Introduction to Danish Grammar


Here are a few key things you need to know about Danish grammar


Nouns

Danish nouns (things) have two genders, which are shown by the articles en and et:
a car
= en bil
a house = et hus
There are some obscure rules about when to use en and when to use et, but you needn't worry about them. As your Danish improves, you will just naturally remember which one to use. In this course all et-words are in orange, to help you remember them.
the car = bilen
the house = huset
The noun gets a suffix in the definite form (an addition to the end of the word). Think of the suffix as a 'definite form maker' instead of as the word 'the'.
 

Possessive pronouns: min & mit

1) my car = min bil
2) my house = mit hus
3) my cars/my houses = mine biler/mine huse
 

Adjectives (descriptive words)

1) a big car = en stor bil
2) a big house = et stort hus
3a) big cars/houses = store biler/store huse
3bi) the big car/house = den store bil/det store hus
3bii) John's big car/house = Johns store bil/Johns store hus
3biii) my big car/house = min store bil/mit store hus
These changes of pronouns and adjectives are called inflections.
Danish has only these 3 inflections (2 for gender and 1 for plurals and definite forms).
 

Subject-verb agreement

Danish has only one form of the verb for each tense.
to be:
I am = Jeg er
We are
= Vi er
He is
= Han er
 
to be (past):
I was = Jeg var
We were = Vi var
She was = Hun var
 
to sleep:
I sleep = Jeg sover
You sleep = Du sover
He/she/it sleeps = Han/hun/det sover
 

Helping verbs

Danish does not use helping verbs (e.g. do and be) in the way that English does:
Do you speak Danish?
= Taler du dansk? (Speak you Danish?)
Do you have children?
= Har du børn? (Have you children?)
Do you smoke? = Ryger du? (Smoke you?)
He does not smoke = Han ryger ikke (He smokes not)
 
Continuous tenses:
Are you walking? = Går du? (Walk you?)
She is singing = Hun synger (She sings)
I am eating = Jeg spiser (I eat)
 

Negation

Is formed with ikke (not)
Jeg taler ikke dansk = I don't speak Danish (I speak not Danish)
 
For those who didn't pay attention in school:
noun: a thing (car, book, cat)
verb: an action (speak, walk, write)
adjective: a descriptive word (beautiful, big, red)
pronoun: stands in place of a person or a thing (I, you, he, it, they, my, mine, yours, myself, him, etc.)