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Verbs

Verber / udsagnsord

  Conjugation

  Danish verbs do not conjugate (change their ending) in the different persons.

singular plural
Jeg er (spiser) Vi er (spiser)
Du er (spiser) I er (spiser)
Han er (spiser)
Hun er (spiser)
Den/det er (spiser)
De er (spiser)

  The infinitive (navnemåde)

The infinitive in most cases ends in -e, eg.: at skrive (to write), at læse (to read), at glemme (to forget). In some cases, however, it has a different ending, eg.: at gå (to go), at dø (to die), at bo (to live).

  The imperative (bydemåde)

The imperative is formed by substracting the final -e from the infinitive form: spis! (eat!), skriv! (write!).

  Tenses

There are four tenses in Danish:
  1. Present tense
    It is formed by adding -r to the infinitive form of a verb. Note, that the modal verbs break this -r rule.
    Examples:
    • Jeg spiser. (I eat, I am eating.)
    • Vi sover. (We sleep, We are sleeping.)
  2. Present[past] perfect tense
    It is formed by using the auxiliary verb har/er[havde/var] followed by the past participle (the base form of a verb + -(e)t).
    Examples:
    • Jeg har spist det. (I have eaten it.)
    • Jeg havde spist det. (I had eaten it.)
    • Jeg har været her. (I've been here.)
    • Jeg havde været der. (I'd been there.)
    • Jeg er rejst/gået. (I've travelled/walked.)
    • Jeg var rejst/gået. (I'd travelled/walked.)
  3. Past tense
  4. It is formed by adding -ede/-te to the basic form of a verb.
    Examples:
    • Jeg købte øl. (I bought beer.)
    • Ringede du til mig? (Did you call me?)
  5. Future tense
  6. It is formed by using the verb vil/skal followed by an infinitive.
    Examples:
    • Jeg vil rejse til Polen. (I will traver to Poland.)
    • Du skal få det i morgen. (You shall get it tomorrow.)

  Modal verbs (mådesudsangsord)

Modal verbs are followed by a verb in the infinitive form.

cankunne Jeg kan ikke huske det.
I cannot remember that.
shall / shouldskulle Det skulle være forbudt!
It should be forbidden!
will / want toville Jeg vil fortælle dig noget.
I want to tell you something.
may / mustmåtte Du må ikke gøre det.
You mustn't do this.
ought toburde Du bør læse denne avis.
You ought to read this paper.
dareturde Tør du prøve det?
Dare you try it?
feel likegide Hun gider ikke lave sine lektier.
She doesn't feel like doing her homework.

Unlike English, Danish modal verbs conjugate in all the tenses: Jeg har kunnet spise 10 kager.

  The passive form (Passivform)

There are two ways of forming a passive form in Danish:
  1. -s form: we add -s to the appropriate (infinive or past, depending on the context) verb form.
    Examples:
    • Lysene slukkes. (The lights are turned off.)
    • Hunde skal føres i snor. (Dogs must be held on a leash.)
  2. at blive: we use an appropriate form of the verb at blive + past participle.
    Examples:
    • En kage bliver spist af drengen. (A cake is (being) eaten by the boy.)
    • En kvinde blev dræbt. (A woman got killed.)

  The present participle (Lang tillægsform)

The present participle is formed by adding -ende to the infinitive form, eg. The present participle, as in English, can be used as an adjective: eg. de følgende sider (the following pages).

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tsca's Danish Grammar; © 1999 Copyright by Tomasz Sienicki < tsca @ edb.dk >