The 20 Most Common Swedish Verbs

What are the most important verbs in Swedish, how do you conjugate them and how do you use them? We’ve created a guide for you.
October 18, 2017
The 20 Most Common Swedish Verbs

It’s great that you’re interested in learning Swedish, a Germanic language (just like English) spoken by about 10 million people. Soon you’ll finally be able to tell what your IKEA rug is actually called or write fan letters to Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander in her native language!

Now, would you like to know why Swedish is such an easy language to learn in the beginning? The answer is: verbs! Swedish verbs are not adapted according to person, but stay the same, regardless of whom they’re referring to. Another characteristic of Swedish verbs is that they only have one present tense form: there isn’t really an equivalent to the English -ing ending. This means you would literally say, “I go now. Bye!” (Jag går nu. Hejdå!)

Verbs are crucial (or rather, indispensable) for creating sentences, and if you know the most common Swedish verbs, you will have a really good starting point for learning your new language. Here we go!

1. att vara — “to be”

Present tense: är

As in: Jag är svensk. (I’m Swedish.)

2. att få — “to get, may”

Present tense: får

The double meaning of this verb makes it a very common word!

As in: Jag får inte nog! (I can’t get enough!) and Får jag gå nu? (May I leave now?)

3. att ha — “to have”

Present tense: har

As in: Har du eld? (Do you have a lighter [lit. fire]?)

4. ska — “shall, will”

Ska is present tense already — it’s a modal verb used with other verbs in the infinitive.

With ska, you can also talk about the future. As in: Vi ska få barn! (We’re having children!)

5. kan — “can”

Like ska, kan is also a modal verb.

As in: Kan du hjälpa mig? (Can you help me?)

6. vill — “want”

Yay, another modal verb!

As in: Vill du dansa? (Do you want to dance?)

7. att komma — “to come”

Present tense: kommer

As in: Jag kommer! (I’m coming!)

8. att finnas — “to be, exist”

Present tense: finns

As in: Finns det några snälla barn här? (Are there any kind children here?) This is actually the phrase Santa says when he visits a family on Christmas Eve.

9. att bli — “to become, get”

Present tense: blir

As in: Jag blir galen! (I’m going [lit. becoming] crazy!)

The verb bli is also used to express the passive form of an event, as in Ekorren blir överkörd. (The squirrel is getting run over.)

10. att säga — “to say, tell”

Present tense: säger

As in: Jag säger alltid sanningen. (I always tell the truth.)

11. att gå — “to go, walk”

Present tense: går

As in: Vi går hem nu. (We’re going home now.)

12. att ta — “to take”

Present tense: tar

As in: Jag tar en banan. (I’ll take a banana.)

13. att göra — “to do, make”

Present tense: gör

As in: Vad gör du? (What are you doing?)

14. att fråga — “to ask”

Present tense: frågar

As in: Frågar man inget, får man inget veta. (If you don’t ask anything, you’ll never know anything.)

15. att tro — “to believe”

Present tense: tror

As in: Tror du på tomten? (Do you believe in Santa Claus?)

16. att tycka — “to think, find”

Present tense: tycker

As in: Jag tycker att Bengt är jättesnygg! (I find Bengt really handsome!)

17. att veta — “to know”

Present tense: vet

As in: Jag vet allt om akvariefiskar. (I know everything about aquarium fish.)

18. att ligga — “to lay, to be situated”

Present tense: ligger

As in: Stockholm ligger i Sverige. (Stockholm is situated in Sweden.)

19. att behöva — “to need”

Present tense: behöver

As in: Jag behöver ingen. (I don’t need anyone.)

20. att ge — “to give”

Present tense: ger

As in: Ger du mig en kyss innan du går? (Will you give me a kiss before you go?)

Want our handy guide to getting these verbs down pat? View it and download it here!

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Author Headshot
Elin Asklöv
Elin Asklöv is a Swede living in Berlin, working at Babbel since 2014. She has a passion for Italian food, Danish cinema and German subordinate clauses and how to decipher them. Currently topping her bucket list is "see the Northern Lights" and "swim in a sea of puppies."
Elin Asklöv is a Swede living in Berlin, working at Babbel since 2014. She has a passion for Italian food, Danish cinema and German subordinate clauses and how to decipher them. Currently topping her bucket list is "see the Northern Lights" and "swim in a sea of puppies."

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