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1.

THE CLAUSE
1.O. INTRODUCTION
The clause is the largest entity that can be described by the grammar; this is why
the clause is chosen as the largest unit in this reference grammar. There are
basically two kinds of clauses, Main clauses, John kicked the ball, and embedded
clauses (I know) that John kicked the ball. In many respects these two types of
clauses have the same internal syntax, although main clauses lack subjunctions, the
presence of which can thus be seen as an indicator of an embedded clause.

1.1. BASIC WORD ORDER


General

Head words, phrases and embedded clauses are ordered in particular ways within
more encompassing clauses and phrases in different languages. The order of
elements is usually referred to as word order, although the term may be a bit
misleading.
The Germanic languages are very similar with respect to word order, with some
idiosyncrasies. To illustrate the similarities and differences, it is useful to divide the
clause into three parts, called First, Middle and Last, respectively, as
in Never / did he / read a book on Sundays:
(a) The first part contains at most one clause element; in the majority of cases, this
phrase is the subject of the clause: He wrote the book, Who kissed her?, but may
also be the object, Mary John likes, Who did he kiss? or an adverbial: Yesterday he
went to Paris, Where does he live? Never did he read a book on Sundays.In yes/no
questions, the first position is empty: __Did he kiss her?
(b) The middle part begins immediately after the first part, and ends with the
sentence adverbial, if there is one: first comes the tensed verb (only the tensed
auxiliary in English), then the subject, and finally the sentence adverbial: Who did
he probably kiss? Never did he read a book on Sundays.
(c) The last part begins immediately after the second part, and proceeds until the
end of the clause: He need do it only under these circumstances. Never did heread
a book on Sundays. The last part of the clause is also called the Verb phrase: it is a
phrase with a verb as its head.

With respect to the order of elements within the middle and the final part, the
Germanic languages can be divided in two groups, where German and Dutch
constitute a group of their own. Starting with the middle field, the basic order for
all the languages is tensed verb > subject > sentence adverbial, but German and
Dutch have particularly flexible word orders that are not found in the other
languages. Also note that English allows only the tensed auxiliary to appear in the
initial position of the middle part, whereas the other languages also may have the
tensed main verb here.
The most obvious difference between German and Dutch on one hand, and Danish,
English, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish on the other, is found in the final part
of the clause (the verb phrase): in German and Dutch this part begins with
adverbials of time, location, manner etc., followed by the object and the infinite
verb, as in the German example, Ich muss morgen im Warenhaus ein Buch
gekaufen, whereas in the other Germanic languages the main verb precedes the
infinitive verb, object and adverbials, as seen in the corresponding English
example, I must buy a book at the department store tomorrow. Generally speaking,
this means that the German and Dutch main verb follows its object and adverbials,
i.e. the verb phrase is verb final in these languages, whereas it is verb initial in the
other Germanic languages where the main verb precedes its object and adverbials.
Swedish

The basic word order of the Swedish clause is shown below. The second position
in the table, called Finite, is filled by the tensed verb in main clauses, and by the
subjunction in embedded clauses. In the table, main clauses and embedded clauses
are paired to show the parallel word orders.
First
Position

Middlepart
Finite

F i n a l p a r t (Verb phrase)

Subject Sent.advl Verb

Vem

har

inte

lst

who

has

not

read

Object

Advl

den hr
boken

n
yet

this book
(Jag vet)vem som

inte

har lst

I know who that

not

has read

den hr
boken

yet
this book

Den hr
boken

har

han

faktiskt

lst

this book

has

he

actually

read

(Det r)min
bok

som

han

faktiskt

har lst

that

he

actually

has read

it is my book

As the word order of the Final part indicates, Swedish is a language with verbinitial verb phrases.

1.2. FIRST POSITION


General

The first position of the clause is particularily important for communication,


because it is the starting-point for what the speaker wants to say. It is here that the
speaker indicates what he considers to be familiar territory. This position contains
at most one clause element, that will be called the base of the clause; in the
majority of cases, the subject is the base, as in He wrote the book, Who kissed her?,
but, not infrequently, the object or an adverbial may be the base, as in MaryJohn
likes, Who did he kiss?, Yesterday he went to Paris, Where does he live? Whelements are always placed in first position in all the Germanic languages: Whohas
arrived?, When did she go?, Where is she?, How did she manage? In yes/no
questions, the first position is empty: _Did he kiss her? and the same is true of
imperatives: _Open the door! Occasionally we find the predicative complement in
first position, as in Rich I may be, but that doesnt mean Im happy, a quotation, as
in Here I am, said Bill loudly, or the complement of a preposition: His face Im not
fond of, but his character I despise. Compare these with I am not fond of his face.
Swedish

