Svenska: nyttiga ord och motsatser

After all the complexities of grammar, let’s treat ourselves with a simple yet very useful lesson: words. Here we’ll cover basic adjectives (and their opposites) and advanced verbs.

Before we proceed, I’ll introduce you to my understanding of basic and advanced in the context of vocabulary. A basic adjective is an adjective that conveys the idea of an abstract quality in its purest form, without any added shade of meaning. Typically it is very easy to find the opposite (equally basic) adjective to such adjectives. More advanced adjectives may be considered derived from the basic ones in terms of meaning. They may be more specific and therefore also more restrictive. Compare:

beautiful and picturesque
poor and deprived
big and immense
ugly and abominable
fat and obese
shy and timid

Students usually start off with the basic adjectives (as the ones on the left) when they study a foreign language and then their vocabulary gradually expands by adding the more advanced ones.

When it comes to verbs, I simply consider verbs like to go, to sing, to write, to eat, to see to be basic and the ones like to suggest, to agree, to prepare, to manage to be more advanced ones.

Svenska

English

A

¬A

A

¬A

bra, god dålig good bad
stor liten big small, little
kall varm cold hot
tung lätt heavy light
svår lätt, enkel difficult easy, simple
gammal ung old young
gammal ny old new
ljus mörk light dark
lång kort long, tall short
snabb langsam fast slow
tjock smal fat thin
bred smal wide narrow
tjock tunn thick thin
hög låg high low
hög tyst loud quiet
våt torr wet dry
stark svag strong weak
sjuk frisk sick healthy, robust
vänlig ovänlig friendly unfriendly
rolig tråkig funny boring
orolig lugn worried calm
glad ledsen happy sad
vacker ful beautiful ugly
tom full empty full
djup grund deep shallow
trygg farlig safe dangerous
hård mjuk hard soft
ren smutsig clean dirty
dyr billig expensive cheap
feg modig coward(ly) brave
rik fattig rich poor
grov slät rough smooth
dum klok stupid clever

* in Swedish, the same adjective lång is used to describe people (långa byxor, en lång pojke – long trousers, a tall boy)

Adjectives in green are highly irregular (i.e., they are suppletive, as in gammal – äldre- äldst), those in blue are moderately irregular (i.e., they add endings without the usual -a- vowel and/or their comparative and superlative forms involve change in the root vowel, as in ung – yngre – yngst).

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