Tenth lesson

Today we will learn the word order – ordstilling. Sit back and listen.


God dag, alle sammen! NorwegianABC.com lessons are saying hello for the tenth time. Todays is leksjon nummer ti. Are you ready to continue learning correct Norwegian? We have already learnt about the nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, clauses, and cardinals. Now it is important to arrange them correctly in a sentence. Today we will learn the word order – ordstilling. La oss begynne.

Lesson video   


1det regner  it is raining
2en lytteøvelse  listening task
3ordstilling  the word order
4vi drikker melk  we drink milk
5jenter spiser epler  girls eat apples
6mora mi  my mom
7moren min spiser epler  my mom eats apples
8jeg skal kjøpe mat  i will buy food
9hun kjører bil  she drives a car
10han kommer ikke nå  he is not coming now
11du skal ikke reise nå  you will not go now
12en fart  speed
13å overstige hastigheten  speeding
14et førerkort  driver’s licence
15et gyldig førerkort  valid driver’s licence
16å få førerkort  pass a driver’s licence
17et politi  police
18en politimann  policeman
19ei en politikvinne  policewoman
20en bot  fine
21i dag skinner sola  today the sun is shining
22ei en badestrand  beach
23i dag skal jeg kjøpe mat  today I will buy food
24i dag er dere veldig flinke  today you are very good
25nå kommer hun ikke  she is not coming now
26gjentakelse er studienes mor  repeating is the mother of the studies
27dere står opp klokka seks  you get up at six o'clock
28hun skal reise nå  she should go now


  • - God dag, alle sammen! NorwegianABC.com lessons are saying hello for the tenth time. Todays is leksjon nummer ti. Are you ready to continue learning correct Norwegian? La oss begynne.
  • Before starting a new topic on grammar, let’s do some tongue and ear practice: let’s practice pronunciation. First, say hello to Ema.

    • - Hello, Ema, how are you? Hei, Ema, hvordan står det til?
    • - Hei, Jan. Det går fint. Hva med deg?
    • - Jo takk, det går veldig bra!

    Let‘s do a listening task - lytteøvelse.

      en lytteøvelse
    listening task

    Let’s practice pronouncing the long wovels: lange vokaler and the short wovels: korte vokaler.

    I will say two words: one word with a long wovel and the other one with a short wovel.

    Lang vokal a: hva Kort vokal a: Anne
    Lang vokal o: Polen Kort vokal o: Oslo
    Lang vokal u: du Kort vokal u: Unni (name)
    Lang vokal å: Ålesund Kort vokal å: kommer

    A - han
    Han heter Andreas.
    A - fra
    Han er fra Afrika.
    O - hvor
    Hvor er Polen?
    O - bor
    Hun bor i Bolivia.
    Å - nå
    Han bor i Ålesund.
    Å - på
    Nå bor de på Åkra.
    U - du
    Hva heter du?
    U - hun
    Hun heter Unni.
    V - vi
    Vi bor i Bergen.
    V - hvor
    Hvor bor vi?

    How did you do with the listening task? Shall we repeat? Skal vi gjenta? Listen and repeat until your pronounciation sounds as nice and correct as mine.

    Let’s continue with our lesson. We have already learnt about the nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, clauses, and cardinals. Now it is important to arrange them correctly in a sentence. Today we will learn the word order –   ordstilling. Sit back and listen.

    Ordstilling. Word order.

    In Norwegian, sentences are classified into principal clause and subordinate clause. A principal clause (hovedsetning or helsetning) may exist independently and is comprised of a subject and predicate at least, for example:

      det regner.
    It is raining.
      vi drikker melk.
    We drink milk.

    We know the main things from the first lessons, right? Let’s repeat:

    1. Word order in a sentence is strict. Maybe in your mother tongue the words in a sentence may be placed as you wish and as it sounds better for you: e.g., its fun what you said. In Norwegian, the order of words in a sentence is strict and you cannot say it in Norwegian. Right am I, Ema?

    • - Det er sant! Ordstilling er veldig viktig!

    2. Yes, ordstilling er veldig viktig. A sentence in Norwegian is most often (but not always) started with a subject – subjekt, and the predicate - verbal – is always in the second place.

    This rule must be learnt by heart and as my dad says, remembered when woken up in the middle of the night. A sentence starts with a subject and the predicate follows:

    Jeg bor i Norge.
    I live in Norway.
    Jenter spiser epler.
    Girls eat apples.

    Where is the predicate in a sentence? Det er riktig! Correct! The predicate comes second in a sentence – verbal er nummer to.

    Attention! The predicate may be comprised of more than one word.

