Danish Language Blog

How to get directions from a dropped letter Posted by on May 10, 2013 in Grammar, Vocabulary

When you want to tell the world where you are, prepositions come handy: I’m in the garden; we’re on the beach. (And so it is in Danish: Jeg er i haven; vi er stranden.) However, very often some kind of adverb can do the job as well: I’m home; we’re out. Jeg er hjemme; vi er ude.

You’ll notice that a lot of these locational adverbs end in -e in Danish. In addition to hjemme [YEMMeh] and ude [OOtheh], you’ve got:

inde (in, inside), as in Hun sidder inde i stuen (she’s sitting in the living-room)

oppe (up), as in Vi var oppe hele natten (We stayed up all night)

nede (down), as in Kartoflerne er nede i jorden (The potatoes are down in the earth)

henne (”at a distance”), as in Han sover henne hos naboen (He sleeps [over there] at the neighbour’s place)

omme (”at a closer distance”), as in Den ligger omme bag huset (It lies [right there] behind the house)

fremme (in front), as in Ølflaskerne står altid fremme (the beer bottles are always on display [”in front”])

But what if you wanted to say you were going home rather than being home? In Danish there’s a really nice trick you can use to tweak the meaning of the above words into something more directional: You just remove the final -e:

hjem! (Go home!)

Kom ud! (Come out(side)!)

Hun går ind i stuen (She’s going into the living-room)

Han står op (He gets up)

De sætter sig ned (They sit down)

Vi tager hen til naboen (We’re going to the neighbour’s place [in that direction])

De kom om bag huset (They came to the back of the house)

Kom frem! (Come forth!)


Neat, huh? 🙂

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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.