When and how do I use 'samt'?

How is it different form using och in this sentence?

Sverigetråden - för svenskar samt broderfolk

May 31, 2015


It means "and", but that's because English doesn't have an equivalent word. It actually has specific uses. I will explain a little and simple bit, but please not that the precise usage of this word is not really necessary to nail down for a learner here. Focus more on knowing what it means than on trying to use it synonymously with och. We will not accept "samt" in all places where there's och.

  • The word samt can be used used much like the oxford comma, to make it clear that the last two things in a string of things are separate, thus avoiding the ambiguity of the last och.

  • It can also be used meaning something like "in addition to the things mentioned".

  • It may also be used to separate things in an order of objects where one or more of the things are something that containts the word "och" in it like a fixed expression. Klartext has the example "Jag gillar spaghetti och köttfärssås samt pannkakor". In this example, "spaghetti och köttfärssås" (meaning spaghetti bolognese) is a fixed expression for the meal. So as to avoid confusion, samt is used to separate the spaghetti bolognese from the pancakes at the end, signalling that they're two entities rather than three, despite the och in there.

But always stick to "och" unless you actually have a good reason to use "samt", or chances are your sentence will just sound pseudointellectual.

May 31, 2015

beautiful explanation, thank you!

June 1, 2015

They are synonyms, so you could use och here as well. Och, as you probably already know, is the more common alternative and should be used primarily, whereas samt is a little bit more formal and may sound odd if used in "simple" sentences. A few situations where samt can be used are,

  • when "listing" multiple things. Ex: Jag spelar ishockey, fotboll, handboll samt basket.
  • when och already have been used in the sentence. Ex: Jag gillar att resa och laga mat samt att kolla på ishockey.
May 31, 2015

I've asked my native Swedish friend, and he says that it's basically the same but older and more formal, and something you expect to see in official legal documents or technical writing than in common usage.

May 31, 2015
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