1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Swedish
  4. >
  5. "They eat at night."

"They eat at night."

Translation:De äter på nätterna.

December 27, 2014

37 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Newton7

Why is it på nätterna and not på nätten?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pomeline2

I believe it is på natterna because 'they eat at night' implies that they eat at night every night and not just this one night.. and in swedish you therefore say 'the nights', making clear you mean every night, but I'm not swedish and I could be wrong


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Antonio_Sou

I think maybe it's because 'på natten' would be reffering to that particular night, whereas 'på natterna' means it's something they do every night?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gramphos

I think it should be på natten.

I would translate "De äter på nätterna" to "They eat during the nights.". Can you say "They eat at nights" in English or would that not make sense to a native ear?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Newton7

You can say "They eat during the night" yeah. So I'd want to translate "the night" without making it "the nights", and I think that'd be right. So på natten should probably be how this is translated?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gramphos

Yes, I would translate "They eat at night" to "De äter på natten".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/the-scientist

But doesn't ''natten'' mean ''the night'' instead of just ''night''.

Why is it not ''De äter på nätt''?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arnauti

natt is 'night' (definite singular is natten 'the night')
nätter is 'nights' (definite plural is nätterna 'the nights')
It's just an irregular plural.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/apwohalyptica

@the-scientist I came here for the same question!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ehsan.1984

did u understand it? I still do not know why not på natt after checking dudes all feedback


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KiwiDressager

Is this another case of English preferring the indefinite and Swedish using the definite form? Much like the seasons. In English we would say simply summer to mean the summertime whereas in Swedish we specify THE summer to mean the same. Just saying summer (or in this case natt) is a more general reference to the season rather than specifying in the summertime. As in the setting of listing the seasons or times of day or saying god natt etc....

Arnauti, can you clarify if I am on the right track here? This often catches me out!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arnauti

The thing is that the Swedish sentence is always the main sentence. And since the closest English translation of på nätterna is 'at night', that is what we get.
Both på natten and på nätterna translate into 'at night' in English, they don't have any closer translation of på nätterna.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/yoyomilou

Hey, can we use kväll/kvällenar instead?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dood8

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't "De äter på natterna" translate roughly to "They eat at/on the nights?" This is supposed to be "They eat at night," so shouldn't the translation be "De äter på natt?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arnauti

'at night' is på natten – we just don't use it without the definite article. It's a set phrase in both languages.

Edit 2016-12-18
I feel I was a bit unclear here. In Swedish, you can say either på natten or på nätterna and both mean 'at night'. på nätterna puts a little more stress on it being about several nights or nights in general, but 'at night' has this implication in English too so it covers both.


[deactivated user]

    Is this like "I morgon är det helg" (Tomorrow it is the weekend) but in reverse?

    ie. In "I morgon är det helg," Swedish doesn't say "the" before "weekend" (but English does).

    But in this question, Swedish says "the night" (or "the nights") but English doesn't (just "night").

    As you say, these are set phrases, so we must just learn them through exposure? (ie. There aren't any handy rules, right?) Thanks!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arnauti

    Yes. The thing is that in Swedish we can say either på natten or på nätterna but in English you say 'at night' but neither 'at nights' nor 'at the nights', you only have one option with 'at', so 'at night' covers both på natten and på nätterna.

    And for some reason, English wants it to be indefinite while Swedish wants it to be definite.

    There's no good rule for it, but at least there are some similar expressions: på dagen, på morgonen, på kvällen 'during the day, in the morning, in the evening' på förmiddagen, på eftermiddagen 'during morning', 'in the afternoon'…

    Also compare to how you can say 'in the evening' OR 'in the evenings' in English. på kvällen, på kvällarna. Same difference.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gramphos

    Note that "They eat at dusk/dawn." would be "De äter i skymningen/gryningen" rather than .


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/thorr18

    No weirder than English. "I eat on Saturday" and yet you never say "I eat on night".


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gramphos

    I'm not sure. You would say kvällen, morgonen, dagen and natten; but for some reason you use i gryningen, i skymningen and i ottan.

    Even more confusing you say "mitt dagen" meaning "in the middle of the day" or noon, but "mitt i natten" for "in the middle of the night" (which is generally not at midnight)

    When you have a precise time as "at midnight" you use vid midnatt, or "at around four" - "vid fyratiden"

    Maybe someone else here can shed some light on this.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Shanhearts

    There as to be some form of logic behind this o_o


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dood8

    Why nätten and not nätt? Nätten would be the night, no? They eat at the night? Does på mean in more than at in this context?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zmrzlina

    "Natt" has an irregular plural:

    Natt, nätter
    Natten, nätterna

    Also, this is a case where English prefers the indefinite while Swedish wants the definite.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KusadakNaN

    Natten? I think to that natt is correct answer.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zmrzlina

    Swedish wants the definite, English doesn't.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/4070milesapart

    "De äter på natten" and "De äter på nätterna" are both accepted solutions. Is there a difference in meaning between them?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dawid.paszko

    Why "under natten" is invalid?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zmrzlina

    under natten = during the night


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Muriel_11

    Can someone please explain the difference between 'om', 'på' and 'i' because I keep messing them up.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ThePRG

    Since we are all for correct translations, in this case it should be "på natt". "på nätterna" is "at the nights".


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arnauti

    No, because 'på natt' is not correct in Swedish. at night is på natten. As was already explained in this thread, Swedish wants the definite form in this expression, English doesn't.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ThePRG

    Thank you, but I still do not understand why I only see "på nätterna" as the only correct version. It is "at the nights", isn't it?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arnauti

    på natten is also accepted, but the way Duo is built, the sentences in the language that is being taught are really the main sentences. So we wrote this sentence in Swedish where it's natural to say either på nätterna or på natten (with a tiny difference in nuance) but since it isn't natural to say 'at the nights' in English, both these translate into English as at night.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arnauti

    PS if you happen to speak Russian (I clicked your user page and thought you might) you can tell the difference: på natten is like ночью and på nätterna is по ночам. But both those are at night in English.

    Learn Swedish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.