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Grammar notes

Welcome to our last “Grammar Notes” step!

Because this is the last week on the course, we wanted to summarize the most important features of the Norwegian language that you learnt during these short but intensive 4 weeks.

Let’s start with the most recent grammar features on the menu:

Past tenses

We learnt that we have two past tenses in Norwegian, Preteritum and Presens perfektum, for both regular and irregular verbs and that we have to learn their paradigms if we want to conjugate the verb correctly.

Regular verbs are divided into 4 groups:

Group 1

Infinitive å sykle (to cycle / ride a bike)
Present tense sykler
Preteritum syklet (sykl+et)
Presens perfektum har syklet (sykl + et)

Group 2

Infinitive å leke (to play)
Present tense leker
Preteritum lekte (lek + te)
Presens perfektum har lekt (lek + t)

Group 3

Infinitive å prøve (to try)
Present tense prøver
Preteritum prøvde (prøv + de)
Presens perfektum har prøvd (prøv + d)

Group 4

Infinitive å bo (to live)
Present tense bor
Preteritum bodde (bo + dde)
Presens perfektum har bodd (bo + dd)

The Irregular verbs on the other hand follow a path of their own and have specific paradigms you have to memorize.

Infinitive Present Preteritum Pres.perf. English
å dra drar dro har dratt go/leave
å gå går gikk har gått walk/go
å være er var har vært be
å ha har hadde har hatt have

In the “Downloads” section we have included a brief list of the most common irregular verbs you should know the paradigm of.

Even if irregular, you will notice that it is possible to spot a pattern and group the verbs according to the vowel changes they follow. This is actually a good exercise that helps you memorize paradigms much easier. You might start by trying to group the verbs from the list!


Another grammar feature of Norwegian that you worked with was the inflection of adjectives.

We learnt that adjectives appear in the following positions:

  • as attributes in front of nouns:
en stor bil den store bilen
a big car the big car
  • as predicates after verbs like å være (to be):
bilen er stor bilene er store
the car is big the cars are big

We also learnt that we have an indefinite and definite form of adjectives and that the inflection follows the gender and number of the nouns.

1) In the indefinite form, the adjective describe an indefinite noun and is placed before the noun as in:

masc. en stor bil a big car
fem. ei stor jakke a big jacket
neut. et stort hus a big house
plural store biler - jakker - hus big cars - jackets - houses

2) In the definite form, adjectives describe definite nouns and are always attributive.

The inflection of the definite form of the adjective is special.

We call it double definite construction.

In English there is only one element that expresses definite form, the article “the” as in the big car. In Norwegian, however, definite form is marked twice:

First by the definite articles DEN, DET or DE

Then by the definite form of the noun (bilen).

den + store + bilen den store bilen the big car
det + store + huset det store huset the big house
de + store + bilene/husene the big cars/houses

Note that in definite form the adjective takes the same ending in -e as in plural.

Here you have a small table summarizing the inflection of adjectives in both indefinite and definite form:

  Masculine sing. Feminine sing. Neuter sing. Plural
Indefinite en stor bil ei stor jakke et stort bord store biler/jakker/bord
  a big car a big jacket a big table big cars/jackets/tables
Definite den store bilen den store jakka det store bordet de store bilene/jakkene/bordene
  the big car the big jacket the big table the big cars/jackets/tables

And here you have the inflection for one of the most used irregular adjective: Liten (small)

Because some of the forms are confusingly similar to English, you should spend some time memorizing this pattern:

  Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
Indefinite en liten bil ei lita lue et lite skjerf små biler/luer/skjerf
  a small car a small cap a small scarf small cars/caps/scarfs
Definite den lille bilen den lille lua det lille skjerfet de små bilene/luene/skjerfene
  the small car the small cap the small scarf the small cars/caps/scarfs

Under “Downloads” you’ll also find the pattern for other irregular adjectives.

We hope this last “Grammar Notes” step has been useful in clarifying possible doubts and insecurities about the use of past tenses and adjectives in Norwegian. These have been the two most difficult language features you learnt on this course.

Now be confident that you are well prepared to join course 3 on Learn NoW - Norwegian for beginners!

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This article is from the free online course:

Norwegian for Beginners 2

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)