Could someone explain the structure of this sentence, and why it wouldn't be something like, "Skriver bruker du brev?"?
"Brukar" is a modal verb, so it comes before the main verb (skriva), even though it is a question. The main verb and subject are flipped in a question, not the modal verb and main verb.
And it is only the modal verb that is conjugated (brukar), the main verb has to be an infinitive (skriva). "Brukar du skriva?"
Interesting. Quite different from how it's constructed in English. Is there a Swedish adverb that corresponds to "usually"?
Yes. Vanligtvis/vanligen. But you should learn to use "brukar" nonetheless. It's a common verb.
Not so different, actually. Think of brukade (past tense) as "used".
jag brukade skriva brev. = I used to write letters.
Is there really no word for "brukar" in English? In German I would say: "Pflegst du Briefe zu schreiben?" Maybe a little bit old-fashioned, but appropriate.
We do have a verb for this, and it's pretty common: tend. I don't know why Duo doesn't accept it! I tend to write letters is a perfectly good and ordinary English sentence, and as far as I can make out it has the same meaning as jag brukar skriva brev - unless there's some subtlety to brukar that I'm missing.
I think also "to be wont/used to" translates "bruka", but they don't seem to agree with me.
They have one, it's just that they don't use it in the present tense. But used to means brukade in past tense.
Thank you! Long ago a teacher told me, that English is the language with the most words. But Swedish seem to bee the language with the most verbs. Fascinating.
I know what they mean when they say English has a lot of words, but it depends on how you count. If you start counting all our compound nouns, Swedish could have a lot more words than English. :P
Yes we have...If you translate....Brukar...to a two word verb (usually do) it goes right
Unlike English, in Spanish we have a perfect equivalent for "bruka", in case there's any Spanish-speaking person out there, I just realized "soler" means exactly the same as "bruka". ¡¡¡Vamos Argentina!!!! :)
Same for Portuguese. The corresponding verb is "Costumar". e.g. "Você costuma escrever cartas?"
I'm not sure where exactly we learned what a model verb is. It is hard when they don't even teach us sentence building in English class to grasp the terms here! I know my French sentence building, however. I don't get it. Brukar is this modal verb, but it is skriva you are changing, so does the list of "does not need att" mean that the verb itself (on the list) requires no att, or that words use with the words on the list require no att? I'm not sure I explained my question right. I'm having trouble asking it.
We usually send people off to this topic, did you read it? https://www.duolingo.com/comment/7075383
This is Infinitive 1 and the modal verbs aren't taught until a little later, which isn't optimal of course. So unless you're backtracking, you won't be able to access this yet: https://www.duolingo.com/skill/sv/Verbs:-Modal
There it says that
Modality is what allows us to attach things such as belief, attitude, and obligation to statements. This means that words such as must, may, want, are all modal verbs.
Then it goes on to compare things like I eat and I want to eat. If you're saying I eat, that's just a fact, but I want to eat is an attitude already, so that's what modal verbs are. – After verbs like this, you can't have att before another verb in the infinitive. So we say Jag måste läsa, but if you add att in between there, it'll just be wrong.
But then there are many cases where both ways are possible. In point 3 in the post by Zzzzz... , you can add att if you want to.
The post you linked didn't help clear up what I was wondering about: is the list of no-att words the words which when in use with another word then that other word doesn't need an att?
Another way of putting it: An infinitive usually go together with 'att' (att gå, att åka, att äta). But if the infinitive is preceeded by a modal verb the 'att' is dropped: Jag måste gå, Jag ska åka, Jag vill äta (no 'att' is dividing the two verbs). Hope this helped you?!
The comments below suggest that "Brukar du + infinitive?" should not be rendered as "Are you used to + infinitive?" So how about: "Is it usual for you to write letters?" Could this be an acceptable translation? I know my sentence starts looking passive, but I do like the idea that "brukar" could be translated as a verb phrase rather than as an adverb...
Use tend! Do you tend to write letters? Duo doesn't seem to know this English verb, for some reason.
