Swedish: Brukar (a verb?)

Discussion in 'Nordic Languages' started by 3Nex, Aug 18, 2014.

  1. 3Nex New Member

    On Tyda "brukar" is categorized as a verb, which is really weird since it translates to "usually". Is that a simple typo on their part, or does that word have some kind of different construction in swedish language that is impossible to translate to English? If it really functions as a verb, i would appreciate some example sentences and/or explanations on why it would be a verb.

    Brukar on Tyda
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2014
  2. Göte Member

    Maybe it is easier to compare "brukade" with "used to", both are verbs.

    "Jag brukade cykla till jobbet" - "I used to bike to work"

    In Swedish "bruka" can be used in all tenses, but in English only "used to" is available and other constructions need to be used in other tenses.
  3. Tjahzi

    Tjahzi Senior Member

    Umeå, Sweden
    Swedish (Göteborg)
    The verb att bruka has two main meanings, to use, and the one you're after here. In this case, it's functioning as a modal verb denoting habituability. As such, bruka is used to denote that the verb following it is done in a habitual manner.


    Jag brukar spela fotboll - I play football regularly/on a regular basis/now and then.
    Vi brukade prata engelska, men nu pratar vi svenska -
    We used to speak English, but nowadays we speak Swedish.

    Additionally, when a temporal adverb is already present to describe a habit, bruka adds uncertainty or indefiniteness:

    Vi brukar spela på torsdagar - We usually play on Thursdays. (We play on Thursdays, but not necessarily every Thursday.)

    Also, it's worth noting that this usage is limited to present and imperfect (brukar and brukade). There are no infinite, future or prefect forms.
  4. alegomenon New Member

    Interesting, in my (Swedish) mind, "I use to" sounds fine, but I see now that people consider it as incorrect. (Though the forum doesn't allow me to post links.) You learn something new every day, I guess.

    Nitpicking: there is also an infinitive, as in "I did use to like it".

    The supine (=perfect?) can be used as well.

    Some Google results:
    Jag har brukat använda Trafikverkets hemsida ...
    De gamla har brukat skära ett kors ...

    Finally, Mitch Hedberg's pun on the pragmatics(?) of the word "used":
    "I used to do drugs. I still do drugs. But I used to, too."
    And to think he died of an overdose ...
  5. sjiraff

    sjiraff Senior Member

    Scotland, UK
    I wondered the same with in Norwegian, I always assumed "pleide å..." was the only way to say "used to..(do something)", but I have also seen and heard many say "Jeg brukte å...". I wasn't sure if it was correct or an English influence at first.
  6. Tjahzi

    Tjahzi Senior Member

    Umeå, Sweden
    Swedish (Göteborg)
    Would you really use those forms? I never hear them and they sound horribly awkward to me.
  7. MattiasNYC Senior Member

    New York
    To me as well.

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