1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Swedish
  4. >
  5. "Jag brukar simma på måndagar…

"Jag brukar simma måndagar."

Translation:I usually swim on Mondays.

March 1, 2015



I was wondering if you could translate that to "I tend to swim on Mondays". Any thoughts/corrections? :)


Yes, 'tend' is the only English verb I can think of that works in this sentence, and as far as I can tell it conveys the same meaning as 'brukar' - I don't know why the discussion got so stuck on 'used to'!


Interesting! I want to hear what native Swedes think of this translation.


So would I! I'm mentally translating brukar into "I tend to" and then selecting 'usually' in Duolingo (which marks tend to add incorrect). If there's a subtle difference, I'd love to know it.


For the Germans who do not understand why "bruka" means "usually (occur)": Man sagt sowas im Neudeutschen eigentlich nicht mehr, da es ziemlich veraltet klingt aber man würde sagen: "Ich pflege an Montagen zu schwimmen."


In older Swedish, we had the same verb, in our version pläga: Jag plägar simma på måndagar. Unfortunately for Germans, we stopped using this verb but you can still find it in older literature.


Wow, thanks for the interesting information! But "bruka" is also very similar to the german "brauchen". And so we could say "Ich gebrauche an Montagen zu schwimmen." This sounds much older than to use "pflegen" but it is possible, too :)


Fascinating – our languages do have a lot in common!


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.


You could say I am used to swimming on Mondays, but I guess the meaning is subtly different.


Ninady1980- a better translation would be 'I tend to swim on Mondays'


use to is not an English expression. Only the past tense used to. For the present tense you have to use a different word in English, like usually, customarily, ordinarily, tend to, etc.


Thanks so much! I was trying to find a German equivalent.


Ah, vielen Dank, tack så mycket! :)


for Croatian speakers, brukar means "običavati"


Trying to think of a similar word in Ukrainian, but, unfortunately, it seems like there is no real equivalent. So I'll use this occasion to learn this Croatian verb that will help me with understanding Swedish :)


Could we also say, Jag simmar vanligtis på måndagar?


Vanligtvis yeah, but I think the point here is to teach the verb bruka. :)


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.


Thinking more about this, I believe a similar English phrasing is "I am used to swimming on Mondays." It's a slightly different connotation than "I usually swim" but not by much. I could see "I am used to" being a comparable translation in certain circumstances.


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?


@missewu to be used to is att vara van vid in Swedish, but brukade is used to, which you have only in the past tense. So we can say brukar in the present tense, but you can't say uses to in the present tense in English.


to be used to is att vara van vid
I used to is jag brukade

So I am used to drinking milk every day is Jag är van vid att dricka mjölk varje dag.


When I learnt Swedish last year I remember my teacher explaining that brukar means 'to be used to' so the present form which does exist in English. Yet it is not.accepted here which made me confused


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.


That's what I mean! You don't say I use to swim on Mondays in English. But you could compare I used to swim on Mondays and I usually swam on Mondays and get a feel for the difference.


RogueTanuki 'used to' is van vid in Swedish.


Maybe "I'm used to swimming on mondays" would be better?


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..."


This just proves you can't always translate word for word. Use to may be grammatically correct but nobody uses it that way since it is too easily confused with used to.


Replace 'brukar' with 'tend to' and you get a fairly good match I think.


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.


Thankyou very much! I will just go with the theory that I'm more likely to be correct using brukar than vanligtvis in most cases.


Vanligtvis and usually are adverbs, makes it hard to see the infinitive. If i think brukar is 'happen', now i see the infinitive to swim.


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.


Basically same idea yeah. "Jag (kommer) att (gå)"


...à la salle de bain*


Je vais aller à la salle de bain


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?


Yes, brukar is exactly like used to [do something], only in the present tense.
The best translation for I go swimming on Mondays would be Jag går och simmar på måndagar. You could use brukar too, I'd rather translate that as I usually …


In English "I go swimming on Mondays" is implied to be habitual. Is it the same in swedish?


Okay so would you say that there is a difference in meaning between Jag går och simmar på måndagar. and Jag brukar simma på måndagar. cause it doesn't feel different to me from an English perspective, but I'm not sure about in Swedish.


It's very subtle, but still … like there's a difference between habitually and usually, maybe? For practical purposes it doesn't matter of course, both these and a few others can be used in the same situation.


"Jag brukar besöka mitt barn på måndagar". "Barn" is an ett-word.


Why is 'I use to swim on mondays' not correct?


In English, used to is exactly the same as brukade in the past tense, but they have an odd restraint on their verb that makes them unable to use it in the present tense.


Because that is incorrect English grammar and also that is not what brukar means. Brukar indicates something you do regularly and doesn't have a direct English translation.


why not "I am used to swimming on Mondays"? jag brukar means I am used ....


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].


So "brukar" acts as the main verb here, when"usually" is an adverb in English.


There is a big difference in the meanings of 'used to' and 'usually' - how do you know which one the person means?


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"


is used to is är van vid (att) in Swedish.


aaahh, yes I didn't think about Swedish having a different phrase for that! lol


I think 'vanligtvis' maps pretty well to 'usually', and 'tend to' maps pretty well to 'brukar'


Simmer now becomes simma? I'm not grasping the difference.


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.


This explanation helped me a ton, thank you!


Why isn't "I usually go swimming on Mondays" accepted?


It is correct as a translation, but "Jag brukar gå och simma på måndagar" is a closer back-translation to your sentence, and in my experience this course likes you to keep your translations as close to the original sentence as possible.


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.


Why do we change the verb?


When there are two verbs in the same clause and the second is the "target" of the first, the infinitive form of the second is used. Compare the English "I hate (present tense) to study ("to study" is the infinitive form)" and its Swedish equivalent "Jag hatar att studera".


What's wrong about "I use to swim..."?


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.


Why do we use an infinitive form here in Swedish? Seems so unusual. I speak 6 other languages and in every one of them the verb would be conjugated in this type of sentence. hmm


This structure of this sentence looks like it's violating the V2 rule. I would say "Jag simma brukar på måndagar."


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

  • The order the exercises come in are random, so it was never chosen as the very first exercise in the lesson.
  • This may have been different when this comment was written, but now the tool tip mentions that it's a verb if you hover over it.
Learn Swedish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.