Swedish: ever


Senior Member
Hello. I'm having difficulties understanding how you use the word "ever" in swedish to form the following phrases.

I want whatever you have.
Whatever you say, I won't listen.

I know it uses the words "som helst" but I haven't gotten the hang of it yet. Could you translate them for me?

Tack så mycket.
  • cocuyo

    Senior Member
    Swedish - Stockholm
    It is a bit more complex, as there are various forms of expressing "ever" or "whatever". I wouldn't use "vad som helst" in the second phrase, although perhaps in the first, but you might understand that the first phrase is not quite clear without further context. So the second would be: "Vad du än säger, kommer jag inte att lyssna." To use "vad som helst" it has to be reformulated to: "Du kan säga vad som helst, jag kommer ändå inte att lyssna."


    Senior Member

    I agree with cocuyo I think.

    For the first sentence it looks like you're trying to say "I will have whatever you are having", a phrase sometimes use in restaurants for example when someone thinks what the other person is eating looks good and they want the same thing. Since they don't know exactly what it is they'll say they want "whatever" that is. In Swedish it's not a particularly common phrase I think though I could be wrong. I'd maybe expect to hear:

    "Jag tar det du har" which translates to "I'll take what you have". Note though that whereas we'd say "I will have" in English I don't think we'd say that in Swedish here. The only way we'd phrase it that way is if we were more clearly expressing our future intent:

    Me: Kyparen (the waiter) är mycket upptagen. Han kommer nog inte förrän om 10 minuter tyvärr. Vad tänker du beställa?
    You: Jag kommer att ta det du har.

    So in the above it's more about the event of you ordering, whereas "Jag tar det du har" is more about what you will have. Hope that description makes sense.

    Your question was really about "whatever" though, so the short version (sorry) is really that "whatever" in this case = "det du har" which really means "that which you have". So the context really makes it mean the same thing though it looks different.

    Now, if your first sentence was not as I interpreted it, but instead was more literal, then it'll be different. Suppose you are a robber and I ask you what you want from me. Your answer, "I want whatever you have", seems to imply that whatever I have (on me, of value) you will physically take from me. In Swedish I would then expect something like "Jag vill ha vad du än har." It still sounds a bit odd without adding something after, like "on you" or "that's valuable" ("på dig" or "som är värdefullt"), but essentially it's the same as what cocuyo wrote.


    Senior Member
    A couple more examples:

    Whatever happens, I will always love you.

    Vad som än händer kommer jag alltid att älska dig.

    Whatever the cost we will build this tower.
    Vad det än kostar kommer vi att bygga detta torn.
    Kosta vad det kosta vill, vi kommer att bygga detta torn. (set phrase)
    Oavsett vad det kostar kommer vi att bygga detta torn. ("Whatever" here is akin to "regardless of")

    Compare to:

    Wherever you decide to go make sure to bring a lot of money.
    Var du än bestämmer dig för att gå se till att du tar med mycket pengar.

    However you do it, do it quickly!
    du än gör det, gör det snabbt!
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