Swedish word order


Subject + predicate + (negation/clausal adverb) + object + adverbial

Jag spelade (inte) fotboll i somras.
I did (not) play football last summer. 

Subject + predicate + (negation/clausal adverb) + predicative + adverbial

Hen är (inte) glad i dag.
He/she is (not) happy today. 

Subject + predicate 1 + (negation/clausal adverb) + predicate 2 + object + adverbial

Du behöver inte köpa nya kläder varje vecka. 
You don’t have to buy new clothes every week.

Subject + predicate + place + time + way 

Vi reser till Sverige i år med egen bil.
We travel to Sweden this year by (our) own car.


The word order is inverted if the sentence doesn’t begin with a subject, the sentence begins with a subordinate clause or the sentence begins with a question word. In a clause with an inverted word order, the predicate comes before the subject.

Sentence that doesn’t begin with a subject:

Förra veckan tittade jag på tv varje dag. 
Last week I watched tv every day. 

Sentence that begins with a subordinate clause:

Om det regnar, stannar jag inne. 
If it rains, I stay inside. 

Sentence that begins with a question word:

Varför berättade du det inte för mig?
Why didn’t you tell it to me?


There are 3 types of subordinate clauses: those who start with a subordinator, those who start with a relative clause, and indirect questions. The difference between main clause and subordinate clause is that the negation or the clausal adverb comes before the predicate. For example:

Main clause + subordinator + subject + negation/clausal adverb + predicate + predicative

Jag vet att Svenska inte är svårt. 
I know that Swedish is not difficult. 

Main clause + relative pronoun + subject + negation/clausal adverb + predicate + adverbial + main clause

Kvinnan som jag också träffade i en bar är vacker.
The woman I also met in a bar is beautiful.

Main clause + question word + subject + negation/clausal adverb + predicate

Jag vet inte varför hunden inte har ätit. 
I don’t know why the dog hasn’t eaten.