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Norwegian verb ‘to do’ Posted by on Apr 22, 2010 in Language

Once in a while, I need to throw a post in hear that really focuses on a specific part of the language.  It’s fun to focus on verbs because they allow you to say so much, especially the verb å gjøre (to do)!  Vår er her (spring is here) and all I can think about is all the things som jeg vil gjøre (that I want to do)! 

Let’s begin with the different forms of the verb:

infinitive– å gjøre (to do)    

present–gjør (do/does)     

 past–gjorde (did)        

 past perfect–har gjort (has/have done)

jeg gjør                                                                   vi gjør

du gjør                                                                   dere gjør

hun/han gjør                                                     de gjør

Now this is an important distinction between the use of the verb å gjøre på norsk and ‘to do’ in English–think about how we use the verb in English.  Many of the questions we pose include the word ‘do’ or ‘does,’ for example, ”Do you like chicken?” or ”Does Paul want to go swimming?”  På norsk, leave out the verb ‘do.’   Instead, you would ask ”Liker du kylling?”  (literally- like you chicken?) or ”Vil Pål svømme?” (literally-want Paul swim?)  This can be slightly confusing because on the flip side, if someone askes you ”Liker du fisk?”  (Do you like fish?) if you want to say ”Yes, I do” or ”no I don’t” you would say ”ja, det gjør jeg” or ”nei, det gjør jeg ikke.”  Just remember how you ask questions and how you answer the questions use the verb å gjøre diffferntly.

Let’s take a look at some questions you might ask using the different forms of the verb å gjøre and then how you might answer them.

–Hva gjorde du om vinteren?  (What did you do during the winter?)

Jeg så på mange filmer.  (I watched many movies).

Jeg gjorde ikke så mye.  (I didn’t do too much).

Hva har du gjort denne uken?  (What have you done this week?)

Jeg har syklet mye.  (I have biked a lot).

Jeg har ikke vasket klær.  (I have not washed clothes).

Hva gjør du hver dag?  (What do you do every day?)

Hver dag spiser jeg frokost.  (Every day I eat breakfast)

Jeg ser ikke på tv hver dag. (I don’t watch tv every day).

Hva vil du gjøre til sommeren?  (What do you want to do this summer?)

Jeg vil reise til Norge.  (I want to travel to Norway).

Jeg vil ikke arbeide/jobbe til sommeren.  (I do not want to work this summer). 

Think about what you like to do, have done, will do, etc!

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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!


Comments:

  1. Lee:

    This is a very good lesson. I only wish I could hear someone pronounce these words correctly.

  2. LGB:

    Yeah, it can be confusing for English speakers, not so confusing for me for example 🙂 The problem that in English “to do” is used to say “do something” but it’s also used for a totally different thing to form questions. Though it’s interesting that asking a question can involve just inverted word order in English too: “Are you tired?” and not “Do you be tired?”. But it seems in English just the substantive verb (to be) and auxiliary verbs (“can” for example, “Can you?”) works this way, while other verbs need that “do” construct. The situation is more “clean” and simplier in Norwegian, where every questions you need to use the inverted verb order, no need to think which “method” should be used. Surely, it’s true for me, native English speakers don’t even think about the need of “do”, so they can be confused … But I am just a beginner Norwegian learner, so I could be wrong in my comment hmmm 🙂

  3. returning scot:

    Great blog and so USEFUL. Will I ever learn this lingo? Some folk say it’s of no use outside Norway…not true. My Scottish neighbours are Norsk and insist on keeping up the lingo. I’m scared!

  4. Gosia:

    Great article (as usual) 🙂
    What’s the difference between “Hva gjorde du om vinteren?” and “Hva har du gjort denne uken”.
    Can I use “Hva gjorde du” and “Hva har du gjort” alternately?

    • Bjørn A. Bojesen:

      @Gosia Hei Gosia!
      Well, there’s a small diference. ”Hva har du gjort” is about the past, but it also includes the present moment.
      If a child walks into a house with mud on his shoes, a parent will ask: ”Hva har du gjort?” (What did you do & are still doing.)
      If you want to ask someone about their past, ”Hva gjorde du?” is the one to pick: ”Hva gjorde du i 1975?” Hope this helps! 🙂

  5. Gosia:

    Tusen takk 😀