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  5. "They eat at night."

"They eat at night."

Translation:De äter på nätterna.

December 27, 2014



Why is it på nätterna and not på nätten?


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


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?


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?


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?


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


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

Why is it not ''De äter på nätt''?


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


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


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


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!


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.


Hey, can we use kväll/kvällenar instead?


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?"


'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!


    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.


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


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


    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.


    There as to be some form of logic behind this o_o


    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?


    "Natt" has an irregular plural:

    Natt, nätter
    Natten, nätterna

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


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


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


    Natten? I think to that natt is correct answer.


    Swedish wants the definite, English doesn't.


    Why "under natten" is invalid?


    under natten = during the night


    I read the discussion above but still confused. Answers to both questions "When is their usual, everyday mealtime?" and "I remember they made a late reservation, what time are they eating today?" should be "De äter på nätterna"?


    So in what frame would 'natt' be used?


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


    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.


    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?


    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.


    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.


    Does this preference for the definite form apply to all the other expressions for days, seasons, years and etc.? For example, "in winter" is "på vinteren" or "på vintrana"?

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