2 Grammar

2 Grammar


Personal pronouns - subject form

1. jeg I
2. du you (singular)
3. han he
  hun she
  det/den  it
1. vi we
2. dere you (plural)
3. de they


The infinitive

The infinitive marker is å (to). The infinitive marker is generally used when the verb is in the infinitive:

Hyggelig å hilse på deg.  Nice to meet you.

Verbs in the present tense

You add -r to the infinitive to form the present tense:

Infinitive Present tense
å komme  to come  →  kommer
å sitte to sit  →  sitter

It does not matter who is carrying out the verb. You add –r to the infinitive form of the verb after all pronouns: I, you, he, she, it, we, you and they:

Jeg kommer fra England.  I come from England.
Hun kommer fra Italia. She comes from Italy.
Vi kommer fra Norge. We come from Norway.

Note that some verbs have irregular present tense forms:

Infinitive Present tense
å være  to be    →  er
å gjøre  to do  →  gjør

Stå/sitte/ligge + present tense

Norwegian does not have a present continuous form like English. However, we often use the verbs stå (stand), sitte (sit) or ligge (lie) + the present tense to express an ongoing action:

Benjamin står og venter. Benjamin is waiting.
Alex sitter og snakker med ei dame.  Alex is talking to (with) a woman.

The position, in which the subject is when performing the action, decides whether you should use stå, sitte or ligge.



Norwegian nouns have three genders: masculine, feminine and neuter.

Masculine  en gutt a boy
Feminine ei jente  a girl
Neuter et fly an airplane

(Feminine nouns can have the article en instead of ei: ei/en jente)

Generally, we use the article en/ei/et when the noun is in the indefinite form, singular.

Leaving out en/ei/et

In some expressions the indefinite article en/ei/et is left out:

Alex reiser med fly Alex travels by plane.

The article is not used when we define characteristics of a person (i.e. professions and nationalities):

Jeg er studentI am a student.


Main clauses (sentences)

As mentioned in Chapter 1 the verb is the second element when the sentence starts with the subject:

Jeg snakker norsk.  I speak Norwegian.

The verb is always the second element, so too when the sentence starts e.g. with words for time or place:

Nå (now) reiser Alex til Norge.
Der (there venter  pappa.

Note that by verb we mean finite verb when describing word order. A finite verb is a verb in present or past tense (preterite).


In a narrative clause the negation ikke (not), which is an adverb, usually comes after the verb:

Jeg reiser ikke til Paris.  I don't travel to Paris.

Other adverbs like også (also/too) come after the verb as well:

Jeg reiser også til Oslo.  I also travel to Oslo.


The conjunctions og (and) and men (but) connect sentences:

De ser pappa, og Dina roper. They see dad, and Dina shouts.
Det går bra, men det er ei lang reise.  I am fine, but it is a long journey.


I or på?

The general rule is:

I in  +  continents, countries, cities
På  in/on/at  +  mountain, islands, places, parts of a city
i Europa  Mount Everest
i Norge Sumatra, Mallorca
i Oslo Gardermoen (a place outside Oslo)
  Grorud, Tøyen (both parts of Oslo)

Exception: In front of some inland cities in Norway, we use instead of i: Lillehammer, Hamar. You can read more about this in Chapter 5.