Join our all-new Duome Forum to rediscover what was lost with Duolingo Forum closing and more...
··········· Table of Contents ···········

Basics 1 updated 2018-10-25 ^

Nouns

Danish has two noun genders: Common (or n-words) and neuter (or t-words). Each of these have their own article for indefinite singular. Common words take en and neuter words take et.

In this skill you will only be dealing with indefinite and definite, singular nouns such as a boy, the woman etc. The following skills will gradually introduce you to the plural forms.

Unfortunately, in Danish there is no certain way to tell from a noun which gender it is. So this you will have to learn by heart. There have been made attempts to develop a pattern for determining the gender of a noun from the word itself, and one such can be found here.

The short version is that about 80% of nouns are common gender (taking en as the indefinite article), including most living and animate entities.

The Definite Form

Instead of marking the definite form with an article, Danish uses postfixing. Simply put, the indefinite article is appended to the end of the noun to mark definiteness: -en for common gender and -et for the neuter gender.

If the noun already ends with -e most often only -n (for common) or -t (for neuter) is appended:

To see how simple this really is, have a look at this table:

Indefinite article Definite postfix
en -en
et -et

In some cases an article is used instead of a postfix to mark the definite form, for example when modifying the noun with an adjective. But do not worry about this for now, it will be explained later :) Furthermore, just to ruin the beautiful simplicity, some nouns change an internal vowel when put in the definite - Again, more about this later.

Subject Pronouns

Subject pronouns are used to indicate the person performing an action: In the sentence you drive a car, the word you informs us who is driving the car.

While this particular skill only involves singular subject pronouns (I, you, and he/she, specifically), we will show you all the (personal) subject pronouns here for completeness. Don't worry, we'll include this table again later when the rest of the subject pronouns are introduced!

English Danish
I jeg
you du
he, she, it han, hun, den/det*
we vi
you (plural) I**
they de

*) Depending on the grammatical gender of the subject. As a rule of thumb, use den for all living things, det for inanimate objects.

**) Always capitalized.

Present Tense Verbs

You will love verbs in Danish. They conjugate not for the subject, not for the object, nor for the number of people. They only care about the time (present, past), the aspect (active, passive), and the mood (indicative, imperative). But do not worry about all that just yet, just be overjoyed that there are only seven forms of each verb :)

For now, just know that present tense (things happening right now, or general statements) end in -r, and do not change regarding to the person carrying out the action. As an example, look at the conjugations of at spise (to eat) in the present:

English Danish
I eat jeg spiser
you eat du spiser
he, she, it eats han, hun, den/det spiser
we eat vi spiser
you (plural) eat I spiser
they eat de spiser

Isn't that beautiful? Similarly, the only form of to be in present (I am, you are, he, she, it is, etc.) is simply er: jeg er, du er, and so on.

To make things even simpler, as to the verb anyway, Danish verbs have no concept of continuous actions such as I am eating. When you say jeg spiser it means all of I eat (in general), I am eating (right now), or I will eat (tomorrow).

Alright, get on it and see you in the next skill!

Basics 2 updated 2018-10-25 ^

Subject Pronouns

Here they are again, for your reference:

English Danish
I jeg
you du
he, she, it han, hun, den/det
we vi
you (plural) I*
they de

* Always capitalized.

Definite Nouns

Once again, this beautifully simple system:

Indefinite article Definite postfix
en -en
et -et

Some examples from the previous skill:

Plural Nouns

Nouns form the plural by appending either -er (most commonly) or just -e:

Again, if the words ends in an -e the double-e is eliminated:

Whether a word uses -er or -e is unrelated to its grammatical gender, and is something that must be learned by heart. Furthermore, some nouns do not change at all in the plural. These must also be learned by heart. There are, however, some general guidelines:

Source.

Oh, and remember those irregular nouns we talked about in the previous lesson? This lesson will introduce the first of them

Plural Definite Nouns

In the plural definite form (such as the cars), nouns in Danish add -ne to the plural form:

This is independent from the grammatical gender of a noun, like the plural form. Again, however, some nouns are irregular, for example:

Hopefully you are not overwhelmed yet! There are very few irregular nouns, and most follow the system we can now show as a complete table including singular/plural and definite/indefinite:

Singular, indefinite Singular, definite Plural, indefinite Plural, definite
en -en -er, -e -erne, -ene
et -et -er, -e -erne, -ene

Enjoy these lessons and see you in the next one :)

Common Phrases updated 2018-10-25 ^

A note on Capitalization

As you might have noticed already, in Danish, the first person personal pronoun is not capitalized: It might be I eat in English, but in Danish it's jeg spiser.

There are a number of other things, which are capitalized in English, that are not capitalized in Danish. This includes names of languages, as you will notice in this skill, but also days of the week and names of months.

Giving the Time of the Day

This skill will teach you a number of words you can use to greet and part with people. Some are generic and can be used at any time, such as hej and farvel. The word hej is a funny case that can both be used as a greeting and a farewell. Sometimes, for farewells, it is doubled into hej hej.

Others can only be used at specific times of the day, and primarily as greetings:

Just as in English, godnat (good night) is not used as a greeting, but only in parting -- or in wishing a friend or loved one a blissful sleep!

Danish has a few extra greetings for specific periods of the day, which will not be taught here. But don't be surprised if people give you either god formiddag or god eftermiddag for the period between morning and noon, and the afternoon, respectively.

The Case of the Missing Please

Unfortunately, Danish has no simple translation for the word please. Rather, asking for things politely involves some set phrases and modal verbs. Naturally, this will not appear in this skill, so don't fret :)

We apologize deeply. We're really quite polite, truly!

Food updated 2018-10-25 ^

Sticking Words Together

You might already have noticed this trend. If not, this skill contains a few examples of how much Danes love to form new words by sticking two or more words together.

We call these "compound nouns", although sometimes they have become so ingrained in the language that they're really just plain words now. In some cases the words are just put together directly (no space), and in other cases they require a little glue, in the form of an -e- or an -s- between them.

This skill contains the following words built from individual meanings:

You will meet many more such words during this course, and there is even an entire skill dedicated to learning some more complicated ones further down the tree.

If you're ever having trouble deciphering a particular Danish word, try to see if you can't pick it apart in to smaller components, and understand it that way :)

Animals updated 2018-10-25 ^

Consonant Doubling

Recall the way nouns are put into the definite:

Indefinite article Definite postfix
en -en
et -et

In some cases, however, it is necessary to double the ending consonant of a word when forming the definite (and also the plurals). For example, the word for cat:

This occurs when the preceding vowel is short, and the word does not already have two consonants succeeding it (in the same syllable). For example, the word for dog does not double the last consonant:

As a rule of thumb, Danish marks a short vowel by having two consonants after it in the same syllable. However, unlike its siblings Swedish and Norwegian, we do not double the same consonant if nothing follows it. Hence, it is kat in Danish and not katt like in Swedish/Norwegian, but katten in all of them.

This explanation might not mean much to you now, but hopefully it will help you spell out words later :)

Definite Articles updated 2018-10-25 ^

The Definite Form

As you may recall, Danish uses postfixing instead of marking the definite form with an article. Simply put, the indefinite article is appended to the end of the noun to mark definiteness: -en for common gender and -et for the neuter gender.

