Norwegian Language Blog

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

You’ve already learnt how to say that you are something. Unlike English verbs (I am, you are, she is), the Norwegian ”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 vært/hadde vært – 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 Norwegian, there is the very handy verb å bli [aw blee]. 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. blir (becomes, is becoming):

Hun blir så glad når sola skinner. She gets so happy when the sun shines.

Livet blir aldri det samme igjen. Life will never be the same again.


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

Han ble veldig sinna. He became very angry.

De ble gift sist helg. They got married last weekend .


3. har blitt (has become):

Vi har blitt lurt! We’ve been cheated!

Vinen har blitt alt for dyr. The wine has become far too expensive.


4. hadde blitt (had become):

De hadde alt blitt gode venner. They had already become good friends.

Norge hadde blitt et rikt land. Norway had become a wealthy country.


Please note that the same verb is also used with the meaning ”to stay”, as in Hun ble på rommet sitt (She stayed in her room). It can even mean ”to accompany”: Bli med, da! (Come with me, won’t you, pleeease!)

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

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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.