Nothing and everything Posted by on Aug 24, 2018 in Uncategorized

(Free image from Pixabay; no copyright.)

Sometimes *everything* seems chaotic, and *nothing* makes sense. Fortunately, the language we speak provides us with words to communicate these extremes. Let’s look at the Norwegian all-inclusive menu of nothingness…

In order to ”remove” things when speaking Norwegian, ingen (no one) and ikke (not) are your best tools. Combine ikke with noe(n) (any(one)), and there’s nothing that you can’t eliminate! 🙂
Ingen er hjemme. (Nobody is home.)
Hun kjente ingen i den store byen. (She knew no one in the big city. / She didn’t know anybody in the big city.)
De hadde ingen penger. (They had no money.)
Du går ingen steder! (Don’t you go anywhere!)
Men jeg har jo ikke gjort noe! (But I haven’t done anything!)
– Hva er det? – Ikke noe… (– What’s that? – Oh, that’s nothing…)
Familien til Kåre har en hund, men vi har ikke noen. (Kåre’s family has got a dog, but we haven’t got any.)

Ingenting is a more affirmative alternative to ikke noe (nothing). (It’s also the name of a rock band from Sandnes!) 🙂
Jeg kjeder meg. Det er ingenting på tv! (I’m bored. There’s nothing on TV!)

When feeling linguistically inclusive, use some variety of alle (everybody), alt (everything) or hver(t) (each).
Alle har vært så snille mot meg! (Everybody’s been so kind to me!)
Alle barna var på skoletur. (All the children were on a school trip.)
Alt var stille. (Everything was quiet.)
Hver dag står sola opp. (Every/each day the sun rises.)

Of course it is also possible to talk about time in extreme ways! 🙂
Jeg vil alltid elske deg. (I will always love you.)
Hvorfor tar du aldri oppvasken? (Why do you never do the dishes?)

And oh, a quick spelling rule I learnt at school:
Det er alltid to l-er i ”alltid”! (There are always two Ls in ”alltid”!)

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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. Martin lader:

    Thank you this was helpful I’m trying to learn Norwegian on Duolingo

    • Bjørn A. Bojesen:

      @Martin lader @Takk, Martin! 🙂 Lykke til med norsk!