Norwegian Language Blog

norske adjektiver Posted by on Mar 17, 2009 in Language

You were probably wondering when I would get into adjectives.  Today is your lucky day!  Don’t worry-they really aren’t that painful.  I’ve said before that pronunciation is the most difficult part of learning the Norwegian language and the grammar is the easy part.  Adjectives are no exception to this rule.  As long as you follow a few simple rules, you should be ok.

As you probably already know, there are 3 genders in the Norwegian language: female, male, and neuter.  When a noun is single and either feminine or masculine, the adjective remains the same.  For example, if you want to talk about a red car (en rød bil), red remains rød and in ei blå klokke, blue remains blå. 

However, if the singular noun is neuter and you want to describe it with the adjective ‘big’ (stor), in the case of a big tree et stort tre (a big tree), stor becomes stort.  Let’s try another example of a singular neuter noun: et kjøkken (a kitchen) that you want to describe as long (lang), you would say et langt kjøkken.  So the rule is that if you want to describe a singular neuter noun, the adjective will get a ‘t’ at the end.  Don’t ask why it’s a ‘t’ because I’m not sure there is a good reason.

Now, let’s move on to the plural form of nouns and how that affects adjectives.  If we want to describe two red cars (notice this would be indefinite plural since we are not specifying which 2 red cars), we will add an ‘e’ to the adjective and an ‘er’ to the end of the noun (as long as the noun is feminine or masculine-remember neuter nouns in the plural do not obtain anything extra in the indefinite form) —to røde biler.  Another example would be 3 blue clocks-tre blåe klokker.  If we want to describe 4 big children we would say fire store barn (note the lack of added letters to the word ‘barn‘). 

So what about describing nouns in the definite plural form?  Whether the noun is feminine, masculine, or neuter, the format is going to be the same.  The yellow balls (de gule ballene), the nice men (de snille mennene), or the mean women (de slemme kvinnene).  Notice the ‘de’ in front of the adjective-this represents ‘the.’  The ‘ene’ at the end of the adjective just reaffirms that we are talking about the definite plural form. 

Pretty simple, huh?  The only thing that gets a little confusing is the exceptions to the rule.  You knew there would be exceptions, right?  One example that comes to my mind is the adjective vakker (pretty).  In the singular form, the adjective remains the same regardless of the gender of the noun.  However, when you make the adjective plural, it becomes  vakre.  There are several other irregular adjectives like this, but you will learn them as you go.  I promise.



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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. frezgi tesfamichael:

    since i have been 6 monthes in norwey but i started to learn from byki but i really developed my skills even i have study other books.especially the difference b/n DA da excellent description thanks for all