In declarative main clauses almost any clause element may occur in the first
position, although in most cases the subject is the base (in 60-70% of the cases), as
in (1a). It is also common to find an adverbial as the base (20-30% of the cases) as
in (1b,c), or the object (5-10% of the cases) as in (1d). Less common is a
predicative complement (1e) or a particle (1f) as the base.
(1) a. Han hittade faktiskt pengarna under sngen. (subj + tensed verb)
he found actually money.the under bed.the
He actually found the money under the bed.

b. Under sngen hittade han faktiskt pengarna. (adverbial + tensed verb)


under bed.the found he actually money.the
c. Faktiskt hittade han pengarna under sngen. (adverbial + tensed verb)
actually found he money.the under bed.the
d. Pengarna hittade han faktiskt under sngen. (object + tensed verb)
money.the found he actually under bed.the
e. Sjuk var han inte. (predicative + tensed verb)
sick was he not
He was not sick.
f. Ut kastade han bollen. (particle + tensed verb)
out threw he ball.the
He threw the ball out.
The word orders in (1) are replicated in one type of embedded clause, viz. the cleft
construction. Consider (2), where we find the same freedom of choice of clefted
element as we find in (1), with the exception of the sentence adverbial (2c). Note
that the subjunction is optional (indicated by parantheses) as soon as something
other than the subject is first.
(2) a. Det var han som faktiskt hittade pengarna under sngen. (subj + compl.)
it was he that actually found money.the under bed.the
It was he who actually found the money under the bed.
b. Det var under sngen (som)han faktiskt pengarna. (adverbial + compl.)
c. ??Det var faktiskt (som) han hittade pengarna under sngen. (adverbial +
compl.)
d. Det var pengarna (som) han faktiskt hittade under sngen. (object + compl.)
e. Det var sjuk (som) han var. (predicative + compl.)
f. Det var ut (som) han kastade bollen. (particle + compl.)
1.3. THE FINITE POSITION

General

The Germanic languages have grammaticalized a particular position for the finite
element of the clause. In main clauses the finite element is the tensed verb, in
embedded clauses it is the subjunction. The tensed verb form has two duties: it
carries the tense suffix, which introduces a time aspect (before - after now), and it
expresses finiteness, which anchors this time line to the point of view of the
speaker at the moment of speech (now = the moment of speech). Without this
anchoring, we cannot say if a statement is true or false (An utterance like I am
happy is true if and only if I am happy at the time of uttering it).
Swedish

Like all the other Germanic languages except English, Swedish systematically
expresses finiteness in main clauses by placing the tensed verb at the left periphery
of the clause, such that only one constituent, i.e. the base, is allowed in front of the
verb (verb second). In embedded clauses, finiteness is expressed by a subjunction
(att that, som that (relative), om if) in the finite position.
(1) a. Johan hade faktiskt ppnat drren lngsamt.
Johan had as-a-matter-of-fact opened door.the slowly
b. (Jag vet) att Johan faktiskt hade ppnat drren lngsamt.
I know that Johan as-a-matter-of fact had opened door.the slowly.
(2) a.. Drren hade Johan faktiskt ppnat lngsamt.
door.the had Johan as-a-matter-of-fact opened slowly
b. Det var drren som Johan faktiskt hade ppnat lngsamt.
it was door.the that Johan as-a-matter-of-fact had opened slowly
A case where there is an almost total correspondence between the main clause
word order and the embedded word order (with the finite verb in second position in
main clauses corresponding to a subjunction in embedded clauses), is in direct and
indirect questions. In direct and indirect yes/no-questions the finite field is clause
initial:
(3) a. Hittade han faktiskt pengarna under sngen?
found he actually money.the under bed.the
b. (Jag undrar) om han faktiskt hittade pengarna under sngen.

I wonder if he actually found money.the under bed.the


Direct and indirect wh-questions both have a wh-word in first position; as in clefts,
the subjunction is optional (and often avoided, which is indicated by double
parentheses) when something other than the subject is questioned:
(4) a. Vem hittade faktiskt pengarna under sngen?
who found actually money.the under bed.the
b. (Jag undrar) vem som faktiskt hittade pengarna under sngen.
I wonder who that actually found money.the under bed.the
c. Vad hittade han faktiskt under sngen?
what found he actually under bed.the
d. (Jag undrar) vad ((som)) han faktiskt hittade under sngen
I wonder what that he actually found under bed.the
e. Var hittade han faktiskt pengarna?
where found he actually money.the
f. (Jag undrar) var ((som)) han faktiskt hittade pengarna.
I wonder where that he actually found money.the
1.4. THE SUBJECT
General

