Far, får får får?
I often get the question about how to use the verb ”får”, it seems like it can be used in a
thousand different ways, some students say.
“Få” as a auxiliary verb
The first case of “få” that I want to shine some light on is when “få” has the function of an
auxiliary verb (“hjälpverb” in Swedish). As a hjälpverb one can use “få” when expressing
that someone is allowed to do something. Here’s an example:
Du får röka här.
(You may smoke here.)
Får jag ta en kanelbulle till?
(May I have another cinnamon roll?)
It’s also common to hear “få” in the sense “may” when someone wants to be polite. It could
sound something like this:
Får jag bjuda på en kopp kaffe?
(May I buy you a cup of coffee?)
Please note that since “få” is a hjälpverb, the next verb should be in infinitive form (ta, röka,
As a hjälpverb “får” can also be used in the sense of “have to”. This makes me think of
childhood and how “får” carried totally different messages in sentences like:
Nu får du sluta med det där.
(You must stop that right now.)
Nu får ni gå och lägga er.
(You have to go to bed now.)
In cases like the ones above, it was clearly (understood from the tone of the adult) not a
question about being allowed to stop or to go to bed In other cases “få” had the sense of
Du får stanna uppe och se klart filmen.
(You may stay up and finish the movie.)
Du får ta en kanelbulle till.
(You may have another cinnamon roll.)
“Få” in the sense of “receive” or “get”
This use of “få” seems very similar to English “get”. Here are a few examples:
Jag fick löneförhöjning.
(I got a raise.)
Jag fick en cykel i julklapp.
(I got a bicycle for Christmas.)
Jag fick ett myggbett på armen när jag sov över i mammas stuga.
(I got a mosquito bite on my arm when I spent the night at my mother’s cabin.)
“Få” in the sense of “be subject to”:
Patienten fick behandling för sin öroninflammation.
(The patient received treatment for his otitis.)
“Få” as in get notified:
Lasse fick veta att han har öroninflammation.
(Lasse got to know/found out that he has an ear infection.)
We have come to an end here with “få”, but we before we finish I want to mention to you
that “får” also means “sheep”. Singular form is “ett får” and plural form is “får”, so now I hope
you can understand this classic play on words:
- Far, får får får?
- Nej, får får lamm.
Until next time!