To Lose and To Miss

This lesson goes over the various ways to express “to lose” and “to miss.”

Grammar Review

Sentence structure

While most Norwegian sentences use the subject-verb-object (SVO) word order, like English does, Norwegian does have the V2 (verb second) rule. If an adverbial phrase or subordinate clause is at the front of the sentence, the subject and the verb have to switch places (this is called “inversion”) so that the verb stays in the second position.

Eksempel English


Christian besøkte moren sin i går.

Christian visited his mom yesterday.

Karina kjøpte en suvenir da hun var i Tyskland.

Karina bought a souvenir when she was in Germany.


I går besøkte Christian moren sin.

Yesterday, Christian visited his mom.

Da Karina var i Tyskland, kjøpte hun en suvenir.

When Karina was in Germany, she bought a souvenir.

If a sentence has more than one verb, the second verb will be in a nonfinite form (e.g. å finne). If the sentence has inversion, then the subject will come between the finite (i.e. conjugated) verb and the nonfinite verb.

Eksempel English


Markus begynte å lese i fjor.

Markus began reading last year.

Emma pleide å synge i et kor da hun var yngre.

Emma used to sing in a choir when she was younger.


I fjor begynte Markus å lese

Last year, Markus began reading.

Da Emma var yngre, pleide Emma å synge i kor

When Emma was younger, she used to sing in a choir.

Verb Conjugation

Conjugating the present tense of verbs in Norwegian is fairly simple. Most present tense verbs just add an -r to the end of the infinitive and drop the infinitive marker (å).







Å synge



Å løpe



Å savne



Å drømme



Past tense conjugation is a bit more difficult, however there are some guidelines (but keep in mind there are exceptions).

  1. If the verb ends with a double consonant, consonant cluster, or voiced plosive (b / d), past tense will end in -et.

  2. If the verb ends in a single consonant (except v / b / d), past tense ends in -te.

  3. If the verb ends with v or diphthong, the past tense ends in -de.

  4. If the verb has only one syllable with a long vowel, past tense ends in -dde.

Rule Number


Past Tense



Å brette



Å vente




Å knuse



Å like




Å sveve



Å veie




Å kle



Å snu



There are two ways to talk about future activities. Sometimes a present tense verb + a time adverbial is used. Another way to express future tense is with the use of modal verbs.

Eksempel English

Present Tense + Time Adverbial

Trine lager middag senere.

Trine is making dinner later.

Modal Verbs

Tobias skal kjøre til parken.

Tobias is going to drive to the park.

Adjective Basics

Adjectives typically have to agree with the gender and the number of the noun. If the noun is neuter gender, then in the singular indefinite form, the adjective takes a -t ending. In the plural indefinite, the adjective takes an -e ending. Note there are exceptions.

Singular Indefinite Plural Indefinite






En smal gang

A narrow hallway

Smale ganger

Narrow hallways

En dyr ring

An expensive ring

Dyre ringer

Expensive rings


Ei smal plattform

A narrow platform

Smale plattformer

Narrow platforms

Ei dyr leilighet

An expensive apartment

Dyre leiligheter

Expensive apartments


Et smalt område

A narrow area

Smale områder

Narrow areas

Et dyrt armbånd

An expensive bracelet

Dyre armbånd

Expensive bracelets

When the noun is in the definite form, the adjective takes an -e ending (like in the plural indefinite above).

Singular Definite Plural Definite






Den smale gangen

The narrow hallway

De smale gangene

The narrow hallways

Denne dyre ringen

This expensive ring

Disse dyre ringene

These expensive rings


Den smale plattforma

The narrow platform

De smale plattformene

The narrow platforms

Denne dyre leiligheta

This expensive apartment

Disse dyre leilighetene

These expensive apartments


Det smale området

The narrow area

De smale områdene

The narrow areas

Dette dyre armbåndet

This expensive bracelet

Disse dyre armbånda / armbåndene

These expensive bracelets

To Lose

In English, we use the verb, “to lose” in many ways, such as losing a game; when we are unable to locate a person or an item; when we are unable to retain something, such as losing one’s memory or when a business loses money. Additionally, we use it in many different figurative phrases, such as to lose touch with someone; losing one’s temper, etc. Norwegian has various verbs to express these different concepts.

Å Tape

  • Used when losing a game or war; i.e. being defeated.

Eksempel English

Fotballaget tapte kampen i går.

The football team lost the game yesterday.

Tyskland tapte krigen i 1945.

Germany lost the war in 1945.

Jeg tapte spillet i går kveld.

I lost the game yesterday evening.

Å Miste

  • When you are unable to locate an item (but it’s not just misplaced).

  • Used when you are deprived of something or unable to have, retain, or regain something.

Use Eksempel English

Unable to locate an item

Moren min har mistet paraplyen.

My mom has lost the umbrella.

Jeg mistet mobiltelefonen min på fornøyelsesparken.

I lost my cell phone at the amusement park.

Faren min mistet lommeboken sin i Oslo.

My father lost his wallet in Oslo.

Unable to have, retain, or regain something

Thomas mistet appetiten.

Thomas lost his appetite.

Marie mistet fingeren sin i ulykken.

Marie lost her finger in the accident.

Selskapet mistet mye penger på grunn av feilen.

The company lost a lot of money due to the error.

NOTE: If you want to say something has just been misplaced (i.e. it’s in the house somewhere, just can’t remember where it’s been put), one would say “Jeg kan ikke finne…” or use “å være bli borte.”

Eksempel English

Moren min kan ikke finne nøklene sine.

My mom can’t find her keys. (They’re misplaced).

