Participles, Perfects, Conditionals

Present Participle

The present participle, in Norwegian, is the ending -ende. This is equivalent to the English -ing, however unlike in English, it is not used as frequently. In English, -ing can be used to denote a continuous action, however that is not the case in Norwegian (with a small exception you will see in this lesson). For information on continuous action, see this lesson.

The present participle is used often in Norwegian as an adjective or to express the effect a person or thing has.

Norwegian English

Resultatene er alarmerende.

The results are alarming.

Naboen er irriterende.

The neighbor is annoying.

Filmen er spennende.

The film is exciting.

Øynene hennes er fengslende.

Her eyes are captivating.

It can also be used as an adverb intensifies an adjective.

Norwegian English

Kjøkkenet var skinnende rent.

The kitchen was spotlessly (literally “shining”) clean.

Kvinnen spilte kokende varm kaffe på mannen.

The woman spilled boiling hot coffee on the man.

The present participle is used as a verb of motion or expression when it follows “å komme.”

Norwegian English

Han kom syngende inn i rommet.

He came into the room singing.

Der kommer Lise løpende.

Here comes Lise running.

Hun kom kjørende til festen.

She came to the party. (driving)

Note: In English, one can form a sentence like, “I saw a howling wolf.” While one can say this in Norwegian, it is not recommended. Here’s a better way to phrase such a sentence:

Jeg så en ulv som ulte.

I saw a wolf that was howling.

The present participle of the verbs “sitte,” “ligge,” and “stå” are often used with the verb “bli.”

Norwegian English

Bøkene ble liggende på bordet fordi jeg glemte å rydde.

The books were lying on the table because I forgot to clean.

Han ble sittende og prate.

He was sitting and talking.

Note: In second example above, the second verb (“prate”) is in the infinitive form. (i.e. no -r).

Occasionally, there are sentences in which a present participle can be used as a noun (gerund). When it is used as a noun in this manner, it does not inflect for number or gender.

Norwegian English

De reisende måtte bytte tog.

The passengers (literally “those travelling”) had to change trains.

De forbipasserende la ikke merke til henne.

The passersby did not notice her.

Past Participle

In English, the past participle is the verb form that ends in -ed and is used in the perfect and passive tenses (and sometimes as an adjective), for example, “have you looked?” or “lost property.” In Norwegian, the past participle is used in the present perfect and past perfect tenses, as well as in passive construction when combined with “bli.”

Here is the rule of thumb on how to conjugate the past participle:

Rule Infinitive Past Tense Norwegian English

If verb ends in double consonant, consonant cluster, or a voiced plosive (b or d) followed by -e

  • Past tense ends in -et

Å snakke


Sofia har snakket med Tobias.

Sofia has talked with Tobias.

Å ønske


Det er det han hadde ønsket.

It’s what he would have wished for.

Å bade


Moren har badet babyen.

The mother has bathed the child.

If verb ends in single consonant (except v or voiced plosives) followed by -e

  • Past tense ends in -t

Å lære


Barnet hadde lært sangen.

The child had learned the song.

Å kjøpe


Markus skulle ha kjøpt bilen.

Markus should have bought the car.

If verb ends in v or with a diphthong followed by -e

  • Past tense ends in -d

Å leve


Grumpy Cat hadde levd et kort liv.

Grumpy Cat had lived a short life.

Å eie


Han hadde eid det gamle huset.

He had owned the old house.

If verb has only one syllable with a long vowel

  • Past tense ends in -dd

Å bo


Jens har bodd her hele livet.

Jens has lived here his whole life.

Note: In some strong verbs, the vowel will change in the past participle form.

Infinitive Past Participle English

Å hjelpe



Å vinne



When the past participle is used as an adjective indefinite or plural forms, the conjugation changes slightly.

Rule Verb / Adj Norwegian English

If the past participle ends in just -t, then

  • An -e is added

As verb

Han har forgylt boka.

He has gilded the book.

As adjective

Den forgylte boka er på bokhylla.

The gilded book is on the bookshelf.

If the past participle ends in -et, then

  • The ending is changed to -ede.

As verb

Hun har blandet mange slags ting før.

She has mixed many kinds of things before.

As adjective

Blandede nøtter var den beste blandingen hun hadde laget.

Mixed nuts was the best mixture she had made.

Note: Some strong verbs will change the past participle ending to -ne when used as an adjective.

Ex: Bilen er stjålet. Den stjålne bilen.

The car is stolen. The stolen car.

