"He is a child."

Translation:Han är ett barn.

January 1, 2015

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I'm a bit confused about the use of 'ett' and 'en', in the first 'basics' category I thought 'ett' was used for objects and 'en' was used for people (eg 'ett apple, en kvinna') but now it's 'ett barn' and 'en tidning' and it's completely thrown off my understanding


I am confused as well


I really wish someone would explain to me how and when to use 'ett' and 'en'. It would really improve my understanding of the language and make it easier on me. Send help

  • 1693

There are two articles: "en," which is common gender (all the formerly masculine and feminine together), and "ett" (or "et"), which is neuter. "Barn" is neuter and so takes "ett." By comparison, "flicka" ("girl") and "pojke" ("boy") are both common and so take "en." We just gotta memorize which goes with which! That's all I know so far. Hope it helps!


But how about the rule on "en tidning"?


There is no rule that says ett is for object. It just depends on the word. In english we have to remeber different plurals like cacti, octopi, geese, and moose, and we just have to remeber them. So in Swedish there really is no rule, you just have to learn what each word is.


I don't think there is a system. I heard that the majority if words are en though (maybe 75%)


I left my answer as Han är ett barn, but it said it was wrong and that it should be unge? Can someone explain it please.


is ett only for non living/people?


No: for example, barn are both living and people. It is a useful rule of thumb, but not absolute.

You really just have to memorize which are which class of nouns, same as grammatical gender in other languages.


How would i know it's "ett"?!

  • 1693

There is really only one way to do that: One memorizes that "barn" is neuter and therefore takes "ett."

One thing that one can try is to use some little trick to memorize a word's gender--some way that one can remember that "child" is neuter.

Then after that, I find that I get used to hearing "ett barn," or "der Spiegel" (German for "the mirror," masculine). And that word combination becomes more and more familiar until "it just sounds right." And it becomes automatic.

I hope that helps!


I thought ett were always after är. Why is here "Han är ett barn"?


How's 'barn' pronounced?


It’s with a long open /ɑː/ and then a retroflex /n/ [ɳ], i.e. an /n/ with the tongue curved back. Listen here.


Doesn't ett mean 'an' and not 'a'?


Also confused by this one


Why you translate barn one time as junge and another time as barn?


A" in Sweden can be en and ett so why if i put en it makes my answer incorect?

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