Okay so, I came to the startling and terrible realization that my understanding of adjectives in Swedish is really basic and I need to…make it stop being basic, right now. >:| So I figured I would make a post about adjectives because one of the best ways to learn something is to teach it to other people! Native swedes, make sure I don’t make any glaring mistakes D:
So Swedish has two genders for nouns, common (en words) and neuter (ett words). Adjectives reflect the gender and number of the noun they describe.
Let’s say we have the adjective “stor” (big). For common nouns, the adjective is going to stay unchanged, basically just how you would find it in a dictionary.
- en hund - a dog
- en stor hund - a big dog
For neuter words, a -t is added to the adjective.
- ett rum - a room
- ett stort rum - a big room
For plural nouns of either gender, the adjective gains an -a ending.
- två stora hundar - two big dogs
- två stora rum - two big rooms
Those are all examples of adjectives being strongly inflected to show the gender/number of the noun. There is also a weak inflection, where the adjective always ends in -a regardless of number/gender. This is used when talking about a noun in the definite form, or otherwise targeting a specific noun (my own jacket vs. a random jacket, for example).
- den röda hunden - the red dog
- det röda huset - the red house
- de röda rummen - the red rooms
- min stora hund - my big dog
- flickans stora hus - the girl’s big house
- Anders stora rum - Anders’ big room
Note that the den/det/de must be present—it would be incorrect to only write “röda hunden” for “the red dog”.
Also know that the weak inflection is only used when the adjective is directly before the noun—not when the noun is described to be that adjective in another way. If the adjective is prescribed to the noun later, go back to using the strong inflection.
- det stora huset - the big house
- huset är stort - the house is big
Adjectives that end in -d or -dd drop those letters and have them replaced by -tt in neuter form.
- en röd hund - a red dog
- ett rött hus - a red house
Adjectives that end in -ad get an -e instead of -a.
- en intresserad hund - an interested dog
- två intresserade hundar - two interested dogs
The adjective “liten” (small) is annoyingly irregular. It has no plural form of its own, and instead changes to an entirely different word—“små”. When it is weakly inflected, it becomes “lilla”.
- en liten bil - a little car
- ett litet hus - a little house
- två små hundar - two little dogs
- det lilla rummet - the little room.
Anddd the adjective “bra” (well/good) doesn’t change at all no matter where you stick it!
And I think that covers most everything. I might have to make more posts like these to solidify grammar rules in my mind and to use for easy reference. I hope that was vaguely interesting/helpful for some of you XD I’ll come back and add to this if I realize I’ve forgotten something.