If the noun already ends with -e most often only -n (for common) or -t (for neuter) is appended:

Put in a table, it looks like this:

Indefinite article Definite postfix
en -en
et -et
Consonant Doubling

In some cases, however, it is necessary to double the ending consonant of a word when forming the definite (and also the plurals). For example, the word for cat:

This occurs when the preceding vowel is short, and the word does not already have two consonants succeeding it (in the same syllable). For example, the word for dog does not double the last consonant:

As a rule of thumb, Danish marks a short vowel by having two consonants after it in the same syllable. However, it does not double the same consonant if nothing follows it. Hence, it is kat in Danish and not katt but katten in the definite form. Another example is æg (egg), which in the definite form is ægget (the egg).

Plural Definite Nouns

In the plural definite form (such as the cars), nouns in Danish add -ne to the plural form:

This is independent from the grammatical gender of a noun, like the plural form. Again, however, some nouns are irregular, for example:

The complete table including singular/plural and definite/indefinite looks like this:

Singular, indefinite Singular, definite Plural, indefinite Plural, definite
en -en -er, -e -erne, -ene
et -et -er, -e -erne, -ene

Plurals updated 2018-10-25 ^

Plural Nouns

Nouns in Danish form the plural by appending either -er (most commonly) or just -e:

Again, if the words ends in an -e the double-e is eliminated:

Whether a word uses -er or -e is unrelated to its grammatical gender, and is something that must be learned by heart. Furthermore, some nouns do not change at all in the plural. These must also be learned by heart. There are, however, some general guidelines:

Source.

A small number of nouns change an inner vowel when forming the plural, such as:

Typically these are transformations from a to æ or o to ø.

Another group of nouns, typically long words that end in -el and -en without stress on the last syllable, will drop that e. Examples include:

Consonant Doubling

Recall the way nouns are put into the definite:

Indefinite article Definite postfix
en -en
et -et

In some cases, however, it is necessary to double the ending consonant of a word when forming the plural (and also the definite). For example, the word for cat:

This occurs when the preceding vowel is short, and the word does not already have two consonants succeeding it (in the same syllable). For example, the word for dog does not double the last consonant:

As a rule of thumb, Danish marks a short vowel by having two consonants after it in the same syllable. However, it does not double the same consonant if nothing follows it. Hence, it is kat in Danish and not katt.

Word from English

A limited number of loan words from English retain their original, English plural form:

However, it would not, in most cases, be wrong to form the plural using the Danish structure, if you so wish :)

Genitive Nouns updated 2018-10-25 ^

The Genitive Case

Forming the genitive in Danish is so simple you might think we're kidding. But we're not! :) One simply adds -s (no apostrophe) to whatever one wishes to put in the genitive. For example:

To break it down: kvinde (woman) + -n (the, or definite) + -s ('s, or genitive).

This is the only way of forming the genitive. There is no equivalent to the English of, such as in the house of my parents. Instead the -s is used every time, for all things:

If the word that the -s is appended to already ends in an s or an s-sound, an apostrophe is used instead of an extra s:

Most often, the genitive is not even referred to as a grammatical case at all, because it can really be appended to anything, and not just nouns. Entire clauses can be put in the genitive, such as the-lady-at-the-back of-the-bus's hat although some people consider it bad language. But don't worry about that now!

If you know your vocabulary from the previous skills, this one should be a breeze :)

Possessive Pronouns updated 2018-10-25 ^

Possessive Pronouns and Adjectives

Danish does not distinguish between possessive adjectives (my, your, etc) and possessive pronouns (mine, yours, etc). The same word is used in both cases, for example min for my or mine here:

However, possessive pronouns and adjectives for the first and second person singular (my, mine, your, yours in English) must be declined towards the thing being owned:

The full table of possessive pronouns/adjectives looks like this:

English Danish
my & mine min/mit/mine*
your & yours din/dit/dine*
his, her & hers, its hans, hendes, dens/dets
our & ours vores
your & yours jeres
their & theirs deres

*) Common/neuter/plural corresponding with the item being owned.

Note that the third person impersonal possessive pronoun (its in English) declines with the grammatical gender of the item that is owning, and not the item being owned:

The possessive adjectives (dens or dets) in these examples stay the same regardless of the grammatical gender of the noun they modify. So it is:

This is contrary to how the first and second person possessive adjectives behave:

The declension table for min (my, mine) and din (your, yours) looks as follows:

Grammatical gender Singular Plural
Common (n-word) min/din mine/dine
Neuter (t-word) mit/dit mine/dine
Reflexive Possessive Adjectives

As an added complication, Danish has a different set of pronouns when something is being owned or belongs to by whomever is the subject of the sentence. These behave like the possessive adjectives and pronouns for the first and second person above, in that they decline corresponding to the item being owned:

Grammatical gender Singular Plural
Common (n-word) sin sine
Neuter (t-word) sit sine

To better understand this concept in English, one can imagine adding the word own after the possessive adjective:

This extra dimension only comes into play for the third person singular, and can be helpful in distinguishing to whom exactly an item belongs. However, it takes a bit of getting used to :) Try to determine if an item belongs to the person performing the action in the sentence (the grammatical subject) or someone else. This other person could also be mentioned in the sentence, but does not carry out the action. As mentioned above, you can perform a test in your head by inserting own after the possessive adjective (in English): If it sounds weird, you should not be using sin/sit/sine.

Object Pronouns updated 2018-10-25 ^

Object Pronouns

Object pronouns are the targets of actions in sentences, and stand in the place of the names of people or other objects. In English these are me, you, him, her, it, us and them.

Now, some languages differentiate between direct object pronoun and indirect object pronoun (cough, Spanish, cough), but we Danes like to keep, at least, object pronouns simple. So don’t get your heart racing too fast already. ;)

This table shows the English object pronouns and their equivalents in Danish:

English Danish
me mig
you dig
him, her, it ham, hende, den/det*
us os
you (plural) jer
them dem

*) This object pronoun changes to match the grammatical gender of the word that the object pronouns replaces. For example:

Here is a few examples of how to use Danish object pronouns:

That was it! See not that scary, huh? Just remember the table and you'll do just fine in this lesson. ;) Good luck!

Clothing updated 2018-10-25 ^

How to Wear in Danish

In Danish, the most common way to express that someone is wearing something is to say that they have it on them, literally. In Danish, to wear becomes at have på.

This conjugates to har på in the present tense. Let's see some examples:

Notice how the object (what is being worn) is put between the actual verb (har) and the preposition (). This is true also for many other phrasal verbs in Danish, some of which you will meet later in this course.

You might already have realized that English has the same behaviour: For example in the sentence I put my dress on where dress (the object) is put between put and on.

While not a part of this particular skill, we can give you a sneak peak and tell you that in Danish this particular sentence would be jeg tager min kjole på. So, to put on is at tage på in Danish, and the object is put in the exact same location as it is in the English sentence. Easy, huh?

One more thing to note is that in Danish it is possible to omit the article before the thing you’re wearing. For instance:

Both options are correct, though, so don’t worry. ;) Most often the second one (without article) is used, while the first one is chosen if one wishes to add emphasis to the item being worn.

Since you already speak English, this part of Danish should not be a problem for you at all! :) Good luck!

