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  5. "She looks like she needs to …

"She looks like she needs to wash herself."

Translation:Hon ser ut att behöva tvätta sig.

February 4, 2015



Why is the second clause infinitive when using "att" as the conjunction but present tense when "som att" is used?


Late answer, but I'll give it a go since no one else has.
I don't think att is a conjunction in the main sentence here (Hon ser ut att behöva tvätta sig), I'd say it's just the infinitive marker. So what happens in this sentence is that a verb in the present (ser ut) takes a verb in the infinitive, like in Hon tycker om att äta 'She likes to eat'. Verb + verb in the infinitive. This could also happen without the att, like Hon verkar vara trött 'She seems to be tired'.

In the alternative translation Hon ser ut som om hon behöver tvätta sig (Hon ser ut som att hon behöver tvätta sig is also possible) we have the conjunction som om, which joins the clause and subclause (the subclause is hon behöver tvätta sig), then we get two distinct clauses that both have finite verbs.

Hope this helps. Maybe what's tricky here from an English speaking point of view is that it could be a bit unexpected that a verb like ser ut som can take an infinitive, when looks like cannot.


Why can't it be just som, as in like. I thought som could mean like, just like som om means as if. Can you not say both looks like, and looks as if like you can in english?


Yes. she looks like she needs to wash = 'hon ser ut att behöva tvätta sig'
she looks as if she needs to wash = 'hon ser ut som om hon behöver tvätta sig' (hon ser ut som att hon behöver tvätta sig works too).


What confuses me is that it looks like we are piggybacking two infinitives: att behöva tvätta. Where am i wrong?


This was very helpful, thanks.


You mean something like Hon ser ut som hon behöver tvätta sig? I believe that works, and if it doesn't, I would really like to know why not.

I think your question about why Hon ser ut som att behöva tvätta sig requires the att is a little clearer if you translate ser ut som as "appears" instead of "looks like". Hon ser ut som behöva tvätta sig would be "She appears need wash herself". Hon ser ut som att behöva tvätta sig would be "She appears to need wash herself".

Note that a lot of English speakers would naturally say "She appears to need to wash herself", but the second "to" is not needed for correct grammar.


I've never heard she appears need wash herself. Or she appears want to eat. Or she appears like pudding. I disagree that that construction is grammatically correct without the to. What dialect of English are you referring to?


What about "Hon verkar att behöva tvätta sig"?


No, that does not work. This sentence is worded "looks like", which has to translate to "ser ut (som)" rather than "verkar" which just tells of a tendency. Furthermore, there's no att between the verbs in the sentence "hon verkar behöva tvätta sig".


Thanks for bumping Stephen!

I don't know what you mean by a tendency. Do you mean like if she always looks a certain way, you could say "hon verkar...". Eg. Hon verkar vara rysk -she appears to be/looks Russian.

Could you say "Det verkar att hon behöver tvätta sig"?


Maybe tendency isn't the best of words. What I mean is that "verkar som" means "seems like".

If the following word is a verb, you don't need the att. You can say "hon verkar vara rysk". But if you introduce a subclause, you need to say "det verkar som att hon behöver tvätta sig".


I took it as him saying "she tends to need to wash herself" (i.e. that usually she needs to wash herself, but not all the time, and not necessarily right now). Not sure... I'm curious to see if I'm right. And you're welcome :).


Bumping for an answer on this one.


Is "Hon ser ut som hon behöver tvätta sig" correct?


No, you should have either om or att between 'som' and 'hon' in there. In speech it can be blurred and hard to hear though, so som om might be pulled together into one word.


I had the same question, and the correct answer I was given was "Hon ser ut som om hon behöver tvätta sig." But I don't understand the function of "om" here.


Shouldn't "Hon liknar hon behöver tvätta sig" be correct?


No, liknar is more like 'resembles', like 'has a look that is similar to that of something else'.


Why is this incorrect?

Hon ser ut att hon behöva tvätta sig.

I thought the second "hon" makes it a more literal translation, no?


So would 'tvätta sig själv' be equivalent to 'needs to wash herself self'?


A Swedish friend suggested the word tvättnödig, would hon ser ut tvättnödig be correct here?


No. I've never even heard that word, although I understand it. It's not common vocabulary at all but it has humorous uses. :)


Thanks. You can't make up words in Swedish if they make sense?


Of course you can! It's totally understandable, but it sounds a bit childish. But I'm totally for inventing and adopting new words as we need or want them! :) It's not at all standard enough to be included in the course though.


Cromulent words embiggen language!


Yeah, I understand that, was just curious.


Would "Hon ser ut hon behöva tvätta sig" work?


No, doesn't work.


You mean "she looks AS IF she needs to wash herself".


When would you add själv after a reflexive structure?

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