"Now it cannot get worse!"
Translation:Nu kan det inte bli värre!
Here's a link to a blog post about it: http://www.thelocal.se/blogs/theswedishteacher/2010/07/22/samre-eller-varre/
A direct web archive link for the busy:
In a question, the verb must go before the subject like here, but there can't be any adverbials before the verb. You can have a question word at the start of the sentence (like where, why etc), but other than that, the verb goes first. So you can't have nu first in a question.
Since this is not a question, and not a subclause either, the V2 kicks in – the rule that says that the verb goes second. So the only thing we know for sure is that kan must be in second place. You can say Nu kan det inte bli värre or Det kan inte bli värre, but kan stays where it is.
Why does "det" come before "inte" in this particular phrasing? Why not "Nu kan inte det..."?
Sorry about my first confused answer to this one! If we take a look at the diagrams here: http://www.student.umu.se/under-studietiden/studieverkstad/skriftliga-uppgifter/skrivrad-och-sprakhjalp/ordfoljd-i-huvudsatser-och-bisatser/ we can see that the normal word order for a main clause, which is what we have here, is
- finite verb
- satsadverbial 'sentence adverbial'
- non-finite verb
- verb particle
Number 6 and 8 are empty in this case; värre is a predicative.
So this is just the normal word order. What confused me is that in some cases, you can indeed hear people saying inte before the subject, at least colloquially. Some resources for learners I found simply stated that this is wrong. It doesn't necessarily sound wrong to me in all possible sentences, but I guess it's the kind of word order that learners should avoid.
For this specific sentence, I could imagine saying Nu kan inte det bli värre with a strong stress on det, which would translate into 'Now that cannot get any worse' (implying that something else might). But that sentence would require a special context + it would basically always use that rather than it in English.
So I think I just remembered why it is "det inte" and not "inte det": subject+verb are a unit. ?
Can one use 'få' here instead of 'bli'? They both mean 'get'. But to answer my own question, I suppose not, because 'få' means 'get' in the sense of 'receive', whereas here we want 'get' in the sense of 'become'. But would it be correct to say for example 'Nu kan jag inte få öl'?