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Lesson 3 - 2


 
Describing things

To describe something we use the words that the teachers always tell us to use more frequently - adjectives. Words such as big, small, long and round are adjectives. It's said that they make your stories more alive, and they improve your grade with at least one point. You have probably participated in making adjective stories.

In Norwegian, like in English, the adjective is placed in front of the noun. Examples are always nice:
En stor ball = A big ball

So far there's no problem. But in Norwegian the adjectives are conjugated as well as the nouns. An example of this is:
Store hus = Big houses

All right, so let's make some rules. The following table shows the adjective suffixes:

  Singular
Indefinite
Singular
Definite
Plural
Indefinite
Plural
Definite
Masculine/
feminine
- -e -e -e
Neuter t -e -e -e

As you see, the adjective keeps its original form only if the noun is masculine or feminine singular indefinite. This table will be important in many aspects of the language, not only for adjectives, so write it down some place and try to memorize it.

It's also important to note that the definite form (-e) is used only when the adjective is next to the noun; not when there is a verb in between, for instance "to be". Therefore, in the following example, you don't use the definite form of the adjective:

Mannen er stor. = The man is big.

But you do use the neuter (-t) and the plural (-e) forms in these cases (remember from lesson 2 that hus is a neuter noun):

Huset er stort. = The house is big.

Husene er store. = The houses are big.

On the next page we'll take a look at when to use those definite forms.

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