i disagree about "Ich gebrauche an Montagen zu schwimmen." that's not a german expression. but i also see the connection, which is still retained in the german words "gebräuchlich" (common, used often) and "brauch" (custom [noun]). brauchen, on the other hand, = need and gebrauchen = use. i find this interesting, because the english word use to apparently has a similar meaning to bruka.
EDIT: got it now that use to doesn't exist that way in english. but it still helps to remember the meaning :).
The thing is that in English, they don't use use to in the present tense. It's a grammatical quirk of English. In the past tense, used to can be used in the same way as brukade in Swedish. So I used to swim on Mondays is ok, but they can't say the same thing with use to in the present tense.
Edit, I cross-posted with rwhodges but I'll leave my comment up anyway, both may be helpful.
I don't really understand the point of the verb brukar when there is an adjective that means the same thing. Would there be different situations when it would be more appropriate to use one or the other? Which form is most used by Swedish people? I guess I need to ask my daughter-in-law that one!
The problem is that in English, for some reason you don't use the verb used to in the present tense. In Swedish however, we don't have this limitation, so we use brukar a lot in the present tense. – To get a better feel for the difference, try saying the same sentence in the past tense in English with used to/usually.
it's now turning into the English grammar discussion but I think it's relevant for the translation of this particular Swedish sentence.
In English there are 2 distinct expressions: 1. 'used to' which refers to the past, e.g. I used to dance a lot when I was little (I do not do it anymore) 2. 'to be used to doing sth' which refers to the present, e.g. I'm used to drinking milk every day (which means I drink milk every day). In that case I would translate it into 'Jag brukar dricka mjolk varje dag'. What do you think about it, Arnauti?
Used to in English would never be used in the present tense because it denotes something which has already happened. I used to swim on Mondays is completely different in meaning to I usually swim on Mondays. My confusion really is when you would use vanligtis as opposed to brukar, as they seem to mean the same thing....Jag simmar vanligtis......jag brukar simma.
There is a major clash between swedish and english here. There is no one to one translation. Translating brukar (a verb) to usually (an adverb) creates big problems because it eliminates the infinitive "to swim". You cant "usually to swim." The purpose here is to apply infinitives, so i violate english grammar and think along the lines of "I use (present tense) to swim..."
I'm chiming in here because I've always been a bit unsure about this too. I sort of came to the conclusion (but I'm not sure if it's correct) that there's a bit more of a sense of personal control or intention about brukar.
For example, I would guess that if I asked a Swede to translate "behind a great man there is usually a great woman" into Swedish, they would not use brukar there, because it's a statement about how things usually are, not of what someone usually does.
Whereas for anything that's a habit or something you're accustomed to doing, brukar would be their usual choice. Is that so?
The normal expression in that case is just Bakom varje framgångsrik man står en kvinna, so that's no help, I'm afraid.
I'm not sure I agree about brukar needing control or intention. We often say things like Det brukar alltid regna 'It usually rains', Det brukar finnas svamp i skogen 'There are usually mushrooms in the forest'. Det brukar vara bra att äta frukost innan man går ut 'It is usually good to eat breakfast before going out' and things like that.
And also things that are obviously unintended, like Han brukar förlora 'He usually loses'.
But I do agree that brukar is generally my first choice over vanligtvis, which is a bit clunky.
My head hurt so much after reading this...I found this link though...
Helped me think it through (as well as reading the comments above)
I guess this is a good to to ask... When two verbs are in the same sentence do you conjugate one and leave the other unconjugated? Like in french when using the verb to go, aller, I would say " je vais(conjugated) aller(unconjugated) au salle de bain". I am going to go to the bathroom.
Is the idea behind "brukar" that something is done regularly? Like if you have a group you go swimming with every monday, and you don't always go, but you tend to go on a regular basis most of the time, that's when you'd use brukar?
For example, the english "I used to swim on Mondays" means In the past, I would swim on Mondays, not every monday, but most mondays, and it was a usual occurence for me." So would "Jag brukar simma på måndagar" mean, I swim on mondays, not every monday, but most mondays, and it is a usual occurance for me.?
I get the impression that brukar is used to talk about events that occur multiple times through times, and is used in places that "English" would say "go + [gerund]" or "go and [verb]"
So, for example "I go swimming on mondays", I go traveling home once a month", "I go to visit my child on Mondays" all of which could also be written as "I go and swim on mondays, "I go and travel home once a month", and "I go and visit my child on Mondays"
Would these and best be written with "brukar"? "Jag brukar resa hem en gång per månad", "Jag brukar besöka min barn på måndagar"
Do I have the right idea here, or am I totally off?
brukar means usually [do, in the present].
brukade means usually [did, in the past]. In English you can also express that as used to (although there is no present-tense equivalent involving the word use or used in English). But that is not the same as the English expression of being "used to" something, which means being accustomed to it. I think the Swedish for that is something like är van vid [något].
That's a question for native speakers of English, since you cannot differentiate between those in the present tense. In the past you can say She used to swim or She usually swam, but in the present you only have She usually swims. In Swedish, we have both options in the present tense too.
I noted above, English does have another present tense option of "She is used to swimming on Mondays." It has a slightly different connotation than "usually" but not by much. It has the meaning of being accustomed to the activity. "I am used to getting up early." Doesn't mean I like it, just that I'm accustomed to it.
An example of both might be "She is so used to swimming on Mondays that it feels odd for her not to." vs "She usually swims on Mondays so it feels odd for her not to."
For simple conversation the two are similar enough. I think "is used to X-ing" is a good alternate translation to "usually X"
It's a quirk of trying to translate 'brukar' into English. While Duo uses 'usually' it seems to translate a bit better grammatically to use 'tend to'. That makes the verb form of swim work out correctly.
So the infinitive form of swim is 'simma'. "I swim" is "jag simmar" but just 'to swim' is 'att simma'. But brukar eats the 'att', so for "I (usually/tend to) swim on Mondays" you use the infinitive form of the verb: brukar simma.
If that seems really confusing, think of it like the English verb 'to be' but you say 'I am', so the verb changes between the infinitive form and the present tense form.
For russian-speaking learners it came to my mind... the equivalent might be: brukar = имею обыкновение or even привык to swim... first sounds a bit old fashioned, but fits perfectly to meaning of brukar. At the same time, second option (привык) is, in my taste, originating from the same as pflege (german), pläga (swedish) source, a fortiori our languages have a lot in common in words' descent.
For native spanish speakers, it may help thinking of "brukar" as the spanish word "acostumbro" o "suelo" (Jag brukar simma på måndagar = Yo "acostumbro a"/"suelo" nadar los Lunes). That way you can associate brukar to an actual verb, while "usually" doesn't really help in that matter.
This is a bad choice for the very first exercise in the "Infinitive" lesson IMHO. If "brukar" means "usually" (which is not a verb) then why is the verb after it in infinitive form? I had to look at the swedish wiktionary to learn that "bruka" is in fact a verb itself and only then it makes sense that the other verb aftet it is in infinitive form