Present 1 updated 2018-10-25 ^

Present Tense

Good news - the Danish present tense is very simple! You just have to add an -r to the infinitive form and voila! Your verb is now in the present tense. Here is an example of how to conjugate three regular, Danish verbs in the present tense:

Infinitive English Translation Present tense
skrive write skriver
regne rain regner
arbejde work arbejder

The amazing thing is that this doesn’t change according to who is doing the action like some of you may be used to (I’m looking at you Frenchmen, Englishmen, Italians, Germans and basically the rest of the world!). Look here:

At synge To sing
jeg synger I sing
du synger you sing
han/hun/den/det synger he/she/it sings
vi synger we sing
I synger you sing
de/De synger they/you (formal) sing

Easy right? You should do just fine in this lesson. Don’t worry about the irregular verbs, you just have to learn them by heart like in any other language – okay, maybe a little worry is suitable. But hey! You’ve already learned the irregular verb to be! There aren’t many irregular verbs left prying on you out there – at least not in the present tense. ;)

Kan godt lide

This expression does not have a literal translation in English, but it means to like. If one says to like well we're a bit closer to the Danish structure.

The word godt is not super important for the meaning and could be omitted, but it is nonetheless used a lot, and serves to enhance the liking somewhat. So if you want to say that you like food, you could either say:

That was it - have fun and good luck with the present tense!

To Know and not to Know

In Danish, the verb at vide (to know) is transitive, meaning it must always take an object. This means you cannot literally translate I know or I do not know without adding what it is you know or do not know. For the general case, such as when answering a question, det is added:

There is a very slight difference between the two, emphasizing either that you do not know that or that you don't know it. In most cases, however, you can use either one.

Colors updated 2018-10-25 ^

Adjectives

Congratulations! You have now reached one of the slightly more difficult parts of the Danish language: Adjectives. Let us take a few moments to go through how they work in Danish.

Adjectives decline according to the grammatical gender and number of the noun that they modify. In Danish you would say a green apple with the sentence et grønt æble. You have already seen et æble, so let us discuss the middle part: grønt. Grøn is the Danish word for green. When used to describe a neuter gender noun such as æblet the adjective is suffixed with -t and becomes grønt.

There are three ways an adjective can be declined: -, -t, or -e. - is used for common gender nouns, -t is used for neuter gender nouns, and -e is used for plural in both genders. This is also described in the following table:

Common Neuter
Singular - -t
Plural -e -e

There are irregular adjectives that are missing one or more of the forms, such as blå (blue), which can only be: blå or blåt. Here blå is used for both singular common and both plural forms: De blå bukser (The blue pants). But also lilla (purple) is irregular and only has one form used for all nouns: et lilla bord (a purple table), en lilla fisk (a purple fish), and tre lilla stole (three purple chairs).

Adjectives and Definite Nouns

While nouns normally express definiteness using a postfix, this changes to using an article if any adjectives (such as a color) is attached to the noun.

If the color (or in general adjective) is used with a definite noun, then it is put between the definite article and the noun: En rød bil (a red car) becomes den røde bil (the red car). In this case the adjective is declined the same way as for the plural, no matter the grammatical number or gender of the noun.

As a reminder, the car without any adjectives is simply bilen, expressing the definite with the -en postfix and no article involved.

Color Variations

Variations of colors can also be formed by prefixing lyse- or mørke- to describe light and dark colors. As an example there is the color rød (red), which can become lyserød (light red or pink) or mørkerød (dark red).

With this in mind you should be able to master Danish colors. Good luck, and see you in the next skill!

Questions updated 2018-10-25 ^

Questions

Welcome back! One very important thing to learn is how to ask questions. Danish has the following standard question words, all starting with hv-:

Danish English
hvad what
hvor where
hvordan how
hvorfor why
hvem who
hvis whose
hvornår when
hvilken/hvilket/hvilke which

Most of these are simply used like they would be used in English. The equivalents of which (hvilken, hvilket, and hvilke) work just like adjectives. If you ask the question: Hvilke æbler er dine? (which apples are yours?), then it is declined according to the gender and number of the noun. Here's a quick table to illustrate this:

Common Neuter Plural
hvilken hvilket hvilke
Inversion

Inversion is when the normal order of words changes in certain situations. In English inversion is used when asking questions, i.e. you are eating becomes are you eating? when formulated as a question. The same holds for Danish, for instance:

In English, saying eats he an apple? (the literal translation) sounds a bit queer, and one would of course involve the continuous form is eating or add do/does. However, no construction using -ing or to do exists in Danish, and as such the inversion helps to mark the sentence as a question.

When using modal verbs (auxiliary verbs) in Danish it is only the modal verb that is inverted:

Here Danish and English are very similar. A key point to remember, though, is that Danish does not use to do as an auxilary in the way English does, and as such questions will lose the do/does when translated into Danish: Do you swim? becomes svømmer du?. Note the inversion!

Inversion are used in other cases, too, but you'll pick those up on your way further down the course. Hopefully this skill will allow you to pry out all sorts of interesting information from Danes. Good luck, and power on :D

Prepositions 1 updated 2018-10-25 ^

Prepositions

Prepositions in Danish are used similarly to prepositions in English. They describe spatial or temporal relations, but can also mark syntactic and semantic roles.

But what does that mean? It means that prepositions are very important and are used very frequently in both Danish and English. Prepositions can describe how you got a present, where you went, or even who you did something for. Their uses are vast, but there are not that many prepositions in neither Danish nor English.

In this skill we will introduce you to some of the prepositions. Please remember that there is not a 1-to-1 correlation between Danish and English prepositions! For example, a preposition such as (in most cases on), might sometimes mean in: In Danish you might say jeg bor på slottet which literally translated becomes I live on the castle. While it is indeed possible to live on top of a castle, what you most likely wanted to say was I live in the castle.

But don't fret! Danish and English are very close languages, and sometimes the same prepositions might be used in exactly same way in both languages:

Prepositions are just one of those tiny annoying things that you really need to learn, but can only acquire through constant practice and exposure to the language.

Please do not get frustrated with our language because of this skill! It really didn't mean to hurt you. Instead, enjoy all those words that make English and Danish the best pals in the world, such as efter (after), nær (near), and under (under).

Conjunctions updated 2018-10-25 ^

Conjunctions

Not much to say here, really! Aren't you delighted? :) Conjunctions (glue between parts of sentences) work pretty much the same in Danish as in English.

So instead of tedious explanations, we'll just give you this nifty table of conjunctions:

Danish English
og and
eller or
fordi because
men but
når when
mens while
at that
hvis if (expressing conditionality)
om if (expressing uncertainty)

To clear up any confusion about hvis versus om, let's grab two quick examples:

If becomes hvis in the first example because one clause is conditionally dependent on the other one: I will only eat, if you will also eat! In the second one, it becomes om, expressing that there's an a certain doubt surrounding the statement. The latter is often used when asking for information about the state of things:

Dates and Time updated 2018-10-25 ^

Today, Tonight & Tomorrow

In English there are words for today, tonight, tomorrow, and yesterday. These words all become two words in Danish. For instance i dag means today. Here dag means day, so the literal translation is in day. The same goes for tomorrow and yesterday, which are i morgen (in morning) and i går, respectively.

Tonight is slightly different, because in Danish this could either be i aften (in evening) or i nat (in night), depending on what time you mean. The times for when to use which depends on who you are talking to, but the general definition is that aften is used for events occurring between 18:00 and 24:00, while nat is from sunset to sunrise. Think of evening versus night and you're good to go!

