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

Innan vs. före

Hallå !

So I'm learning the prepositions and the conjonctions and I have a question about innan and före. Both seem to mean "before" but what is the difference ? Is innan for the time-related before and före for the space-related before ? Or something else ?

Tack för din hjälp :)

February 20, 2015

10 Comments


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

They are quite funny words. Their meanings have been changing on and off for half a millenium now!

I'd say you can generally use both as synonymous prepositions, especially in everyday speech. Personally, I use före as a preposition (e.g. före frukosten - before breakfast), and innan as a subjunction (e.g. innan vi äter frukost - before we eat breakfast). This has been the prevalent prescriptive method throughout most of the 20th centure, and I like the challenge of trying to speak "correctly".

But to be honest, the reason it's been taught as correct is mostly that the Stockholm dialect makes this distinction, while less trendy dialects don't.


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

Ok, got it. Tack :)


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

Whether people use före and innan as synonymous prepositions has nothing to do with geographical origin. I'd say it depends on age, education and/or snobbery :).


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

Those variables certainly matter, too. But I'm not saying their use as synonymous prepositions vary by geographical origin - I'm saying that the subjunctive use of innan does. Sorry if I wasn't clear.


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

I see :). But you don't mean subjunctive (herren vare med e-eder), do you? So are you saying that people with non-trendy dialects use "före" as a conjunction? To be honest I have never heard of that.


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

No, sorry, late night brainfart - I meant subjunction, not subjunctive. Although I would very much like to reintroduce det gamla hederliga konjunktivet in Swedish :)

The further south you go, the more likely people are to use innan as a subjunction rather than as a preposition, in a sentence construction where they could go either way. There are certainly exceptions everywhere though. And to be honest, I'm not 100 % sure which source I got that from, so the info could be a few decades old.


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

Ok. Good thing is that I learnt how to translate "hjärnsläpp" :).


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

Lundgren8 wrote very well about this here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/5886416


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

PS we've got a sticky post in the Swedish forums with links to answers to many frequently asked questions. It's always a good idea to check there when you have questions about general things. We're expanding the list continuously too.

https://www.duolingo.com/comment/5892805


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

Oh, I didn't realise. Good to know.

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