Interested in learning Swedish but can’t find a Swede to help you? Let us be your guide! There are plenty of reasons why you’d want to get a handle on Swedish, but finding a good place to begin can be tricky.
To help you out, we’ve put together more than 100 of the most common Swedish words and phrases. You’ll learn how to say hello in Swedish, as well as other basic and useful Swedish phrases. We’ve broken it down into sections so if you’re looking for something specific, jump straight ahead.
Otherwise, let’s get started!
Swedish greetings & introductions
First among our vital Swedish words list are ways of saying hello. There are loads of variations on this, but we’re just going over the basics now.
If you’re interested in learning more Swedish greetings, we’ve got a more comprehensive article for you: How to Say Hello in Swedish
- Hej – Hi
- Hallå – Hello
- Mitt namn är – My name is
- Hur mår du? – How are you?
- Hejdå – Goodbye
- Vi ses – See you soon
- Kul att träffas – Nice to meet you
What to say when you don’t know what to say
Sometimes our minds go blank. Other times people just speak too fast. Whatever situation you’re in, here are the basic Swedish phrases you need to let someone know you can’t keep up!
8. Jag talar inte svenska – I don’t speak Swedish
9. Talar du engelska? – Do you speak English?
9. Jag förstår inte – I don’t understand
10. Kan du säga det igen? – Can you say that again?
11. Vad sa du? – What did you say?
12. Förlåt? – Sorry?/Pardon?
Helpful tip: The vast majority of Swedes will instinctively start speaking English to you if they detect any kind of accent. This can be annoying if you’re trying to learn Swedish, but helpful when you can’t remember the correct response. Don’t be afraid to resort to English!
How to say “thank you” in Swedish
Languages give astounding evidence of a nation’s attitude towards etiquette. Swedes, in general, don’t say “please” often (if at all), but “thank you” is a biggie. Here are the most basic ways to say your P’s and Q’s.
Want more information about saying thank you in Swedish? Check this article out: 15 Ways to Say Thank You in Swedish
Visiting a Swedish restaurant
Ordering meatballs or a classic cinnamon bun? Whatever’s on the menu, you’ll want to know how to get it from the kitchen to your belly. Again, in all likelihood, your server will be able to speak English. If you’re determined to order in Swedish however, here’s how to do it.
17. Jag vill ha – I would like
18. Kan jag få…? – Can I get…?
19. Finns menyn på engelska? – Do you have a menu in English?
20. Vad rekommenderar du? – What do you recommend?
21. Kan jag få notan? – Can I get the bill?
22. Vad kostar det? – How much does it cost?
23. Ingår dricka? – Is a drink included?
Helpful tip: Swedes LOVE lunching. Lunch time is actually the cheapest time to eat at Swedish restaurants, and most have specific lunch menus. Often, a meal will cost up to 10% less than the dinner menu. Also, at most restaurants, a soft drink, coffee and a cookie are included in the lunch price.
Allergies and dietary requirements:
Just in case, here are the Swedish words for common dietary requirements. Some reports state that 1 in 4 Swedes have some kind of allergy, so if you’re a sufferer you’re in the right place for it. Most restaurants cater for all kinds of dietary requirements, and these are the words to look out for if that’s you:
24. Glutenfri – Gluten free
25. Laktosfri – Lactose free
26. Vegan – Vegan
27. Vegetarisk – Vegetarian
28. Soja – Soya
29. Ägg – Eggs
30. Mjölk – Milk
31. Nötter – Nuts
Transport in Sweden
Depending on where you visit (or live) will have an impact on your transport options. Big cities in Sweden are built with public transport in mind, so you probably don’t need to hire a car. Be that as it may, it’s important to know how to navigate Sweden. Here are the basics:
Helpful tip: Number plates in Sweden for privately owned vehicles are white. Buses, taxis and vehicles permitted to use the bus lanes have yellow plates. So, you’ll be able to tell your Uber apart from a randomer’s car (always helpful!).
Asking for help about transport in Sweden:
Don’t know which platform to go to? Confused about which bus stop to go to? No problem. Here’s how to ask for directions in Swedish:
40. Vilket spår? – Which platform?
41. Vilken station? – Which station?
42. Är jag på rätt busshållplats? – Am I at the right bus stop?
43. Vilken tid går bussen/tåget? – What time does the bus/train leave?
44. Åker den mot…? – Does this (bus, train, etc) go to…?
45. Hur kommer jag dit? – How do I get there?
46. Vet du hur jag kommer till…? – Do you know how I get to…?
And here’s how to understand directions:
47. Ja– Yes
48. Nej – No
49. Höger – Right
50. Vänster – Left
51. Rakt fram – Straight ahead
52. Runt hörnan – Around the corner
53. Bakom dig – Behind you
Helpful tip: Swedes use the metric system, so you’re likely to receive directions in meters and kilometers.
Swedish words to describe relationships
Whether you’re heading to a Swedish wedding or you’re introduced to someone’s many friends and family, it’s definitely worth deciphering who is who in a room. These are the words you need to know:
54. Mamma – Mom
55. Pappa – Dad
56. Bror – Brother
57. Syster – Sister
58. Flickvän – Girlfriend (romantic)
59. Pojkvän – Boyfriend (romantic)
60. Sambo – Partner (romantic)
61. Fru / Maka – Wife
62. Man / Make – Husband
Romantic Swedish phrases
Speaking of weddings, you’ll probably hear these words a lot. Stay in the know by learning what these romantic Swedish words mean!
