"Brukar du skriva brev?"

Translation:Do you usually write letters?

January 3, 2015

63 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/ValiantCashew

Could someone explain the structure of this sentence, and why it wouldn't be something like, "Skriver bruker du brev?"?

January 3, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Super-Svensk

"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.

January 3, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/friswing

And it is only the modal verb that is conjugated (brukar), the main verb has to be an infinitive (skriva). "Brukar du skriva?"

January 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/bartosso

Is it an airplane? Is it an owl? No! It's Super-Svensk!

July 19, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/ValiantCashew

Jag ser, tack för din svår.

January 3, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Super-Svensk

Varsågod!

January 3, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/NogoBogo

Interesting. Quite different from how it's constructed in English. Is there a Swedish adverb that corresponds to "usually"?

November 11, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Zmrzlina

Yes. Vanligtvis/vanligen. But you should learn to use "brukar" nonetheless. It's a common verb.

November 11, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Altomar_

Not so different, actually. Think of brukade (past tense) as "used".

jag brukade skriva brev. = I used to write letters.

Edited.

December 1, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/devalanteriel

Slight correction, brukar doesn't take att.

December 1, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/ValentinCordier

If I understand well, you don't use "att" when there's a modal verb?

January 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/friswing

Exactly!

January 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/ValentinCordier

Great, thanks!

January 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Boddason

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.

January 14, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/ninady1980

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.

November 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/as2907

I think also "to be wont/used to" translates "bruka", but they don't seem to agree with me.

January 14, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Arnauti

They have one, it's just that they don't use it in the present tense. But used to means brukade in past tense.

January 14, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Boddason

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.

January 14, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Arnauti

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

January 14, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/JavadMousa3

Yes we have...If you translate....Brukar...to a two word verb (usually do) it goes right

January 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/pablo14099

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!!!! :)

November 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/dennie54

Att ge exempel i spanska hjälp min svenska. Amé Buenos Aires.

April 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/AneSNas

Same for Portuguese. The corresponding verb is "Costumar". e.g. "Você costuma escrever cartas?"

July 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/MonsieurCal

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.

August 23, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Arnauti

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.

August 23, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MonsieurCal

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?

August 23, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/friswing

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?!

August 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MonsieurCal

Yes thank you.

August 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Rakhelii

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...

March 14, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/ninady1980

Use tend! Do you tend to write letters? Duo doesn't seem to know this English verb, for some reason.

November 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Zmrzlina

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.

March 14, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Beanybadger

See above- 'tend to' is a pretty good translation of brukar

February 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/devalanteriel

"tend to" is tendera in Swedish, and they differ enough that they cannot be considered synonymous.

February 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/km1

Can you say "Brukar du att skriva brev?"

January 11, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/friswing

No. In these sentences you use the infinitive without "att" (to). That is: "Brukar du skriva brev?" is the only way.

January 11, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/km1

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.

January 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/friswing

Yes, it is tricky with all 'false friends' between Danish and Swedish.

January 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/John_Swede

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?

January 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/km1

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.

January 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/John_Swede

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 :)

January 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/JimNolt

Then how would one say, "Usually you write letters." (Instead of sending e-mail, for instance.)

April 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Arnauti

Du brukar skriva brev would be good.

April 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/languageflower

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?

June 3, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Arnauti

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.

June 3, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/as2907

"Are you used to writing letters"?

September 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/friswing

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.

September 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/as2907

As far as I know, one can also say "I'm used to writing letters (on Sundays)".

September 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/friswing

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.

September 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/g.uh

I thought that "used to" was Van vid.. I am confused

October 5, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/friswing

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.

October 9, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/g.uh

What is the difference between skriva and skriv?

October 5, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/devalanteriel
  • skriva is the base form, the infinitive.
  • skriv is the imperative form, as in e.g. giving an order.
October 5, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Troy489516

I meant when do I distinguish between beukan and vanliga. Also, what is the difference between se and ser?

August 2, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Zmrzlina

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.

August 2, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/marichiko

I don't understand this sentence structure at all ! Where is the logic?

August 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/devalanteriel

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.

August 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/EttaResel

Why is "Do you write letters usually?" wrong?

September 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/devalanteriel

It's not really idiomatic in English to put "usually" last.

September 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/EttaResel

Thank you.

September 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Roberto740984

In Spanish, this is the same as "soler" quite difficult to explain as brukar

January 1, 2019
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