Swedish: Andra/andre = second or other

Pocahontas van Merteuil

Senior Member
French and Dutch
Hi everyone!
I'm a beginner in Swedish. I was trying to get my head around the terms andra/andre, annan/annat.
I have two remaining questions to which I haven't managed to find the answers.

1. How do you know whether andra/andre means "second" or "other"? For example, in the following sentence, does it mean "the other man" or "the second man"?
Den andre mannen sade ingenting. (= The other man said nothing.)

2. Do you always put andre instead of andra when referring to a masculine noun? Or does it differ according to when it is used to mean "other" or when it means "second"?

Thanks in advance!
Hej då!
  • MattiasNYC

    Senior Member
    oof... good question.

    One thing that does occur to me is that if you're counting objects, like 'men', you would use "andra" if you're looking at more than two. So if you have ten men lined up and you're talking about them left-to-right, comparing for example beards, then you wouldn't use "andre", because I think it implies the second of two choices, not the second of ten. So: första, andra, tredje, fjärde and so on.

    "Den första Star Wars var fantastisk, men den andra var bättre!"

    So this excludes "andre" being used that way and instead limits it to pointing to one of two things.

    I also think "andra" is used for plural whereas "andre" is not. "Vi måste också diskutera andra alternativ" = "We also have to discuss other alternatives"


    Senior Member
    English - British
    My Swedish language book says...
    Indefinite forms:
    annan (common), annat (neuter), andra (plural)
    Definite forms:
    andra (common), andre (masculine), andra (neuter), andra (plural)

    I think the meaning (and whether it would be translated as "other" or "second") is usually clear from the context. In fact I struggle to think of an example where there is ambiguity, but there may be some. Edit: I do however appreciate there may usage issues to understand if you are writing or speaking Swedish.

    (I am relying solely on logic, a book, and my knowledge of Norwegian, but I hope it helps and makes sense)
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