Past tense

How to make and use past tense in Norwegian.

Past tense of Norwegian verbs fall into two large categories: REGULAR and IRREGULAR.

REGULAR VERBS

Regular verbs are verbs that maintain the same vowel in the stem of the verb. To make the past tense you add an ending with et  , te  , de  , dde  .

INFINITIVE PRESENT PAST
å jobbe jobber jobbet
å spise spiser spiste
å prøve prøver prøvde
å bo bor bodde

 

IRREGULAR VERBS

Many common verbs in Norwegian have irregular forms for the past tense. You can’t guess the form, so you have to learn each of them.

INFINITIVE PRESENT PAST
å gå går gikk
å komme kommer kom
å sitte sitter satt
å være er var

 

When to use past tense?

Just like in English, past tense is used to describe events that began and ended at a given time in the past, or events that is definitely ended.

If you can get an answer asking a question with when something happened, you have to use the past tense.

“Jeg bodde i Oslo i fjor” ( I lived in Oslo last year.)

”Når bodde du i Oslo?” (When did you live in Oslo?)

Norwegian does not use the past continuous form. (was eating) Just like in present tense you can use certain verbs like “sitte”(sit), “ligge”(lie) and “stå”(stand) in combination with other verbs to stress continuation.

Han satt og spiste middag da jeg kom hjem. (He was eating dinner when I came home.)

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