"He tells us nothing"
Translation:Han berättar inget för oss
This verb needs a preposition with the indirect object.
- Han berättar en historia 'He tells a story' historia is the direct object, no preposition needed.
- Han berättar en historia för oss 'He tells us a story', oss is the indirect object, preposition needed.
för is the 'audience preposition' in Swedish.
And then it's word order, the direct object should come before the indirect object when the indirect object is governed by a preposition. If the indirect object is not governed by a preposition, it should be first:
- Han ger oss blommor 'He gives us flowers'
- Han ger blommor till oss 'He gives flowers to us'
(with ger, you can say it both ways).
Thank you for the excellent explanation, which cleared things up for me. And when I looked closely at your two "flowers" examples, I realized that the Swedish rules for ordering direct/indirect objects with or without prepositions are exactly the same rules for ordering in English. That will help this anglophone keep things straight.
• Han säger inget till oss
• Han berättar inget för oss
why does säger not accept för and why does berättar not accept till?
Doesn't work. See Arnauti's answer here among the comments to understand why.