Swedish: jag visste att du är smart

e2efour

Senior Member
UK English
In the English only forum we have been discussing the sentence "I knew you are smart from the moment you cracked the password" (jag visste att du är smart så snart du knäckt lösenordet).
The correct English is "I knew you were smart", and I assume the same is true in Swedish (jag visste att du var smart).

In reported speech we can sometimes use the present tense after "said", e.g. "He said that the company is successful" (since the company is successful at the time this is said), but this pattern does not apply to verbs such as know:
jag trodde/visste/antog/insåg att bolaget går med vinst (I assume that gick is the correct Swedish).

But what about "Jag var medveten om att president Obama bor i det Vita huset"? It is possible to say "I was aware that President Obama lived/lives in the White House". I bor or bodde more likely in the Swedish ?
 
  • Tjahzi

    Senior Member
    Swedish (Göteborg)
    Firstly, despite never having thought about this before, I must say it does indeed seem like Swedish works like English concerning in this matter.

    Regarding your question, I would say that bor does work, but I also feel a firm urge to reach "temporal coherency". Especially if we extend the sentence (add more verbs in the past tense); Redan innan du talade om det för mig igår var jag medveten om att Obama bodde i Vita huset. (Vita huset does not require a definite article since the phrase has been grammaticalised and vita no longer functions as an adjective (but rather just a part of the name)).
    Also, bor obviously won't work once Obama has moved out. :p

    But in short, I would say bodde would be preferred by most speakers.
     

    AutumnOwl

    Senior Member
    -
    Swedish
    F Especially if we extend the sentence (add more verbs in the past tense); Redan innan du talade om det för mig igår var jag medveten om att Obama bodde i Vita huset.

    But in short, I would say bodde would be preferred by most speakers.
    I would rather use "bor" about Obama (or whoever lives somewhere just now), especially if you continue the sentence as "Redan innan du talade om det för mig igår var jag medveten om att Obama bor i Vita huset, men innan dess bodde Bush där", it makes it to differ bewteen now and then.
     

    Lars H

    Senior Member
    Both forms are correct but they describe different matters:

    "Jag visste redan att president Obama bor i Vita huset."
    "Jag visste redan att George W Bush bodde i Vita Huset."

    Perhaps because it is correct to say "I knew you could do it"/"Jag visste att du kunde klara det" regarding something you have achieved, people do tend to say things like "jag visste att du var smart" without meaning you've lost your wits :)
     
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