16 May, 2017

Common Swedish phrases to know

Swedish phrases

Language is the key to all the cultural doors of the society. Even a simple ‘hello’ said in the local language is enough to receive that smile of appreciation and friendliness.

I would like to share some basic Swedish expressions and phrases used on a daily basis. The goal is to clarify how these common words are used in different contexts. I hope this will help Newbies who have just arrived in Sweden.


You probably already know this one. It means ‘thank you’ in general terms. However, when someone says: Tack! Det är bra! then it actually means denial and you should not offer more.

In some context it also means ‘please’. Like this dialogue:

Vad vill du ha? – What do you want to have?
En kopp kaffe, Tack! – One cup of coffee, please!

There are other variations like:

  • Tack! Tack! – Thanks! Thanks!
  • Tack så mycket!– Thank you so much
  • Tack snälla!– Thank you kindly
  • Tack själv!– Thank you (as in thank you right back)
  • Tusen Tack! – A thousand thanks
  • Tack ska du ha! – Thank you
  • Tack på förhand! – Thank you in advance


This is another commonly used expression which means ‘Congratulations’. It is used in mostly all events of small to big achievements or special moments in life. Examples are new jobs, births, marriage, buying a house/car, professional achievements etc. Even on birthdays one can say Grattis! or ‘Grattis på födelsedagen!’ Belated wishes can be conveyed like ‘Grattis i efterskott’.


It is a combination of three words Var+ Så+ God. The expression means ‘There you are!’ But it has different meanings depending on how it is used.

If someone says ‘Tack’, it is responded with ‘Varsågod’. Here it means ‘you’re welcome’ in English.

If I put a bowl full of cookies and say ‘Varsågod’, I am inviting you to help yourself to the cookies.

‘Varsågod och sitt!’ Here it means – Please, sit.

Phrases for emergencies

  • Help – Hjälp
  • Can you help me- Kan du hjälpa mig?
  • I need help – Jag behöver hjälp
  • It is an emergency – det är akut
  • Can I borrow your phone? – Får jag låna din telefon?
  • Thief! – Tjuv!
  • There is a fire! – Det Brinner!
  • Accident – Olycka
  • Jag är sjuk – I am sick
  • Call 1177/112/the ambulance/the police – Ring 1177/112/ambulans/polisen
    • *1177 – number for medical help and advice
    • 112 – Swedish Emergency number
  • I need a doctor – Jag behöver en läkare!
  • It hurts here – Det gör ont här
  • Stop! – Stanna!
  • Run away! – Spring iväg!
  • You will be fine – Du kommer att bli bra.
  • Where is the pharmacy? – Var ligger apoteket?
  • Do you speak English? – Talar du engelska?

Other useful phrases

  • Excuse me! – Ursäkta!
  • Forgive me, Sorry – Förlåt
  • How are you? – Hur mår du
  • I am fine, Thank you! – Jag mår bra, Tack!
  • Good Morning! – God Morgon!
  • Good bye – Hej Då!
  •  Say hello to Maria!- Hälsa Maria! 
  • Please – Snälla
  • I am sorry – Jag är ledsen
  • No idea – Ingen aning
  • I do not know – Jag vet inte
  • I love you! – Jag älsker dig!
  • I miss you! – Jag saknar dig!
  • Kiss and hug- Puss och kram
  • Thank God! – Tack och lov
  • Oh my god! – Herregod!
  • It is Wonderful! – Det är Underbart!
  • Have a nice weekend – Trevlig Helg!

I welcome everyone to add up other basic phrases that can help ‘newly arrived’ people in Sweden. I am sure there are many which can be added to this.

Varsågod!! J

Karishma Desai
Hej! I am Karishma, an Indian who started the Newbie journey 2 years ago with my husband. Västerås is our new home now. It has been a tremendous learning experience to start a new life from scratch. I want to share my experience and interact with fellow Newbies on this website and also on my blog Swed Lifestyle. I'm lucky to born as creative soul and you will find me doing painting or trying some DIY projects in my spare time.