Because we want you to do well, here's a table for your viewing pleasure:

Danish English
i dag today
i morgen tomorrow
i går yesterday
i aften tonight, this evening
i nat tonight, this night

The table is left uncapitalized on purpose in order to avoid confusion as to whether something is generally spelled capitalized.

Periods of the Day

While English has the concepts of morning, noon, afternoon, evening, and night, Danish has an extra one for the period between morning and noon. We call this one formiddag (pre-noon) just like eftermiddag is afternoon. Take a look at this table of the periods and points of the day used in everyday Danish:

Danish English Approx. time
morgen morning 6:00 - 10:00
formiddag morning 10:00 - 12:00
middag noon 12:00
eftermiddag afternoon 12:00 - 18:00
aften evening, night 18:00 - 0:00
midnat midnight 0:00
nat night 0:00 - 6:00

Of course, individual people might have separate understandings of the exact definitions of these time periods.

The Word "Om"

The tiny word om is a brave one, serving many purposes. We saw it as a conjunction earlier, but it is used when talking about doing some action during a time period. It can either be translated as in or during in this case. Thus:

Here it would be wrong to construct the sentence using i (the literal in). In fact, we won't even show you the example using i. That's how wrong it is ;)

Weekday

In Danish we have the notion of a weekday, which is called en hverdag, which can also be translated as an every day. This word is usually used about workdays, which in Denmark are considered to be Monday through Friday, even if some admirable people work Saturday and Sunday. The word is not generally used about holidays even if these might be located on a day that is between Monday and Friday.

Now we're already talking about days, take a look at this table we've crafted especially for you:

Danish English
mandag Monday
tirsdag Tuesday
onsdag Wednesday
torsdag Thursday
fredag Friday
lørdag Saturday
søndag Sunday

The Danish words are not capitalized to make it even more obvious that we do not do such silly things in Danish. Simple enough, hm? :)

Adjectives 1 updated 2018-10-25 ^

Adjectives

Since we have already introduced how to work adjectives in the Colors skill, let us just quickly recap what we learned earlier.

Adjectives decline according to the gender and number of the noun that they modify. In Danish you would say a big apple with the sentence et stort æble. You have already seen et æble, so let us discuss the middle part: stort. Stor is the Danish word for big (along with several other words). When used to describe a neuter gender noun such as æblet it is then suffixed by -t and becomes stort.

There are three ways an adjective can be declined: -, -t, or -e. - is used for common gender nouns, -t is used for neuter gender nouns, and -e is used for plural. This is also described in the following table:

Common Neuter
Singular - -t
Plural -e -e

There are irregular adjectives that are missing one or more of the forms, such as beskidt (dirty), which can only be beskidt or beskidte. Here beskidt is used for both of the singular forms: En beskidt abe (a dirty monkey). Other words, such as moderne (modern) are irregular in a different way and only have one form used for all nouns: et moderne bord (a modern table).

Adjectives and Definite Nouns

While nouns normally express definiteness using a postfix, this changes to using an article if any adjectives is attached to the noun.

If the adjective is used with a definite noun, then it is put between the definite article and the noun: En åben bil (an open car) becomes den åbne bil (the open car). In this case the adjective is declined the same way as for the plural, no matter the grammatical number or gender of the noun.

As a reminder, the car without any adjectives is simply bilen, expressing the definite with the -en postfix and no article involved.

I wish I could tell you which adjectives are irregular, but unfortunately there are no real rules for that. Even with this in mind I am sure you will do great. Good luck!

Adverbs updated 2018-10-25 ^

Adverbs

Adverbs in Danish are, like in English, a group consisting of a lot of different words, with numerous functionalities. Adverbs modify or describe verbs, adjectives, other adverbs, or entire sentences.

Word Order

Adverbs sometimes behave slightly different in Danish compared to English. This is usually when they are used to describe a verb. Take the example:

This becomes either we generally eat with our grandmother or we are generally eating with our grandmother. Notice how the verb (eat/eating) and adverb (generally) are on opposite sides of each other in the Danish and English sentence.

When a sentence is started by an adverb describing the verb, then the verb will follow immediately after. To explain this, let us consider this example:

This example translates literally to Generally eat I meat, however in English I and eat would be switched giving the sentence generally I eat meat or generally I am eating meat.

Declension

Remember that adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. Therefore they do not decline to the noun of the sentence:

In fact, adverbs in Danish only decline to express comparative or superlative, just like in English (e.g. small, smaller, smallest). But don't worry about these for now, you'll learn these further down the tree :)

From Adjective to Adverb

Just like an adjective in English can be converted to an adverb by adding -ly, so it is possible in Danish, in general by adding -t:

This is not something you need to use actively in this skill, but you might find it interesting to note these converted adjectives.

Now, go and have fun with this skill and see you in the next one!

Determiners updated 2018-10-25 ^

Determiners

Determiners modify words that determine the kind of reference a noun or noun group has. In short, they describe things in further detail. Some Danish determiners may be a little confusing, since you’ve already learned the word – but with a different meaning! To help you out, we have explained everything below.

Den and det

You might recognize den (common gender) and det (neuter gender) from sentences like: Den spiser = It eats, but you are about to learn something new! Den and det can also mean that as long as the determiner is accompanied by a noun. E.g.:

De

At this point you’ve learned to combine de with a verb to form a simple present tense: De spiser = They eat. But if you combine de with a plural noun, your sentence will get a whole new meaning: De kjoler er smukke. = Those dresses are beautiful. De mænd arbejder = Those men are working.

Disse

This determiner works the same way as de, but simply means these instead.

Here is a table to make it "bell-clear" as we say in Danish:

The demonstratives
this denne/dette
that den/det
these disse
those de

Anden and andet

These two determiners means the same but change gender according to the noun they describe. As you might have guessed anden is common gender and andet is neuter gender.

Sådan and sådanne

In English these would both be translated to such, but be aware that in Danish we differentiate between sådan (singularis) and sådanne (pluralis). They have to match the noun they describe too – but at least you don’t have to worry about gender with these two.

We hope that was helpful. Good luck!

Prepositions 2 updated 2018-10-25 ^

Ad versus Af

Danish has two propositions that both translate roughly to the English of, and to make it worse they are also pronounced almost or exactly the same. These are ad and af.

Ad is used to describe a direction along, through, or towards something, and can often be eliminated in the English translation. For example:

Af on the other hand describes something originating from something, physical movement away from from something or a cause of something. It also doubles as the word for off. Here's a few examples:

Even Danes get these two mixed up, with a clear tendency towards the disappearance of ad. Poor word. As mentioned, in spoken language there is no distinction between these two, so don't worry too much about it!

Now run along and learn some more prepositions!

Numbers updated 2018-10-25 ^

Numbers

Welcome back! It's now time for you to learn how to count. I know you probably learned that quite a few years ago, but now it is time for you to do it in Danish! Isn't that exciting?

