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Strong verbs are not random Posted by on Aug 27, 2015 in Grammar

It’s time to take a look at grammatikk (grammar) again. (I bet you’ve savnet – missed – it!) If you … a certain kind of very active words, you can hardly … a sentence. In other words: Verbs are a necessary evil! :-]

(Image modified from free original at OpenClipart.)

(Image modified from free original at OpenClipart.)

Kari spiser is. Ola spiste is. Barna har spist is. (Kari eats ice-cream. Ola ate… The kids have eaten…)

As you know, ordinary – or ”weak” – verbs are piece of cake in Norwegian. You have a root (like spis-), you add an ending (-te or -et in the past tense), and voila! The real problem comes with the ”strong” verbs, since they’re irregular and you have to learn them by heart. It’s a little bit like learning to count.

If you’re the kind of learner that loves systems and little tables, however, I’ve got some good news for you: There’s a method in the madness!

For example, if you know the inflection (the different forms) of å gå to go, you can also inflect å få to receive:

å gå – går – gikk – har gått

å få – får – fikk – har fått


However, here comes to stand: å stå – står – stod – har stått. So, unfortunately, nothing is clear-cut in the strong verbs’ gym! But at least there are some patterns to save you from the worst sweat! ’:-)


Have you noticed all the verbs that are inflected like å bite to bite?

å bite – biter – beit (or bet) – har bitt

å bli to become – blirblei (or ble) – har blitt

å skrive to writeskriver – skreiv (or skrev) – har skrevet

å skrike to screamskrikerskreik (or skrek) – har skreket


Then there’s also a huge bunch of verbs echoing å drikke to drink:

å drikke – drikker – drakk – har drukket

å finne to find – finner – fant – har funnet 

å binde to bindbinder – bandt – har bundet

å vinne to winvinner – vant – har vunnet

å hjelpe to helphjelper – hjalp – har hjulpet


Feel free to explore further patterns in your own list of wicked verbs!

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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. Elena:

    Thank you for the post! It was interesting to read.. as usual 😉

  2. David Hestrin:

    Mange takk!