Min fars kam er blitt borte.

My father’s comb is missing. (It’s been misplaced).

Å Være Oppslukt

  • Refers to being preoccupied with something.

Eksempel English

Markus var oppslukt i boken og hørte ikke moren sin.

Markus lost himself in the book and didn’t hear his mom.

Ella var oppslukt i spillet.

Ella lost herself in the game.

Jeg var oppslukt mens jeg lyttet til den sangen.

I lost myself while listening to that song.

Å Kaste Bort

  • Used when one wastes their time, chances, opportunities, etc.

Eksempel English

Vennene kastet bort en time på å vente på en drosje.

The friends lost / wasted an hour waiting for a taxi.

Erik kastet bort sjansen sin til å reise til Japan.

Erik lost / wasted his chance to travel to Japan.

Jeg liker ikke å kaste bort tid. Bare stem Saxon

I don’t like to waste time just vote Saxon.

Idiomatic Phrases

Udtryk English Udtryk English

Å tape ansikt

To lose face

Å miste hodet

To lose one’s head

Å miste fasongen

To lose shape

Å forsvinne ut av syne

To lose sight of somebody

Å miste besinnelsen

To lose one’s temper

Å gråte tørre tårer

To not lose sleep over something

Å miste teken

To lose one’s touch

Å miste kontakten med noen

To lose touch with someone

Å gå seg bort

To get lost

Å miste piffen

To lose motivation / energy

Let’s Practice: Tape eller Miste

Eksempel English


Emma mistet hukommelsen sin etter bilulykken.

Emma lost her memory after the car accident.


Moren min tapte sjakkpartiet.

My mom lost the game of chess.


Har noen levert inn et ID-kort? Jeg har mistet mitt.

Has anyone turned in an ID card? I’ve lost mine.


Flyselskapet har mistet bagasjen min.

The airline has lost my luggage.

To Miss

In English, we can “miss” someone; “miss” the bus, train, plane, etc; “miss” an appointment, etc. In Norwegian, there are different verbs for these different contexts.

Å Savne

  • Used when one misses a person, place, or an item.

Eksempel English

Jacob flyttet til Spania og nå savner han Norge.

Jacob moved to Spain and now he misses Norway.

Jenta savner bestemoren sin.

The girl misses her grandmother

Bestefaren min savner tiden da han kunne ha penger i flasken, ikke i lommeboken.

My grandad misses the time when he could have money in the bottle, not in the wallet.

Å Komme for Sent / Ikke Nå

  • Used when one misses a bus, train, plane, etc.

  • “Å komme for sent” is literally “to arrive too late”

Eksempel English

Mathias kom for sent til bussen.

Mathias missed the bus.

Nora nådde ikke toget.

Nora missed the train.

Jeg kommer for sent til seminaret hvis jeg våkner for sent.

I will miss the seminar if I wake up too late.

Å Overse

  • Used in the meaning to “overlook”

Eksempel English

Michael overså feilen.

Michael missed / overlooked the error.

Læreren overså skrivefeilen i oppgaven.

The teacher missed / overlooked the typo in the thesis.

Å Bomme

  • Used when referring to missing a target.



Jegeren bommet på fuglen.

The hunter missed the bird.

Marius bommet på målet.

Marius missed the goal.

Jeg bommet på hjorten.

I missed the deer.

Å Gå Glipp Av

  • Used to mean “to lose out on” or “to miss out on” a chance or opportunity.

  • Used to express missing appointments, parties, etc.

Use Eksempel English

“Lost out on” / “Missed out on”

Katrina gikk glipp av hennes livs mulighet.

Katrina missed out on / lost out on the opportunity of a lifetime.

Tor gikk glipp av sjansen til å møte favorittsangeren hans.

Tor missed out on / lost out on the chance to meet his favorite singer.

Broren min gikk glipp av en sjanse til å vinne en million dollar

My brother lost a chance to win a million dollars

Missing an appointment / party / etc

Gutten gikk glipp av konserten.

The boy missed the concert.

Marianne gikk glipp av legetimen sin.

Marianne missed her doctor’s appointment.

Han rakk ikke bussen sin, så han gikk glipp av intervjuet.

He missed his bus. So, he missed the interview.

Å Bli Borte

  • This is used when referring to a person or thing that has gone missing.

Eksempel English

“Hjelp! Katten min er blitt borte”, gråt barnet.

“Help! My cat is missing,” cried the child.

Boka er blitt borte! Noen må ha tatt den!

The book has gone missing! Someone must have taken it!

Melken er blitt borte! Ah! Det var ikke melk, den var kefir.

The milk is missing, Ah! It was not milk, it was kefir.

NOTE: When someone or something is reported missing, one says “å bli rapportert savnet.” You might see this in news reports.

Eksempel English

"Kvinnen ble rapportert savnet av moren", sa politiet.

“The woman was reported missing by her mother,” said the police.

Let’s Practice: Fill in the blanks

Eksempel English


Den berusede mannen bommet på dartskiven.

The drunk man missed the dartboard.


Vennen min gikk glipp av jobbintervjuet fordi han forsov seg.

My friend missed the job interview because he overslept.


Hvordan overså du det?!

How did you miss that?!


Tror du at kattene savner oss når vi ikke er hjemme?

Do you think that the cats miss us when we’re not home?


Anita er trist fordi hunden hennes er savnet.

Anita is sad because her dog is missing.


Hvis du ikke skynder deg, vil du komme sent til toget.

If you don’t hurry, you’ll miss the train.

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Exercise: Write five sentences using “to lose” and / or “to miss” in different ways.