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S-passive Voice in Swedish

Hej Swedish learners! 😃

In today's lesson, you will learn how to form the passive Swedish verbs.

The passive voice in Swedish does not use any subject. There is only one object with which we do something.

The passive voice is used when we do not know who is acting or when it is not interesting to know who is doing it. In terms of grammar, we can express it by the fact that we have no agent in the sentence.

Passive voice is often used in newspaper articles and also news on TV and radio.  

Here are a few examples: 

  • 20 skadades efter busskrock utanför Piteå. 

20 were injured after a bus crash outside Piteå. 

  • Sprängämnesstoff hittades i flickans sko. 

Explosive materials were found in the girl’s shoe.

The passive voice is also used when instructions are given such as recipes in an informal language.

You will find passive forms on a carton of milk or on a bill like this: 

  • Öppnas här! 

To be opened here.

  • Betalas senast 100831 

To be paid at the latest by Aug. 31, 2010. 

As you have seen the passive voice can be used for different tenses (actually all tenses) and it’s not complicated to construct the passive version of the verb.  You just ad a -s to the regular tenseform of the verb, except for the present tense where you use the imperativform (!) of the verb plus s.

It looks like this: 

Don't hesitate to look into these other pages after completing this lesson: Future Tense, Learn Swedish Sentense Structure. Subject, Verb and object., How to Express Feelings of Joy and Anger & Negation.

Present tense[edit | edit source]

skadar (regular) skadas (passive) 
köper (regular) köps/köpes (passive) 
syr (regular) sys (passive) 
skriver (regular) skrives/skrivs (passive) 

Past tense[edit | edit source]

skadade (regular) skadades (passive) 
köpte (regular) köptes (passive) 
sydde (regular) syddes (passive) 
skrev (regular) skrevs (passive) 

Perfect participle[edit | edit source]

We can also create the passive voice with what is called "the perfect participle" which is more common in spoken Swedish. I can show you what s-passives constructed with a participle look like:

  • skadades – blev skadad 

was hurt

  • hittades – blev hittad 

was found

Verb Groups[edit | edit source]

In order to fully understand the lesson, you should before inform yourself about the 4 verb groups in Swedish and how to build the different tenses in the active form.

The S-passive is named so because you build first the verb tense in the active form and then just put an -s to the so called "supinum". 

Group 2 a[edit | edit source]

Let's try it out together with the 2a-group verb

att köra, kör!/(kör), körde/har, hade kört (Infintivi/imperativ!(presens)/simple past/perfect, plusquamperfect)-> köras/körs/kördes/körts 

Aktiv verbform Inifitiv (Active Inifitive) → Passiv verbform Infinitiv plus -s: 
Jag ska köra bilen.  Bilen ska köras. (köra + s).
I will drive the car. The car will be driven. 
Aktiv form Presens (Active Present) → Passiv verbform Presens, imperativ plus -s: 
Jag kör bilen.  Bilen körs. (kör + s)
I drive the car. The car is driven.
Aktiv form simple past (Active Past) → Passiv verbform simple past plus -s: 
Jag körde bilen. Bilen kördes. (körde + s)
I drove the car. The car was driven.
Aktiv form perfect (first past tense) → Passiv verbform Perfect plus -s: 
Jag körde bilen. Bilen har/hade körts. (har, hade kört + s)
I drove the car. The car has/had been driven.

Group 1[edit | edit source]

regular verbs, biggest group, "study": att studera/studera!/(studerar)/studerade/har, hade studerat -> studeras/studeras/studerades/har, hade studerats

Aktiv verb example i presens: Studenter (=subjekt) studerar (=present tense) lektionen om s-passiv (=objekt).

Passiv verb example i presens: Lektionen om s-passiv studeras.

Group 2b[edit | edit source]

"smoke": att röka/rök!/(röker)/rökte/har, hade rökt -> rökas/röks/röktes/har, hade rökts

Aktiv verb example i simple past: Han rökte 40 cigaretter.

Passiv verb example i simple past: 40 cigaretter röktes.

Group 3[edit | edit source]

"reside, live in": att bo/bo!/(bor)/bodde/har, hade bott -> bos/bos/boddes/har, hade botts

Aktiv verb example i perfect: En familj har bott i huset.

Passiv verb example i perfect: Huset har bebotts. (har bott -> botts + i -> be = bebotts)

Group 4[edit | edit source]

irregular verbs, exampel with "do": att göra/gör!/(gör)/gjorde/har, hade gjort -> göras/görs/gjordes/har, hade gjorts

Aktiv verb example i perfect: Hon hade gjort sin bäst att förklara s-supinum.

Passiv verb example i perfect: Det bästa hade gjorts att förklara s-supinum.

The rest is just to practice, good luck and have fun"

If I did mistakes or if you would like to add an translation or something new, please feel free to do so.

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