Exactly! I am a German and je mehr schwedisch ich lerne, desto faszinierender ist es für mich! ;)
They’re used when you compare two parts, and the first part describes the prerequisite, and the second part describes the effect or result.
- Ju fler, desto bättre. (The more, the merrier)
- Ju tidigare, desto bättre. (The sooner, the better.)
- Ju mer du läser, desto större blir ditt ordförråd. (The more you read, the larger your vocabulary will be.)
- Ju snällare du är, desto mer tycker jag om dig. (The kinder you are, the more I like you.
- Ju mer jag tränar, desto starkare blir jag. (The more I work out, the stronger I will be.)
- Ju hårdare jag jobbar, desto tröttare blir jag. (The harder I work, the more tired I get.)
- Ju fler kockar, desto sämre soppa. (The more cooks, the worse the soup: Swedish proverb).
Thanks very much for this list. It made me think of another question though. What is the difference in meaning between jobbar and arbetar?
So, the desto part also requires a V2 construction when the result is an action?
@Lundgren8, you better provide many examples here because you know, the more the merrier! (ju fler desto bättre [or "roligare"])
Yet, "the sooner the better" is actually accepted as translation. Or were you only arguing the more idiomatically correct translation?
As a followup: does tidig mean "early" strictly in the sense of "early on the day" or can it also be in the sense of "soon"? Especially in the comparative "tidigare", "earlier" might be used in this way in English.
tidigare can mean both earlier and sooner, so the sooner the better is a totally acceptable translation of this, but the set expression to say that in Swedish is ju förr desto bättre.
German uses a very similar construction: "Je... desto..." I'm a native German speaker and learnig Swedish through English obviously and it is so cool to see similarities between these three languages :)
"Ju" in this case, does that have anything to do with the "ju" I keep hearing about that is tricky to translate?
A friend told me that you use Ju to implies that the person you are talking to is already aware of the answer. Is this true or somewhat correct?
Yes, ju has the meaning 'as is known'.
That's a different ju from the ju … desto construction we have here though, so here, 'ju' doesn't mean that.
Is there any kind of common abbreviation for this type of saying in Swedish? Something like ASAP for "as soon as possible" in English?
No, none such abbreviation. "As soon as possible" translates to "så snart som möjligt" though.
- When do you want to start tomorrow?
- The earlier, the better. (meaning: I want to start as early as possible)
ju is used very frequently in Swedish as a filler word to implicitly ask for agreement and bring the parties closer in a discussion, so to speak. It's a little like suffixing "you know?" in English, for instance.
- Det vet du ju = You know that
- De är ju bra på fotboll = They're good at football
Hejsan. Det förvirrar mig alltid när man använder "ju". Kan du ge oss mer exempel? Spelar det ingen roll där en "ju" placeras i en mening?
Are you learning Russian? If you are, so you can translate it as russian "же", "чем": Jag har ju sagt det redan =Я же уже говорил это. Ju tidigare, desto bättre = Чем раньше, тем лучше.