"Vargen äter den svarta ankan."

Translation:The wolf is eating the black duck.

December 27, 2014

This discussion is locked.


why is it the plural 'svarta' instead of the singular 'svart' here?


Svarta (and other -a forms) are used in plural and definite.


Why is "Hästen är svart" correct for "the horse is black" when "the horse" is a definite, but in the case of this sentence it's "svarta" when "the duck" is definite? Is it just the use of "den" in this sentence?


Whenever it is a predicative adjective (ig. The horse is black.), it is svart, but when it is a descriptive adjective for plurals and/or definites, (ig. The black duck[s].), it is svarta.

Hope that helped! :D


So you are saying that for "The duck is black". Black is svart. But for "The black duck" black is svarta. I think I get it now. Thank you


Back to (hopefully) get things right, because one month ago me was slightly incorrect. When there's an adjective before the noun in definite form, den and det must be used and the adjective takes the plural form. If the adjective is later in the sentence, it is in singular form and is either en or ett form based on the gender of the noun.


ok thanks...that makes sense. So a simple example might be "den vita hästen" versus "hästen är vit".


and why is 'a white wine' - 'ett vitt vin' and not 'ett vita vin'?


Because that's an adjective before the noun in indefinite form.


If it's like German, I think it's that "svart" uses the ett style because it's at the end of the sentence as opposed to in front of the noun. At that point, if I'm correct, all the adjectives take an ett form. Google Translate doesn't seem to agree with me, though. I don't see this in the Adj 1 or Adj 2 explanation sections, so if it's a special rule, perhaps it should be added there.


Think you're probably right...maybe a native speaker could please clarify this?


This seems to be another common feature between Swedish and Dutch which are not numerous but seem to be somewhere quite deep in the language history.


Why is it "den" here?


When you use an adjective together with the definitive form of a noun you generally need the definitive article den/det before the adjective.

  • "The wolf eats the duck." - "Vargen äter ankan"
  • "I eat the read apple." - "Jag äter det röda äpplet."
  • "I eat the apple." - "Jag äter äpplet."

There are a few exceptions where den/det may be left out.

  • "Jag tar stora vägen till staden." - "I take the large road to the city." (It is till right to say "Jag tar den stora vägen till staden" in this case.
  • Jag tar gröna linjen. - "I take the green line."


@gramphos, what is the rule for this exception?
Can we write, "Jag äter röda äpplet" instead of "Jag äter det röda äpplet." OR "Jag läser röda boken" instead of "Jag läser den röda boken" OR "Jag läser röda böckerna" instead of "Jag läser de röda böckerna"?


Whenever you have an adjective describing a noun, you also need either an article or a pronoun.


So, formerly or actually there is no exception in this situation.


Ah, sorry, I didn't realise the above post was talking about exceptions. It's mostly a few words like hela, nästa that don't take the article. Also, if an adjective is part of the name of a noun, you don't need the article (e.g. högsta domstolen).


How do you know when to use det and when to use den? Does it depend on whether the word is an ett word or an en word?


Yes, isn't it like a double "the" in the same sentence to type -den and -ankan?


Triple, actually, since svarta is also the definite form.


I think that black duck is actually a crow


The black duck says "quack!" to that. :) [ Den svarta ankan säger "quack!" (maybe have that right? De or Den? ]


what disturbs me is "den" in the sentence, why not say " vargen äter svarta ankan, as we speak here of a definite noun (ankan)?


gramphos already commented about this, but the reason we use "den/det" is because there is an adjective before the definite noun.

"Vargen äter ankan" = The wolf eats the duck (no adj.).

"Vargen äter den svarta ankan" = The wolf eats the black duck (adj. before def. noun).

Hope this helps!


In that sense if I just want to say "black duck" I would say -svårt anka


svart anka, yes. :)


What if is "the dogs are black" it would still be "hunden är svart" ? Or it would be svarta?


It'd be "hundarna är svarta".


I still don't understand the use of svartA here. That duck certainly seems definite to me. I don't understand how something indefinite could be eaten.


I'm not entirely sure what you mean - svarta is the definite form, it's "the" duck that's being eating. Not an indefinite.


I thought svarta is the plural form. ?

And it looks as though I misread an earlier comment, and I thought svarta was indefinite.


Yes, but it's the norm for Swedish adjectives to have the same word form for the plural as for the definite.


I am so confused. Earlier in in this lesson (I'm in level 1) there was a something doing something to a BLACK SINGULAR (I remember that much lol) and it was "svart".


svart is the indefinite form so I assume the sentence was about an indefinite then.


I tried to translate the sentence in google translate, and den svarta ankan apparently means The black widow...


Nah, that's svarta änkan. a and ä are totally different letters.


It annoys me, that English based services ignore that 'a' and 'ä' (and others) are different letters. To make this clear to English natives - it's like saying 'horse' and 'house' are the same.


You made it clear not only for native English speakers but as well for those who learn both English and Swedish ;)


I just really wanted to add a crying face at the end of that sentence. But at least I'll remember den svarta ankan forever now.


Is it correct to say "Vargen äter de svarta anka"? So you use "de" instead of "den"?


No, de is the plural of the article. If the wolf eats two ducks, you can say Vargen äter de svarta ankorna. 'The wolf eats the black ducks'. But for one black duck, you can only say den svarta ankan.


Oh, i understand. Thanks!


so if it was 'the black ducks' would it be 'de svarta ankorna' instead of den?


Will you sound dumb if you get the plurals/word genders wromg while speaking?


Maybe if you're an adult native consistently getting basic grammar wrong. Obviously learners have a lot more leeway. :)


After working on German articles/genders for so long, the introduction of using "den" here gave me whiplash.


Is "De vita vinet" correct for the white wine?


det vita vinet, yes.

de is the plural form.


I wonder why this is "den svarta ankan" instead of "svart ankan", because I thought the -a is for plural words? I also wonder what for instance "the blue egg" becomes in Swedish; will this become "det blåa ägget" then? And will "the orange book" become "den orange boken"?

Thanks in advance!


Almost all Swedish adjectives have the same form for the definite as for the plural.

Both of your examples are correct. Though you accidentally selected two of the very few adjectives in Swedish that have confusing or multiple definite forms. :)


Okay, thanks a lot!


I guess i don't understand why "the wolf is eating that black duck" is incorrect. Any help?


I don't get it. anka is an "en" word and "the duck" is singular so why the plural form of the color? thanks

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