Det er

The “existential there” in English (e.g. There are two chairs in the living room) is translated by “det er” in Norwegian.

It does not agree with gender or number of the logic subject, that means we use the same form in both singular and plural, masculine, feminine or neutrum :

Det er ei seng på Dinas rom. (sing.) There is a bed in Dina’s room.
Det er fire stoler i stua. (plur.) There are four chairs in the living room.

“Det” can never be left out in sentences like these, even if the sentence starts with an adverb.

In such sentences the verb is placed before det (cf. the verb is always the second element):

På Dinas rom er det ei seng. In Dina’s room there is a bed.

Discussion:

Do you have similar structures in you own language? Can you make similar sentences? If this is the case, how similar to or different from Norwegian are these structures? And what do you think about what you just have learnt, is it fairly easy to understand and process, or is it difficult for you? Can you try to reflect upon and explane why? There are probably many other course participants who share your same thoughts and feelings!

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This article is from the free online course:

Norwegian for Beginners 1

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)