Danish Language Blog

4 Easy Ways to Become Posted by on Nov 29, 2013 in Grammar

You’ve already learnt how to say that you are something. Unlike English verbs (I am, you are, she is), the Danish ”action words” don’t care who’s doing the action (or who’s being!) So, it could hardly be any easier: jeg (I) er/var/har været/havde været – or whoever or whatever is/was/has been/had been.

However, just being isn’t always nok (enough). Sometimes we need to become something new. In English, we can get mad or become furious or even be infuriated (he was infuritated by the comment). All of these verbs indicate a change from one state to another. We can also fall in love and turn pale.

In Danish, there is the very handy verb at blive [at BLEEW’]. It simply means ”to become”, and is used much more uniformly than the English equivalent. If you remember the following forms well, I’m sure you’ll be covered in 90 % of the cases where you want to talk about changing states:

1. bliver [BLEEWor] (becomes, is becoming). In casual speech, it’s shortened to bli’r [bleer]:

Hvis du giver dem en gave, bliver de glade. If you give them a gift, they’ll be happy (become).

Livet bliver aldrig det samme igen. Life will never be the same again.


2. blev [bleoo] (became). In casual speech, it sounds like [bleh]:

Han blev fyret. He got fired.

Hun blev rasende. She got furious.


3. er blevet [air ble-eth] (has become):

Hun er blevet statsminister. She’s become PM.

Priserne er blevet alt for høje. The prices have become far too high.


4. var blevet [var ble-eeth] (had become):

Han var blevet træt af sit gamle liv. He’d grown tired of his old life.

Forretningen var blevet en stor succes. The business had become a huge success.


Please note that the same verb is also used with the meaning ”to stay”, as in Bliver du ikke lidt længere? (Wouldn’t you like to stay a bit longer?)

Next week, we’ll be looking at an entirely different way of expressing transitions in Danish…

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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.