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SWEDISH WORD OF THE DAY

Swedish word of the day: precis

Precis translates as "precisely", but it is used much more often and more flexibly than the English equivalent.

Swedish word of the day: precis
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

It’s one of those words that will help you sound more Swedish in an instant.

Hear how it’s pronounced below, and start using it as much as possible to pass for a native:

You can use precis on its own to say “yes, exactly/that’s right”. You can also say ja precis (yes, exactly) or nej precis when responding to a negated statement:

Det är en fin dag! Ja, precis (It’s a lovely day! – Yes, it is) but Vi vill inte vara för sena – Nej, precis (We don’t want to be too late – No [we don’t], exactly).

Want to make it more emphatic? Say just precis to really stress the confirmation.

Precis can also be used in most of the same ways as English “exactly”.

For example, du låter precis som min pappa (you sound exactly like my dad), det var precis vad jag sa (that’s exactly what I said), or nej, det är precis tvärtom (no, it’s exactly the opposite).

You can also use it to mean “just” in the sense of “just now/very recently” for example jag hade precis kommit hem när han ringde (I had just got home when he rang), han ringde precis (he just rang) or jag har precis flyttat hit (I’ve just moved here), as well as in the sense of “with a slim margin”, for example: precis i tid (just in time), hon hann precis med sista tåget (she just made the last train). 

Examples

Har du flyttat till Skåne? Precis

Have you moved to Skåne? Yes, that’s right

En stor kopp kaffe är precis vad jag behöver

A large cup of coffee is exactly what I need

Villa, Volvo, Vovve: The Local’s Word Guide to Swedish Life, written by The Local’s journalists, is now available to pre-order. Head to lysforlag.com/vvv to read more about it, and use the discount code VOVVELOVE (valid until October 27th) to get a 10% discount on all pre-orders.

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SWEDISH WORD OF THE DAY

Swedish word of the day: soppatorsk

In Sweden, if you run out of petrol on the road you have 'soup-cod'.

Swedish word of the day: soppatorsk

Soppatorsk is a slang word which literally means soup-cod, soppa is ‘soup’, and torsk is ‘cod’, but is not to be understood as ‘cod soup’, that would be torsksoppa. Instead the two words that make up soppatorsk have additional meanings in slang. One of the additional meanings of torsk is ‘failure’, which is the intended meaning here. The verb att torska, ‘to cod’, is to fail, or to lose, to get caught. The meaning of the noun torsk here is ‘failure’. And soppa is simply a slang term for ‘petrol’. 

The proper term for what soppatorsk means is bensinstopp, which means ‘engine failure due to running out of petrol’. It is used in the exact same way.

An additional meaning of torsk that you should be mindful of is ‘a john’, as in someone who frequents prostitutes. So you cannot call someone ‘a failure’ by calling them a torsk, that would mean calling them a sex-buyer.  

Soppatorsk is quite common in use and has been around since about 1987. The use of its two parts is also quite common. And torska, as in ‘getting caught’ or ‘losing’ is even a bit older, dating back to at least 1954. We haven’t been able to find out how long soppa has been used to mean ‘petrol’.

A few examples of the use of soppa and torska in the senses that they carry in soppatorsk are : ‘Vi har ingen soppa i tanken,’ means ‘We have no petrol in the tank’. ‘Vi torskade is a common way of saying ‘We lost’. 

Practice makes perfect, so try to use the word of the day, here are a few example sentences. 

Example sentences:

Nä, det är inte sant, soppatorsk.

No, I can’t believe it, we’re out of petrol.

Full tank tack, man vill ju inte få soppatorsk ute i vildmarken.

Fill her up please, don’t wanna run out of petrol out in the wilderness.

Villa, Volvo, Vovve: The Local’s Word Guide to Swedish Life, written by The Local’s journalists, is now available to order. Head to lysforlag.com/vvv to read more about it. It is also possible to buy your copy from Amazon US, Amazon UK, Bokus or Adlibris.

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