https://www.duolingo.com/Zzzzz...

En eller ett

I want to celebrate finishing my skill tree by giving back to the community: Sometimes one can tell whether a noun is preceded by en or ett by its ending.

If the noun ends as follows, it is an en-word: -a, -ing, -dom, -lek, -an, -else, -het, -nad, -ik, -sion, -(t)ion, -ism, -(i)tet, -ist, -ant, -ent, -or, -log, -nom, -ur, -(n)är, -ör, -are, -ande (when referring to a person) and -(ik)er. The most common exceptions are ett hjärta, ett öga, ett öra, ett fängelse and ett universitet.

If the noun has one of the following endings, it is an ett-word: -ande (when not referring to a person), -ende, -tek, -on, -um, -ium, -eum and -eri.

I want to thank everyone for their help. I hope that I am able to help here someone in return. :)

January 9, 2015

24 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Trygvasson

Are there any exceptions to these?

January 9, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Zmrzlina

Probably, but those are good general guidelines. :)

January 9, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/AnnaJ551

Interesting! I'm a native speaker and have never heard of any guidelines as to when to use en/ett, we just have to learn it for every word. It's not really a problem when you learn it as a child but I bet it must be really hard and annoying if it's not your mother tongue!

January 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Synthpopalooza

It's not as bad as other languages. Because your language merged masculine and feminine into "en", most words are "en". It's easier than German, which has three. It's also, I think, easier than Spanish, which has "la" and "el" (feminine and masculine) but, apart from people which are obviously male and female, it's not always clear when they should be used.

Generally, I have been going with the rule that any living animals or people (except for ett barn) get "en", and any abstract concepts, usually, get "ett", and try to learn the exceptions.

I also try to learn the word in it's definite form first ("bordet" for the table) it's easier for me.

May 27, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/BlackSerpent

I personally think the la/el in Spanish is MUCH easier than en/ett and der/die/das (my native language is Swedish, so I do know those, but never even knew there were rules and would probably struggle with them if I had to learn it as a second language). Spanish is basically "el" for -o (el chico) and "la" for -a, -dad and -ión (la chica, la ciudad, la estación). Makes sense to me, that rule applies most of the time so it's generally quite easy.

December 27, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/PrimaryXylem

Thank you for your insight. There are, however, more exceptions to the rule that any living animals (including people) other than "ett barn" receive the article "en". Other special cases include: ett får, ett lamm, ett småkryp, ett svin, ett lejon, ett lodjur and more. Still, you're right in saying that the vast majority of animals are preceded by "en". Oh! And kudos to Zzzzz... for figuring out what they did. ^_^

February 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Synthpopalooza

I would actually like to see someone write a web application, where you can put in a Swedish noun in it's indefinite form without article (say, "bord"), and it will output all all 8 forms, with articles:

ett bord - indefinite singular bordet - definite singular flera bord - indefinite plural borden - definite plural

Plus bords, bordets, bords, and bordens for the genitive (possessive) cases.

May 27, 2015

[deactivated user]

    I've been using Wiktionary for that - it's pretty close to what you describe!

    July 4, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/Liggliluff

    Try looking up bord on Wiktionary, and see the declensions.

    Some words might have more than one meaning and has a different declension, in that case, do read the definitions.

    March 8, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/kuiriale

    It would be very convenient to show the type of word (en, ett, pl) with its translation. Thus would help a to learn word types faster.

    January 28, 2015

    https://www.duolingo.com/DerpLeTroll

    And ett ägg?

    May 23, 2015

    https://www.duolingo.com/Synthpopalooza

    One of the exceptions, along with ett barn. Those are pretty easy to remember.

    May 27, 2015

    https://www.duolingo.com/Paula594507

    Beginner here! I guess I just have to memorize/get to know the nouns that take ett and know that the others take en.... ?... I keep getting them wrong, esp. when dealing with possessives.

    May 15, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/Liggliluff

    I don't think it's that hard ... just like you learn the spelling and pronunciation, learning the gender is just one extra step.

    March 8, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/Synthpopalooza

    I can expand on this even more .. if the word ends in -erska (skådespelerska) .. i.e. it is the feminine version of a word ending in -are ... then it is also an en gendered word.

    Also, any word that ends in -i which has a corresponding word in English ending in -y (parti, energi, batteri) is an ett word, and they will always decline this way:

    ett parti ... partiet ... flera partier ... alla partierna

    January 19, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/Thomas161932

    That last one doesn't hold water. energi is an en word and so is akademi and pandemi

    February 10, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/mirajemaes1

    This is awesome! Thank you for the help.

    February 23, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/MexicoMadness

    This is very helpful. Thank you.

    February 26, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/8Laurel8

    Thank you!!! Very helpful

    May 8, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/bjornet

    Tack

    November 13, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/laichuuu

    Hi would like to ask a few questions. I’ve encountered “ett djur” and as per the post above if the noun ends in “-ur” it is an “en”. are there any special cases that a supposed to be “en” would be an “ett”?

    November 19, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/Zzzzz...

    Most (but not all) of the exceptions are words with a single syllable. While there are a few longer words (like ett fängelse) that do follow the guidelines, the general rule is that endings that create new words from shorter words (like -ship and -dom in English) prefer to go with certain articles. The ending -a and a few others in the list are not this type of suffixes. :)

    May 27, 2018

    https://www.duolingo.com/French3lla

    Thank you!!!!

    May 26, 2018

    https://www.duolingo.com/Zzzzz...

    Your question seems to have disappeared. I hope you did not delete it because it was a very good question. You should never be afraid of asking questions!

    There are some words that have different meanings depending on the article you use (en lag = a law; ett lag = a team), but there really are not that many of them. If you get the definite/indefinite form correctly, you will usually be understood even if you get the en/ett thing wrong. The definiteness of a word is much more important. Things are a bit more complicated with plurals since en and ett words are declined very differently in plural, but every Swedish speaker I have ever met has understood me when I have blundered while using singular forms. The sooner you start talking in Swedish the better, so do not worry about it too much, OK? :)

    May 27, 2018
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