Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off your first 2 months of Unlimited Monthly. Start your subscription for just £29.99 £19.99. New subscribers only. T&Cs apply

Find out more

Past tense – Preteritum

Basic Grammar - Past tense
Hva gjorde du i går? I denne videoen skal vi lære å snakke om hva vi gjorde i går. What did you do yesterday? Can’t you say it in norwegian? Don’t worry, today we will learn how to talk about what we did yesterday. In Norwegian, we have two past tenses. In this week presentation, we will go through the Preteritum. In English you call it Preterite or Simple past. It denotes events that took place or were completed in the past.
Regular English verbs form the simple past in –ed: like in posted, added, talked, walked, sailed etc. Preteritum We use Preteritum when we want to describe something that has already happened at a certain time in the past (e.g. i går – yesterday) Hun kjøpte ei jakke i går. She bought a jacket yesterday. Regular verbs are divided into four groups. Each group has different endings for the Preteritum past tense Group 1 The verbs in G1 add the ending -et. In this group you will find most verbs with two consonants in front of
the infinitive -e and some verbs with t, g, and d: Å snakke - snakket, å vente - ventet, å lage - laget, The pronunciation is important here as the ending has to be pronuonced clearly and the final -t must be audible. Group 2 The verbs in G2 add the ending -te.
Most verbs with one consonant belong in this group: å kjøpe - kjøpte, å spise - spiste, Notice that there are also some verbs with
a double consonant in group 2: å begynne - begynte, Group 3 The verbs in G3 add the ending -de.
Verbs with v and the diftong ei belong in this group: å prøve - prøvde, å greie - greide, å leie - leide, Group 4 The verbs in G4 add the ending –dde. Verbs without -e in the infinitive belong in group 4, that means any verb which infinitive ends in any other vowel but -e.
Like: å bo, which ends in the norwegian -o, å bety, which ends in -y and similar other verb. Å bo - bodde, å bety - betydde. This was our first presentation on the Norwegian past tenses. Next week, we are going to learn more about the second past tense we use in Norwegian, the Presens Perfektum. But before that try to memorize the rules of thumb for the Preteritum. When you know your verb groups, it will be easier to learn the Presens perfektum. You can find all the forms of a verb listed in the dictionary. This list of forms is called the verb paradigm. It means the verb inflection.
You must always learn the paradigm or inflection of any new verb you learn, just as you learnt the inflection of the nouns.

What did you do yesterday?

It’s a very simple question. It’s an ice breaker to start a conversation and it’s informative.

But could we ever have asked that question without the Past tense?

German and Roman languages just can’t. We organize our world, our thoughts and actions in our life in a timeline from past to present.

It is indeed quite incredible that we are able to share our history with the help of a small grammar feature…

Some languages have a complicated verb system. Norwegian doesn’t, but we do have two past tenses: Preteritum and Presens Perfektum.

This week’s grammar video is about Preteritum.

After the video, check the “Downloads” section.

We have added a summary table for the inflection of Norwegian verbs and an extra resource about time prepositions which we hope will help you understand the use of Norwegian tenses better.


This article is from the free online

Norwegian for Beginners 2

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now