Danish Language Blog

Strong verbs are not random Posted by on Aug 27, 2015 in Grammar

(Image modified from free original at OpenClipart.)

(Image modified from free original at OpenClipart.)

It’s time to take a look at grammatik (grammar) again. (I bet you’ve savnet – missed – it!) If you … a certain kind of very active words, you can hardly … a sentence. In other words: Verbs are a necessary evil! :-]

Kaja spiser en is. Per spiste en is. Ungerne har spist en is. (Kaja eats an ice-cream. Per ate… The kids have eaten…)

As you know, normal – or ”weak” – verbs are piece of cake in Danish. You have a root (like spis-), you add an ending (-te or -ede in the past tense), and voila! The real trouble comes with the ”strong” verbs, since they’re irregular and you have to learn them by heart. It’s a little bit like learning to count.

If you’re the kind of learner that loves schemes and little tables, however, I’ve got some splendid news for you: There’s a method in the madness!

For example, if you know the inflection (the various forms) of at gå to walk, you can also inflect at få to get (the er/har split has something to do with movement – please don’t mind it too much now!):

at gå – går – gik – er gået

at få – får – fik – har fået

However, here comes to stand: at stå – står – stod – har stået. See? Nothing is clear-cut in the land of strong verbalization! But at least there are some neat patterns for you to lean on! 🙂


Have you noticed al the verbs that are inflected like at blive to become?

at blivebliver – blev – er blevet

at skrive to write – skriver – skrev – har skrevet

at skrige to scream – skriver – skreg – har skreget

at bide to bite – bider – bed – har bidt

at lide to suffer – lider – led – har lidt


Or, with a vowel twist:

at nyde to enjoy – nyder – nød – har nydt

at snyde to cheat – snyder – snød – har snydt

at flyde to float – flyder – flød – har flydt


Then of course there’s also the happy family of verbs echoing at drikke to drink:

at drikke – drikker – drak – har drukket

at finde – finder – fandt – har fundet

at vinde – vinder – vandt – har vundet


Feel free to explore further patterns in your own list of wicked verbs!

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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.