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Lesson 3 - 7


This page is about the genitive. And what's the genitive? Answer: a grammatical form that indicates the possession of something. In English this is normally indicated by 's:
  • Lisa's house
  • John's car

But there is a second way to express genitive in English. For instance, the second phrase could also be said like this: The mother of James.

In Norwegian an "-s" is added, as in English, but without the apostrophe. However, if the name is ending with an -s or an sound similar to s, only a single apostrophe is added. What now? Yes, the examples:

Geirs mor = Geir's mother
Annes hus = Anne's house
Anders' biler = Anders's cars

Note that this s-form is widely used in Norwegian, also in expressions like "The capital of Norway" (Norges hovedstad).

Also note that possessed noun always appears in its indefinite form (i.e. NOT "Annes huset", but "Annes hus").

Instead of the -s, you can add a whole word: "sin". This is always optional, but can be especially useful when you are talking and the name is already ending with "-s". If the possessed object is of neuter gender, you have to conjugate the word: "sitt". In the same way, if the possessed object is plural, you use the form "sine" (remember the adjective plural -e ending). So, the word sin is conjugated as if it were an adjective, just with a double t in its neuter form:

Geir sin mor = Geir's mother
Anne sitt hus = Anne's house
Anders sine biler = Anders' cars

There is also a third way to express possession, which is widely used as well. It's a bit more complex, and looks like this:

Definite form of the possessed object + "til" + The possessor

Mora til Geir = Geir's mother
Huset til Anne = Anne's house
Bilene til Anders = Anders' cars

An important thing to note is that this third way to express genitive can only be used when the possessor is a person, never in expressions like "The kingdom of Norway" and "The king of Norway". (Those two look like this: "Kongeriket Norge" and "Norges konge").

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