Swedish: Passive Imperative? Läses av alla


New Member
Hello guys,

Läses av alla.

I've come across this phrase in my Swedish book under 'teckenförklaringar". It looks like a passive form but translates as imperative: to be read by everyone. However, I also noticed that it is in present tense, otherwise it would be läsas, wouldn't it? Or is it just simply 'it is read by everyone' like a statement? I'm confused. Somebody please explain.

Many thanks.
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  • Svenke

    Senior Member
    It is a passive in the present tense, just as you have figured out, Walentyne.

    In Swedish (as in Danish and Norwegian Bokmål), the passive present is used (among other things) to describe situations involving "people etc. in general", or as you say yourself, "everyone".

    For instance, take the following, found on the Internet:

    Ansökningen sänds till Högsta förvaltningsdomstolen ...

    This literally means 'The application is sent to ...'. Put another way: 'One sends the application to ...'
    And what "one" does then comes to describe what it is usual to do. And what is usual, will often be seen as correct.
    And by telling someone what is usual and correct, you have given them an instruction on how to act properly, without using the less polite imperative Sänd ansökningen till ...

    So Läses av alla may be a polite way of saying Läs detta, allihopa! or Alla ska läsa detta.


    New Member
    Thank you for the answers!

    I guess what confused me at the end was that there is neither a subject (agent), nor an object in the sentence. Probably because both of them are obvious, hence redundant. That's why it looks more like an imperative.

    By the way, is this a common way to give instructions politely in Swedish?.