By the way, we’ve got a whole article hopelessly devoted to the language of love in Sweden. Find it here: How to Say I Love You in Swedish
63. Jag älskar dig – I love you
64. Älskling – Darling / My love
65. Min käraste – My beloved
66. Lyckliga paret – The happy couple
Helpful tip: The word for “married” in Swedish is the same as the word for “poison”: gift. They’re pronounced the same but context is key here (obviously!). Weddings won’t suddenly turn into a case for Sherlock or Poirot but it’s something to be aware of!
Swedish phrases for celebrating
Of course, It’s not just weddings that warrant a party in Sweden. There are plenty of times Swedes raise a glass to congratulate or celebrate. Learn these words so you can join in!
Don’t forget, there’s an article all about saying happy birthday in Swedish, find it here: How to Say Happy Birthday in Swedish
Days of the week in Swedish
If you are invited to a party, it might be worth your while knowing the days of the week in Swedish.
For even more info on this, including months and seasons, read: Days of the Week, Months & Seasons in Swedish
Helpful tip: Opening and closing times vary in Sweden on weekends. Some things you might take for granted back home become tricky. For instance, Systembolaget stores (liquor stores) are closed on Sundays, and some close as early as midday on Saturdays. Days of the week are abbreviated to the first three letters (Mån, Tis, Ons, etc).
Most common verbs in Swedish
These are the 10 most common verbs in Swedish. We’ve provided them in their present form with their English translations.
80. Vara – To be
81. Få – To get
82. Gå – Go (Walk)
83. Åka – Go (Travel)
84. Se – See
85. Äta – Eat
86. Prata – Speak
87. Ha – Have
88. Sova – Sleep
89. Gilla – Like
Helpful tip: A great resource for conjugating Swedish verbs is bab.la, and you’ll find all the conjugations to the words listed above in the link!
Swedish words to use in emergencies
We hope you never have to use them, but knowing them could make all the difference. Here are the names of people you might need to call on in an emergency, and what to say to them.
Lastly, a final reminder that in a real emergency, English is fine and you will be understood. However, there are times where knowing these words will speed a process up or get to safety quicker.
90. Hjälp mig – Help me
91. Jag behöver en läkare – I need a doctor
92. Ring polisen – Call the police
93. Ring efter en ambulans – Call an ambulance
94. Lämna byggnaden – Leave the building
95. Eld – Fire
96. Stopp – Stop
97. Jag är sjuk – I’m sick
98. Jag behöver medicin – I need medicine
99. Mot närmaste sjukhuset – To the nearest hospital (say to a taxi driver)
Helpful tip: Calling an ambulance is free of charge in Sweden and should be the first thing you do in an emergency. We’ve listed emergency numbers in Sweden below in case you want to make a note of them:
In the case of an emergency (i.e your life or someone else’s life is in danger) dial the numbers 112. For non emergency police help, call 114 14. For non-life threatening health advice, call 1177. If you need information following an accident or crisis, call 11313.
Numbers in Swedish
Counting to ten is a must for any beginner learning a new language. We’ve thrown in the Swedish words for 100 and 1000 too, just for fun. The basics of counting in Swedish is, thankfully, very straightforward. Swedes formulate numbers much the same as English speakers, so discount your fears. Also, remember that the symbol for the Swedish currency is ” :- ” – just pretend you’re typing a smiley face!
Non-essential but fun Swedish words
Beautiful Swedish words:
- Sänghimmel – Eng. Canopy (Lit trans: “bed heaven”)
- Eldstad – Eng. Fireplace (Lit trans: “Fire city”)
- Tillit – Eng. Trust (Lit trans: “To (with) trust”. Implies a meeting in the middle of both parties)
- Månskära – Eng. Crescent moon (Lit trans: (Moon-slice”)
- Sovmorgon – Eng. Lie-in (Lit trans: “sleep morning”)
Funny Swedish words:
- Fågelvapen – Eng. Crest (of a bird) (Lit trans: “bird weapon”)
- Svinpäls – Eng. Insult, impolite (Lit trans: “Swine fur”)
- Latmask – Eng. Insult, impolite (Lit trans: “lazy worm”)
- Badkruka – Eng. Hydrophobic person, someone who never swims (Lit trans: “Bathing pot”)
- Beslutsångest – Eng. Indecision causing feelings of panic (Lit trans: Decisions anxiety)
Untranslatable Swedish words:
- Orka – Verb: meaning to be bothered, have enough energy. Example: Jag orkar inte laga mat. “I can’t be bothered to make food.”
- Hinna – Verb: meaning to have enough time. Example: Jag hinner inte med en kaffe till. “I don’t have enough time for another coffee.”
- Mysa – Verb: meaning to cozy up. Example. Kom och mysa med mig. “Come and cozy up with me.”
- Blunda – Verb, to close one’s eyes. Example. Blunda, jag har en överraskning till dig. “Close your eyes, I have a surprise for you”
- Mångata – Noun, the slither of reflection from the moon on a water’s surface. (Lit trans: “Moon street”)
We hope you learned a lot of new Swedish words and phrases with us today. If you have a favorite Swedish word, tell us about it in the comments below! Until next time, lycka till with your Swedish learning!