Be careful with translations!

Dictionaries, and sometimes even Google translate, are important tools when learning a language, but don’t forget your common sense! Your brain is a better tool than any dictionaries. Here’s why:

We can say: “Slå upp ett glas vitt, är du snäll.”

Well – that doesn’t make much sense if you look in the dictionary: “Beat up a glass of white, are you kind.”


The English language has some verbs with particles to it, giving the verb a completely new meaning. And the Swedish language does too. In fact, we’ve got tons of them! So “Slå upp” doesn’t mean “Beat up” in this situation, it means “Pour”. But in other situation it could mean “look up”. Huh? Well, use your brain and figure out if it makes sense. Because we can’t poor a telephone number, and we can’t look up a glass of white wine.

So, please, when studying Swedish, or any language, don’t take the dictionaries, or even less Google translate, too seriously. Use your brain!

Here are some more particle verbs that you can’t translate word by word:

(Emphasis in our pronunciation is on the bold particle:)

Komma av sig (to suddenly forget what you were supposed to say)
Komma bort (could mean to get away, but also that something has disappeared)
Lägga av (to quit)
Lägga ner (to shut down, or quit something (like a project or business))
Känna till (to know of something)
Känna igen (No… not feel again! It means recognize)

You get to know more about “partikelverb” in the higher levels of the Swedish studies! Keep it up! (See! That’s an English “partikelverb”!)