"The dresser is in the bedroom."
Translation:Kommoden står på soverommet.
Okay, so since the purpose of this sentence is to show where the dresser is in the context of a room, being used as furniture, it's not going to use "i soverommet" because that's used more as when an item is in a purse or a person is in a pool or something along those lines?
That is, were I to be asked to translate "the dresser is in the trash compactor" I might use "i" in that case since it's definitely not going to be standing there and used as furniture in that context?
It's been a year or more, but since I see a number of people are still curious about this question, I'll take a stab at answering it.
First of all, in Norwegian, the use of i or på is not always so much about the nature of the preposition as it is about the noun itself: certain nouns prefer to use i and others go with på. There's not always a way to predict this; like noun gender, it just needs to be memorized. There is a good beginning list of which nouns use which preposition here:
That said, this list says "i eller på" for soverommet without further explanation, so I'm going to go a bit deeper. Sometimes, the difference can be determined by whether the item is inside a contained or enclosed space (in which case use i) or whether it's on the surface of something (in which case use på):
• Klærne ligger i skuffen: 'The clothes are in the drawer.'
• Hattene ligger på hylla: 'The hats are on the shelf.'
And there are times when there are subtle differences between the two:
Hun ligger i sengen = she is lying in bed (under the covers). BUT
De ligger på sengen = they are lying on the bed (on top of the covers).
Note also: på taket = on the roof; i taket = on the ceiling.
Going back to rommet, I found this very helpful webpage. It is in Norwegian, but it did help explain the subtle differences to me under the section "Det videre og det mer begrensede":
It seems that the difference lies in whether you want to stress that the item is inside the room (in which case you'd use i) or just located there in general (use på). For example:
• Hvor er kommoden? Den står på soverommet. 'Where is the dresser? It's [located] in the bedroom.'
• Det er en elefant i soverommet mitt! 'There's an elephant in (inside) my bedroom!'
Or another example:
• De selger tannkrem på butikken. 'They sell toothpaste at the shop.' BUT
• Kunden kastet opp i butikken! 'The customer threw up inside the shop!'
There's a bit of nuance there; as foreigners, we're bound to get it wrong from time to time. And when we do, we'll still be understood - and Norwegians will probably be far more forgiving about it than Duo is. :-)
As always, if I've got any part of that wrong, I hope that a native Norwegian speaker or more advanced learner will correct any errors I might have made.
I am still asking: when should we use på and when i? At first på seemed to be more like "on", but apparently it is also "in"( usually when we thought "i"would be correct) so that it seems to be at random. As many here certainly I don't have any Norwegian grammar nor dictionary....
Ok, in need of translation from US to UK English.
What's a dresser mean in this context? In British English, when I hear the word dresser, I'm thinking of a piece of furniture in the kitchen or dining room, the lower part with doors that open to shelves, the upper part with display shelves for your fine plates. Sometimes called a Welsh dresser. Which is obviously not what you might keep in a bedroom, as in this sentence.
Can anyone enlighten me?