A Simplified Grammar of the Swedish Language/Part I/Adjectives
Swedish adjectives agree in gender and number with the noun which they qualify; as, en flitig man, och en flitig qvinna, 'a diligent man and woman;' ett flitigt barn, 'a diligent child;' gode (a) söner, 'good sons;' flitiga flickor, 'diligent girls;' ädla namn, n., 'noble names.' Here it will be observed that in this indefinite so-called "weak" form of the adjective, which is also used as a predicate, the masculine and feminine in the singular are identical, while the neuter takes a t. The masculine plural in e is in accordance with the older forms of the language, but by modern and common usage an a is generally substituted for the e, and the plural of all genders is thus reduced to one mode of termination in the indefinite form of the adjective. Thus while the same form of the adjective is used for the masculine and feminine, or common gender in the singular, the neuter is marked by the addition of t, and the plural by a, as:
Singular. common gender. neuter. god, good. godt, good. Plural. goda, good, for all genders,
excepting in some cases as above referred to, where the masculine takes final e instead of a.
This termination of e is also met with for all genders in certain compound, and other, adjectives derived from a participle and ending in ad; as—
- Sing., godhjertad, c. g., godhjertadt, n., good-hearted.
- Plural for all genders, godhjertade,"
The "definite" or so-called "strong" form of the adjective is marked by the addition of a to the abstract form in the feminine and neuter singular and plural, while in regard to the masculine it must be borne in mind that the older specific termination e, which originally marked that gender, is still of frequent occurrence, as—
|masculine.||||feminine and neuter.|
|goda, or gode,||goda, good;|
|as,||den gode (or goda) mannen, the good man.|
|den vackra blomman, 'the lovely (the) flower.'|
|det stora huset, 'the large (the) house.'|
|de ædle krigarne, 'the noble (the) warriors.'|
|de flitiga qvinnorna, 'the diligent (the) women|
|de ljusa bona, 'the light (the) dwellings.'|
Here it will be observed that the noun has the terminal article, although the adjective qualifying it is preceded by the definite den. The double use of the article is, as already noticed, not to be found in Dano-Norwegian, in which the terminal article is not applicable to words defined by the independent article den, det, de.
This form is also used when the noun is in the genitive, or is preceded by a pronoun; as, konungens lyckliga regering, 'the king's happy reign;' min gamle vän, 'my old friend.'
Adjectives ending in t, preceded by a consonant, do not take another t in the neuter, as salt, m. f., salt, n. 'salt.'
Adjectives ending in a vowel double the t in the neuter; as, fri, fritt, n., 'free;' ny, nytt, n., 'new.'
Adjectives ending in al, el, en, er, drop the a or e where this vowel occurs in the declension of the word, as in gammal, 'old,' which changes to gamle (a), while trogen, 'faithful,' tapper, 'brave,' etc., change to trogne (a), tappre (a), etc.
Some adjectives are indeclinable; as, bra, 'good;' öde, 'waste;' gängse, 'usual.'
Adjectives may be used in the sense of nouns; as, den tappre, 'the brave (man);' den vackra, 'the charming (woman);' det ädla, 'the noble (act, thing).'
The degrees of comparison are expressed by adding to the positive form are or re, and ast or st; as—
positive. comparative. superlative. stark, strong, starkare, stronger, starkast, strongest. hög, high, högre, higher, högst, highest.
Mera or mer, 'more,' and mest, 'most,' may be used as in English to express comparison, and this more especially where the adjective has a participle form; as,—
positive. comparative. superlative. godhjertad, good-hearted, mera godhjertad, mest godhertad
Many adjectives are wholly irregular; as—
|elak or ond, bad,||värre,||värst.|
Some are defective, having either no positive, or neither positive nor comparative, especially where the word is derived from a preposition or adverb; as, främre (comp.), 'more forward,' främst, 'most forward' (fram, prep., 'forth, onward'); yttre (comp.), 'outer,' ytterst (super.), 'outermost' (ut, adv., 'out').
Some adjectives from their meaning do not admit of comparison; as, död, 'dead;' stum, 'mute.'
The adverb desto, 'the,' 'so much the,' is often used to give additional force to the comparative, as desto bättre, 'the better.' The particle-adjectives aller, allra, 'all,' give a similarly heightened form to the superlative, as allerbäst, allrabäst, 'the very best.'