Skip main navigation

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?

This article is from the free online

Norwegian for Beginners 1

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education