Here's the list of numbers:

Danish English
en, et one
to two
tre three
fire four
fem five
seks six
syv seven
otte eight
ni nine
ti ten
elleve eleven
tolv twelve
tretten thirteen
fjorten fourteen
femten fifteen
seksten sixteen
sytten seventeen
atten eighteen
nitten nineteen
tyve twenty
tredive thirty
fyrre fourty
halvtreds fifty
tres sixty
halvfjerds seventy
firs eighty
halvfems ninety
hundred hundred
The Logic Behind the Numbers

You are probably looking at the numbers, and thinking, there is absolutely no system behind that madness. And I would almost agree, except there is. You see, in Danish the number system is from a time where people loved to count in twenties, or something like that.

The numbers from fifty and up are short forms of their original words, so let us have a look at those: halvtredsindstyve, tresindstyve, halvfjerdsindstyve, firsindstyve, and halvfemsindstyve. These weird number using halv- come from a line of old number words used to describe the base number minus a half, for instance: halvanden (2-0.5 = 1.5), halvtredje (3-0.5 = 2.5), halvfjerde (4-0.5 = 3.5), and halvfemte (5-0.5 = 4.5). Today only halvanden is left as a standalone word and is frequently used, while the others only appear in the aforementioned weird long forms.

Right, let us now discuss how this helps us understand the number halvtreds: First we take the long form halvtredsindstyve, which can be split into halvtredje, sinde (times), and tyve. Now this gives us "2.5 times 20", which is 50.

Here's the quick rundown for the rest of them:

Number Long form Split words Math
tres tresindstyve tre sinde tyve 3 times 20
halvfjerds halvfjerdsindstyve halvfjerde sinde tyve 3.5 times 20
firs firsindstyve fire sinde tyve 4 times 20
halvfems halvfemsindstyve halvfemte sinde tyve 4.5 times 20

I hope this at least gives you an idea of why the Danish numbering works like it does :)

Counting From Twenty and Beyond!

In this course we are currently not teaching how to count to twenty-one and such due to a limitation with Duolingo. But here is how you do it:

Taking a two digit number above twenty it is written as XY, where X is the ten, and Y is the one. Let us take 34 as an example. Here X = 3 (thirty) and Y = 4 (four). In English you would say X-Y, so thirty-four. But Danish does it in reverse (which is different from both Norwegian and Swedish), so you would say Y-og-X. Let us consider our example of 34 again, here X = 3 (tredive) and Y = 4 (fire), which gives us fireogtredive (four-and-thirty). Note that in Danish numbers are treated like one word, where in English they are hyphenated. Let us do another quick example: 57 would be fifty-seven in English, but syvoghalvtreds in Danish.

More Things: Flere versus Mere

In English more can be used both to indicate a larger amount of something and a larger count, or number, of things. In Danish, however, we use mere for a amounts and flere for counts:

The same goes for the superlative:

You might have realized that these are the comparative and superlative forms of meget and mange:

English Danish Comperative Superlative
Much Meget Mere Mest
Many Mange Flere Flest
Age

Now, I bet you want to know how to tell your age in Danish. Or maybe not... But I will teach you how anyways!

It's simple. Use the verb at være (to be): "Jeg er tyve år gammel." You can also just forget about "gammel" and say: "Jeg er tyve år". If you change the pronoun nothing happens, so just go for it!

You may encounter someone saying: "Jeg har en ven på tyve år." Wait, what? Is he sitting on top of twenty years? Actually, this is just the clumsy Danish way of saying: "I have a twenty year old friend." But don't worry about how to use this expression for now, you will learn that later. ;-)

Phew! That was a lot of text and a lot of new information! Some practice on this subject should do you good now. ;)

Past 1 updated 2018-10-25 ^

Past Tense

Welcome to another verb skill! You have already been through a couple of present tense skills. I cannot promise you that this skill will be just as easy, since it is not as brain dead simple as adding a simple -er at the end of the stem of the verb.

I promise you though that this skill is fairly simple still, since the verb is not conjugated according to the gender or number but rather to the verb itself. Seeing as English is probably simpler here, I'm sorry for promising too much.

In Danish there are two regular conjugations in the past tense. The conjugations are -ede and -te. These are added to the stem of the verb.

Here are examples of verbs using the -ede conjugation:

Infinitive English Translation Stem Present tense Past tense
lave make lav- laver lavede
elske love elsk- elsker elskede
lytte listen lyt- lytter lyttede

The last word lytte does not quite follow the pattern, but if you forget the magically added second t then it does. This magically appearing second t is simply due to Danish consonant doubling, which is explained in previous skills, but here is a quick recap:

It occurs when the preceding vowel is short and the word does not already have two consonants succeeding it (in the same syllable). For example, the word for cat:

As a rule of thumb, Danish marks a short vowel by having two consonants after it in the same syllable. However, it does not double the same consonant if nothing follows it. Hence, it is kat in Danish and not katt.

Now let us take some examples of verbs using the -te conjugation:

Infinitive English Translation Stem Present tense Past tense
spise eat spis- spiser spiste
høre hear hør- hører hørte
tænke think tænk- tænker tænkte
Irregular Verbs

It would be too simple if all verbs were regular, so like in English we also have irregular verbs when it comes to past tense. With these verbs there are very few rules to help you, and the only surefire way to know how it is conjugated is to look in a dictionary.

I hope this was not too scary. Have fun with this skill! :D

Infinitive 1 updated 2018-10-25 ^

Infinitive Verbs

Welcome back to another round of verbs, your host this evening is ever-friendly owl, Duolingo and Team Danish. We will guide you through the infinitive form of verbs. The infinitive form is also called the at-form in Danish, because at is placed in front of all verbs when on their own, for instance:

The word at (to when used with infinitive verbs) can easily be confused with the word og (and) in speech, since they are pronounced the same way by the certain members of the careless youth today.

Modal verbs

In Danish the infinitive form is usually preceded by the at word except when used with modal verbs, such as can, will, etc. An example of this is: Jeg kan gå (I can walk), where kan (can, may, or able to) is a modal verb and (walk) is the infinitive form of the verb. In this skill we will introduce kan and vil (will or want to) as the only modal verbs for now. You will encounter many of these later, and learn the grammar behind those. For now, do not worry too much about it, and instead learn the way infinitive verbs work.

More examples of this are:

Infinitive as subject or object

The infinitives in Danish may be used as the subject or object of a verb, just like in English. For instance:

Thank you for your time, and good luck with this skill. It can be a little difficult to learn when to add the at, but we believe in you!

Past 2 updated 2018-10-25 ^

Past Tense

In Danish there are two regular conjugations in the past tense. The conjugations are -ede and -te. These are added to the stem of the verb.

Here are examples of verbs using the -ede conjugation:

Infinitive English Translation Stem Present tense Past tense
lave make lav- laver lavede
elske love elsk- elsker elskede
lytte listen lyt- lytter lyttede

The last word lytte does not quite follow the pattern, but if you forget the magically added second t then it does. This magically appearing second t is simply due to Danish consonant doubling, which is explained in previous skills, but here is a quick recap:

It occurs when the preceding vowel is short and the word does not already have two consonants succeeding it (in the same syllable). For example, the word for cat:

As a rule of thumb, Danish marks a short vowel by having two consonants after it in the same syllable. However, it does not double the same consonant if nothing follows it. Hence, it is kat in Danish and not katt.

Now let us take some examples of verbs using the -te conjugation:

Infinitive English Translation Stem Present tense Past tense
spise eat spis- spiser spiste
høre hear hør- hører hørte
tænke think tænk- tænker tænkte
Irregular Verbs

It would be too simple if all verbs were regular, so like in English we also have irregular verbs when it comes to past tense. With these verbs there are very few rules to help you, and the only surefire way to know how it is conjugated is to look in a dictionary.

