Grammar: Subject + Verb Rule

When pulling together sentences there’s one tricky rule to learn about the other of Subject and Verb within that sentence.  It takes a while to understand so I’m trying to simplify it here.  Normally we say…

SUBJECT + VERB
Jeg spiser
pizza = I eat pizza

There are 3 exceptions to this rule when it becomes VERB + SUBJECT

1) When we put “time” or “places” at the start of the sentence.  For example “today”, “last year”, “next week”, “in England”, “tomorrow”.  For example…
I dag spiser jeg pizza = Today I eat pizza
I Norge spiser jeg pizza = In Norway i eat pizza

2) When we have Leddsetning (phrase) first in the sentence e.g.
Hvis det er kaldt i Norge, vet alle = If it is cold in norway, everybody knows
Hvis det er sol i morgen, drar jeg på stranda = If it is sunny in the morning, I will go to the beach

3) When we ask questions e.g.
Hva heter du? = What is your name?
Hvor bor du? = Where do you live?

Responses

  1. Thanks! This is useful :)

    • I’m glad! We’ve been here 2 years and I’m probably still only at the basics :-)

  2. Maybe this rule can be simplified even more: in a Norwegian main clause, the verb is always at the 2nd place.

    For example:
    Jeg spiser pizza. (1st place: subject, 2nd place: verb)
    I dag spiser jeg pizza. (1st place: time information, 2nd place: verb)
    and so on

    We can start a Norwegian sentence (almost) with whatever we like – the subject, time information, place information … but after that we MUST have the verb, and the subject must take the 3rd place if the 1st one is “occupied”.

    Hope this is helpful :-)

    • Hi Werner – that’s actually very helpful. Thank you! I’m so glad you used my first and favourite sentence as an example. Jeg spiser pizza!


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