Danish Language Blog

Verbs in the Mirror Posted by on Jan 31, 2017 in Grammar

Den ser sig i spejlet… (Photo courtesy of Brianfagan at Flickr, CC License.)

Drømte mig en drøm i nat… (Dreamt myself a dream tonight…) One of the oldest songs in the Danish language (click here to listen to it) starts with a reflexive verb. Since there is a difference between I wash myself and I wash the dog, speakers of many languages found a way to refer back to … themselves. A reflexive verb in Danish is used with the corresponding reflexive pronoun – for example at hygge sig (to enjoy oneself, to have a good time, to be a part of the Danish hygge):

jeg hygger mig – vi hygger os

du hygger dig – I hygger jer

han, hun, man, den/det hygger sig – de hygger sig

Note that sig corresponds to either himself, herself, oneself, itself or themselves in English.

Some of these verbs are used both with and without the reflexive pronoun: Jeg vasker mig. Jeg vasker hunden. Many of them, however, are reflexive 99% of the time, and may even change their meaning if you forget the extra pronoun – be ware! Han rejser sig (He gets up) isn’t the same as Han rejser (He’s travelling). A few verbs are always reflexive, such as at skutte sig (to shake oneself). Here are some very common Danish reflexive verbs:

at skynde sig – to hurry

at glæde sig – to look forward to

at kede sig – to be bored

at sætte sig – to sit down

at koncentrere sig – to focus

at gifte sig – to marry

at forelske sig – to fall in love

at blære sig – to show off

at pynte sig – to adorn oneself

at skamme sig – to be ashamed

at øve sig – to practice

at slanke sig – to slim, to get slimmer

at ønske sig – to wish

at more sig – to have fun

at vænne sig – to get used to

at blande sig – to meddle (bland dig uden om! mend your own business!)

at interessere sig for – to be interested in

at beslutte sig – to make up one’s mind

Tags: , , ,
Keep learning Danish with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

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.