Learn Basic Swedish

Sweden is the largest country in Northern Europe, the third-largest country in the European Union, and the fifth largest country in the entire European continent. It is also the most popular destination for foreigners in the Nordics.

Despite the number of tourists coming to Sweden, there are still some people that get culture shocked. Most Swedish people may be good at speaking English, but don't be surprised if someone approaches you in Swedish. Trust me, no matter how Asian I look, I deal with that all the time, which is also why it's best to learn Swedish when you plan to live here permanently.

Not only that everyone here speaks Swedish (maybe except for some immigrants who are not required to talk Swedish at work), but Swedes use their language on almost everything. Public signages, menus, and even the instructions on how to cook that packed food you can buy in the supermarket. On the bright side, if you speak another nordic language, then you'd be lucky when it comes to those food packs, or at least, it makes it easier for you to understand the words even if it's in Swedish.

Regardless of whatever reason you have in visiting Sweden, it's always nice to know a few words to blend in a little bit (and maybe not feel out of place).

I've come up with a few words, phrases, and sentences that you'd most likely use almost every day in Sweden. I made sure to divide it into different parts/scenarios to make it easier.

Just a heads up, Swedish alphabet has 3 additional letters: å, ä, ö

See how to pronounce the Swedish letters here.


I don’t speak Swedish. Jag pratar inte svenska.
I only speak English. Jag pratar bara engelska.
Do you speak English? Pratar du engelska?
Can you say it in English? Kan du säga det på engelska?
I don’t understand. Jag förstår inte.
I don’t know. Jag vet inte.
I only speak a little Swedish. Jag pratar bara lite svenska.
What did you say? Vad sa du?
Can you repeat it? Kan du repetera det?


Ursäkta, jag förstår inte. Kan du säga det på engelska? 

Sorry, I don’t understand. Can you say it in English?


Words and phrases that you can use on a daily basis:

Hi Hej It’s also common to hear Swedes greeting you hej hej.
Hello Hallå,


Goodbye Hejdå
See you Vi ses This is another common term to use when saying goodbye.
Thank you Tack
Thank you very much Tack så mycket 
Thank you too Tack själv
You’re welcome Varsågod

You’d also hear this in cases like when you ask someone something and as they give it to you, they’d say varsågod before you get to say thank you

Excuse me Ursäkta This can also be another term for saying sorry.
Sorry Förlåt
Yes Ja
No Nej
Maybe Kanske Pronunciation of this word varies with dialects.
Please Snälla



What’s your name? Vad heter du?

Direct translation: What are you called?

I am Dothy.

Jag heter Dothy.

This is commonly used in introducing yourself.

My name is Dothy.

Mitt namn är Dothy.

Where are you from?

Varifrån kommer du?

I’m from the Philippines.

Jag kommer från Filippinerna.

Where do you live?

Var bor du?

I live in Sweden.

Jag bor i Sverige.


Jag kommer från Filippinerna men jag bor i Sverige.

I’m from the Philippines but I live in Sweden.

See the country names in Swedish here.


How are you?

Hur mår du?

Hur står du till?

How’s it going?

Hur är läget?

I’m good, thanks!

Jag mår bra, tack!

It’s fine, thanks!

Det går bra, tack!

Not so good.

Inte så bra.

Nice to meet you!

Trevligt att träffas!

Have a good day!

Ha en bra dag!

Have a good time!

Ha de (så) bra!

Take care!

Ta hand om dig!

You too!




Good morning God morgon
Good noon God middag
Good afternoon God eftermiddag
Good evening God kväll
Good night God natt
Have a nice weekend! Trevlig helg!
Happy Birthday! Grattis på födelsedagen!
Congratulations! Grattis! Careful with the spelling on this as gratis means free.
Merry Christmas! God Jul!
Happy New Year! Gott Nytt År!
Happy Easter! Glad Påsk!
Happy Solstice! Glad Midsommar! Midsummer greeting.
Good luck! Lycka till!
Welcome! Välkommen


Food / Restaurants

Breakfast Frukost
Lunch Lunch
Dinner Middag Can be confusing as middag also means noon.
*coffee break* fika A Swedish term for having coffee and eating something sweet.

It's also both a noun and a verb.

I am hungry. Jag är hungrig.
I am thirsty. Jag är törstig.
A table for two. Ett bord för två.
Have a nice meal! Smaklig måltid!
It tastes good! Det smakar gott!
Thanks for the food! Tack for mat! It’s common to say this to the host after eating.
A cup of coffee, please. En kopp kaffe, tack! It’s common to use tack when saying please.



Do you want a plastic bag?

Vill du ha en plastpåse?

Do you want the receipt?

Vill du ha kvittot?

Are you a member?

Är du medlem?



Car Bil
Vehicle Fordon
Public transport Kollektivtrafik
Bus Buss
Train Tog
Tram Spårvagn
Ticket Biljett
Stop (station) Hållplats
Stop (stopping) Stanna It’s common to hear stannar vid __ when you’re approaching a stop.
Last stop Ändhållplats
Boat Båt
Ferry Färja



I like you. Jag tycker om dig.
I love you. Jag älskar dig.
I miss you. Jag saknar dig.
Friend Vän,


Kompis is a more casual term.
Boyfriend Pojkvän
Girlfriend Flickvän
Cohabiting partner Sambo
Husband Man
Wife Fru
Spouse Make



one en eleven elva ten



två twelve tolv twenty tjugo


tre thirteen tretton thirty



fyra fourteen fjorton forty



fem fifteen femton fifty



sex sixteen sexton sixty



sju seventeen sjutton seventy



åtta eighteen arton eighty



nio nineteen nitton ninety



tio twenty tjugo one hundred

ett hundra



Help! Hjälp!
I need help! Jag behöver hjälp!
Can you help me? Kan du hjälpa mig?
I am sick. Jag är sjuk.
I need a doctor. Jag behöver en läkare.
Pain Ont
Accident Olycka

In case of emergencies, take note of the following numbers:

  • 112 – Swedish Emergency number
  • 1177 – Number for medical help and advice

If traveling to Sweden, or any other country, whether you’re staying there for good or just for leisure, it’s always best to take note and save the local emergency numbers.


I know it’s a lot but when all else fails, you can always just say my favorite line when I just moved here - “I’m sorry?.”

Works 99% of the time. Everyone will instantly switch to English.


Hope this could help! Happy learning!



12 thoughts on “Learn Basic Swedish

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