"Jag sitter och läser."

Translation:I am sitting and reading.

February 8, 2015

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I want to point out that this is a construction which is used much more in Swedish than in English. Since Swedish lacks the ”reads / is reading” (i.e. present simple vs. present progressive) distinction that is used in English, there are other means of expressing progressiveness. One very common way of doing this is using sitta, stå and ligga (sit, stand, lie) + the verb, depending on which position the person is in while doing the action. This is almost like an auxiliary verb and is usually left out when you translate to English.

  • I går skrev jag ett brev. (Yesterday I wrote a letter.)
  • I går satt jag och skrev ett brev. (Yesterday I was writing a letter.)
  • Jag låg och läste i min säng hela dagen. (I was reading in my bed all day.)
  • Han stod och läste på skylten. (He was reading the sign.)

Because of this, the translation I was reading is more natural in English and also an accepted answer. There are other means of expression progressiveness in Swedish, but this is one of the most common ways of doing it.


Very helpful! I want to ask though, does one conceivably use any 'position verb' other than ligga/sitta/stå/gå before the progressive verb? Or is it that a select handful of them are 'stuck' in this construction in Swedish to make it predictable?

(I included because someone gave an example using it in another discussion in this lesson, though it's not in the 'tips' section.)


Is there a way to know which form the second verb has to be in?

Jag håller på och äter. 'I am (busy) eating.' "äter" is in present form.

Jag håller på att lära mig svenska. 'I am (in the process of) learning Swedish.' "att lära" is infintive.

Most of the examples in this exercise, the second verb has been in present form. Is there a rule for the infintive exceptions?


In many cases you can say either och + present tense, or att + infinitive.

  • Jag håller på att äta.
  • Jag håller på och äter.

These mean pretty much the same thing.


I understand the reasoning for this in Swedish but I would also point out that it is also common and correct in English to use two present participles (-ing words) together because they set the scene, so to speak. The difference is that English tends to omit the word "and" between them: "I am sitting reading in my favourite armchair" "We're sitting eating just now" "I'm standing ironing in the living room" "I hope you're not sitting eating your dinner just now".

Even though the double -ing words look as if the second -ing is acting as a gerund (-ing words too), they are actually treated as present participles.

In Swedish, the "and" must be used; in English, the "and" is superfluous.


ELI5: what are present simple and present progressive, and what is the difference between them? I'm not really sure what the difference between was writing and wrote is, and these sentence structures are quite confusing!


Still confusing


WE do not usually include the 'and' in sentence like this. We will quite often say I am sitting reading or He is lying down reading. Can the sentence without the and be marked as correct?


How can you say "I am lying" as a continuous form? "Jag ligger och ligger"?


Jag håller på och ligger? I am not sure


Thanks for the comments. Just to say that in English there is a similar grammatical form, could it be that 'I am sitting to read (with the intention of reading)=? Jag sitter att läsa.' and 'Jag sitter och läser.' ?= 'I am sitting reading (a description)


We use för att for that meaning. Usually it would be like Jag satte mig för att läsa 'I sat down to read' or Jag satt [någonstans] för att läsa 'I was sitting [somewhere] (in order) to read'.


I wrote:"I'm reading" because in the examples the sitting was not included in the answer. I think that , since reading standing is only for speeches or the like, sitting is not necessary and if you read in bed than I think ligger must be used. Please expand and clarify the usage and the reason to choose the correct one of the three verbs. Tack så mycket! .


Reading while sitting down is, I agree, the most common. But I think the verb chosen comes quite naturally based on the position of the person in question. In most conversations there will be a larger story and whether the person is sitting or standing or laying down will be known or at least implied. However, if the position is not known, then I would just go for "läser" since it fulfills both meanings in Swedish, and if you really want to emphasize the continuous aspect of it or that the action was interrupted, "håller på att läsa" can be used.


Wait a second-- I did a lesson recently where "sitter och" and then a verb was a new tense and not to be translated to English word for word...

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