"March is a month of the year."
Translation:Mars är en månad på året.
I'm still trying to get a handle on when to use på/av/etc. Any tips or general rules?
That's a valid sentence, but it means "March is the month of the year."
Swedish generally doesn't have the "of" construction for possession, save for in set phrases. So it's really the other way around - you want to never use it as a guideline, and learn the exceptions by heart. :)
In this case, you could also say Mars är en av årets månader. This corresponds to "March is one of the months of the year", so it's probably not accepted, but it shows the difference - the av isn't used for possession here, but for a part of a whole.
It reads like its English counterpart: "March is a the year's month"
sorry I am not English native and for me it sounds ok. In French we say "mars est un mois de l'année" for both translations.
Ah, I see. As you know, English can express possession in two ways:
- x of y
- y's x
But with the second option, y's x, this turns the x into a definite. This has two consequences for the suggestion of "March is a the year's month":
- Since it's now in the definite, it turns the French into mars est le mois de l'année.
- The "a" is incorrect because the month is definite. So that turns the French into mars est un le mois de l'année.
So what we can do in English is to use the same construction as French: "March is a month of the year" - mars est un mois de l'année.
But Swedish doesn't have this possessive construction - x of y. With some exceptions, we only use y's x. Hence, mars är en månad av året is not grammatical in Swedish. However, as I showed above, that doesn't work because it's in the definite - so we have a problem!
There are two ways to solve this in Swedish:
- Use another expression - the idiomatic one is mars är en månad på året. This is not a general phrasing, but an idiomatic one for this scenario.
- Use mars är en av årets månader instead. This works exactly like its direct English counterpart: "March is one of the year's months" - or, more idiomatically: "March is one of the months of the year". Or in what I'm not entirely sure is correct French: mars est l'un des mois de l'année. :)
I hope that helps explain it a bit better!
@devalanteriel your explanation is very useful and your French really good even in those subtleties.
Why does "day of the week" translate with "i" but "month of the year" translate with "på"?
Good question. To be honest, I have no idea. It's just idiomatics - and the root reason may no longer be relevant to modern language.
We learned 'av' as 'of' in the sense of 'one of them'. So why is it incorrect when it is about one of the months?
Translating prepositions is no 1:1 affair, their use varies a lot between languages.
We Swedes usually use the verb "finns" to describe where something exists or is located. For example; Kaffet finns i skåpet, The coffee is in the cabinet
Both "är" and "finns" basically means "is". Example; The coffee beans are brown, Kaffebönorna är bruna. The coffee is cold, Kaffet är kallt.
Hopefully it's of some use to you.