"He has always wanted to cook for me."
Translation:Han har alltid velat laga mat åt mig.
In these types of sentences, how do you tell when 'att' is inappropriate? (i.e. 'att laga mat')
Modal verbs are not followed by "att". In English, some modal verbs are followed by "to" and some not, but in Swedish the "att" should not be there.
Jag vill simma - I want to swim
Jag måste simma - I must swim
Jag behöver simma - I need to swim
Jag kan simma - I can swim
Am I right in assuming that the difference between åt and för, in this case, is that att laga mat åt mig is cooking to make me happy (i.e. a treat), whereas att laga mat för mig is more like "cooking in my place" (e.g. because it would have been my turn to cook)?
You can't really say laga mat för mig – or, that could possibly mean 'with me as his teacher' or something like that. The prepositions that work are till, which only means that 'he will cook the food that I will eat' and åt which can mean either this or that he cooks it so I don't have to.
Oh okay, thanks. I think there was a multiple choice question, though, offering both "för" and "åt", and I picked both of them, which was deemed correct by Duo. This is what led me to my assumption in the first place. Shouldn't "för" be considered wrong then, seeing as it has a totally different meaning?
Yes, but it would mean: He always wanted rather than He has always wanted.
I selected the 'ått' version and it was marked as correct and then i went on to read the comments and the correct translation written above is the 'för' version. I took a screenshot but i cant post it on the app :/
I think you misread. The incorrect, removed version is the one with för.
Thanks! That would be a zombie sentence then - one that's been removed but still pops up throughout the course. Nothing we can do about that. :(