"Sometimes I surprise myself."

Translation:Ibland överraskar jag mig själv.

January 29, 2015

This discussion is locked.


Why are only verb-subject-object constructions accepted for this question?


The V2 rule. Once you start out with ibland, the verb needs to go right after that to be in second place in the sentence. If the English sentence had been I surprise myself sometimes, the translation would have been Jag överraskar mig själv ibland., still with the verb in second place.

So the only way to have a SVO main clause is to have the subject first in the sentence.


Why do you need mig and själv here? Aren't they fulfill the same function here?


Is "Jag överraskar ibland mig" incorrect?


Yes. To begin with, överraska is not a reflexive verb, and that means you need to add själv. For reflexive verbs like tvätta sig, you don't need själv because it is implied. For non reflexive verbs, you need them. I think it's the same in English, at least I wouldn't say I sometimes surprise me (unless as a clear contrast to another sentence, but we're talking about sentences without context here).

If you want to rewrite the sentence and put jag first, I'd say Jag överraskar ibland mig själv is not wrong per se, but it's a rare word order, the normal way of saying it would be Jag överraskar mig själv ibland. The placement of adverbials is tricky in Swedish, but last in a sentence is a classic place for time adverbials.


Thank you for that. Not sure it's all sinking in.

In the sentence "De är kanske bröder?" it puts 'maybe' at the beginning of the sentence en English, even though it appears in the middle in Swedish - so I was attempting to replicate that word order here thinking that was correct.


So in that case I'm being expected to put the adverb at the beginning even though it isn't there in the S->E, but then in E->S, I'm supposed to leave the adverb at the beginning, but then if an adverb is classically at the end, I can't put it at the end in the S->E because it marks me wrong for putting 'maybe' at the end, but it sounds as if that should be normal?

Is there some overall rule I'm not seeing in all this? Because right now it just seems very arbitrary and confusing.


I just don't think They are maybe brothers is a really acceptable word order in English, or at least not as natural as Maybe they are brothers.

In Swedish, both De är kanske bröder and De kanske är bröder are very natural word orders, but Kanske de är bröder is not (it's ok, but not really natural). So I'd say that is a case where word order does not work the same in both languages. But in most cases they do, and in this case for instance, I don't think there's anything odd at all in having the adverbial first in both languages.


No, I don't think it's odd to have the adverb first at all, I'm just trying to understand how to know where the adverb is meant to go when it seems to move around in Swedish just as much as it does in English, it just moves differently which is messing me up!


I think some of us are confused about this sentence because överraskar is in the reflexive verb exercises even though it is not a reflexive verb (reason why it requires själv!).


What is the difference in meaning if I substituted 'någongång' here for 'ibland'?


någongång is a colloquial way of writing the expression någon gång which means 'some time', 'at some occasion'. It can also be used to mean 'ever'. Om jag flyttar någon gång = 'If I ever move' or Kommer du någon gång? 'Are you (ever) coming?' (as in: very impatient).

So it doesn't fit here.


Vad då med några gånger? De sa fel!


Why is "Ibland jag överraskar mig själv" incorrect?


The conjugated verb must come in second position (V2 rule).


Same, Duo, same...


why does "förvånar" not work?


i have the same question. surprise = överraska, astonish = förvåna?


does "mig själv" always translate to "myself?"


Be careful!
Swedish mig själv can (almost?) always be translated as myself
But English myself is not always translated as mig själv:

Jag skar mig = I cut myself
Själva jag kom = I myself came = Even I came
Jag kan göra det själv = I can do it myself


I still dont understand when själv is used


Is 'själv' necessary here? I put "Ibland överraskar jag mig" and was marked wrong.


See the comment from Arnauti on this very page 5 years ago:
To begin with, överraska is not a reflexive verb, and that means you need to add själv. For reflexive verbs like tvätta sig, you don't need själv because it is implied. For non reflexive verbs, you need them.


This gets more confusing or I get stupider each day


how I can distinguish which verb needs object which verb does not e.g. jag skriver does not need jag skriver mig.


Almost all Swedish verbs can be used reflexively if you optionally add the right object pronouns. But in addition, some Swedish verbs, in some of their meanings, are inherently reflexive, meaning that with such verbs you cannot omit the reflexive object pronoun.

Unfortunately, the only way to tell which Swedish verbs are inherently reflexive is to memorize that fact when you learn the verb.

The dictionaries usually tell you if a Swedish verb is inherently reflexive. For example, see https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/tv%C3%A4tta


Thank you. I will try to remember which verb is inherently reflexive (mandatory use as reflexive verb) and which verb can use optionally.

I just check the wikitionary and tvätta have both form - to wash and to clean oneself (which have different meaning O_O)

I also found a link of reflexive verb > https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Category:Swedish_reflexive_verbs but it seems it cover some but not all because I can't find överraskar there.

thanks again :D


The Swedish verb "överraskar" is NOT inherently reflexive. For more, see the comments on this page from Arnauti.

Learn Swedish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.