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Snälla, snälla, snälla, snälla

Source: Transparency Language

Saying Please in Swedish


Ice cream by Clemens v. Vogelsang. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr

Last week, we learned several different ways to say thank you in the creatively titled post, Saying Thank You in Swedish. When you’re learning a new language, all of those polite words can really come in handy. So let’s take a look at how to say please in Swedish.

You don’t.

I’m kidding. Kind of. Of course you say please in Swedish. But this is one of those words that new Swedish learners really struggle with sometimes. That’s because a lot of the times, you use the word tack. Thank you. For example, if your friend asks you if you want more ice cream (and of course you do) then you might respond “yes, please.” Let’s take a look at that in Swedish:

–Vill du ha mer glass?
–Ja, tack!

Notice how we use tack there? It’s almost as if, in Swedish, you’re thanking the person in advance. What if you’re a little eager for that ice cream? You might ask your friend for more ice cream before they even get a chance to ask you.

–Kan jag få mer glass, tack?

There it is again: “can I have some more ice cream, please?” We’re using tack!

Maybe you’re overwhelmed by the amount of thanking going on in Swedish. There are a few other ways of saying please without using tack.

Sometime you’ll hear the word snällaas please. Snäll means nice or kind. So you’re essentially appealing to a person’s kindness. It’s also usually used by children. So instead of a friend, let’s look at a child who wants a little more ice cream from their father.

–Snälla pappa, kan jag få mer glass?

So here we have an English sentence similar to: “can I please have some more ice cream, dad?” The child is appealing directly to the kindness of their father.

Similarly, you can use snäll or vänlig to appeal to a person’s kindness as a form of please:

–Vill du vara snäll och ge mig mer glass?
–Vill du vara vänlig och ge mig mer glass?

Literally, you’re asking someone if they can be nice and give you some more ice cream. This is a perfectly acceptable way to say please, although it can sometimes sound a bit formal, so be aware of that.

Editor’s note: I can’t say please in Swedish without thinking of this song:


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