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). 


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 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: jordgubbe

If there's one thing Swedes can't get enough of in summer, it's these.

Swedish word of the day: jordgubbe

Jordgubbe is made up of two words: jord and gubbe.

Jord means earth or soil, and it’s also used in Swedish for Planet Earth.

It’s easy to assume that jordgubbe means “earth man”, gubbe on its own being a common word for referring to a male person (usually gubbe refers to someone either very young or very old, and it can be either affectionate or derogatory, depending on the context).

But this is wrong.

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Gubbe is also a Swedish dialect word used to refer to a small lump, so jordgubbe literally means “a small lump that grows in the earth” – more accurate, but less romantic than picturing strawberries as tiny little men who live in our garden and are to be picked and eaten with whipped cream… now that we think about it, “small lump” is probably better.

Strawberries were introduced to Sweden in the second half of the 18th century and were originally called ananassmultron due to their Latin name (Fragaria x ananassa).

The word jordgubbe has existed in the Swedish language since at least 1638, but was then the main name for musk strawberries, later known as parksmultron in Swedish.

Jordgubbar are one of the staple foods on Midsummer’s Eve and Swedes are convinced that they grow the best strawberries in the world.

Example sentences:

Polisen misstänker att gängkriminella har infiltrerat jordgubbsindustrin

Police suspect that gang criminals have infiltrated the strawberry industry

Goda jordgubbar! Är de svenska eller belgiska?

Yummy strawberries! Are they Swedish or Belgian?

Villa, Volvo, Vovve: The Local’s Word Guide to Swedish Life, written by The Local’s journalists, is available to order. Head to to read more about it. It is also possible to buy your copy from Amazon USAmazon UKBokus or Adlibris.