I'm afraid working around the translation to make "brukar" a verb in English too will not work, as it will most likely yield a sentence that is a little too bulky.
"tend to" is tendera in Swedish, and they differ enough that they cannot be considered synonymous.
No. In these sentences you use the infinitive without "att" (to). That is: "Brukar du skriva brev?" is the only way.
OK. Tack. I have seen some examples in the course where (att) was optional. Also It is interesting to me that Danish requires use of (at) in many situations where Swedish seems not to need (att). This is one of these.
In Swedish, and I would think also in Danish, the "att"-marker should disappear before the main verb if it is preceded by a modal verb.
"Jag vill skriva"
It also vanishes if the verb is connected to the object.
"Jag ser honom komma"
Then we have a great deal of verbs with modality where it is accepted to drop the "att" but not compulsory.
"Jag har slutat röka" - "Jag har slutat att röka"
Danish comments please?
Yes the "at" is sometimes dropped in Danish too. I have translated your examples and you can see that the first works the same in Danish and Swedish but not the others.
"Jeg vil skrive" (never "at" with vil)
"Jeg ser at han kommer" sounds best to me "Jeg ser ham komme" I think is also OK
"Jeg holdt op med at ryge" ("at" required I believe)
I am not a native speaker, and don't know any rules to refer to here. I'm just writing based on what I have heard and what sounds correct, backed up with confirmatory google searching to see these are used often and not the alternatives.
Yes, it seems like we have the same or very similar rules. The last sentence would be the same as in Danish, with the "at" if I would have chosen another verb like "slutar upp med att röka".
PS. Danish and Swedish were (and still are say some) the same language before the Danish hatred of our king Gustav Vasa grew to big :)
Then how would one say, "Usually you write letters." (Instead of sending e-mail, for instance.)
I have got the suggestion for the English translation: "Do you use to write letters?" That feels pretty wrong. I tried to answer with: "Are you used to write letters?" Which was graded to be wrong. What's your opionion?
I've removed do you use to as an accepted answer (sometimes we accept things that are not quite correct, for various reasons) but the reason Are you used to writing letters? is wrong is that it means Är du van vid att skriva brev? in Swedish. – brukar du asks whether you usually do something, not whether you are used to doing it.
The difference between English and Swedish, when we want to talk about a 'habit' is that we can use the verb 'brukar' also in the present tense. English can't. English has to rewrite and construct with the adverb 'usually'. "I usually write letters (on Sundays)" = Jag brukar skriva brev (på söndagar). "I used to write letters on Sundays when I was young." = Jag brukade skriva brev på söndagarna när jag var ung.
As far as I know, one can also say "I'm used to writing letters (on Sundays)".
But with a slight difference in meaning, like two different kinds of habits: I would translate "I'm used to writing" as "Jag har vanan" (a habit that has become a part of me, it is almost as if I cannot write letters any other weekday. But "I usually write letters on Sundays" is more of the verb jag brukar, I work all other week-days, so Sundays are the only possibility - I could write letters on Tuesdays, If I wasn't working.
It is confusing, because Swedish use different verbs with a slight difference in meaning, for 'different shades' of English used to. --- The English adjective/perfect participle = Swedish van vid (habit), e.g. He is used to hard work (to working hard), You will soon be/get used to it (du blir snart van, du vänjer dig snart) --- On the other hand we have the intransitive verb, always in past tense, "used to" = Sw. brukade, e.g. He used to say hello to me, but not anymore. He used to smoke a pipe, I used to live in London, when i was a child, Things are not what they used to be.
- skriva is the base form, the infinitive.
- skriv is the imperative form, as in e.g. giving an order.
I meant when do I distinguish between beukan and vanliga. Also, what is the difference between se and ser?
Brukar = a verb meaning "to do something habitually"
Vanlig = an adjective meaning "usual"
Se = to see
Ser = present tense of to see, i.e. I see, she sees etc.
To usually do is a modal verb in Swedish - bruka. So just like e.g. "having to do" = "must", or måste in Swedish, we follow the sentence structure for modal verbs.