Norwegian Language Blog

Inversion Posted by on Feb 17, 2009 in Uncategorized

In Norwegian, sentence structure is fairly painless.  Normally, the parts of speech follow the same pattern as they do in English.  Subject, verb, object. Han går til butikken (he goes to the store.  Jeg spiser frokost når jeg våkner (I eat breakfast when I wake up).  Notice that the til (to) and når (when) fall after the verb in the sentence.  The placement of prepositions and adverbs, as well as prepositional phrases decides where the verb in the sentence will be. 

For example, If I say, Det er en kopp i skapet (There is a cup in the cupboard), the verb is in the second place between the subject and object, like normal.  But if I place the preposition first and say I skapet er det en kopp, you will notice that the verb is still in second place, but it preceeds the subject.   This rule is called inversion.  Here is another example of inversion with a preposition:  Under treet sover en katt (Under the tree a cat is sleeping).  Since under (under-a great cognate) is a preposition, sover (present tense of ‘to sleep’) comes in second place (under treet is ‘under the tree’) and the subject last (en katt – a cat).

Let’s look a few examples with adverbs. I morgen kommer det en storm (Tomorrow a storm is coming).  Since I morgen, (tomorrow) is an adverb, we use inversion and place the verb second in the sentence before the subject (det-in this case stands for ‘there’ as in ‘there is a storm coming’).  I dag regner det (It is raining today). Again, since i dag (today) is an adverb, the rule of inversion says to place regner (present tense of ‘to rain’) second and det (in this case ‘it’). 

 There are a couple more examples of times when you would want to use inversion, but I will go over those in a later post.  This is a fairly simple rule that just requires flopping some sentence parts around.

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About the Author: kari

I attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, where I majored in Norwegian and History. During college, I spent almost a year living in Oslo, Norway, where I attended the University of Oslo and completed an internship at the United States Embassy. I have worked for Concordia Language Villages as a pre-K Norwegian teacher and have taught an adult Norwegian language class. Right now, I keep up by writing this Norwegian blog for Transparent Language. Please read and share your thoughts! I will be continuing this blog from my future residence in the Norwegian arctic!


  1. Ted Shuve:

    I have relatives in Holmestrand and Tonsberg and have visite those area’s in 1969 and 2005
    I am very interested in learning more abour Norway. My Father left Norway in 1908 and settled in Saint John New Brunswick, Canada. I am 75 years of age.

  2. Dejan:

    Thank you for posts about Norway and Norwegian. I have just started to learn Norwegian and I would like to ask you if it is possible to write little bit about some words that has lots of meanings like for example det or da.

    Tusen takk.

  3. Stacie:


    I am sure you are a busy woman, as most of us all are, but I have some questions for you that go beyond the scope of this blog. I was wondering if there is a way I can contact you directly? It’s all related to Norway and Norwegian, nothing out-of-the ordinary but maybe a bit too much for what BYKI had intended for discussions here on the blog. Anyhow … my email is – if you wouldn’t mind dropping me a line I would really appreciate the chance to talk/e-mail with you and get some specific information from you. I am very impressed with your post so far … you should hear the way I raved on and on about them to my native born/fluent speaking Norwegian fiancé! I sincerely hope to hear from you … Stacie

  4. Kari:

    Ted, my great-grandfather came over from Norway in 1910. Do you know much about your father’s life back in Norway and the voyage over?

  5. Ted Shuve:

    Kari; My father was born in Andebu, Vestfold County. He left Norway in 1905 ,on a ship bound for Canada. He arrived in Lunenburg Nova Scotia and Sailed out of there for a few years when he met my mother and they were married in 1910 and relocated to Saint John N.B.. My grandparents were Martihine and Lar’s Sjue.I have a family tree written by Ragner Berg called “Av Samme Rot” or from the same root. This traces my grandmother’s family back to 1700’s.; It involves 6 families from around Andebu..Please reply and let me know what other type of information you would like.

  6. LGB:

    Hei! I really like your blog it helps to get to know something about the Norwegian every-day-life, and also the language. I had hard time with this inverted word order, since I couldn’t understand why it happens sometimes, so I was so happy when I figured out this, here:

  7. Oli:

    Hi kari is this rule usefull for negative sentences?