Every simple declarative or interrogative clause consists of two major constituents,


a subject and a predicate consisting minimally of a tensed verb. The subject is a
noun phrase, and together with the tensed verb it forms the nucleus of the clause.
When there is only one noun phrase together with a tensed verb, this noun phrase
is the subject as in John is sick, He likes to swim. When there is more than one
noun phrase in the clause, the subject is almost always the one that refers to the
actor of the event: John threw the ball away, This book, John has written. If there
is no actor, the subject is usually the one who experiences something, He heard the
car. The subject can also be an expletive, as in It is hard to understand, There were
three men in the garden.
Swedish

Every Swedish clause with a tensed verb must have a subject:


(1) Hankommer (2) Pojken ppnad (3) Regnade detigr
.
e drren.
?
he comes

boy.the opened
door.the

rained it yesterday

He is coming-

The boy opened


the door.

Did it rain
yesterday?

The specific subject position is immediately after the finite position, as illustrated
in (4). Since any clausal element may be in first position, the subject may also
occur first, as in (1), (2) and (4a), or immediately after the tensed verb, as in (3)
and (4b). In a subordinate clause the subject is usually found immediately after the
subjunction as in (4c).

(4) First position Finite Subject Rest of the clause


a. Anneli lskar mig
Anneli loves me
b. Troligen lskar Anneli mig
probably loves Anneli me
c. Jag tror att Anneli lskar mig.
I believe that Anneli loves me
The subject may also occur after the sentence adverbial, or between several
sentence adverbials:
(5) a. Pojkarna hade ju frmodligen faktiskt inte lst bckerna.
boys.the had of-course probably actually not read books.the
b. S hade pojkarna ju frmodligen faktiskt inte lst bckerna.
then had boys.the of-course probably actually not read books.the
c. S hade ju pojkarna frmodligen faktiskt inte lst bckerna.
d. S hade ju frmodligen pojkarna faktiskt inte lst bckerna.

e. S hade ju frmodligen faktiskt pojkarna inte lst bckerna.


f. S hade ju frmodligen faktiskt inte pojkarna lst bckerna.
When the subject is a pronoun, it is in the specific "subject" case (Nominative),
cf. han he in (1), and compare (6a) with (6b):
(6) a. Han lskar henne. b. Hon lskar honom.
he loves her she loves him
There is no corresponding form difference for nouns.
1.5. SENTENTIAL ADVERBIALS
General

Sentential adverbials modify the content of the clause or convey the speakers
comment on the content of what he is saying. Naturally he is going to
emigrate.Frankly, he has not got a chance. Of course, nobody will listen to
him. They obviously expected us to be on time.
Swedish

Swedish sentential adverbials have the same structures as other adverbials, see the
list in (1):
(1) a. Adverb phrase: likas likewise, frmodligen presumably, tminstone at
least
b. Adjective phrase: skert certainly, naturligtvis naturally, mjligen possibly
c. Participial phrase: gldjande nog fortunately enough, sjlvfallet obviously
d. Prepositional phrase: bland annat among other things, fr all del by all
means
e. Subordinate clauses: vad jag vet as far as I know, nr allt kommer
omkring after all
Sententical adverbials may occur clause initially, clause finally, or in the middle
field:
First
position

Finite

Subject Sent.
advl.

Verb Object. Content


advl.

Johan

har

troligen

trffat Anna

Johan

has

probably met

Troligen

har

Johan

trffat Anna

probably

has

Johan

met

Johan

har

trffat Anna

Johan

has

met

Anna

Anna
svitt jag
vet

Anna
as far as I
know

The main types of Swedish sentential adverbials are:


a. Modal adverbials, show the speakers attitude to the statement, his involvement
or reservation, degree of certainty, etc. This group includes some unstressed modal
particles like ju you know, of course, nog enough, sufficient, vl well, as well
as ordinary adverbs like sannolikt likely, tyvrr unfortunately,
minsann indeed.
b. Conjunctional adverbials signal the logical relation between two
propositions: dessutom beside, dremot on the
contrary allts thus, nmligen you see.
c. Focalizing adverbials indicate that it is surprising etc. that the proposition holds
for a particular referent in a class of referents: bara only, just, framfr alltabove
all tminstone at least, bland annat among other things.
d. Negating adverbials deny the truth of the proposition: inte not.
When more than one sentential adverbial occurs in the middle field, there is usually
a strict order:
X

