Is there a difference between using "blev" and "var" here? I kind of feel it, correct me if I'm wrong.
When "var" is used, it feels like the fact that he was forced to wait was something that happened for a certain period of time, while using "blev" shows that it was something that suddenly happened, he wasn't expecting having to wait.
Is that a plausible explanation? Or am I thinking too much?
It sounds a bit weird. English usually uses was or were instead of became in front of the past participle here. It's called the past simple passive voice.
I know it's a very late answer, but I just hate it when people downvote questions that haven't been answered without giving any explanation. We're all trying to learn something here, so no question is a stupid one:)
It is used as the preterite alternative to "måste", which is very seldom used in preterite form, since it is easily confused with present.
Jag måste - I have to Jag var/blev tvungen att - I had to (Jag måste - I had to)
"Tvungen" in the case does not imply a strong violence or threat, only an obligation. "Tvinga" can take different conjugation with different meanings:
Jag blev tvingad att - I was forced to
måste in Swedish has the same form in the present and the past. Because of this, many people avoid using it in the past tense, and use blev tvungen instead. Apart from that, Han måste vänta would be a closer translation of 'He had to wait'.
'was obliged to' can also be translated as var/blev skyldig att. It's more that a) the languages don't always make the same distinctions b) there's overlap in usage c) we have a lot of accepted answers that are just 'close enough'. But there are many possible ways of expressing different nuances in Swedish.
"He felt obliged to wait" was marked incorrect, with the correct answer being given as "He got obliged to wait" which is certainly not good English. I accept that "felt" is perhaps wrong, since that suggests that he decided to wait, rather than he was forced to, but how was he forced to wait? Handcuffs and chains, or was it just morals. If the Swedish can be interpreted as the latter I would contend that felt is correct. PS I have a screen shot of "He got obliged to wait".
As for 'he got obliged to', I think 'got' is used interchangeably with 'became' in some types of English, so that I believe some native speakers of English might say 'he got forced to' just as well as 'he became forced to'. So I'm not that keen on removing that, but I will if other native speakers chime in.
If we just look at the sentence though, the thing is that we use blev a lot more than you would use 'became' in English. The main translation (the one you can see on top of this page) is He was forced to wait. That's the most idiomatic way of translating the Swedish sentence: in Swedish, the change of state matters a lot here. At first he wasn't obliged to wait, but then he started to be obliged to wait, so he blev tvungen, that makes a lot of sense in Swedish. In English though, it feels superfluous to point it out. It's sufficient to say that he was obliged. Other accepted answers include He had to wait as well as He was obliged/obligated/made to wait.
Another way of putting this is that var in Swedish is very sensitive to change of state. It basically cannot carry any meaning of change of state at all. In English, a sentence like 'He was caught' can mean that he 'got' or 'became' caught, but in Swedish, you can't use var like that, you'd have to use blev instead.
This is a neat one, lots of new toys to unpack.
att bli – to become, along with present blir and past blev. Handy verb. att tvinga – to force, or in this case to be forced through combination with blev. Present participle is tvingande, so I'm guessing if this is a current ongoing action it could be "jag blir tvingande att vänta" for "I'm being forced to wait"?
I wonder if it conveys the same sense of annoyance in Swedish as it does in English. "I have to wait" is kind of neutral, but "I'm being forced to wait" has that nice implication of "against my will" that "I have to wait" doesn't have.