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Lesson 4 - 6

The future

All this takes us back to the future. Why? Because the future tense in Norwegian, as in English, is formed by combining verbs.

In English we have this:

I am going to eat fish.

I will eat fish.

The two mean almost the same, and they both refer to the future. As you can observe, in the first case we have a normal verb combination consisting of a verb in present tense ("am") and a verb in infinitive with its infinitive marker ("to eat"). This means that the main verb, "eat", is something that is going to happen in the future. In the second example, we have a modal verb, "will", plus the main verb, "eat", this time without the infinitive marker, just because the verb is modal.

In Norwegian there is a special modal verb for the future tense:

"future" skal

This one is used when we're talking about something that is decided to happen, i.e. that we, or someone else, can kind of control it.


I am going to eat fish. = Jeg skal spise fisk.

They are going to play football. = De skal spille fotball.

You are going to read. = Du skal lese.

We are going to watch a film. = Vi skal se en film.

Or "skal" can even be used without a second verb, which implies traveling:

We are going to Norway. = Vi skal til Norge.


Now, if the future happening is something more involuntary or less controlled, "skal" can't be used, and we need to use a different strategy in Norwegian. Examples of this are phrases like:

It will rain tomorrow.

You will love this fish.

These are things that will just happen, with less planning.

On the next page, we'll see how to express this. Meanwhile, learn these few words:

to rain å regne regner
to snow å snø snør

tomorrow i morgen
soon snart


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