Start Submission Become a Reviewer

Reading: The Swedish modal particle nog. A contrastive analysis.


A- A+
Alt. Display


The Swedish modal particle nog. A contrastive analysis.


Karin Aijmer

University of Gothenburg, SE
X close


The article investigates the meaning and functions of the Swedish modal particle nog on the basis of its cross-linguistic correspondences in the English-Swedish Parallel Corpus (ESPC). Nog was more frequent in original texts than in sources reflecting the fact that modal particles are used abundantly in Swedish conversations. Nog does not have an obvious correspondence in English as indicated by the fact that it has been rendered by many different lexical items and constructions. Moreover omission is a frequent strategy. The translations show that nog has two different core uses depending on position and stress. In medial position nog means both probability and (almost) certainty. When nog corresponds to an expression of certainty it can come to imply an element of selfassurance. Medial nog is also used to modify mental verbs (jag vet nog ‘I know nog’) especially in response utterances. An important function of the uses of nog in medial position is downtoning an opinion or an utterance which might be offensive to the hearer unless mitigated. Nog is also used deontically with reference to what ought to be done. The deontic meaning is particularly clear when nog is used with a modal auxiliary to give advice. Nog, when initial, involves emphasis or contradictory assumptions (contrastive nog). Contrasting opinions account for example for the translations of a sentence with initial nog by a negative interrogative sentence (or a declarative sentence with a tag question). Another function of the initial nog is to prepare the hearer for an objection in a following but-clause.

How to Cite: Aijmer, K., 2016. The Swedish modal particle nog. A contrastive analysis.. Nordic Journal of English Studies, 15(3), pp.149–170. DOI:
Published on 20 Sep 2016.


  • PDF (EN)