Present Perfect Tense

Though it is called “present perfect” it is a form of past tense. In present perfect, the action that happened in the past has an impact on the present. It is used similarly as it is in English and is pretty easy to form in Norwegian. Simply, it is har / er + the past participle.

Norwegian English

Jeg har spist.

I have eaten.

Han har hatt mange gjester.

He has had many guests.

Vi har vært i Oslo.

We have been to Oslo.

NOTE: Some intransitive verbs (meaning they do not have a direct object), particularly those referring to motion or change often use “er” instead of “har.” .
Ex: Hun er kommet hjem.

She has come home.

In questions starting with “Hvor lenge…?” (how long?), the present perfect tense changes the meaning of a sentence.

Tense Eksempel English

Past Tense

Hvor lenge var du i Norge?

How long were you in Norway?

(you are no longer in Norway)

Hvor lenge bodde du i Trondheim?

How long did you live in Trondheim?

Present Perfect Tense

Hvor lenge har du vært i Norge?

How long have you been in Norway?

(you are still there or have been there for a while)

Hvor lenge har du bodd i Trondheim?

How long have you lived in Trondheim?

Note: Present perfect can also be used for an action in the near future, in a subordinate clause, if completed before an action expressed in the main clause.

Ex: Når du har lært norsk, kan du få en jobb.

When you have learned Norwegian, you can get a job.

Past Perfect (aka Pluperfect)

The past perfect is used to express an action in the past that took place before another action indicated by the past tense. An example in English would be, “I had seen the movie when it came out.” It is formed by using hadde / var + past participle.

Norwegian English

Han hadde allerede spist da du ringte.

He had already eaten when you called.

Lukas fortalte oss at han hadde vært syk.

Lukas told us that he had been sick.

Etter at vi hadde spist, gikk vi på kino.

After we had eaten, we went to the cinema.

Note: The use of “var” (past tense of “er”) follows the same rule in past perfect as it does in present perfect, with regards to intransitive verbs (i.e. verbs without a direct object).

The past perfect may also be used to describe hypothetical events.

Norwegian English

Hvis du ikke hadde drukket, kunne du ha kjørt hjem.

If you hadn’t drank, you could have driven home. (But you did.)

Hun ville ha hjulpet deg hvis du hadde bedt henne om det.

She would have helped you if you had asked her. (But you didn’t.)

Conditional (aka Future of the Past)

Expresses a future action in relation to a point of reference in the past; this is often used in indirect speech. It is formed using skulle / ville + infinitive.

Norwegian English

Hun sa at hun skulle vente på posten.

She said that she would wait for the mail.

Han fortalte meg at Erik skulle lese boken.

He told me that Erik should read the book.

Conditional Perfect (aka Future Perfect of the Past)

This tense is formed with skulle / ville ha + past participle. It has two functions (and bear with me, I know this will sound confusing; the examples will help better explain).

Function Eksempel English

Expresses action that should have been done, before something else happens, but was not done (yet).

  • Usually used with indirect speech, often with a declarative verb (e.g. “tror”, “si”, etc) in the main clause.

Jeg skulle ha reparert bilen før ferien begynte.

I should have repaired the car before the holiday began.

Jeg trodde at han ville ha kjøpt en bil før semesteret begynte.

I thought that he would have bought a car before the semester began.

Used in a main clause which has an attached conditional clause with the verb in the past perfect tense that expresses a counterfactual situation in the past.

Hvis jeg hadde visst om sykdommen din, skulle jeg ha besøkt deg.

If I had known about your illness, I would have visited you.

Jeg skulle ha sett filmen hvis jeg hadde hatt penger.

I would have seen the film if I had had the money.

Future Perfect (Futurum Perfektum)

This form is created by using skal / vil ha + past participle. It expresses an action that lasts to, or has relevance for, a certain point in time in the future.

Norwegian English

Når ferien begynner, skal han ha fullført eksamenen sin.

When the holiday begins, he must have finished his exam.

Han skal ha spist før programmet begynner.

He should have eaten before the program begins.

Comparison of Verb Tenses

Tense Eksempel English


Han spiser.

He is eating.


Han spiste.

He ate.

Present Perfect

Han har spist.

He has eaten.


Han hadde spist.

He had eaten.


Han skal spise.

He will eat.

Future Perfect

Han skal ha spist.

He’s supposed to have eaten.


Han skulle spise.

He would eat.

Conditional Perfect

Han skulle ha spist.

He should have eaten.

**If the lesson was beneficial, please consider buying me a virtual coffee. Thanks.**


Exercise: Write 6 sentences

  1. One with present participle

  2. Two sentences with present perfect

  3. Two sentences with past perfect

  4. One sentence with future perfect