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I'm not a native English speaker. I want to find the English equivalent of

ho un debole per le ragazze svedesi

that, in Italian, basically means "I particularly like Swedish girls." (It's just a random example; it might apply to many other things as well).
The point is that you want to emphasize the fact that you like, in this case, Swedish girls more than others.

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s/girls/meatballs/g –  Mitch Jul 6 '11 at 14:00
    
That would definitely be hankering :) –  mplungjan Jul 6 '11 at 14:12
    
Prego! It's "Swedish girls are hot!" –  Joe Blow Jul 6 '11 at 14:17
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@Mitch I would rather not globally replace girls with meatballs. Meatballs have their place but I think I prefer girls. –  mgb Jul 6 '11 at 16:03
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There should be a tag for 'all answers and comments are dude-oriented'. –  Mitch Jul 6 '11 at 16:19
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13 Answers

up vote 15 down vote accepted

I wanted to find out what it exactly means in Italian and what I found out is that it really seems that google translate does an excellent job:

ho un debole per le ragazze svedesi

gives

I have a soft spot for Swedish girls

although it does know that debole is weakness.

You can also say

I have a weakness for Swedish girls

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1 to 1 translation is best "ho un debole" translates to "I have a weakness" –  mplungjan Jul 6 '11 at 13:50
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Ya. And "soft spot" isn't exactly the same, because you might say you have a soft spot for babies or kittens, but you wouldn't say you have a soft spot for Swedish girls. Soft spot is rather more... sentimental... than most men feel for women ;) –  Ryan Jul 6 '11 at 19:28
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@Ryan, although I am not a native speaker I beg to disagree. There are two arguments: 1) I perceive same sort of sentimental feeling in weakness as in soft spot 2) in this context (of the statement including cultural and sexual stereotypes), I fail to see the necessity of separating the concepts of 'kittens' vs 'Swedish girls', especially in the way the original speaker might have intended –  Unreason Jul 7 '11 at 10:49
    
I would not say this is the correct answer. I would contend it is a colloquialism, and suspect there's a number of english speaking countries that would not recognise this and non-native english speakers are also unlikely to understand it without an explanation. –  Charles Goodwin Jul 11 '11 at 15:42
    
@Charles Goodwin, though I do agree that this might not be the correct answer, I don't think your arguments have much to do with it: idiomatic expressions are a part of the language with equal rights that should be cherished (if the OP asked to have it translated to ESL English or 1st grade English your arguments would hit the spot) –  Unreason Jul 11 '11 at 15:55
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There is also the expression:

I have a weakness for Swedish girls.

Or also, even if maybe it's not the direct translation:

I have a thing for Swedish girls.

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Especially "I have a thing for" is very commonly used, and might be used of almost anything. –  Ryan Jul 6 '11 at 19:27
    
This is informal and probably going to need to be accompanied by an explanation to most non-native English speakers. –  Charles Goodwin Jul 11 '11 at 15:43
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You could also say:

I have a penchant for Swedish girls.

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Hankering :) ... –  mplungjan Jul 6 '11 at 13:57
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@mplungjan: That makes me think you want to eat them... –  bracho monacho Jul 6 '11 at 14:09
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No comment... :P –  mplungjan Jul 6 '11 at 14:11
    
Yes, we'd better leave it there. (Good call.) –  bracho monacho Jul 6 '11 at 14:15
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+1. I have quite the penchant for this word. One could say I overuse it, unfortunately. –  Reid Jul 6 '11 at 23:42
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I particularly like

I have a predilection for Swedish girls.

which along with expressing preference also implies a weakness for Swedish girls.

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Hey downvoter! What do you have against predilection? –  KitFox Jul 6 '11 at 14:06
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Maybe he/she hasn't a predilection for predilection. –  Erik Burigo Jul 7 '11 at 13:09
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I think this should do:

I am rather partial to Swedish girls

There is also:

I like Swedish girls more than any other type of girls.

or simply

I like Swedish girls best.

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I am crazy about Swedish girls.

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I particularly like Swedish girls

is perfectly fine. Or

I prefer Swedish girls

if you really want to make it clear that you like them more than other girls.

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+1 Gentlemen prefer blondes. –  KitFox Jul 6 '11 at 11:38
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If gentlemen prefer blondes, who prefers redheads? –  JAB Jul 6 '11 at 14:05
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@JAB: speaking solely for myself, knaves. –  PSU Jul 6 '11 at 15:01
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A combination of 'fond' with an emphasis like 'especially' or 'particularly':

"I am especially fond of Swedish girls" or
"I am particularly fond of Swedish girls"

Probably using 'especially' is best, as it strongly infers preference.

Do you wish the statement to be formal or informal?

If it is informal, there's likely to be a touch of colloquialism to the answer. In most countries where English is the native language, you can use almost any metaphor and it will be understood.

"I especially have a taste for Swedish girls" or
"I have a taste for Swedish girls in particular"

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Swedish girls are my cup of tea.

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I like the cup of tea expression because then you can have them with a touch of honey. –  KitFox Jul 6 '11 at 14:36
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... and they're better when hot. –  user8586 Jul 7 '11 at 13:01
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@yoda: and with a dash of milk. what? :P –  Charles Goodwin Jul 11 '11 at 15:40
    
LOL... Hey sweet tea, want some sugar, sugar? –  Adel Sep 12 '11 at 2:16
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Another great colloquial expression, other than to have a thing for is to be into or to be really into. It more or less captures the generality of range.

I am really into Swedish girls. I am really into comic books. I am really into sailing.

Cautionary note about both to have a thing for and to be into - because they have a certain possessive or aggressive connotation, I would think it odd if somebody used them with respect to, say, his sister, babies, etc. "I am really into my sister," just sounds bizarre at best. Especially if a man used it that way. Maybe less so coming from a woman. It is better for a man to say he has "a soft spot for" such things.

Also, just a point on usage, "I am really into comic books," is fine for talking with mom or grandma, but "I am really into Swedish girls," would probably sound coarse in such company. It's mostly a matter of subject, but the language, while not exactly foul, isn't exactly delicate either.

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Just don't pronounce it "rilly". –  Optimal Cynic Jul 6 '11 at 20:00
    
Lol. Except if you want to sound like you're from wherever I'm from. Then "rilly" is the way to go! Lol. –  Ryan Jul 7 '11 at 21:46
    
This is really informal. Pun intended. –  Charles Goodwin Jul 11 '11 at 15:41
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You can also cite the Lennon-McCartney duo: "Swedish girls really knock me out, they leave the rest behind"

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For anyone who doesn't know, that's Ukraine girls, in the song! (The humorous song is about the former USSR.) And they leave the "West" behind. –  Joe Blow Jul 6 '11 at 14:19
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The most common way to say that would be I like Swedish girls. There are many variants. One which has not been mentioned: I fancy Swedish girls.

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Or better: I rather fancy Swedish girls. –  Jimi Oke Jul 7 '11 at 3:45
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The adjective I would use is "favorite." As in "Swedish girls are my favorite."

The noun form I would use is "preference." As in "My preference is for Swedish girls."

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