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  5. "Flickan ber sin mamma att hj…

"Flickan ber sin mamma att hjälpa henne."

Translation:The girl asks her mother to help her.

March 5, 2015



In a previous sentence, "Jag ber honom tala långsamt", there was no "att" after "ber". Why do we need it here?


You could either include it or leave it out in both sentences, it’s optional with some verbs. It sounds slightly better to include it here, it might be because ’sin mamma’ comes in between but I’m not sure.


I'm guessing it might sound better partially because not including it is less formal and is still gradually gaining acceptance, and partially because the -t ending in "att" improves the speech progression to "hjälpa" as compared to "-ma".


I'd love to include it everywhere, it just seems to provide more structure to the sentence and makes it easier to understand [for me at least]. But is it okay to use "att" all the time?


I'm afraid not. But as a basic rule, you can use it in combination with almost every verb that isn't modal.


JohnMcConn7, English and Swedish are similar in that sometimes you need to insert a marker (to/att) before a following infinitive, sometimes you must not insert the marker, and sometimes the marker is optional. For example, look at these English sentences:
1. I plan to work.
2. I must work .
3. Help me be a better person [or] Help me to be a better person.

In both languages there are certain verbs called "modals". These are verbs like "can", "should" "must", etc. In both languages these verbs are followed by a bare infinitive (that is, "to" is not inserted").

In contrast, most ordinary (nonmodal) verbs, in both languages, do require that "to" be inserted, as in sentence 1 above.

So, as a first approximation, do not insert "att" after a Swedish modal verb, and do insert it after other verbs.

Unfortunately, there are a couple of complications. First, in addition to the true modals, in Swedish there are a number of other verbs that, like modals, require that you NOT insert "att" before the following infinitive. There are about 20-25 of these verbs. Some of them are rather frequent. These verbs include, for example, "behöva", "hoppas", and "verka".

The second complication is that there about six or so Swedish verbs after which the insertion of "att" before the following infinitive is optional (as with the English "help" in sentence 3 above). These verbs include for example : "försöka", "börja" and "sluta".

Repeating the drills here on DL are a good way to burn into our brains which finite verbs require inserting an "att" and which do not.


Sounds great, thanks!


Is there any simple, non-technical rule that would tell me when to use 'att' with the verb as simply putting it in where you would use'to' in English isn't working very well for me. As you can doubtless tell I am not a linguist!


Suppose you used 'sig' instead of 'henne'. Would that mean the girl asks the mother to help herself - that is, the mother helps the mother?


I'd say you need hjälpa sig själv in that context, but it's arguable either way.


I have studied that "ber" takes om so why we don't use om here instead of att ?


You need om when you ask for a noun, so it would be Hon ber sin mamma om hjälp 'She asks her mother for help'.


does "henne" refer to "the girl" or to another female?!


Could be either. :)


Tack så mycket <3


Why wasn't "The girl asks her mama to help her" accepted?


is 'ber' more desperate than 'frågar'? Or is there another difference?


English uses the one word "ask" for two different meanings, whereas Swedish (and some other European languages) use different verbs for the different meanings.

Compare the following two English sentences:
1. I asked him a question.
2. I asked him for water.
In Swedish you use "fråga" to ask a question. You use "be" to request or "ask for" something.


Yes and no - it covers a span from "request" to "beg", so it's not desperate in the former case but it can definitely be in the latter.


So ber is like the german "jemanden um etwas bitten"?


Are you asking if the Swedish "be" is like the the German "bitten"?

Yes. They both mean "ask" in the sense of "request" (rather than in the sense of "ask a question".)


It's interesting how you must write "mother". Any other form is incorrect.


We accept mother/mom/mum/mommy/mummy here. I see you left an error report, though, which is great, because it allows me to see what's wrong or send it off as a bug. Your report says "The girls asks her mum to help her", but there's only one girl.


What is wrong with 'the girl asks its mother for help'? Is 'att hjälpa henne' the mother helping the girl or the girl helping the mother? And how do we know?


You need "her" with "girl", rather than "its". You also need some variation of "to help her", since "for help" would be om hjälp.

I would always interpret this as the girl asking for the mother's help.

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