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100 Most Common Written Words in Danish Posted by on Oct 31, 2013 in Learning, Vocabulary

Is it possible to learn Danish in 3 months? The popular ”alternative life-style guru” Tim Ferriss thinks so. Well, if you spent 3 months doing nothing but studying grammar and going to Danish bars, then maybe… In my experience, though, a language is more like a tree that is gradually spreading its branches in your mind. Learning the basic structure may be a matter of months. Real mastery usually takes years. Nevertheless, Ferriss has a great idea that might help you getting there quicker: Start learning the 100 most frequently written words! They may make up as much as one half of a typical text. So, here they are:


What? No ØL in the list?

Word Meaning
1 og and
2 i in
3 at that…/to… (As in: ”I said that I didn’t want to go.”)
4 det it
5 er is/am/are
6 en a/an/one
7 til to
8 af of
9 on
10 for for
11 der there
12 den that one
13 med with
14 de they
15 ikke not
16 som who/which/that (In relative clauses, as in: ”The girl that I used to know.”)
17 har has/have
18 et a/an/one
19 jeg I
20 om about
21 var was/were
22 so/then
23 han he
24 men but
25 kan can
26 vi we
27 fra from
28 sig oneself/himself/herself/themselves (Reflexive pronoun, as in: ”He washed himself.”)
29 man you/one (As in: ”Sometimes you have to play tough.”)
30 skal has to/have to
31 ved know/knows//at (The latter as in: They found her at the gate.)
32 vil will/want to/wants to
33 også too
34 hun she
35 eller or
36 være be
37 blev was/were/became/got (Transition from one state to another, as in: ”He was fired. She got mad.”)
38 havde had
39 efter after
40 over over/above
41 hvor where
42 ud out
43 da then
44 nu now
45 du you
46 år year
47 når when
48 op up
49 kunne could
50 selv Self/myself/ourselves/yourself/yourselves/himself/herself/themselves
51 meget much/a lot/very
52 hvis if
53 sin his own/her own (Reflexive pronoun, as in: ”She found her [own] umbrella.”)
54 alle everybody/everyone/all people
55 noget something
56 siger say/says
57 to two
58 mange many
59 dem them
60 hvad what
61 bliver is/are/am/becomes/become/gets/get (Transition from one state to another, as in: ”He’s fired. She gets mad.”)
62 few//get/receive (As in: ”Very few persons really want to receive less.”)
63 mig me
64 mere more
65 her here
66 hans his
67 have garden
68 deres their
69 andre others
70 ind in
71 godt good/well
72 kun only
73 may/must
74 end than
75 været been
76 ham him
77 mod against//courage (As in: ”They showed great courage in the war against the Prussians.”)
78 skulle should
79 jo ”yes” (Not really translatable, but often used as a confirmation of a fact: Men det er jo Kaj! ”But that’s Kaj!” [That sure is Kaj!])
80 under under/below
81 går goes/go
82 denne this one
83 helt totally/completely//hero (As in: ”The people went totally crazy over their new hero.”)
84 store big
85 ville would
86 dag day
87 hele whole
88 blive become/get (Transition from one state to another, as in: ”I’d like to become a pilot.”)
89 kr (Danish Kroner)
90 får get(s)/receive(s)//sheep (As in: ”Every year, we receive a sheep.”)
91 sammen together
92 os us
93 lidt a bit
94 sagde said
95 uden without
96 kommer come/comes
97 nogle some
98 første first
99 fik got/received
100 alt everything/all

Source: http://korpus.dsl.dk/e-resurser/frekvens150.php?lang=dk.















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About the Author:Bjørn A. Bojesen

I was born in Denmark, but spent large parts of my childhood and study years in Norway. I later returned to Denmark, where I finished my MA in Scandinavian Studies. Having relatives in Sweden as well, I feel very Scandinavian! I enjoy reading and travelling, and sharing stories with you! You’re always welcome to share your thoughts with me and the other readers.


  1. Stine K.:

    I enjoy your posts. I’m thinking that som/saa can also mean “as,” as in saa snart som muligt (“as soon as possible”). Am I right? Not a native Danish speaker, but I studied it long ago.

    • Bjørn A. Bojesen:

      @Stine K. Hej Stine!

      Yes, you’re absolutely right. Thanks for pointing this out! 🙂


  2. Alan:

    I am starting to learn this fascinating language and I am loving it, thanks for your help, very kind of you. Regards from a brazillian!! 😉

  3. Mianna:

    #79 (jo) -My understanding of this word is that it is used as an answer to a question in the negative form. E.g. “Is she here?” is in the positive form and would take “ja” (yes) for an answer. But if we ask “Isn’t she here?”, then we’d have to answer “jo” (yes) if she is indeed there (because the question was phrased in a negative form).

    • Mianna:

      @Mianna Oops. I meant to say “it is ALSO used”, because I have seen the type of usage mentioned in the list as well.

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