When to use “de” and “dem” in Swedish

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Personal pronouns

Hello and welcome to MySwedish learning corner again! There will be no more hesitation whether to use “de” or “dem” in a sentence after today's lesson. Let's get it started!

Let me start with something that you are probably familiar with. I bet you know the difference between jag and mig. If not, look at the sentences below.

Jag kör en bil .— I drive a car.
Han är i bilen med mig. — He is in the car with me.

I hope that the difference is obvious. We use jag when the person is a subject in the sentence and mig when it is an object.

One small side note. If you read comments on social medias in Swedish you can come across mej which is grammatically incorrect version of mig. Do not write mej if you want to look like you know how to command the language properly.

“De, dem” or even “dom”?

Let's take a look at the probably most problematic personal pronoun in Swedish. One can become confused by de, dem or dom very easily because not only students of Swedish but even the native speakers make mistakes and mix these up.

Why is there a problem with these words then? I would say that it is because of the way how de and dem are pronounced. The pronunciation is similar for both of them and it is dom. That is why you can sometimes see written dom. However it is incorrect from a grammatical point of view.

The rule for using de or dem is pretty much the same as with jag and mig. We use de if it is the subject in the sentence and dem if it is them who is the object in the sentence.

Let's use similar sentences as with jag and mig.

De kör en bil . — They drive a car.
Han är i bilen med dem. — He is in the car with them.

There is a nice hint that may help you as well. Dem stands very often in the end of the sentence. However you can come across sentences where dem is not the last word in a sentence. Always look for the subject in the sentence if you are not sure whether to use de or dem.

This all for today's lesson. I hope that you now know the difference between de and dem and you can use it in a correct way.

Thank you for coming here, feel free to discuss below the article and see you very soon. Bye bye!

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