Modal Conjunctiona Modal


Focalizin Negating Y
particl l adverbial
adverbia g
adverbia
e
l
adverbial l

Anna ju
emellertid
har
of
however
Anna course
has

sannolikt

inte

probably

not

gjort
det
done it

Han
vill

vl

nd

kanske

bara

inte

well

still

maybe

just

not

he
wants

skratt
a
laugh

The most common sentence adverbs in written


Swedish: inte not, ocks also, ven also, bara just, only, kanske
maybe, ju you know, of course, drfrtherefore, emellertid thus, just just,
exactly, endast only.
1.6. NEGATION
General

When the speaker wishes to deny the truth of something, he uses a negative clause
(see Negated affirmative, 1.9.1.2), usually containing the negation: He definitely
has not taken the job. Occasionally a negative word does not apply to the clause as
a whole, but to a phrase or a part of a phrase elsewhere in the clause (constituent
negation): They lived in a not very attractive house. He is not often happy. In the
room he found not a dog but a cat.
Swedish

Swedish has three negations, inte, icke, ej, all meaning not. Inte is the most
commonly used negation in Swedish. Both icke and ej are restricted to formal
written language, icke is also found in compounds, where neither inte nor ej may
be used: icke-vld non-violence. Other words with negative meanings
are ingalunda by no means, knappt, knappast hardly, omjligen not possibly.
Syntactically, the Swedish negation is used as a sentence adverbial. When there are
more than one sentence adverbial in a clause, the negation is the last one. Like
other sentence adverbials the negation may also be the first element of the clause:
(1) a. Han ppnade inte drren.
he opened not door.the
b. Han ppnade faktiskt inte drren.
he opened as-a-matter-of-fact not door.the
(2) a. Nu kan han inte ppna drren.
now can he not open door.the

b. Nu kan han nog tyvrr inte ppna drren.


now can he probably unfortunately not open door.the
(3) Jag tror att han numera inte gillar kaffe.
I believe that he now not likes coffee
(4) Inte regnar det idag, vl.
not rains it today,well
It does not rain today, does it?
Swedish uses the negation inte also to negate a constituent, as in (5):
(5) a. Det var inte Johan utan Anna som ppnade drren.
it was not Johan but Anna who opened door.the
b. Han hade inte lngre ngon bil.
he had not longer any car
1.7. THE VERB PHRASE
General

The final part of the clause, following the sentential adverbials in the middle part,
is called the verb phrase. With respect to word order, the most obvious difference
within the group of Germanic languages is found here: in German and Dutch, the
verb phrase begins with adverbials for time, location, manner and other content
adverbials, followed by the object and the infinite verb. Cf. the following German
example, where the verb phrase is underlined, with double underlining of the
head: Ich muss morgen im Warenhaus ein Buch gekaufen. Compare the word order
of the corresponding English example: I must buy a book at the department store
tomorrow. Generally speaking, this means that the German and Dutch verb phrase
is verb final, whereas the verb phrase of the other Germanic languages is verb
initial.
Swedish

The Swedish verb phrase is verb initial. It begins either with an auxiliary or a main
verb. In main clauses where the tensed verb (auxiliary or main verb) is in the finite
position and thus not in the verb phrase, (Swedish being a verb second language),
the verb phrase lacks a verb or begins with a non-finite verb (Nu har han nog stigit

p tget now has he probably got on the train, Nu steg han p tget now got he
on the train.)
The order of elements in the Swedish verb phrase is given in the scheme below.
Directly following the verb is the verbal particle, which forms a separable
compound with the verb. If there is an indirect object, this follows next, preceding
a position where we find the subjectpredicative complement, the direct objector
the associate subject; see the last example below for a case with both an indirect
object and an associate subject. The object predicative complementand
theinfinitive of the object with infinitive construction share a position, followed
by a field for bound content adverbials (Han bor i Lund he lives in Lund)
andprepositional objects (Han ser p henne he is looking at her). Finally there is
a field for free content adverbials and postponed phrases.

Verb

Particl Ind.
e
obj.

Direct
object,
etc.

Object
Bound
Free advls,
predicative adverbial
s
s
Postponed
phrases
etc.

kasta

ut

en boll

p planen

throw

out

a ball

in field.the

br ge

hono en bok
m
a book
him

should
give

p
fdelsedage
n
at his
birthday

mla

huset

paint

the house red

hoppa

upp

en katt

jump

up

a cat

se

honom

rtt

p bordet framfr
henne
at the
table
in-front-of
her
komma

see

him

ta

ifrn

take

away
from

tilldelat
s
given

come

hono krkortet
m
driver
him license.th
e

genast

henne en
belning
her
a reward

av konungen

immediately
t

by the king