Danish Language Blog

Looking Back and Looking Forward Posted by on Dec 31, 2017 in Grammar, Traditions

(Free image from Pixabay, no license.)

Så blev der minsandten nytår igen! (Then it really became New Year again!) Nytårsaften (New Year’s Eve) is a time for looking back at året der gik (the year that went) as well as looking forward to det nye år (the new year). Let’s look in both directions in this post. 🙂

To recall something, for example when speaking with your danske venner (Danish friends), you most often use the past tense. In Danish, this usually means that your verb will take the ending -ede or occasionally -te (cykle ”go by bike” > cyklede ”went by bike”; køre ”drive” > kørte ”drove”). Of course, you’ve also got a handful of strong verbs that work similarly as the ones you know from English (synge ”sing” > sang ”sang”). Here are some phrases to talk about your oplevelser (experiences) in 2017:

  • Tak for sidst! Det var en fed fest. (Thank you for the last time! That was a cool party.)
  • Husker du … da vi var i Tyskland? (Do you remember … when we were in Germany?)
  • Det var godt nok en hyggelig tur! (That sure was a nice trip!)
  • Hvad er din bedste oplevelse i år? (What’s your best experience this year?)
  • Jeg vil aldrig glemme vores skiferie. (I’ll never forget our skiing holiday.)
  • Fik du nogle gode julegaver? (Did you get some nice/”good” Xmas presents?)

Before we gaze in the other direction, it’s worth noting that Danish has no future tense (and no ”wish tense” either, unlike for example Spanish)… To solve this, you have to use a lot of hjælpeverber (”helping verbs”) to create meaningful ”verb combos” – just like we would do in English. Here are some phrases to talk about fremtiden (the future) in 2018:

  • Jeg håber vi får sne i januar. (I hope we’ll get snow this January.)
  • Har du nogle planer for sommeren? (Have you got any plans for the summer?)
  • Lad os håbe 2018 bliver et godt år! (Let’s hope 2018 will be a good year.)
  • Ønsker du dig også fred i verden? (Do you also wish for world peace?)
  • Skål! (Cheers!)

Vi snakkes ved i 2018! (We1ll be talking in 2018!) Godt nytår! 🙂

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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. Deborah Koren:

    Happy new year! I wanted to thank you for your blog. I started studying Danish last year on duolingo and faithfully keep going through/reviewing lessons every single day. (I’m decent now at reading Danish, but pronunciation and understanding spoken Danish if not spoken very slowly is still hit and miss.) Your blog helps bring meaning to some of the words I’ve learned and puts things in context, and I’ve enjoyed going back and reading older posts to learn more about the culture and how to say various things. Thank you for posting, and I look forward to reading whatever new posts come up. Some day, I hope to visit Denmark and put my language skills to work. Tak!

    • Bjørn A. Bojesen:

      @Deborah Koren @Deborah. Mange tak for din rørende kommentar. Much appreciated! 🙂 (And sorry for replying so late! Hopefully, there’ll come more posts which could be of use for you.) BTW, if you do eventually go to Denmark, I’d recommend going in the summer, when it’s not too cold and rainy.