Sådan Syndrome: When to use sådan

One of my favorite words is sådan. I never really thought about it much, but today I realized this tasty word actually has a lot of uses. You´ve problem heard a lot of them: the expressive, the tick-like (often pronounced så´n in spoken Danish), the emphasizing. Here are some of my favorites.

The “how do Danes dance?”

Firstly, It´s used to demonstrate a procedure, a situation, or success.

A procedure:

Man skal gøre det sådan her.

You have to do it like this.

Danskere (de) danser sådan her.

Danes (they) dance like this. (kudos if you know this reference) ;)

A situation:

Det var sådan en dejlig morgen.

It was such a beautiful morning.

The “Way to go!”

The way I personally use it most: sådan is something you say when you've completed a task. It´s a verbal pat on the back. It can be anything. Maybe you have finished your homework (lektier), maybe you have finished making food (er blevet færdig med at lave mad), maybe you have fixed a table or a chair (har repareret et bord eller en stol). If you did, celebrate with a fat SÅDAN!


Så er vi færdige med puslespillet. Sådan!

We are finished with the Jigsaw. Way to go!

Sådan, mand! Du gjorde det.

Way to go, man. You did it.

The “golden hat”

You can also use it to express which category or concept something (a noun) belongs to. You got a new hat, but what kind of hat?

Jeg fik en fed hat i går, det var sådan én med guld-tegninger på.

I got a cool hat yesterday, it was like a beanie with gold drawings on it.

The “Insult / Praise.”

You can use sådan to emphasize just about anything.

Han har sådan en stor næse.

He has such a big nose.

Du er sådan en god dreng.

You are such a good boy.

The “bare fordi”

You can replace a noun you have just mentioned with sådan, just because you can and it´s a cool word.

Min far har en vidunderlig guitar, og jeg ønsker mig sådan én.

My Dad has an incredible guitar, and I want one like that.

Jeg arbejder som brandmand, men jeg har ikke altid arbejdet som sådan.

I work as a firefighter, but I haven't always worked as one / such.

The “blow-off.”

You can use it to express something that happened: in such a way (på den måde), or the way something is: in the same way (på samme måde).

Det skete sådan, at jeg ikke kunne gøre noget ved det.

It happened in a way that I couldn't do anything about it.

Sådan er det bare.

That´s just the way it is.

Sådan er livet.

Such is life.

The “… like ...whatever like.”

Sådan in the middle of a sentence is used as a language break, in the same way people use like in English. You can hear a really nice example of this in the Copenhagencast episode A six year old boy talks about brain research.

ADVARSEL! (NOTICE!) Keep in mind, this is a spoken tick, almost like slang and not to be overused. Be careful not to develop “sådan syndrome.” It´s a thing… probably.

Jeg har sådan lidt ondt i maven.

I have like a faint stomach ache.

Drenge de kan sådan tænke sig meget hurtigere end piger.

Boys they can like think much quicker than girls.

Fast Udtryk (Fixed Expressions)

Eller sådan noget.

Or something like that.

This is language filler (a perfect example of sådan syndrome). Throw it on the end of sentences like there´s no tomorrow.

Hold da op! Han er blevet godt nok solbrændt. Han må havde været i Spanien eller sådan noget.

Oh boy! He is / has been badly sunburned. He must have been in Spain or something like that.

Vi spillede guitar i 10 timer eller sådan noget.

We played guitar for 10 hours or something.

Og alt sådan noget.

And all that stuff.

This is just like the last one, sådan syndrome, but this time for after a list.

Jeg var selv nødt til at købe kartofler, gulerødder, broccoli, peber, løg, og alt sådan noget.

I had to myself by potatoes, carrots, broccoli, peppers, onions, and all that stuff.

Nice synonyms for this are og så videre usually shortened in script to osv. or alt det der.

Sådan! Det var det! It´s a pretty cool list. I haven't covered all of the uses. Maybe you know some? Comment below if you do.

Tak for nu.

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