"Hon skulle komma efter honom."

Translation:She was going to come after him.

February 26, 2015

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Word for word, these future preterite constructions look like something else in English. How do you differentiate in swedish? For example if I wanted to say "she would come after him" as in describing something someone might have done habitually in the past, rather than something someone was going to do in future.


"Skulle" in Swedish is conditional ("I would do it if....", "would you like...") or this preterite future or whatever it's called ("I was going to..."). If you want to communicate habitual past, you'd just put it in past tense, maybe with "brukade".


I am a bit surprised (or embarrassed?) that I seem to be the only person wondering if this sentence means "she is arriving after him" or "she is going to come after him...and make him pay for what he did."


It could be either meaning, though I would absolutely assume the former. :)


Okay, I tried: "She would be coming after him." To me that makes the best sense in English, but it wasn't accepted.


The two correct solutions are conflicting. "She would come after him" means she still intends to come. "She was going to come after him" means that she would have come, but no longer intends to. The correct way to phrase the first sentence is "she would have come after him", that way both sentences have the same meaning.


The thing is that the Swedish sentence covers both those, but She would have come after him would be Hon skulle ha kommit efter honom.


To find out if "skulle" is referring to "would" or "was going to" is it a matter of context?


how would one say "she should come after him"? do you also use "skulle"?


should seems to have several meanings, but for the most common one (which is like 'ought to'), that would be hon borde …


I see your point, but that's not necessarily the case. For instance:

As he looked back, he immediately knew that she was going to come after him.


No, that's not fully correct. Although, yes, those sentences could mean what you said in ONE context, both of them have the same practical meaning in the context of, say, explaining a complex plan involving multiple people. Think of a travel itinerary where people arrive from multiple locations, or a schedule of speakers at an event, or the narration over a montage in a heist movie.


Agreed, I think they try and avoid using 'have' to avoid confusion with the perfect tense, but it's unclear without it.


This ska/skulle ambiguity now makes me curious, but it is really hard to ask this question in a right way: Do native swedish speakers actually understand ska/skulle to be a word marking something like "intentionality or aim to do"? I mean differently than ambiguous "will-should/would-were going to do", having its own meaning as a bit of both, but without ambiguity.

So in the case Hon skulle komma efter honom. you actually understand both possible english interpretation as one, marking some intentionality, therefore not having any reason to figure out the exact meaning?

Again, i feel it is really hard to make the point I wanted to make, especially since I am not even a native english speaker, but I also want to understand swedish concepts and "think in swedish" instead of just speaking it.


With the ambiguity of this sentence being a good example, is sentence context the only way to differentiate Future Preterite and the Conditional verbs? They all seem to have "skulle [inf.]"


Why is var not used instead of skulle? Or there certain phrases where skulle is more suitable than var? (Based on preceding and following words) i always thought skulle meant would or should, and not was?


Swedish doesn't have a continuous, so "I'm eating" and "I eat" both translate to the same thing - jag äter. The same goes for all other tenses as well, so "I was going to" generally can't be translated to something with var.


Ahh I see, thanks for clearing that up. That's very helpful


I don't seem to be getting this at all, and am not even sure if my problem is with Swedish or English. Why is 'she was about to come after him' wrong here?


The "about to" part isn't in the Swedish sentence. It would need a "hon skulle PRECIS komma efter honom" or "hon var på väg att komma efter honom" or something like that.

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