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Since auxiliary verbs occur in presens or preteritum it is important to learn these forms of all the common auxiliary verbs. Note that most of these verbs are irregular.
|måste||*[var tvungen att]|
Word order in Swedish is somewhat tricky. Since the auxiliary verb is followed by a main verb in the infinitiv, careful attention to word order is required.
In the word order matrix, the auxiliary verb occurs in the V1 position. Word order is covered in detail in a separate section. Note however that V1 is always either presens or preteritum:
The auxiliary verb is followed by a main verb. The main verb occurs in the V2-position. Following on an auxiliary verb the main verb is always in the infinitiv:
Infinitive forms never end in a consonant.
The Infinitive usually ends with an -a:
skriva, läsa, höra, äta, sova, dricka, springa, åka
Infinitives can also end in other vowels:
gå, se, bli, dö, sy, spä, bo.
Infinitives cannot stand alone in Swedish but always come after an auxiliary verb or the infinitive marker 'att':
|Han||gillar||att äta glass|
The auxiliary verb modifies the main verb. Below is a table of how the different auxiliary verbs modify the main verb.
|Auxiliary verb||Meaning||English equivalent|
|brukar + infinitiv||habitual action|
|kan + infinitiv||knowledge/ability||can|
|får + infinitiv||permission|
|vill + infinitiv||volition||want|
|behöver + infinitiv||need||need|
|måste + infinitiv||demand||must|
Note that for brukar and får there is no English equivalents. These will have to be re-written as usually and to be allowed to respectively. Also, the verbs for which there are equivalents, these are not full synonyms to the Swedish auxiliary verbs. The Swedish verb kan, for instance, does not always mean exactly the same as English can.
Note also that in English the verbs 'will eat', 'can eat' and 'must eat', exhibit the same properties as the Swedish auxiliary verb in that infinitive immediately follows. For the other English verbs the infinitive marker 'to' is required: 'want to eat' and 'need to eat'.
Some common verbs act as auxiliary verbs. This means that the infinitiv follows on the verbs slutar, börjar, tänker, försöker och orkar, just as after auxiliary verbs:
Choose between present and infinitiv in the sentences below:
Choose an appropriate auxiliary verb for the sentences below. Note: In some sentences several auxiliary verbs are correct. The preferred auxiliary verb is without brackets. Choose from: behöver, brukar, får, kan, måste, vill och ska.