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Swedish: tenses in conditional sentences

Discussion in 'Nordic Languages' started by gvergara, May 3, 2011.

  1. gvergara

    gvergara Senior Member

    Santiago, Chile
    Español
    Hi:

    Hard as I've tried, I haven't managed to find information on the tense combination in Swedish if-sentences (not on the net, , not in my books, and not on this forum either) Could you help me translate this, please?

    1) Conditional 0: If you heat water, it boils.


    2) Conditional 1: If I have money, I will buy a car.


    3) Conditional 2: If I had money, I would buy a car.


    4) Conditional 3: If I had had money, I would have bought a car.


    Thanks in advance,
    Gonzalo
     
  2. Tjahzi

    Tjahzi Senior Member

    Umeå, Sweden
    Swedish (Göteborg)
    Since Swedish lacks a pure conditional, we use various compound tenses instead (much like English).

    1) Om man värmer vatten kokar det.

    Both verbs in the present tense.

    2) Om jag har pengar så kommer jag köpa en bil.

    The latter verb is obviously in the future tense. However, the latter is also interpreted as future but to be fully functional as such, it needs a temporal adverb, such as or imorgon, as well. (In short, the phrase had appeared more natural if the time of the possibly buying could be a little specified.)

    3) Om jag hade pengar så hade jag köpt en bil.
    4) Om jag hade haft pengar så hade jag köpt en bil.

    The last two are normally not distinguished since Swedish uses the simple past for subjunctive and conditional phrases. As such, the latter, without a temporal adverb, is used for present conditional while the latter with a temporal adverb is used for past conditional.

    A few additional examples:

    Om jag hade haft pengar skulle jag köpa en bil. - If I would have had money, I would have bought a car (right now).

    Om jag hade haft pengar då så hade jag köpt bilen. - If I would have had the money (at that time), I would have bought the car (then).

    However, it's also worth noting that there is actually a verb that is used specifically for this type of phrases, namely skulle (it lacks an infinite, being the old subjunctive of skola (of which ska has evolved)). However, it's subjunctive rather than conditional, but since these moods often overlap, it's possible to use in past and present conditional phrases as well. See below:

    3) Om jag hade pengar så skulle jag köpa en bil.

    4) Om jag hade haft pengar så skulle jag ha köpt en bil.

    This way, past and present can be fully distinguished, but I'm under the impression that expressing condition/subjunctive simply using the past tense is dominating, at least among younger people.
     
  3. sammio Junior Member

    Finland
    Finnish
    This is very interesting, because your examples without skulle (third and fourth sentence) sound very bad to my ear. I don't obviously have Swedish as a mother tongue, but I'd say in Finland the Swedish speaking people would in almost all cases use the word skulle, or sku as they say here, when building a conditional. I have never seen the conditional been built with only a past tense verbs during my studies and have been under the impression that it is accepted only in speech. But they are more permissive in many things in Sweden than in Finland, so I guess this is again one of those things. :)
     
  4. Muzze Junior Member

    Swedish
    3) Om jag hade haft pengar så skulle jag köpa en bil.
    Jag hade köpt en bil om jag hade pengar.

    I would probably say in it one of ways above. My impression though is that it is very common to say like this in many places in sweden:

    om jag hade pengar så skulle jag köpa en bil

    4) I would say: om jag hade haft pengar så hade jag köpt en bil

    but it doesn´t sound wrong to my to say: Om jag hade haft pengar så skulle jag ha köpt en bil. But I don`t like that option that much so I don`t use it myself but still quite many do.
     
  5. skandinavien Junior Member

    American English
    Kan någon förklara för mig varför "så" är nödvändig har?

    Om man värmer vatten kokar det.
    If you heat up water, it boils.

    Om jag har pengar kommer jag (att?) köpa en bil.
    If I have money, I'll buy a car.

    Om jag hade pengar hade jag köpt en bil.
    Om jag hade pengar skulle jag köpa en bil.If I had money, I would buy a car.

    Tack!

     
  6. JohanIII

    JohanIII Senior Member

    Switzerland
    Swedish
    För att det är svenska, inte engelska :) [är nödvändigt här]
    But it can be spoken without , but not always.

    Jaa! Tack, det ska in ett att där.

    But! As Tjahzi says, it would feel more natural with a specification.
    In fact, I'd never say it just like the above - it feels not temporally right.
    E.g. Om jag någon gång har pengar... .

    Or clean out of tempus, just condition:
    Om jag har pengar, så köper jag en bil.
    Though I can't think of a situation for its use.
    Perhaps this: Om jag har pengar köper jag bara knark. :) (If I have money, I just buy drugs, literally)
    (speech, without så and comma)

    Also: Om jag hade haft pengar så hade jag [ha] köpt en bil.
    Without haft it again is out of tune, temporally.
    Ha is optional (at least in speech).

    There's much to this.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2013

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