Learn About Norwegian Helping Verbs

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A verb tells something about what is happening or the action taken. Associated with a verb is the tense of the verb. Norwegian verbs can use one of four tenses: presens, preteritum, futurum and perfektum.

If you are new to Norwegian verbs, please read:

  1. Learn About Verbs in Norwegian Part 1
  2. Learn About Verbs in Norwegian Part 2
  3. Learn About Verbs in Norwegian Part 3
  4. Learn About Verbs in Norwegian Part 4
  5. Learn About Verbs in Norwegian Part 5

I forgot to mention something about Norwegian helping verbs (known as modale hjelpeverb). This post should help you learn more about them. As you will see below, helping verbs are often used when you want to use the future tense of the verb(futurum). Also note that helping verbs cannot be used on their own. They are used to help the main verb.

The helping verbs are as mentioned below:

Infinitive Presens Preteritum
 å burde
 bør (should)
 å kunne
 kan (can)
 å måtte
 må (must)
 å skulle
 skal (shall)
 å ville
 vil (will)

When we use the helping verb, we use the infinitive form of the main verb without the infinitive marker å.

e.g. Jeg kan (å) snakke litt norsk nå.

Here are a few examples to make things clear.

Norwegian English
jeg få en kopp te?
Can I get a cup of tea?
 Jeg kan snakke litt norsk nå.
I can speak a little Norwegian now.
 Jeg kan komme på skolen på mandag.
I can come to school on Monday.
 Jeg kan ikke komme på tirsdag.
I can not come on Tuesday.
du ha kaffe eller te?
Will you have coffee or tea?
du ha en blyant?
Will you have a pencil?
 Jeg vil gjerne lære norsk.
I would like to learn Norwegian.
du lære norsk?
Will you learn Norwegian.
 Jeg skal gå på norskkurs i morgen.
I shall go to Norwegian course tomorrow.
du gjøre lekser?
Shall you do lessons?
 Du komme presis!
You must come on time!
 Du lære norsk!
You must learn Norwegian!
du spise dette?
Should you eat this?

Earlier we learnt that helping verbs cannot be used on their own, but there is an exception to this rule as shown below. See how the verb has been omitted in the sentences below. This is completely correct grammar in Norwegian with certain sentences.

Norwegian English
 Jeg skal på norskkurs i morgen.
I shall (go) to Norwegian course tomorrow.
 Hun skal hjem nå
 She shall (go) home now.
du norsk?
Can you (speak) Norwegian?

Here is a video with two beautiful Norwegian ladies teaching modal helping verbs. Click here for more such video lessons.

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4 Replies to “Learn About Norwegian Helping Verbs”

  1. Also note that helping verbs cannot be used on their own.—> Not exactly correct

    How about “Hun skal hjem nå” or ‘Kan du norsk?’ — Ja, det kan jeg.

    Also perhaps it is appropriate to remind learners that after a modal helping verb, one uses the INFINITIVE (without å). This is likely the most common mistake learners of Norwegian make.

  2. Hi, I wish to emphasize that “skal”, though it might directly translate to “shall”, should not be directly translated. A more realistic use of the word “skal” in the english language is “going to”.

    Example: “skal du spise i morgen?” -> “are you going to eat tomorrow?”

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