"She was going to come after him."

Translation:Hon skulle komma efter honom.

February 10, 2015

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How can you distinguish sentences like this from "She would come after him"? Am I missing something? Wouldn't that be the same in Swedish?


Yes, that would be the same. Don't they usually mean the same thing anyway?


Thanks for clarifying! Are they really meaning the same? "She was going to..." implies for me that this happened in the past, whereas "She would come..." could also refer to something that is happening right now or in the future, for example "I would clean the dishes, if you would ask me to". I don't think you could say the same thing with "I was going to". But English is not my native language, so that might also be a mix-up I have about English?!


"She would come after him" means that conditionally or hypothetically she will come after him in the future. "She was going to come after him" means that it was planned or supposed in the past that she would come after him, but she did not. If she did go after him, the simple past would be used, "she came after him". You may notice I used "she would come after him" in the second sentence, because when something is planned for the future in the past, the conditional tense is used then too.

What other languages do you know?


Thanks! So it basically is like I said and I don't really have a mix-up. Good to know! It's been a long time since I actively studied English grammar, most of it has become second nature, which does make it difficult to think about this stuff when I have too... :)

My native language is German, I also know a fair bit of Japanese.


You are absolutely right Vevlira! I have thought a bit, googled a bit and had some dicussions with the Swedish Chef and I finally understand that "skulle" is used for two (or even three) different English cases:

  1. Futurum preteriti. Example: "När du ringde, skulle jag gå ut med hunden"
    Translation a: "When you called, I was going to go out with the dog." (you called before I left)
    Translation b: "When you called, I was just going out with the dog." (you called as I was leaving)
  2. The so-called "Konditionalis 1".
    Example: "Om du gick ut med hunden, så skulle jag bli jätteglad."
    Translation: "If you went out with the dog, I would be very happy."

Apart from these, there is also a so-called "Konditionalis 2" which means "skulle ha" (would have).
Example: "Jag skulle ha gått ut med hunden, om jag inte hade brutit benet."
Translation: "I would have gone out with the dog, if I had not broken my leg."


Lilla My, you are almost correct.

The conditional case works with if but it also works with should: "Should I buy her lunch, she would like it." or "Should he run in front of the cat with a string, she would come after him." Both if and should introduce a condition.

"should pronoun infinitive" is functionally equivalent to "were pronoun to infinitive".

And you could say "She would come after him." on its own, but it would require the conditional to be in the context: "What would she do if he dumped water on her head?" "She would come after him."

In the cat and the water examples, usually the verb "come after" would be "go after" or "chase", but "come after" is used by some speakers. The usage of come or go depends on which perspective is chosen for the chasing. It's basically irrelevant which is chosen though.

More commonly "come after" implies a sequence. "If he is first, she would come after him."

All that being said, yes, I do think "She would come after him" is a valid translation of Hon skulle komma efter honom because the context is ambiguous. Without context, a speaker should assume the "She was going to come after him" translation.


I know what you mean. In my own studies in Swedish, I'm having to be analytical about my own language to understand in grammatical terms what I'm trying to say. I also have the benefit of having studied French extensively in the past, and French as a lot more in the way of verb tenses. I sometimes miss them in English, because you can be so precise with what you want to say.


Thanks for clarifying this in detail, Helen! Seems like you really have to look at the context then to understand what is meant with "skulle". So, what do you think, shouldn't this sentence here accept both "She was going ... " and "She would ... " as correct answers, since there is basically no context and it could mean both? (it's been a long time since my first post, but from what I remember "She would ... " wasn't accepted, which is why I wrote my post).


Yes, I think so. Or maybe "She would come after him" is not a proper sentence without an if-condition? Let's hope for a new comment by The Swedish Chef here :).


Thanks to both of your for this valuable and detailed feedback!


Funny, in English "to come after someone" can be literal, but is also an idiom meaning to follow someone with an implied malicious goal, as in "She came after me to get the money." Or "I tried to run, but she came after me, waving her gun and screaming "YOU'LL NEVER LEARN SWEDISH, SO STOP TRYING"!
"To go after" can have a similar meaning in English. In both cases, violence can be involved, as in "He went after the burgler, caught him, and threw him into a lake of fire."


Regarding the previous comment, which one of those meanings does this sentence have, or can it be understood both ways?


is "hon var åka komma efter honom" wrong?


Yes, that's wrong! "Go" can mean "åka", for example "go by train" = "åka tåg", but
is going to = ska
was going to = skulle


funkar det såhär? "Hon har gått för att följa efter honom"


No, hon har gått means "she has gone".


To be going to = att tänka Hon tänkte komma efter honom.????


tänka in that case mean "intend to" rather than "go to".


I did it word for word and was counted wrong.


If you get the exact same answer as in the exercise marked wrong, please consider leaving an error report. That way, I can either find out what's wrong or send it off to the developers as a bug.

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