word order

When English word order is different to Swedish – Indefinite article (=obestämd artikel)

Examples: What an expensive watch! = En sån dyr klocka!

I received such a nice present from Sarah. = Jag fick en sådan fin present av Sarah.


The members present voted against the proposal. = De närvarande medlemmarna röstade mot förslaget.


1. Straight word order: Subject + Verb:

Example: Last night we watched TV. = I går kväll såg vi på TV.

English has straight word order even when the adverbial comes first in the sentence. Adverbial could be an adverb, such as: first, suddenly, downstairs, unfortunately or prepositions, such as: in London, after the theatre, or a subordinate clause (=bisats) such as: when they got home, if you give me a pound.

Example: Last night Bob and Mary saw a good play. = I går kväll såg Bob och Mary en bra pjäs.

2. Word order for questions: Do (or other auxiliary (helping) verbs) + subject + verb

Examples: Did you watch TV last night? = Såg ni på TV i går kväll?

Were you watching TV last night? = Såg ni på TV i går kväll?

A. What can he do? =Vad kan han göra?

B. My wife likes thrillers, and so do I. = Min fru tycker om rysare, och det gör jag också.

C. Not only did he arrive late, but he was also rude. = Han kom inte bara för sent, utan han var också ohövlig.

3. Reversed word order: verb + subjekt (without do)

For sentences starting with an adverbial, such as here, there, now etcetera.

Examples: Here it comes. = Här kommer den.

There our friend was standing, waiting for us. = Där stod vår vän och väntade på oss.


An adverbial is an adverb, phrases, generally with prepositions or subordinate clauses (=bisatser) which tells us when, where or how something happened. Also known as:
1.     Adverb of time (=tidsadverbial).

Examples: daily (=dagligen), meanwhile (=under tiden), presently (=snart), shortly (= inom kort) etcetera.

One morning (=en morgon)

During the war (=under kriget).

At present (= för närvarande).

In  the spring (=om våren).

2.     Adverb of place (=rumsadverbial).

Examples: below (=nedanför), downstairs (=nedanför trappan), everywhere (=överallt), outside (=utanför) etcetera.

Under the tree (=under trädet).

On the stage (=på scenen).

On both sides of the Atlantic (=på båda sidorna om Atlanten).

3.     Adverb of manner (=sättsadverbial).

Examples: distinctly (=tydligt), quietly (=lungt), successfully (=framgångsrikt) etcetera.

With difficulty (= med svårighet).

Without hesitation (=utan tvekan).

In a friendly way (=vänligt).

A. Generally, adverbials have the same place in the sentence in English as in Swedish, which is last in the sentence. This is especially true for adverbial that are part of a phrase or a longer sentence.

Examples: Sarah used to call me every morning (in the morning), (after she had had breakfast) = Sarah brukade ringa upp mig varje morgon, (på morgonen), (sedan hon hade ätit frukost).

B. If the adverbial is short, it will most often, be placed in the phrase or sentence.

Adverb+main verb

Examples: Sarah almost (always), (usually), (never) forgot her husband’s birthday. = Sarah glömde nästan (alltid), (vanligtvis), (aldrig) sin mans födelsedag.


Svartvik, J & Sager, O (1996). Modern Engelsk Grammatik. Almqvist & Wiksell Förlag AB, Uppsala.



See also differences between Swedish and English.