Norwegian Verbs

The Norwegian Reference Grammar and thus current school grammar classify Norwegian finite tenses in two systems: The present tense system and the simple past system, which you will meet if you go a bit into Norwegian grammar. We've shown both systems at the end of this section, and they make it easier to understand how the different Norwegian tenses are constructed. However, to learn the most important classes of verbs, it is equally useful to look at the traditional a verbo conjugation. Most people will find it simpler to memorise. But before that, we'll look at the infinite forms.

Infinite forms


Regular Norwegian verbs have -a or -e infinitive endings, according to dialect:

Norwegian Verbs

English infinitive

Norwegian infinitive

To rest

Å kvile / å kvila

To throw

Å kaste / å kasta




The verb stems, eg. kvil and kast, are used to make the other tenses. These two verbs form the pattern for the biggest classes of regular verbs, ie. kaste and kvile classes, respectively. You will see that the verb stems take suffixes and sometimes auxiliary verbs to create tenses.

The other frequently used infinite form is the imperative (Norwegian: bydeform / imperativ), used for requests, orders and the like. In almost all cases, it equals the verb stem:

Norwegian Verbs

English imperative

Norwegian imperative

Rest!

Kvil!

Throw!

Kast!


«A verbo» conjugations

Most people will recognise this way of conjugating a verb from their school days, so let's go back to school for a few minutes:

Norwegian Verbs

Kvile class

Infinitive

(Nor.: infinitiv)

Simple present (Nor.: presens)

Simple past (Nor.: preteritum)

Past perfect (Nor.: perfektum)

Norwegian

Å kvile / å kvila

Kviler

Kvilte

Har kvilt

English

To rest

Rests

Rested

Has rested


As you can see, the stem in this class takes the suffixes -er, -te and -t.

Norwegian Verbs

Kaste class

Infinitive

(Nor.: infinitiv)

Simple present (Nor.: presens)

Simple past (Nor.: preteritum)

Past perfect (Nor.: perfektum)

Norwegian

Å kaste / å kasta

Kastar

Kasta

Har kasta

English

To throw

Throws

Threw

Has thrown


In this class, the stem takes the suffixes -ar, -a and -a.

The present and past system

The verb tenses shown above are mostly simple tenses, that require few auxiliary verbs. However, Norwegian has several compound tenses, with forms built from one or more auxiliary verbs in addition to the main verb. The tenses are in the present or past system according to  the first verb of each tense.

Norwegian Verbs

 

Present system

(Presenssystemet)

Past system

(Preteritumssystemet)

Simple forms

(Nor.: Enkle former)

Presens (Notid)

reiser

Preteritum (Fortid)

reiste

Compound forms

(Nor.: Samansette former)

Presens perfektum

har/er reist

Preteritum perfektum1

hadde/var reist

 

Presens futurum

skal reise

Preteritum futurum2

skulle reise

 

Presens futurum perfektum

skal/vil ha/vere reist

Preteritum futurum perfektum

skulle/ville ha/vere reist


I hope the content of this page was useful to you, and that you learned some Norwegian Verbs, consonants and vowels. Try to memorize them to be able to use them in your daily conversation. Make sure to check our Learn Norwegian page, which contains several lessons that might help you in your learning process.