New in Sweden: A Guide to Common Swedish Phrases and Words

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Swedish is the main language in Sweden, but English is also widely spoken. If you’re visiting Sweden (or moving to Sweden), you can get by easily with English as almost everybody in Sweden speaks English.

But, it could still be difficult to roam around or integrate into Sweden without knowing the language. A list of common Swedish phrases & words will be a big help! In this post, you will learn about the common phrases & words that are used in daily life so you will feel more prepared when traveling or moving to Sweden.

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I’ve been living in Sweden for a few years now, and I’m still learning! The pronunciation is more difficult for me; I tried to speak Swedish but sometimes they will respond in English immediately especially when my Swedish pronunciation is bad and that’s okay. It’s part of the learning process.

Here are the common Swedish phrases that will help you. I have grouped them into sections so you can navigate directly to what you’re looking for. You will also find its English translations besides the Swedish phrases or Swedish words.

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Swedish Greetings

When in Sweden, it’s important to know the appropriate greetings to use when meeting people. There are a few different ways to say hello, and the one you use will depend on who you’re talking to. A simple “hej” will do just fine, but there are some other expressions you might want to know too. Here is a guide to the most common Swedish greetings!

  1. Hej  Hi
  2. Hallå – Hello
  3. Tjena – Hey (informal)
  4. Vad heter du? – What’s your name
  5. Mitt namn är…  – My name is…
  6. Jag heter Karen – My name is Karen (this is more common)
  7. Hur mår du? – How are you?
  8. Kul att träffas – Nice to meet you
  9. God morgon – good morning
  10. Trevligt att träffas – nice to meet you

Saying goodbye

The way native Swedish speakers say goodbye (not farewell) is simple. These are the most common ways of saying goodbye in Swedish.

  1. Trevlig helg – Have a nice weekend
  2. Vi ses – See you
  3. Vi ses imorgon – See you tomorrow
  4. Hej då – Bye

Saying “thank you” in Swedish

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Photo by Wilhelm Gunkel on Unsplash

There are also a few different ways to say “thank you” in Swedish. The most common Swedish word is “tack”, which simply means “thank you”, but Swedish also like to repeat these words such as “Tack! Tack!”. Here are more ways to say thank you in Swedish:

Related post: Are you curious to know if living in Stockholm is expensive or not? I created a detailed post about the cost of living in Stockholm & and what our monthly expenses look like.

  1. Tack – Thanks
  2. Tack så mycket – Thank you so much
  3. Tack snälla! – Thanks a lot or thank you very much
  4. Tusen tack! – Thousands of thanks
  5. Tack på förhand – Thanks in advance
  6. Varsågod – Here you go/You’re welcome

Apologizing or when you don’t know what to say

No one knows what to say in every situation. Especially when you’re traveling in a foreign country and don’t know the language. But don’t worry, I got you covered with translations of some common phrases that might come in handy when you don’t know what to say while visiting Sweden!

  1. Förlåt – Sorry
  2. Jag talar inte svenska – I don’t speak Swedish
  3. Talar du engelska? – Do you speak English?
  4. Jag förstar inte – I cannot understand/I don’t understand.
  5. Vad sa du? – What did you say?
  6. Kan du prata engelska? – Can you speak English?

Buying groceries

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Photo by Maria Lin Kim on Unsplash

Since Swedish is the main language in Sweden, you will find most of the items in the grocery stores are in Swedish. It can be a bit overwhelming if you are visiting Sweden or if you just moved to Sweden, but don’t worry! These Swedish translations can you buy groceries easier.

  1. kaffe – coffee
  2. dryck – drink
  3. vin – wine
  4. fisk – fish
  5. ägg – egg
  6. kyckling – chicken
  7. ost – cheese
  8. frukt – fruit
  9. socker – sugar
  10. kött – meat
  11. nötkött – beef
  12. flaskkött – port
  13. tomat – tomato
  14. öl – beer
  15. peppar – pepper
  16. olja – oil 
  17. te – tea
  18. glass – ice cream

If you are unfamiliar with the grocery stores or supermarkets in Sweden, then you need to read my guide on supermarkets in Sweden for new expats or tourists!

Ordering in a restaurant

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Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

Of course, you would have to order food in a restaurant. I have shared below the most common Swedish words and phrases for ordering food in a restaurant. You can always order in English, but these could still help you! Remember: when someone says “nastä!” it means next person.

  1. Meny – menu
  2. Liten – Small
  3. Mellan – Medium
  4. Store – Large
  5. Kvitto – Receipt
  6. Vill du äta här eller ta med? – To have here or take away?
  7. Vad vill du dricka? – What will you drink?
  8. Den kostar 120 kronor – It costs 120kr.

Commuting in Sweden

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Photo by Avan Saleh on Unsplash

Commuting in Sweden can be a little tricky if you don’t know the language or if you’re not familiar with the common Swedish phrases and words. The transit system in Sweden is one of the best in the world, so it can be a bit difficult to navigate on your own. Here are some helpful Swedish phrases and words to know:

Mode of transportations in Sweden

  1. Buss – Bus
  2. Tåg – Train
  3. Tunnelbanan – Subway
  4. Pendeltåg – Commuter train
  5. Båt – Boat
  6. Spårvagn/lokalbana – Tram

Common Swedish phrases and words when traveling

  1. Spår – Platform (vilket spår? – which platform?)
  2. Plats/Station – Station (vilken station? – which station?)
  3. Biljett – Ticket
  4. Störningar – Disturbances
  5. Ej i trafik – not in traffic (you will usually see this in buses)

Swedish Days of the week

One of the basic Swedish words you need to learn is the days of the week.

  1. Måndag – Monday
  2. Tisdag – Tuesday
  3. Onsdag – Wednesday
  4. Torsdag – Thursday
  5. Fredag – Friday
  6. Lördag – Saturday
  7. Söndag – Sunday

If you are thinking about moving to Sweden, it’s important that you learn some of the common Swedish phrases and words. This will help you start communicating with locals and understanding their culture quickly.

And, if you are traveling to Sweden, you will find Swedish words in all the signs, so it’s also important to get yourself familiar with some of the common Swedish phrases. I hope this post helped you understand more about the Swedish language!

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