Suffering Gladly

Suffering (Fools) Gladly

In Danish, one way to say that you like something or someone involves suffering: jeg kan godt lide, or literally “I can good/well suffer”. The negative version is jeg kan ikke lide (“I cannot suffer”).

Here are some examples (from

  • Alle kan godt lide den = Everyone is in favour
  • Jeg kan godt lide grønærter = I love green peas
  • Jeg kan ikke lide fodbold = I don’t like football
  • Jeg kan ikke lide at gentage mig selv = I don’t like repeating myself

The English expression I do not suffer fools gladly has a similar structure. A version of this phrase first appeared in the Bible as, “For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise.” (2 Corinthians 11:19 – KJV). It is usually used in the negative these days though [source].

Another way to say you like something in Danish is to say that you think about it. For example, jeg synes om sprog = I like languages (“I think about languages”). As well as to like, synes om also means to love or appreciate [source], and synes means to think (about), seem or reflect on [source].

In English you might say that you think well of someone or something, although this might sound a bit old fashioned.

Similarly in Swedish, saying that you think about something/someone – tycka om, means that you like, enjoy, appreciate, get off on, relish or are fond of it/them [source]. If you really like or love something or someone, you could say that you think much about them, or tycka mycket om.

Here are some examples (from

  • Jag kanske börjar tycka om arkeologi = Maybe I’m just really beginning to enjoy archeology
  • Barn som lär sig att tycka om frukt i skolan kommer att fortsätta att äta frukt som vuxna = Children who learn to like fruit at school will carry on eating fruit into adulthood
  • Jag tycker inte om dig = I dont like you

Another way to say you like something/someone in Swedish is gilla, which means to like, approve, favour, go for, hold with or be fond of [source]. For example, han gillar choklad – he likes chocolate.

In Spanish the most common way to say you like something is to use the verb gustar (to be pleasing, to taste), e.g. me gusta el té = I like tea, or literally “(to) me pleasing the tea” [source]. You could say in English that something is to your taste, or if you don’t like it, it’s not your cup of tea.

Here’s an audio version of this post.

(Danish, Swedish and Spanish audio by

What other interesting ways are there to say you like or don’t like things?

2 thoughts on “Suffering Gladly

  1. I have often been intrigued at how the Old English notion of “suffer” could mean “allow”, “tolerate” or “permit”.

    Aside from the usual etymological reasons for the change in language use over time, I cannot help but wonder if the idea behind this is that, in a hostile world where anyone might prove to be an enemy, if you “allowed” someone to do as they wished without restriction, you could very likely “suffer” the consequences.

    For example, if I “allow” fools to behave as they chose, I might “suffer” as a result, so I would not readily “suffer” fools if I knew what was good for me.

  2. In Gaelg (Manx Gaelic), ‘I like …’ is s’mie lhiam … (literally, ‘is good with me …’). This is equivalent to is maith liom … in Gaeilge (Irish Gaelic). In the negative, you say cha mie lhiam … (‘not good with me …’), and the construction for the other grammatical persons follows the same format, using the conjugated forms of lesh (‘with’).

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