    For example:

    Mora mi
    my mom
    Mora mi spiser epler.
    My mom eats apples.

    We will learn this grammatical form – ‘mora mi’ – later.

    ‘Mora mi’ is a predicate. Why is it important for us to know that a predicate may be comprised of more words than one? Because a predicate always comes second. If we didn’t know that, we might automatically say ‘spiser’ after ‘mora’ and this is what we would get: mora spiser mi epler – mom is eating my apples. In Norwegian, this sentence is gramatically incorrect and does not mean what we intend to say.

    The predicate may also be comprised of more words than one.

    Let’s remember: skal kjøpe – will buy, vil spise – want to eat, I will eat and similar forms. Of course, the predicate will be comprised of more words than one when we use past and future forms of the verb. For example:

    Jeg skal kjøpe mat.
    I will buy food.

    Predicate – skal kjøpe.

    Lise står opp veldig tidlig.
    Lise gets up very early.

    Predicate – står opp.

    Let’s continue. What comes after the subject and predicate? Other parts of the sentence such as object (indicates the object), clauses (indicate where, when and how the action is performed), adverb (indicates how the action is performed), etc., also have their place in a sentence. Besides, a clause answers to the questions ‘when’, ‘how’, ‘where’, ‘why’, etc. E.g.

    Vi spiser lunsj hver dag.
    We eat lunch every day.

    Do you want another example? I will say a sentence and you will say where the subject and predicate is, ok? After a pause, Ema will help you check if your answer was correct.

    Hun - kjører - bil.

    How did you do? I think it was easy: Hun – she – subject. Kjører - drives - predicate. Hun - kjører - bil.

    Let us try another one: Dere - står opp - klokka seks.

    Let’s check. Dere – you – subject. Står opp – get up - predicate. Dere - står opp - klokka seks.

    Another sentence: Hun - skal reise - nå.

    Have you said it all? Let’s check: Hun – she – subject. Skal reise – go, drive. Hun - skal reise - nå.

    Do you remember the negative sentences? Yes, the ones with the clause ‘ikke’?

    Word order in the principal negative sentence is as follows: subject + predicate + clause ikke + other clauses.
    Han - kommer - ikke - nå.
    He is not coming now.

    We see: 1st comes the subject, 2nd – the predicate kommer, and afterwards - ikke. Not that hard, right?

    Let’s take a look at a negative sentence, when predicate is comprised of more than one word. Subject – predicate 1 – clause ikke – predicate 2 – other parts of the sentence.
    Du - skal - ikke - reise -nå.
    You will not go now.

    Try and think of a negative sentence according to this model of.. Do not rush. If possible, write it down, if not – just say it out loud.

    I will give you a good advice to practice the correct order of words. Make small cards (you can use sticky notes or unnecessary business cards) and write a part of sentence on them: subject, predicate, object, and clauses. Write the words on the other side of the card. Try to use unknown words. Think of and make new sentences. It is a great way to remember the word order in a sentence and to learn new words. Try it now.

    Let’s return to our task. Think of a negative sentence, which is started by the subject, just like in our last sentence Du - skal - ikke - reise – nå.

    How did you do? If you didn’t manage, rewind the lesson and listen to the grammar rules once again.

    Let’s sum up what we have learnt about word order in an independent positive and negative sentence:

    Most often, a sentence is started with the subject. The predicate is no. 2 and other parts of the sentence come afterwards. The subject and the predicate may be comprised of more words than one.

    It is time for our break “Fakta om Norge”. You were waiting for it, weren’t you? Today we will tell you some facts about religion, administrative division and fines for traffic offences.

    Religious situation of Norway: 83 % of Norwegians are members of the Christian Evangelical Lutheran Church of Norway. Norway is a very secular country, only 10 % of the population attend the church once in a month.

    Norway is divided into 19 administrative regions that are called counties (Fylker in Norwegian). They are further divided into 433 municipalities (Kommuner in Norwegian). Only the county of Oslo is both a county and a municipality.

    Beside this division, the country is divided into five main regions (Landsdel in Norwegian):

    South Land (Sørlandet)
    East Land (Østlandet)
    West Land (Vestlandet)
    Troendelag (Trøndelag)
    North Norway (Nord-Norge)

    This division is more customary (traditional) and reflects geographic and dialectal differences.

    In Norway, fines for traffic offences are stricter than in most other countries. Speeding in Norway may result in a stricter fine than, for example, possession of small amount of drugs in the United States. Yes, in Norway you may be imprisoned, lose the driver’s licence, pay a fine of 10 percent of your annual income, and pay for a new driver’s licence. After these facts, speeding does not seem fun. By the way, what is the word for speed in Norwegian? En fart/hastighet.

