Norwegian Classroom: Verbs, Modal Verbs, Be Verb and Have Verb

Norwegian Courses

Norwegian Verbs

In this one we’ll focus on verbs. So, the first thing we’re gonna do is having a look at the verbs we have learnt so far:
to be å være er
to speak / talk å snakke snakker
to be called å hete heter
to learn å lære lærer
to live å bo bor
to have å ha har
to see å se ser
to walk / to go å gå går
to say å si sier
to do å gjøre gjør
And here you have some new ones:
to eat å spise spiser
to drink å drikke drikker
to play å spille spiller
to like å like liker
to love å elske elsker
Read this!
You know what that verb tense in the header is called? Imperative. It’s the tense you use when you tell someone to do something. In English, it’s a bit hard to spot, because there’s no obvious difference between the present tense and imperative. Look at this, and you’ll understand:
Present Imperative
I eat fish. Eat fish!
You come here every day. Come here every day!
I don’t speak Norwegian. Don’t speak Norwegian!
I’m sure you’re going to learn this. Learn this!
So in English, the present tense and the imperative look the same. In Norwegian they don’t. As you should have noticed, all Norwegian verbs in infinitive end with a vowel (turn back one page if you haven’t noticed). This vowel is always -e, as long as the word consists of more than one syllable. One-syllabled words can end with any vowel. The rule to form the imperative in Norwegian is:
  1. If the verb consists of more than one syllable, remove the last -e.
  2. If the verb consists of only one syllable, do nothing.
Easy! That means that the imperative form of the verb å se (“to see”) is… Se! And the imperative of the verb å lære is… Lær! To make it negative, put ikke in front of the verb: Don’t speak English! = Ikke snakk engelsk! Don’t see! = Ikke se!
Combining verbs
Fun fact: verbs can be combined. Not only in Norwegian of course. Check out these English phrases: I like to eat fish. I love to play football. The verbs are underlined. We have already seen these two verbs in Norwegian: å like, å elske. And in Norwegian it works in exactly the same way! I like to eat fish. = Jeg liker å spise fisk. I love to play football. = Jeg elsker å spille fotball. So the formula is that the first verb goes in present tense (if we are talking about the present), and then the second verb goes in its infinitive form, with the infinitive marker (å), exactly as it does in English.
Modal verbs
“Modal verbs” sounds hard, but it’s not. The modal verbs are used as the first of two combined verbs, and they work exactly like “like” and “love” in the previous examples, with one exception: you don’t use the infinitive marker.We can have a look at some examples from English: We must win this game! This will be the best vacation ever! As you see, we have combinations of two verbs, without “to” between them. Now we’ll give you some Norwegian modal verbs. We don’t really need them in infinitive yet, so you’ll have them only in the present tense, which is the tense we’ll be working with. Be aware that the English translations aren’t always modal verbs in English.
want to vil
must / have to
can kan
This gives us the following examples: I want to eat fish. =  Jeg vil spise fisk You have to (must) learn Norwegian. = Du lære norsk. We can speak Norwegian. = Vi kan snakke norsk. It’s the same as before, you just have to skip the “å” when the verb is modal.

Be Verb and Have Verb in Norwegian

The present and past tenses of verbs in Norwegian are very simple to conjugate. All the forms are the same for each personal pronoun. The infinitive of the verb to be in Norwegian is være, and the conjugated present tense form is er and the past tense is var. The infinitive of the verb to have is ha, and the conjugated present tense form is har and the past tense is hadde.
være – to be
I am jeg er I was jeg var
you are du er you were du var
he is han er he was han var
she is hun er she was hun var
it is den er it was den var
it is det er it was det var
one is man er one was man var
we are vi er we were vi var
you are dere er you were dere var
they are de er they were de var
ha – to have
I have jeg har I had jeg hadde
you have du har you had du hadde
he has han har he had han hadde
she has hun har she had hun hadde
it has den har it had den hadde
it has det har it had det hadde
one has man har one had man hadde
we have vi har we had vi hadde
you have dere har you had dere hadde
they have de har they had de hadde
To form the future tense of verbs, just add skal (am/is/are going to) or vil (will) before the infinitive. Jeg skal være = I’m going to be; hun skal ha = she will have; etc. (In simple sentences, either skal or vil are fine to express future actions, but in longer and more complex sentences, it is better to use vil.)
Per has many houses. Per har mange hus.
He lives in the red house. Han bor i det røde huset.
Where is Tom’s ball? Hvor er Toms ball? *
I have four nice watches. Jeg har fire fine klokker.
The big man is ugly. Den store mannen er stygg.
The girl is in the small tree. Jenta er i det lille treet.
Norway is a very nice country. Norge er et veldig fint land.
Arne and Kari are in a green car. Arne og Kari er i en grønn bil.
The twelve flowers are red. De tolv blomstene er røde.
Many days are nice. Mange dager er fine.
Anita’s clocks are not bad. Anitas klokker er ikke dårlige. *
We see Petter’s big house. Vi ser Petters hus. *

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