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Help learning plural forms

Of course I understand the difference between "women" and "the women" but the stems are not sticking to memory for me very well. Do any of you know of any sort of mnemonic device or something to help remember the stem changes? I feel like I'm not learning if I keep looking things up and Plurals took me maybe 30 questions to get through the lesson.

January 24, 2015



Here is a link to a Wikipedia post about Swedish grammar, where they have a section on plural nouns. Hope it helps!


Perhaps this will help: http://ielanguages.com/swedish1.html#articles

Here is a visual aid. Try to picture it:
The chair was stolen!

Now someone with an accent is telling the cop. "De chair was stolen!" Hear it in your mind. This is to remember that this is a common noun if you learned Dutch "the" is "de" for common words. You can skip this step if you like. (The common word category combines both feminine and masculine into one group. In German those words might start with "der" or "die" for "the", but check a dictionary since there could be a difference in gender from German to Swedish.)

"The chair " = "stolen",
Just remember that the article goes to the end of the word for "the".

"a chair" would be "en stol" (It is a common word.)


Then to make the plural you take the indefinite form "stol" and add "ar" : "chairs" = "stolar" Let yourself think that the ar reminds you of "Chairs are", so that "stolar" must be plural

To make the definite plural, take the indefinite plural "stolar" and add "na" :

"The chairs" = "stolarna"

Really go over this and learn it for just this word before going on.



"Woman" = "kvinna"

the woman = kvinnan

"a woman" = "en kvinna"

To make the plural, take the indefinite singular "kvinna" and notice that it is an "en" word (common) and ends in 'a'. Gee that would be too easy to make the plural as "ar" as they usually do, so they drop the 'a' and add "or". Imagine that women or girls want a choice and so you gave them this or that.

"Women" = "kvinnor"

"The women" = "kvinnorna" ("na" is the plural form for "the" in Irish too, but they don't put it at the end of the word as they do in Swedish.)

Keep in mind that in Swedish they might say "the women" in some cases where we might just say "women". For example "Women do not have the vote...." = "Kvinnorna har inte rösträtt...."


(Don't forget that the possessive would add an s to any of these forms while we add 's to words that do not end in s. So seeing an s at the end of a word means ownership of something that follows.)

Here is a fun one:

almond = mandel

an almond = en mandel

( I chose a word that started with a vowel in English and is a common word in Swedish. So, you can associate "an" with "en" as coming in front of the word, but that only works for common nouns. Neuter nouns will use "ett" in front of the word.)

I looked this one up in the dictionary:

"almonds" = "mandlar"

"The almonds" = "mandlarna"


If it is an en-word and ends in -a, you add -or (ex: flickor).

If it is a short en-word or is an en-word that ends in an unstressed syllable, you add -ar (ex: sängar). If it ends in an unstressed syllable, the vowel is dropped (ex: morgnar).This group contains basically all of the en-words that are not loanwords and don't end in -a.

Next are loanwords that come from other languages. For these, you add -er (ex: familjer).

And for all of these previous groups for en-words, you add -na to make it definite (ex: hundarna).

There are also some "umlaut plurals" where you add -er and add an umlaut on the vowel (ex: händer, fötter).
If it is an ett-word and ends in a vowel, you add -n (ex: äpplen). To make it definite, you add an -a (ex: äpplena).
If it is an ett-word and ends in a consonant, you do nothing (ex: hus). To make it definite, you add -en (ex: husen).

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