1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Norwegian (Bokmål)
  4. >
  5. "Hun drikker kaffe på en kafé…

"Hun drikker kaffe en kafé."

Translation:She is drinking coffee at a cafe.

December 6, 2015



Why på in In the last lessons was its meaning in


The prepositions translates differently in different contexts. It is one of the really difficult things to get correct for non native speakers. You just have to remember which goes where.

You can say drikker kaffe i en kafé for this one, and be correct. But the set phrase for going out with friends to a café and drinking coffee (and maybe something to eat) is gå på kafé hence drikker kaffe på en kafé as the preferred translation.


It feels as though is related to Russian по; even the pronunciation is very similar. Which is interesting, since AFAIK, Norwegian is a Germanic language, not Slavic. Is it possible that på comes historically from some Russian (or other Slavic) influence?


I wondered the same thing! But it's a coincidence. Actually på is a contraction of some Old Norse expression that looks like "upp á" in modern Icelandic and literally means "up on", and по is native Slavic.


Takk for svaret! I actually did a bit of sleuthing myself after posting this, as I was thinking perhaps it was some remnant of Indo-European that had magically been lost in most other languages. A nice fantasy. :-) As you say, comes from Norse (Old Norse?) opp på 'up on'. Meanwhile, it seems that Russian по comes from an earlier Indo-European root meaning something like "from" or "after", depending upon where you look, but clearly the two of them are not directly related. So it is, as you say, a coincidence, though it is somewhat eerie how similarly they are used.

Thanks again for replying! I do always enjoy your posts!


What is the right speling of the word cafe?? When it's A Cafe - en Kafé, but then the cafe - Kaféen.


That's correct. The indefinite form is "en kafé," and the definite form is "kaféen." It works the same as, e.g.,
en gutt (a boy) and gutten (the boy).


Having a preposition mean both on and in seems so broad. Does på more directly translate to the English "on", but can just idiomatically express that you're "on site". (Similar to how sayings like "on my way" in English are more idiomatic then literal).


"På" translates to "on", but it's usage is different from English. Thus it is used in several specific circumstances where it translates as "in". However these are not all the English uses of "in", and there are many circumstances in which it's wrong to use "på" to say "in".

Typically "på" translates to "in" when combined with specific place names:

Normally you live "på landet"/in the countryside, "i byen"/in the city, "i" a street address, "på" (but sometimes "i") a city borough, "i" et fylke /in a county, "på" ei øy/on an island, and then there are certain parts of the country & municipalities & towns that require "på" instead of "i".

Then there are places, activities & institutions: på skole, på kafé, på sykehus, på ferie...


This is one of those memorization things, isn't it? I'm thinking that with enough repetition my brain will remember it whether I mean to or not. Things like this remind me why it is best to learn languages in phrases, not just vocabulary (Individual words). Thanks for your thoughtful answer.


utter confusion, does anyone know why it doesnt count if you have she drinks instead of is drinking? Its literally simple present vs present progressive???? Like huH?


The simple perfect tense is accepted on our end (she drinks). Did you, perhaps, use the definite article with café (the café), rather than the indefinite article (a café)? That's a common mistake.


Wich is de difference betwen kafé and kaféen???


"en kafé" is indefinite (a café), "kaféen" is definite (the café)


This started out well then you realise its like polish one word means 20 things:(


Well, yeah. Words commonly don't have the same range of references in different languages. Any word in particular?


I gave the correct answer. The exact same they had jut it marked it wrong. I have a screenshot showing it. How csn this be fixed? #mod


kafé : I hear kaffée !!??? I don't understand why this final e is added in the pronunciation


Why is it "she is drinking" and not also "she drinks"?

Learn Norwegian (Bokmål) in just 5 minutes a day. For free.