Da versus Når: Past and Future

In English the conjunction when can be used to indicate how something relates time-wise to something else:

Notice how the first one describes something that occurred in the past, while the other one describes something that have not yet come to pass.

You have already met the Danish conjunction når, which translates to when. However, når is only used when speaking of the present or the future. When describing the past, we use da instead:

Enjoy another blast from the past!

Adjectives 2 updated 2018-10-25 ^

Adjectives

Here's a recap of how to handle adjectives in Danish.

Adjectives decline according to the grammatical gender and number of the noun that they modify. In Danish you would say a big apple with the sentence et stort æble. You have already seen et æble, so let us discuss the middle part: stort. Stor is the Danish word for big (along with several other words). When used to describe a neuter gender noun such as æblet it is then suffixed by -t and becomes stort.

There are three ways an adjective can be declined: -, -t, or -e:

Common Neuter
Singular - -t
Plural -e -e

There are irregular adjectives that are missing one or more of the forms, such as beskidt (dirty), which only has that form for both singulars, and then another for plural (beskidte). Other words, such as moderne (modern) have one form used for everything.

Adjectives and Definite Nouns

While nouns normally express definiteness using a postfix, this changes to using an article if any adjectives is attached to the noun.

If the adjective is used with a definite noun, then it is put between the definite article and the noun: En åben bil (an open car) becomes den åbne bil (the open car). In this case the adjective is declined the same way as for the plural, no matter the grammatical number or gender of the noun.

As a reminder, the car without any adjectives is simply bilen, expressing the definite with the -en postfix and no article involved.

Comperative and Superlative

Just like English, adjectives in Danish can be declined to indicate a degree This works exactly like in English, where you either postfix the adjective with -ere (or -re) for comparative and -st (or -est) for superlative or put the words mere (more) or mest (most) in front. The usual rules of consonant doubling and no repetition of e applies.

We apologize deeply for the two forms of comparative and superlative even in regular adjectives. There's is no clear way to determine which one it is except for what "sounds best": The -ere and -stare by far the most common ones, with -re being used for very common adjectives, and -est when the absence of e would make the word uncomfortable to pronounce (for a Dane!). Here's a few pretty regular adjectives:

English Danish Comparative Superlative
fast hurtig hurtigere hurtigst
beautiful smuk smukkere smukkest
cheap billig billigere billigst
sharp skarp skarpere skarpest
long lang længere længst
new ny nyere nyest

Note that, in the comparative and superlative the adjectives no longer have any agreement with the grammatical gender of the noun the modify. The superlative declines with an added -e when put in the definite:

Unfortunately, there are a bunch of completely irregular adjectives, just like in English. You'll get a chance to practice some of these in this skill:

English Danish Comparative Superlative
good god bedre bedst
old gammel ældre ældst
big stor større størst
small lille mindre mindst
young ung yngre yngst

Mere (more) and mest (most) work exactly like in English when used to indicate the degree of an adjective:

The general rule is that words of Latin or Greek origin take mere/mest and not postfix, while all other words can take either one. Some people will frown upon not using the postfix form for irregular adjectives, however.

More Things: Flere versus Mere

In English more can be used both to indicate a larger amount of something and a larger count, or number, of things. In Danish, however, we use mere for a amounts and flere for counts:

The same goes for the superlative:

You might have realized that these are the comparative and superlative forms of meget and mange:

English Danish Comperative Superlative
Much Meget Mere Mest
Many Mange Flere Flest

Have fun!

Present Perfect updated 2018-10-25 ^

Present Perfect

Congrulations! You have approached some more interesting verb tenses.

This skill focuses on the present perfect tense. This tense is very similar to English in that it (usually) uses har (have or has) combined with the past participle of the verb. The verb then has either -t or -et added to the stem form, depending on if it ends with an e or not.

For you grammar hawks out there, the present perfect is formed with at have (or at være, to be, see below) plus the past participle.

Let us have a look at some example of this:

The stem form of the two words are: læs and bo respectively.

There is nothing too difficult about this tense when coming from English, since the word order is basically identical between the two languages even for questions, which previously caused some more complex structures:

Using "er"

In modern English, present perfect is almost exclusively done using have or has, but in Danish there are also verbs that use er (the present form of at være, to be) instead of har. However, these are few and in this skill only concerns blevet (become) and ankommet (arrived).

An example being:

In general, words that use er have to do with moving, such as walking, going, running, moving, arriving, and so on. For language buffs, this will ring a bell as being a shared tendency across European languages, even in older English.

Anyway, I am sure you will breeze right through this, and even if you do not, then no harm done. I am here to teach you!

Danish Food updated 2018-10-25 ^

It Is All About the Food

Welcome to another relaxing skill in the world of the Danish course. We promise that this skill will not be about all those pesky verbs and their annoying rules. This skill will instead use what you have already learned, and give you some Danish culture at the same time.

Some people love to cook food, and some people just love to eat it. In this skill we will have a look at some food that is very common in Danish culture, and add some food which was not introduced in the Food skill you already had. The reason this skill is further down is so that we can use it to rehearse with you guys some of the verb conjugations you have already learned. See, there is a reason behind the madness!

Danish-only Food

In this skill you will encounter some words that are very difficult to translate, or the translation will simply be literal, since the food does not exist outside of Denmark and the Danish culture (at least not to the same extent or in the same variation). Some of these are flæskesteg, which is a very common Danish dish that is basically roasted pork. You can read more about this dish on Wikipedia. Not all of these dishes will be described on the English Wikipedia, but if you finish this course we can almost guarantee that you can read about them on the Danish Wikipedia.

There are a lot more dishes than we can describe here, but go have fun and learn about some of the Danish food!

Relative Pronouns updated 2018-10-25 ^

Relative Pronouns

Relative pronouns are used as relative clauses that modifies the main clause of the main sentence. For instance:

Here the word som is used to refer to the noun bøgerne from the main sentence.

In Danish there are two very common relative pronouns: som and der. Both can be used instead of which or that, however there is a simple rule: som can be used for both subject and object, but der can only be used for objects.

The question words hvem, hvilket, hvilken, and hvilke can also be used as relative pronouns, however since they are not essential and have already been presented, they are left out from this skill. Hvem is used to refer to a person, while hvilket, hvilken, and hvilke are used for non-human entities.

There are, however, two more words that are left in the skill: hvad and hvis, translating to what and whose.

Danish English
der/som that/which
hvis whose
hvem who
hvilke/hvilket/hvilken which
hvad what

These are some words that will be fairly easy to translate since they have a rather nice correlation with English. Also, if you're ever in doubt whether to use der or som, then som is the safer bet. Now, good luck with the skill!

Indefinite Pronouns updated 2018-10-25 ^

Referring to the Indefinite

Welcome to something confusing!

A very common thing in Danish is to say something like man må ikke bande (one must not swear), when talking about some general person. Indefinite pronouns are used when referring to an unknown or unspecified being, object, or place.

