"What is the boy eating?"
Translation:Vad äter pojken?
why is this backwards? Should not it be Vad (what is) pojken (the boy )ater (eating)?
Because Swedish swaps the first verb and noun in order to form questions.
"Han kan göra det" - "He can do it"
"Kan han göra det? - "Can he do it?"
"En trevlig man kom i går" - "A nice man came yesterday"
"Kom en trevlig man i går?" - "Did a nice man come yesterday?"
Languages often tend to have different grammar than English. So you shouldn't assume a sentence in Swedish should follow the same rules as English.
göra is for like multiple things and gör is just for one thing
Why does this not mean: what is eating the boy? As in something is eating him? Would 'vad äter äpplet' mean: What is the apple eating -or- What is eating the apple?
Vad äter pojken? can in theory mean 'What is eating the boy?'. But with no context, that is a very unlikely interpretation. The idiomatic way of saying that would be Vad är det som äter på pojken? 'What is it that is eating [at] the boy?', which is pretty different.
Vad äter äpplet? sounds odd and if I met that sentence, I would pause and wonder.