How to Say How Are You in Swedish

While the Swedish language can be hard, for English speakers it is relatively easy compared to other languages. Of course, there are always exceptions, and the phrase “How are you?” in Swedish seems to be one of them.  So how do you say how are you in Swedish, like a native Swede?

“How are you?” doesn’t directly translate, meaning they don’t say “Hur är du?”, which would be how (hur) are (är) you (du).

How Are You? = Hur Är Det?

The proper way to say “how are you?” in Swedish is actually “Hur är det?” which translates to “How is it?”. Easy, right? Seems to be, however many language courses I’ve come across that don’t specialize in Swedish actually translate this wrong. Let’s look at why.

How are you (feeling)?

Sometimes in English, if someone has been sick, or hasn’t been well, we will ask (with a more concerned tone in our voice) “How are you?” We usually shorten this from the whole sentence, like “How are you feeling?” or “How are you doing?”

In this case, one would use “Hur mår du?” which directly translates to “how are you feeling?” You only use this phrase in Swedish if you actually want to know how the person is feeling. It is not a replacement for “Hur är det?”, which one uses in everyday conversation.

You may have been trained that “hur mår du?” means “how are you, but it is not correct. The correct way to say “how are you?” when you are greeting someone is “hur är det?”.

Hopefully, these language courses will catch on and start teaching people correct Swedish!

Remember there are tons of ways to learn Swedish for free, mostly thanks to the Swedish government and its efforts to teach immigrants to Sweden this amazing language.  Also, check out the best iPhone apps for learning Swedish.

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