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Finns det, Det finns?

Can someone explain to me when each one is used, and why? Thanks! I cannot seem to grasp which one goes where. I know you switch it around for the question order....but which is the original? And why do you switch it around for other things too? Kinda lost.... so, if anybody can help, that would be great! Tack så myckeet!

January 18, 2015



Det finns ost. = There is cheese. [Basic regular sentence]
Finns det ost? = Is there cheese. [Basic question with inversion]
(Det finns ost? = There is cheese? [Question in spoken language with voice modulation])
Här finns det ost.= There is cheese here. [As the verb has to be in second position, the order changes if you stick anything but the subject into the first position]

Maybe some native speaker can back this up, as I'm definitely not an expert.


The syntax of Scandinavian languages is usually referred to as SVO (subject - verb - object), but it is really XVO, where X can be any phrase, for example a prepositional phrase (time, place etc.). When the X is not the subject, the subject comes after the verb. In this case "det" is the subject.

So, example with a prepositional phrase in place X:

I Sverige finns det många svenskar.

The prepositional phrase can also be at the end of the sentence, then the subject will be before the verb again:

Det finns många svenskar i Sverige.

Basically, the most main rule is that the verb always comes second (with some exceptions, as usual).

I hope this answers your question. My mother tongue is Norwegian, but the syntax is basically the same. If any Swedes want to correct me, go ahead!

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