There are three difficult pronouns that it is key to understand the difference between, since they are generally translated to almost the same in English. These three words are: man, én, and ens. The last word is slight different, since it is the possessive indefinite pronoun, but let us wait with that. The apostrophe on én is optional, and you might also encounter it (elsewhere) written with a double-e instead (een). It merely serves to differentiate it from the meaning of a or one.

First we will look at the two words man and én. Man is only used as the subject, and can be translated to one or you. Which one it is translated to comes down to preference in most cases, or which side of the Atlantic you were/one was born on. Én can only be used as the object, and also translates to one or you. Therefore it is usually easy to translate to English, but it requires a lot more thought going back.

Here are some examples:

I hope this is pretty clear, because now we will extend it with the word ens. This is the possessive indefinite pronoun and translates to your or one's. This should be pretty straight forward, but let us take an example:

I hope this is clear. There are not many indefinite pronouns worth spending time on learning, so this is a very focused skill. Good luck!

Modality updated 2018-10-25 ^

Modal verbs

Modal verbs (can, may, shall, will, etc.) are auxiliary, meaning they modify the verb and express whether the action described is seen as a plan, intention, prediction, permission, and so forth. In Danish the modal verbs leave out the infinitive mark at when combined with infinitive verbs:

Modal verbs are rather common in Danish, but most can be directly translated to English. There are however some words that you should look out for.

Words to Look For

May and must are often translated into the same word: . Therefore the difference from English is described through the rest of the sentence.

The past and conditional of is måtte:

Vil

The Danish word vil can express a want, an intention or demand, or an opinion or prediction. Please note that even though English uses will to indicate future this is not the case for Danish. In Danish it is only used to describe future actions if you want to underline an intention or opinion.

The past and conditional of vil is ville:

Skal

The past and conditional of skal is skulle. This word covers a lot of things, so let us list them:

Please note that skal is also used for describing transport or intent:

More Modal Verbs in One Phrase**

In Danish you can combine modal verbs:

Right, this should get you started! Hopefully you are not too terrified of Danish yet. We wish you the best of luck!

Past Perfect updated 2018-10-25 ^

Past Perfect

Well then, this skill is rather simple if you aced the Present Perfect, and even if you did not then this is again very similar to the English past perfect.

This tense uses the Danish word havde (from at have, to have) combined with the past participle of the verb. Therefore the verb either has -t or -et added to the stem form of the word. This mostly depends on it ending with an e or not.

Some examples:

The stem form of the two words are: læs and bo respectively.

There is nothing too difficult about this tense when coming from English, since the word order is basically identical between the two languages even for questions, which previously caused some more complex structures:

Using "var"

As with present perfect, then past perfect is almost exclusive done using had, but in Danish there are also verbs that use var (past tense at være, to be) instead of havde.

One example is:

In general, words that use var have to do with moving, such as walking, going, running, moving, arriving, and so on. Just like in the present perfect.

So, basically this skill is present perfect all over again, with a different auxiliary. Free repetition! Enjoy!

Progressive Actions updated 2018-10-25 ^

Progressive Aspect

The progressive aspect describes something that is happening over an extended period of time, e.g.: I’m sleeping. or I was reading a book. The progressive aspect is also often used when another action interrupts an on-going event, e.g.: I was eating when a ninja appeared in the window.

In Danish we do not have a specific conjugation of the verb to express this, as some other languages do. Instead we have a number of different constructs used in expressing on-going events.

Står/Sidder/Ligger/Går og …

Danes often use either one of the verbs står, sidder, ligger and går together with the verb that describes the thing we are also doing to express that we do it right now. For example:

You will often see that the word lige is added after the first verb:

The adding of lige is sometimes unimportant, but it can also change the meaning from something being done in the present to that someone is busy doing something and must not be interrupted. You will have to judge this by the situation. For example:

Nej, jeg sidder lige og læser. = No, I'm busy reading.

Jeg sidder lige og læser. = I'm reading.

I gang med, i færd med and at være ved noget

The best translation for these three phrases would be either in the midst of or to add -ing to the verb stem. They all mean the same, but i gang med and at være ved noget is used more often both in written and spoken language whereas i færd med occurs less often – you are most likely to find this phrase in Danish literature.

Here are a few examples to help you understand the phrases better:

Please note that at være ved at is a little different from i gang med and i færd med -- it can also mean to be about to something as seen in these examples below:

Være ved at blive

Means is about to become, becoming or in the midst of becoming – sometimes it can mean all three things at once!

Don’t worry too much about that weird little word lige. There is no accurate translation and the meaning will change according to the sentence’s structure and the situation. This is one of the queer things of the Danish language, that you can only come to understand with time.

This was just about everything you had to know about the Danish progressive actions. We hope it wasn’t too confusing. Good luck with it!

Reflexive Pronouns updated 2018-10-25 ^

Reflexive Pronouns

Hey! You have made it this far? Impressive. We are at reflexive pronouns and we are glad you are here with us.

Reflexive pronouns are pronouns that refer to a noun, adjective, adverb, or pronoun that precedes or follows it within the same clause. That is kinda confusing though, so let us just take an example:

In this example sig is the reflexive pronoun referring to the man.

Let us get an overview with the following table:

Danish English
mig myself
dig yourself
sig himself/herself/itself
os ourselves
jer yourselves
sig themselves
The Use of "Selv"

You may sometimes encounter the use of the reflexive pronoun followed by the word selv. This does not change the way it is translated, and Danes may use it or not. It can be used to express an added emphasis, if so desired.

We hope that this will be easy enough for you, else we can hunt down the people who control Danish. They sure have let it run wild.

Compound Nouns updated 2018-10-25 ^

Compound Nouns

Hey there! Here's a relaxing skill for you. The purpose of this skill is to properly introduce you to compound nouns. Compound nouns are less common in English than they are in Danish, since they are usually split into separate words in English. In Danish there is in theory no limit to how long a compound noun can be.

A compound noun always has a noun as the last part and is pronounced with one strong stress. If a compound is spoken with one strong stress and consists of two or more parts that are regular nouns, then the compound is always written in one word, no matter how long the compound noun might be:

Right, go have fun with this skill, and we will see you in the next one!

Passive Present updated 2018-10-25 ^

Passive Present

This skill will probably mess with your brain a little bit.

Passive voice is not that common in English, but it is very common in Danish. Therefore we decided to teach you both passive present and passive past. Passive past will come a little later, but be very much like this. Passive voice is so common that if you do not know it, you will probably be lost when you come to Denmark. Okay, just kidding, but it is common!

Passive voice can be formed in two ways: -s-passive, and blive-passive. Let us have a look at both:

Here are some examples:

Please note that some verbs can be used in both forms, some verbs change meaning slightly depending on the form, and some verbs can only be exist in one form. There are no real way to know except for looking it up.

Good luck with these. Be sure to ask questions if something is confusing!

Politeness updated 2018-10-25 ^

Politeness

If you want to impress the old ladies in Denmark, you have to be polite – and we are here to help you with that!

The formal form of addressing someone is not that common in Denmark anymore. Some shop assistants and cashiers use this form, but while some customers might appreciate this, others might find it a little unusual and weird. Among young people it’s almost extinct, but it’s always considered appropriate to address the elderly and higher-rankings in the polite form.

De, Dem and Deres

When speaking to someone in a formal manner, you will have to use the 3rd person plural: De/Dem = you and Deres = your.

