"The cook always cooks tasty food."

Translation:Kocken lagar alltid god mat.

December 26, 2014

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I thought I’d take the opportunity to explain some differences between god and bra.

God is obviously related to the English word ’good’ whereas bra is a later word borrowed into Swedish, related to the English word ’brave’, this has now become the standard word for ’good’, but god is still used in some contexts.

I am going to give you some examples when god is used, and then usually bra is used in the other senses that are not mentioned here. God is declined god gott goda whereas bra doesn’t change. Bra also means ’well’, as in the adverb (he did it well), which can also be ’väl’.

Also, the -d in god is often silent, especially when another word comes after, as in this example.


Sense 1

God is used when you describe something tasty, as in this example.

  • Pastan var väldigt god. (The pasta was very tasty/good.)

In this case, the comparative and superlative (better, best) is usually godare, godast.

  • Pastan var god, men potatisen var godast. (The pasta was tasty, but the potatoes were the tastiest.)

Sense 2

God is also used to mean ’good’ as opposed to ’evil’, i.e. good-hearted or morally good.

  • Hon är en god människa. (She is a good person.)
  • Vilka vinner? De goda eller de onda? (Who will win? The good or the evil?)

In this case, the comparative and superlative are bättre bäst.

  • Jag ska försöka bli en bättre människa. (I am going to try to be a better person.)

Sense 3

God also means ’having the necessary requirements to work well, skilled’ (about a person) or ’of good quality’ about a thing.

This is a bit more abstract and the sort of ’core meaning’ of god. Usually bra can replace this sense, but often in some of these examples, god is preferred because they are almost semi-fixed expressions. The comparative and superlative are bättre bäst.

  • Han är verkligen en god (bra) simmare! (He is a really good swimmer!)
  • Jag har ett gott (bra) minne. (I have a good memory.)
  • Har du något gott (bra) råd? (Do you have any good advice?)
  • Var en god förlorare och acceptera nederlaget! (Be a good sport and accept your defeat!)
  • Din idé var god (bra), men min är bättre! (Your idea was good, but mine is better!)

This sense is used in the fixed phrases for greetings etc. as well.

  • God jul! (Merry Christmas!)
  • God natt! (Good night!)
  • Varsågod! (You’re welcome!)

Sense 4

Finally, god also means ’big, quite a bit’, typically in some expressions. This sense is not used in the comparative or superlative. This sense can also sometimes be replaced by ’bra’

  • Han vann med god marginal. (lit. ’He won with a big margin’, i.e. no one was even close behind.)
  • Jag ska göra det i god tid. (I’m going to do it in time., lit. ’in good time’)
  • Vi väntade en god (bra) stund! (We waited for quite a bit!, lit. ’We waited for a good time’, i.e. ’a long time’.)
  • Du måste gå en god (bra) bit längre. (You have to walk quite a bit further.)


Interesting, that the usage in "Sense 4" is very close to German, but we also use 'gut' in a sense of approximate amounts - is this also possible in Swedish? For example "Das dauert eine gute Stunde" - "It takes around one hour" - "Det tar en god (bra) timme"? (Mostly used in the sense, that it's very likely to take slightly a bit more than an hour)


I think it’s mostly used in certain fixed expressions. It sounds a bit weird saying en god/bra timme, however en god/bra stund works fine.


Thanks for your instant reply! So even Google has only one hit: https://www.google.de/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=%22det+tar+en+god+timme%22 - but this one sounds very German :)

(according to Google en god kilometer - which is the same construction - seems to work at least with Danish)


similar to English really - we say: "It's a good walk to get there" meaning it's a long way or long walk. Also "it will take a good hour to get there" meaning it will be at least an hour...


So not only learned some Swedish today - even my English got improved. Thanks a lot ;-)


Yes exactly. Number 4. works very much the same way in English. You could use good or fair in the exact same manner. eg. "You could walk there but it is a fair/good way/distance"


Tack så mycket! Jag behövde hjälp med det.


thanks very much!! But in the case of Vi väntade en god (bra) stund! is there a negative meaning? like we waited too much?


Yeah, it’s doesn’t sound like the speaker is annoyed, but if you have to specify that the waiting time was very long, I can imagine that it’s not positive at least.


Yes, "We waited a good while," in English, has the sense of waiting longer, perhaps much longer, than expected.


Tack så mycket! I'm curious though. Is "god" pronounced as the English word "God" or like "good"?


No, it's pronounced with the Swedish long O-sound. Wikipedia calls it "close back compressed vowel". But it's much closer to "good", than to "God".


I was really wondering about this since we visited Sweden several years ago. Could not quite grasp when to use 'god' and when to use 'bra'


kocken alltid lagar god mat was marked as wrong, does the verb always have to come second?


Yeah, and the adverb usually comes after the verb in main clauses.


The swedish bra has the same meaning that the Irish "go breá" (pronounced like in swedish), as far as i know...


I was also thinking about another link with Ireland. Swedish "bra" comes from English "brave". In Ireland we say, he's a brave age, or its a brave day. ...meaning "good" . Brave is also used for God in French. Un brave homme = à good man. Interesting.


Compare also Welsh braf (normally pronounced bra), meaning "excellent, splended, fine" and often used when talking about the weather.


Kocken lagar alltid smalfull mat. - this should also be accepted since "tasty" can mean both god and smakfull. Same goes for tasteful.

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