Swedish: Definite article before a noun where there's no adjective

God kväll

I'm currently reading a series of Swedish short stories. In one story, there are a couple of instances of the use of the definite article before a noun where the latter has not been qualified by an adjective:

1. Där hittade han den köpman han letade efter.
2. Och den trolldryck du vill ha är mycket sällsynt.

Please could someone shed some light as to why this should be apparent in sentences where, as far as I can tell, the definite article could (should ?) be placed at the end of the noun ?

Tack.

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  • Swedish Anna

    Senior Member
    Swedish, Sweden
    Yes, you are right; you could have the definite article at the end of the noun in these two examples.

    I'll try to explain what is going on here.

    In both your examples there is a noun followed by a restrictive relative clause, and the relative pronoun has been ommitted.

    den köpman (som) han letade efter = the merchant (that) he was looking for
    den trolldryck (som) du vill ha= the magic potion (that) you want

    When you have a restrictive relative clause, you can either have a determinative pronoun + noun or the definite form of the noun.
    den köpman (som) han letade efter or köpmannen (som) han letade efter
    den trolldryck (som) du vill ha
    or trolldrycken (som) du vill ha

    Trevlig kväll!
    A
     
    Yes, you are right; you could have the definite article at the end of the noun in these two examples.

    I'll try to explain what is going on here.

    In both your examples there is a noun followed by a restrictive relative clause, and the relative pronoun has been ommitted.

    den köpman (som) han letade efter = the merchant (that) he was looking for
    den trolldryck (som) du vill ha= the magic potion (that) you want

    When you have a restrictive relative clause, you can either have a determinative pronoun + noun or the definite form of the noun.
    den köpman (som) han letade efter or köpmannen (som) han letade efter
    den trolldryck (som) du vill ha
    or trolldrycken (som) du vill ha

    Trevlig kväll!
    A
    Ah, I see. Thank you so much for your explanation.

    Just out of interest, in such examples as these, is it just a question of style that determines how the definite article is applied ?

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    serbianfan

    Senior Member
    British English
    I don't know if someone can confirm this for Swedish, but I feel that in spoken Norwegian the 'den' version is more likely if you add 'som':
    "Vet du hva, jeg traff den mannen som vi snakket om i går", whereas both are quite common if you omit 'som' "Vet du hva, jeg traff mannen/den mannen vi snakket om i går"

    'Den' seems to be used for emphasis (that one, not the other one):
    "Jeg kjøpte den billetten du sa jeg skulle kjøpe" ("den" more likely)
    but "Jeg ga ham billetten som lå på bordet" (without "den" more likely)

    This is just my feeling, and I haven't thought much about this, so other opinions on the usage in Norwegian and Swedish are welcome.
     
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