De is used (instead of du) when talking directly to someone:

Dem means the same as De, but is either being controlled by a preposition or is the object of a verb:

Deres means your or yours. It is used when talking about something belonging to the person you are addressing in a polite manner:

Please note how the D is always capitalized in written language to distinguish between plural and polite form.

Fru and frue

Fru is used when talking to a married woman and frue to either a married woman or to a woman above the age of around 30.

You can use frue independently of her last name:

Fru requires you to mention the last name of the woman:

Frk. and frøken

En frøken is a miss - an unmarried, young woman or girl. The same rules applies here as explained above: frk. requires you to mention the last name of the young woman whereas frøken can be used independently:

Hr. and herre

Hr. can be used both with and without the mention of last name. It describes an adult man, married as well as unmarried:

Herre is not a common form of addressing, but is often used when talking of sports, clothing and toilets:

Herre can also mean the Lord (God) if the h is capitalized:

At last herre can mean sire or master as seen in these examples:

Please note, that this use of herre in the meaning of sire only appears in literature and movies which takes place in old times. It's not used in real, everyday life.

Bede om

At bede means to ask for (and also to pray, but that’s not important right now), so if you want something, you will have to ask like this: Må jeg bede om vandet? = literally May I ask for the water? Same goes for actions, favors, help ect:

At være så venlig

It is always good to know this phrase: Vil du være så venlig at… = literally Would you be so kind to… It functions as the English please, but is used at the beginning of the sentence:

Pay attention to the verb: when following være så venlig it has to be infinitive.

Tak for mad

If you should ever find yourself at a Danish dinnertable, you will have to say tak for mad when you’ve finished your meal. It literally means: thanks for food. The answer to this will almost always be: velbekomme. The English language does not have anything corresponding, but it functions as a kind of you’re welcome.

That was it! You are now armed to the teeth with politeness. This skill should not be too difficult – good luck with it!

Present Participle updated 2018-10-25 ^

The Limited Present Participle

In English, the present participle has a wide array of applications, such as forming the progressive (I am eating), forming adjective phrases (You are sitting at the table), or for adverbial clauses with the subject implied by the main clause (Looking at the stack of papers, I am overwhelmed). In English, it is formed by adding -ing to the stem.

In Danish, however, the usage is much more limited. It is only used to convert a verb into an adjective, and sometimes an adverb. It is formed by adding -ende to the verb stem.

For example, to smile is at smile (easy, huh?). The stem here is smil-, to which we add -ende:

Here the verb is used as an adjective to describe a property of a noun. Another example could be:

Imagine you have a younger sibling who is just now returning from the playground, having hurt himself enough to cry a bit. The verb is at græde with the stem being græd-. So we might describe the situation:

More naturally, perhaps, in English one would say the child came in, crying. Notice how the present participle is free to move around in English, while it is more locked down in the adverb position in Danish.

The present participle can also be used descriptively, like any other adjective:

While it can be tempting to try to translate, for instance, the progressive (I am eating) using the present participle just the same in Danish, this would be wrong! Don't do it!

In summary, present participle only for adjective and adverb purposes :)

Imperative updated 2018-10-25 ^

Imperative

So, you may be wondering why we have not been more demanding. I mean in the sense of having sentences such as: "Go away!" and such. This is because it requires a special mood of the verb in Danish, different from the infinitive. However, this mood is equivalent to the stem of the word. So it's really not that hard :)

Imperative is also called bydeform in Danish (bidding-form roughly translated), because it is used to issue commands and biddings. So that we know that, why not have a look how it actually works?

Infinitive Stem Imperative English
at sove sov- sov sleep
at synge syng- syng sing
at betale betal- betal pay
at lytte lyt- lyt listen
at fortælle fortæl- fortæl tell

It is pretty simple, since it just has the form of the stem of the word which we've already used in other skills to form other tenses.

To find the stem, or imperative, one can just strip off any e-s that you can (and any double consonants like in the table above), and then you have your word. If the word is so short that removing the e leaves it with one letter or only consonants, then you went too far.

Now you can say things like:

Okay that last one was a phrase that is probably very situational. Anyway, have fun issuing commands!

Future updated 2018-10-25 ^

The Unmarked Future

Welcome to the skill that is not recognized by many Danes in daily speech: The future.

This is because Danish usually has an unmarked future, meaning it uses the present tense as future. Future in Danish can also be formed with the use of modals such as vil (want) or skal (must or shall) followed by the infinitive. Lastly future can be formed with blive (become), which in this case will have the meaning will be.

There is really nothing else to it. Either Danes do not care about the future, or we care so much that it is a very incorporated part of our language. Who knows? Don't look at us.

Passive Past updated 2018-10-25 ^

Passive Past

This skill is so similar to the passive present that this might seem very alike. However, the ways of forming passive are slightly different in the past, even though they are called the same things. This skill is again one of the most difficult skills to grasp coming from English, since passive is not that common as it is in Danish. Passive voice is very common in Danish.

Passive voice can be formed in two ways: -s-passive, and blive-passive. Let us have a look at both:

Here are some examples:

Please note that some verbs can be used in both forms, some verbs change meaning slightly depending on the form, and some verbs can only be exist in one form. There are no real way to know except for looking it up.

Good luck with these! Please do not hesitate to ask questions, this is one of the most confusing areas of learning Danish.

Future Perfect updated 2018-10-25 ^

The Nonexisting Conjugation

Future perfect is a conjugation that is not strictly found in Danish. Therefore this skill is a little... strange. However, we want to still give you the option to speak about something that will have happened in the future, but haven't happened yet, because that is just way cooler.

In Danish future perfect is be formed by using present perfect about an action that is not happening now, but will happen in the future. This is a bit confusing, so let us take some examples:

Notices how the sentences can quickly become present perfect if we remove the future part:

If you want to be nit-picky about it, the perfect future can be formed using vil have (will have) just like in English, but it sounds rather strange.

As you can see Danish does not use future perfect and it is also not that common in colloquial Danish. However, we understand that you guys come from a different language and thus may love this conjugation, therefore we will be teaching you guys this!

Aren't we nice?

Conditional Perfect updated 2018-10-25 ^

The What-If

Ever wanted to say that you would have gotten away with something if it had not been for those meddling kids? Well now you can do so in Danish. After this skill anyway.

So the above paragraph already uses conditional perfect. It is a grammatical construction that uses the conditional mood combined with the perfect aspect. A typical phrasing in English would be: would have + perfect tense of the verb, e.g. would have gotten. The same goes for Danish, however it is fairly common to use the modal verbs: kunne, ville, skulle and then have. Here are some examples.

There are several more, but you get the idea: modal verb + have + perfect tense of verb. This is very similar to English.

Now go ace this skill and we will see you in the next one!

H.C. Andersen updated 2018-10-25 ^

The Secret Bonus Skill

First of all: congratulations for reaching the bottom of the tree! You made it through 68 skills so far! As a little “present” we made this secret bonus skill for you. Maybe you’ve seen it down there in the bottom wondering what “Once Upon” was supposed to mean. Wait no longer!

We are happy to reveal that this is a skill dedicated to one of Denmark’s most beloved authors, the world famous H.C. Andersen.

These lessons will focus on some of his most famous fairytales such as The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, The Snow Queen, The Nightingale and many more! And who knows? Maybe you’re able to read them all in Danish now!


44 skills with tips and notes
0.004