by Erik Wilhelm Gren

Counting in Swedish

Counting in Swedish is rather straight-forward. Just like English, there are unique names for every number up to 20. After that, you have unique names for every 10th numeral: 30, 40, 50, … and so on up to 100. Let’s have a look at (many of) the Swedish Numbers:

The Swedish Numbers

Number Swedish Name Actual Sound
1 En/Ett[1] En/Ett
2 Två -
3 Tre -
4 Fyra -
5 Fem -
6 Sex -
7 Sju -
8 Åtta -
9 Nio -
10 Tio -
11 Elva -
12 Tolv -
13 Tretton -
14 Fjorton -
15 Femton -
16 Sexton -
17 Sjutton -
18 Arton -
19 Nitton -
20 Tjugo -
30 Trettio -
40 Förtio -
50 Femtio -
60 Sextio -
70 Sjuttio -
80 Åttio -
90 Nittio -
100 Hundra/Etthundra[2] -
200 Tvåhundra -
1 000 Tusen/Ettusen[2] -
2 000 Tvåtusen -
10 000 Tiotusen -
100 000 Hundratusen -
1 000 000 En miljon -

The Inbetweenies

Once you go above and beyond 20, you will need to combine the numbers. This is done in a very similar fashion to English’s way of counting. Let’s look at some examples:

  1. Tjugoett (/ Tjugoen[1])


  2. Trettiosju


  3. EtthundraFemton


  4. TrehundraFörtiotvå


  5. FemmiljonerTrehundratjugosjutusenSjuhundraSextionio

    5 327 769

Ettusenetthundra or EttusenEtthundra or Ettusen Etthundra…?

Don’t worry!

In Swedish, whenever you write a number larger than 10, you should never write it out in text.

When writing large numbers out in text (should be avoided at all cost), there is no real consensus wether you should write them separately or together in a long string or make some letters capitalized or not.

When I bought my apartment and looked at the bill, the final price was, to my surprise, written in both numbers and in letters. In this document, the number was written using the following format: (not actual price of my apartment)


5 800 000

There is no real standard for this, so don’t feel ashamed for writing it in a specific way. However, more importantly, always stick to the actual numbers whenever you’re writing big numbers and you will be fine.

Is 1 Alone Read as En or Ett?

You’ve just stumbled upon a very interesting question!

Generally speaking, when counting arbitrarily, 1 is read as ett. However, there is no real reason why you couldn’t say en instead.

En and Ett is, however, a fundamental part of Swedish grammar and, if you’re up for it, you should continue on to the introduction to nouns and other articles about grammar and discover the secrets to this seemingly mysterious behavior of 1.

Studying Time!

As an exercise, try to count all the way up to 10, or maybe even 100! I know you can do it! Check the table above again and again until you can do it without looking.

Then, if you’re up for a challenge, write out all the numbers (in letters) up to, for example, 40. This might seem tedious, but I guarantee you that it will be well worth your time and effort. To help you start, here are some checkpoints for you to see if you’ve got the gist of it:
(hover over or click on the blacked out box to show the answer)


Fun fact: there used to be a Swedish television program called Fem myror är fler än fyra elefanter.

Fem myror är fler än fyra elefanter.

Five ants are more than four elephants.

This was a television program released by the Swedish governmental news and media agency, SVT, and it was aimed at families with young children. It taught them (us) how to say the alphabet, how to count, funny puns and were all-in-all very easy to understand for everyone. This iconic program has made its name in Swedish history and is now a recognizable name to almost every Swede.

  1. Later, when you learn more about grammar, you will learn about the concept of n-ord and t-ord. For now, whenever you’re arbitrarily counting, just use the word Ett for 1.

  2. Its not required to say ett- since its already implied, just like in English: A Hundred vs One Hundred or A Thousand vs One Thousand

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