Lesson 3 | Plurals in Swedish
We have already learnt how to make definite and indefinite nouns. Let’s focus on plurals today. We are going to learn rules that will help us predict plural indefinite forms of nouns. Ready, steady, go!
Plurals in Swedish seem to be irregular and pretty hard to learn at first sight. In fact, they are not like that in many cases! I recommend you to learn plural forms simultaneously with singular nouns.
En nouns have ten different endings. Look at the tables below to get familiar with them.
Easy-to-follow plural rules
- A into –OR
en KVINNA — KVINNOR
- -E into –AR
en POJKE — POJKAR
- -ARE into –ARE
en LÄKARE — LÄKARE
- -ING into –AR
en KLÄNNING — KLÄNNINGAR
All rules mentioned above are very easy to follow and make the process of transformation from singular to plural smooth. The rules listed below are clear as well but could be tricky.
Not-so-easy-to-follow plural rules
- words with stress on the last syllable into -ER
en STATION — STATIONER
- words consisting of one syllable only into -AR or -ER
en KUNG — KUNGAR
en KATT — KATTER
- words ending in -ER, -EL or -EN usually into -AR
en VINTER — VINTRAR
en AXEL — AXLAR
en REN — RENAR
usually lose their -E- in the transformation process
We have managed the en nouns so far but do the ett ones have similar rules? Yes, they do and there are only two of them!
"Ett" nouns plural rules
- endings in a consonant have no ending in the plural
ett HUS — HUS
- endings in a vowel take –N in the plural
ett PIANO — PIANON
Everyone loves irregularities, but it wouldn’t be grammar without them, would it? A mouse is irregular in English as well as in Swedish (by the way, why is it so? What did mouse and mice do to us? See examples of irregular nouns below.
- en MUS (a mouse) — MÖSS (mice)
- en MAN (a man) — MÄN (men)
- en BOK (a book) — BÖCKER (books)
We have covered the formation of indefinite plural nouns so far. If you are familiar with these you are ready to continue and study how to form definite plurals. There are several rules that help us create indefinite plural forms of any noun.
The formation of indefinite plurals seems to be a hard nut to crack. But if you know how to do any indefinite plural noun, the creation of the definite plural noun will be an open-and-shut problem to solve for you. In fact, there are only three rules for it. We are used to speak separately about the enand the ett words so we stick to this rule here as well.
We recognize one rule only for the en nouns. Simply add –NA at the end of the plural indefinite noun and that’s it! Check the table below.
"En" nouns into a definite form
POJKAR — POJKARNA
TELEFONER — TELEFONERNA
And here we have the rules for ett nouns. If the noun remains the same in the indefinite singular and plural form, add –EN ending into the plural definite noun.
- ett into definite: ett HUS — HUSEN; ett BARN — BARNEN
- ett into definite: ett YRKE — YRKENA; ett MEDDELANDE — MEDDELANDENA
You have probably noticed that the –EN ending of nouns may stand for three different things:
- a definite singular of en nouns,
- a definite plural of ett nouns ending in a consonant,
- an indefinite plural of ett nouns ending in a vowel.
That is all for today. Great job! Your reward is waiting for you behind the Next Lesson button. There is a lesson about pronunciation. You will love it!
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