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Auxiliary verbs

Auxiliary verbs are so called because they help to form the various tenses, moods, and voices of other verbs. The principal ones in English are be, do, and have.

There is, however, a further set of auxiliary verbs known as modal verbs or modal auxiliary verbs. These combine with other verbs to express necessity, possibility, intention, or ability. The modal auxiliary verbs in english are must, shall, will, should, would, ought (to), can, could, may, and might.

In the table below you will find the modal auxiliary verbs in Norwegian with the English counterpart.

Note that auxiliary verbs in Norwegian are followed just by the bare infinitive of the verb, that means without the infinitive marker “å”

skal will, am/are/is going to
vil want to/will
kan can, be able to
have to, must
bør ought to/should


Dina skal gå på skolen in Fjordvik. Dina will go to school in Fjordvik.
Alex vil besøke mormoren nå. Alex wants to visit grandma now.
Snart kan vennene se Dinas rom. Soon, her friends can see/will see Dina’s room.
Han må finne en venn. He must find a friend.

Skal + infinitive is often used to express future time:

Hva skal vi gjøre i dag? What shall we/ are we going to do today?
Vi skal være hjemme. We’ll stay at home.

Try to make some sentences using the modal verbs. Do you see any differences in use from English?

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This article is from the free online course:

Norwegian for Beginners 1

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)