1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Swedish
  4. >
  5. "Om jag bara hade vetat"

"Om jag bara hade vetat"

Translation:If I only had known

January 11, 2015



Shouldn't the adverb bara come after the verb, not before?

January 11, 2015


Bara will go before what it is describing, just like only does too.

January 12, 2015


In English this phrase would probably sound more natural as "If I had only known," despite only usually being before the word it describes.

January 16, 2015


We know, we just put the words in the same order as in Swedish to make it easier on learners when translating the other way. It's not incorrect the way it is. But it's good that you're pointing it out, especially for the sake of the people who use the course to improve their English.

January 22, 2015


Yeah, I agree. "If I had only known" (or "had I only known") may be idiomatic, but it's a more natural construction in this case than "If I only had known."

January 22, 2015


I think I'd be most likely to say "If only I had known". Preference is probably somewhat regional. That said, "If I only had known" seems the most awkward of the bunch to my ears, too.

September 9, 2015


Exactly! Standard English should be "If only I had..".

October 7, 2015


Makes sense, thanks. :)

January 12, 2015


Ok thanks, so V2 doesn't apply to bara?

June 26, 2018


Perhaps because this is a bisats, the adverb comes first?

August 8, 2015


That's correct. In a subclause, a satsadverbial, which this is, must go before the verb. Other adverbials go after, like adverbials of degree, time etc.

satsadverbial definition:

sentence adverb (or sentence adverbial), which modifies a sentence, or a clause within a sentence, to convey the mood, attitude or sentiments of the speaker,

from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disjunct_%28linguistics%29

August 8, 2015


can't i use "just" as a translation for "bara" here?

April 30, 2015


You can, but not with all possible word orders. So you can say If only I had known, but If just I had known does not work. I'll leave it to some native speaker of English to explain in which cases just works and why.

September 9, 2015


If I just had known and If I had just known both sound okay, but for me they usually are connected to another phrase. "If I just had known that, I wouldn't have picked up the spoon." Using just also gives the phrase a more petulant/exasperated/defensive tone, as well as making the phrase sound more conversational than literary.

There are subtle distinctions between all the varieties of this phrase, especially when spoken. It's just one of those phrases. :)

May 25, 2016


Bara sounds like böra to me in this sentence. I think it's wrong, is it?

June 6, 2016


If only had I known should be accepted.

May 19, 2018


I think that contains a bit too much poetic license. :)

May 19, 2018
Learn Swedish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.