      å overstige hastigheten.

    Talking about speed, let’s repeat the numerals. If we want to say “driving 10 kmh over the speed limit”, we say: å overstige hastigheten med10 km i timen. Let’s remember that we will always use med in this phrase: å overstige hastigheten med.

    Ema will now say a sentence in English, please translate it. We will check the correct answer together:

    He is driving 15 km over the speed limit.
    Han overstiger hastigheten med femten km. i timen.
    He is not driving 20 km over the speed limit.
    Han overstiger ikke hastigheten med tjue km. i timen.

    Let’s do it vice versa: we will say a sentence in Norwegian and you will translate it.

    Han overstiger hastigheten med sytten km. i timen
    He was driving 17 km over the speed limit.
    Han overstiger ikke hastigheten med trettifire km. i timen.
    He is not driving 34 km over the speed limit.

    Let’s learn some more useful phrases and words in case, God forbid, you are stopped on the road in Norway:

      et førerkort
    driver’s licence
      å få førerkort
    pass a driver’s licence test/get a driver’s licence
      et gyldig førerkort
    valid driver’s licence
      et politi
      en politimann
      ei en politikvinne
      en bot

    Enough about policemen, fines and speeding, we must drive safe! Would you translate this sentence for me? Let’s do it together. Vi – we. First, we say the subject, than the predicate – må kjøre, and the remaining word ‘safe’ – trygt. It is an adverb, we talked of them in the last (ninth) lesson, right? Vi må kjøre trygt. Ja :) Let’s go back to ordstilling – word order in a sentence. We talked of hovedsetninger – the main sentences that start with a subject. You would probably ask me if a sentence always starts with the subject. No, not always.

    In Norwegian, a sentence may be started by nearly all parts of the sentence (object, clauses, etc.) or even a subordinate clause. If a sentence is started with any other part of the sentence than the subject, we have inverted word order – invertert ordstilling. How do we put the words into a sentence then? The predicate will still be in the second place in this case. If a sentence is not started with the subject, the subject will immediately follow the predicate.

    It is like a cornerstone in building the house of a sentence. Here is an example of a sentence started with an object or clauses:

      i dag skinner sola.
    Today the sun is shining.

    Try and think of a sentence that starts with the time clause i dag – today, and say it aloud. Remember that the time clause must be followed by the predicate and then, the subject. Think of it and say it. We are waiting.

    Check whether sentence structure was as follows: I dag – time clause – predicate – subject. If so, great!

    Let’s analyse another sentence that does not start with a subject:

    På badestranden finner jeg ofte mange skjell.
    On the beach I often find many shells.
      ei en badestrand
    På badestanden
    on the beach – time clause in first position in a sentence
    predicate – in the second place + Jeg - subject following the predicate

    Try and think of a sentence of this model: where, what do they do, who is doing it, how often.

    How did you do? If there is no inspiration, look around and use your imagination. Do not rush.

    Speaking of ordstilling i helsetninger – word order in main sentences, it is important to remember that if the predicate is comprised of two words (must go – må gå, can speak – kan snakke, etc.), the predicate is inserted between them.

    For example:

      i dag skal jeg kjøpe mat.
    Today I will buy food.

    I dag - today – time clause. Skal – part of predicate (skal kjøpe are parts of predicate). Jeg – subject was inserted between two words of the predicate skal and kjøpe.

    Try and think of a sentence according to this model.

    • - Ema, how good are we doing with ordstilling?
    • - Ja, i dag er dere veldig flinke!

    In addition to Ema’s praise that you are very smart today, we have heard another sentence illustrating the order of words in a main sentence that is not started by the subject –   i dag er dere veldig flinke! Supert!

    Let’s analyse the model of a main negative sentence that is not started by the subject: in this sentence, predicate will be in the second place and then – the subject and setningsadverbial ‘ikke’.
      nå kommer hun ikke.
    She is not coming now.

    Think of a sentence of this model. To make it easier, start with – now.

    How did you do? Listen to our examples of sentences and be sure to think of your own sentences, try to use new words. Repetition is the mother of all learning, as the old Latin phrase says: Repetisjon er studienes mor.

    In the next lesson, cheerful as usual, we will continue with ordstilling – we will analyse the questions. It will be fun and interesting? By the way, where is Lisa today? Hmm, maybe she will be in the next lesson? We will find out soon.

    And now Ema and I are saying bye, hear you soon!

    • - Ha det, vi høres!
    • - I dag sier jeg ha det bra alle sammen! Vi snakkes!