Swedish: skulle/borde

Twist-ful

Senior Member
English
Hej,

Is there a big difference between skulle and borde in the following sentence?

Min frissa tyckte att jag skulle/borde raka bort polisongerna. (My hairdresser thought I should shave my sideburns off.)

And If the sentence were in the present?

Du skulle/borde raka bort polisognerna. (You should shave off your sideburns, (I think it’d suit you.))

Tack så mycket
 
  • Twist-ful

    Senior Member
    English
    Thanks!
    Is it like that in the two sentences? So, in both cases, both skulle and borde would be possible, although the versions with borde sound stronger?
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    The meanings of the auxiliary verbs are often quite subtle, and I think you would need a lot of expertise to know all those subtleties.

    In Norwegian "skulle" can also be used to express intention or desire, and I suspect the same is the case in Swedish. So I think the first sentence with "skulle" could mean "My hairdresser thought I was wanting my sideburns shaved off". I'm not 100% sure about that, but I offer it as an idea for someone else to confirm or deny.

    And I otherwise agree with @MattiasNYC - compared with "skulle", "borde" sounds a bit more like an obligation than a suggestion.
     

    myšlenka

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    The meanings of the auxiliary verbs are often quite subtle, and I think you would need a lot of expertise to know all those subtleties.

    In Norwegian "skulle" can also be used to express intention or desire, and I suspect the same is the case in Swedish. So I think the first sentence with "skulle" could mean "My hairdresser thought I was wanting my sideburns shaved off". I'm not 100% sure about that, but I offer it as an idea for someone else to confirm or deny.
    Modal verbs are indeed tricky, because their meaning depends a lot on the context. In this case, I think the general syntactic context also contributes. To be more specific, if Swedish works like Norwegian in this case, the use of skulle does not express intentions/desires of the subject of raka bort because that would be incompatible with the verb that precedes it: tyckte.

    The Swedes here can correct me if I am wrong, but I think the verb tycke expresses personal opinions about something which is objectively neither true nor false. You can have a personal opinion about whether a film is good or bad, but you cannot have a personal opinion about something that isn't subjective. That is, a film is good or bad depending on the person, but the existence of my intentions/desires to have my sideburns shaved off is not subject to personal opinion. You may have beliefs about them though (tro would work in that case).
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I guess you are saying tycke is the equivalent of synes in Norwegian. If that is so, I totally appreciate what you are saying about the sentence, and agree. I was focussing too much on the wrong verb.

    But more generally, I think you can have a personal opinion on something that is objective - sometimes there are objective facts, but the facts are not known. In that case, you can evaluate the evidence and form an opinion, which might be different from someone else's opinion on the matter. In Norwegian, as I understand it, the appropriate verb then is mene.
     

    MattiasNYC

    Senior Member
    Swedish
    Is it like that in the two sentences? So, in both cases, both skulle and borde would be possible, although the versions with borde sound stronger?

    I think it depends on context probably.

    In Norwegian "skulle" can also be used to express intention or desire, and I suspect the same is the case in Swedish. So I think the first sentence with "skulle" could mean "My hairdresser thought I was wanting my sideburns shaved off". I'm not 100% sure about that, but I offer it as an idea for someone else to confirm or deny.

    I think that in Swedish if the hairdresser wanted to convey the feelings of the customer the verb "tro" would be used instead: " Min frissa trodde att jag ville raka bort polisongerna."

    EDIT:

    I would agree with the construction in some cases though. "Min flickvän trodde att jag skulle jobba den kvällen och hade därför besökt sina föräldrar istället för att gå hem efter jobbet."

    And I otherwise agree with @MattiasNYC - compared with "skulle", "borde" sounds a bit more like an obligation than a suggestion.

    Agreed.

    I think the verb tycke expresses personal opinions about something which is objectively neither true nor false. You can have a personal opinion about whether a film is good or bad, but you cannot have a personal opinion about something that isn't subjective. That is, a film is good or bad depending on the person, but the existence of my intentions/desires to have my sideburns shaved off is not subject to personal opinion. You may have beliefs about them though (tro would work in that case).

    I think we're really getting in the weeds here, which is fine. Yes, "(att) tycka" expresses opinion. Using "tyckte att jag skulle" in this case could be more general. I think "borde" could be used as well with the same intention, though perhaps less used.

    On the other hand if we imagine a conversation between the hairdresser and customer where the customer makes it clear that he going on a job interview that's important, one where it's suit and tie and it's all high-profile etc, the opinion of the hairdresser might be relying more on a sense that the applicant/customer really should shave those off because it's important since that would look more appropriate. In that case I think we could maybe think of the sentence more like this:

    " Min frissa tyckte att jag borde raka bort polisongerna."
    " Min frissa tyckter att man inte bör ha polisonger när man går på intervju."

    So it's more of a strong recommendation implied... perhaps.
     
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