembering the any- versions will be more difficult).


Seems easier just to say 'till alltider'


This is immensely helpful! Tack!


So helpful! Tack sa mycket.


Coincidentally, I fell asleep last night with this sentence still displayed.


Great answer gramphos ;) Tack så så så mycket :) Is it possible to use more than one så? :D


Thank you. You don't stack like that, but you may add any number of väldigt between så and mycket.

Regarding the answer I should probably expand a little bit on how to build sentences with the words since some of the English words based on the question words have slightly different usage than the corresponding Swedish word.

There are somewhat uncommon used compound words that more closely related to the words whenever, whoever, whatever and wherever than the corresponding "som helst" constructs. These are, in order, närhelst, vemhelst, vadhelst and varhelst/varthelst. Like I said above they are probably considered old parlance and I didn't really think about them when I wrote the answer above. I only got to think about them as I thought about making good examples of how to translate different sentences using common English usage of the word and still preserve the relation to the Swedish word in the translation.

Here follows example sentences, usage of the old style word and finally how you would say it today.

  • Whenever you want. - Närhelst du vill. - När du vill.
  • Whoever finds it keeps it. - Vemhelst som hittar den få behålla den. - Den som hittar den får behålla den. (He/She who finds it keeps it)
  • Take whatever you want. - Tag vadhelst du vill ha. - Ta vad du än vill ha.
  • Wherever you want. - Varhelst/Varthelst du vill. - Var/vart du vill.


Kan den första meningen vara "När du än vill"?


Ja, det fungerar men känns inte jättevanligt.


It helps me to try to connect the literal meaning of words in phrases like this to their intended meaning. Here is my attempt.

So i looked up the individual words,

När som helst means När "when" som as helst (most) readily

helst seems to be a superlative form of gerne, meaning "most readily, most preferably, most willingly, with greatest pleasure" see the danish here: https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/gerne

so in my brain this makes some sense: in English we often say "whenever you want" when we mean that the time is not important. Swedish is instead saying "when as most willingly" (or perhaps it could be more liberally translated as "when it comes most willingly") which is not all that different.

building on the helpful posts of gramphos, it makes sense that this can be done with other words:

vad som helst = anything ("what comes most willingly")

vem som helst = anyone ("who comes most willingly")



Why is both när som helst and när om helst correct (if om = about)?


"När om helst" is wrong. Possibly the system sees it as a typo and lets you get away with it.


And what would be "He sleeps at any time now"


"Han sover när som helst nu."

Which sounds weird out of context.

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