1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Swedish
  4. >
  5. "Which purpose does it have?"

"Which purpose does it have?"

Translation:Vilket syfte har den?

February 12, 2015

27 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/countvlad

both 'den' and 'det' are accepted forms. Are they both nominative?
Why are they both ok?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arnauti

Both are nominative, yes. We're speaking about an unknown object here, which could be either neuter or common gender, so both are accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/countvlad

thanks. so it is a matter of gender, not of case.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/daadaadaaren

why can it not be det when its a vilket noun


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HelenCarlsson

"Syfte" is an ett-word, so that is why you have to say "vilket syfte". Something har ett syfte, but since we don't know if this something is an ett-word or an en-word "Vilket syfte har det?" should be accepted as well. Isn't it?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WildSage

why isn't the verb second here?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arnauti

In questions, the rule is that the verb goes before the subject, and the only thing that can go before the verb are question words (like vad 'what' or vem 'who') and like here, question phrases (vilket syfte works the same way as 'what' or 'who' would have).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/p.csenge

This English translation sounds weird to me. Doesn't "What is its purpose?/What is the purpose of it?" better?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

Arguably, yes, but that construction exists in Swedish as well, so that would be Vad är dess syfte?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/satwita

Your translation is perhaps a bit more common, but "What purpose does it have?" works fine to my native speaker ears, and is better for learning the Swedish construction.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BrentsSortaCool

"Which" implies a defined number of possible responses whereas "what" allows for an unknown number of undefined possibilities. Both are grammatically correct depending on the circumstances.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Haesselmaas

I wrote "förmål" and was marked wrong. Why?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

That's not a Swedish word. :) Or, rather: it used to be in the 19th century but it meant something completely different then.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rwhodges

Perhaps not completely? Föremål (with an 'e') means object. In English, object can mean purpose (particularly when attributed to an endeavour of some kind). I get the impression from my sv-en dictionary that the same might apply to föremål, but I'm not sure.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

Only in one sense: vara föremål för = being the object of. Note that it's in the sense of e.g. being the object of appreciation, rather than being the object of a mission. It's not exactly common, but you are indeed right about that. :)

The older förmål, however, meant "pre-meal meal", and förmåla could mean either "paint" or "paint a future event even though it hasn't happened yet", so they appear to be completely unrelated to föremål.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Haesselmaas

Oops, another one of my Danish words disguised as Swedish then!

I never seem to see them coming!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Moah333

When clicking 'purpose' for hints, it show 'mening' as a translation, but it was refused in the sentence. Does it have a different meaning?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

Just replied to Donna about that below. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DonnaSchob

Is "mening" also not correct here?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

When purpose means "point of", that can translate to mening. But when it's about intention of quality in regards to something, it cannot. For instance:

  • What's the point of this soap opera? = Vad är det för mening med den här såpoperan?
  • What's the purpose of this chair? = Vad är det för syfte med den här stolen?

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/impy_imp

'Vad för syfte har det ?' - doesn't work ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

Added it. :) Please note that it's not the most idiomatic way of phrasing it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tysel

Along these same lines, would you say that the main answer "Vilket syfte har den" is more idiomatic than "Vad/vilket har det för syfte"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

Both are generally perfectly fine. I might opt for the former when talking about a specific object, and the latter when talking about a more abstract concept. But that's just me. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aquignis

What are the differences between ändamål, mål and syfte? Which ones could we use here?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

ändamål and syfte are pretty much synonymous, but you tend to use ändamål for the end goal of something, and syfte for the reason of starting it. Granted, this is usually the same thing.

mål just means goal, so it's synonymous at times but usually not.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aquignis

Thanks, that makes it clear!

Learn Swedish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.