What is the use of "der" in this sentence?

I have been studying danish and stumbled with this sentence:

  • Hvornår afgår der tog til Jylland?

My danish friend says it doesn't serve as a place adverbial or expletive subject. He doesn't know how to explain it and I am kind of at a loss here.

Anyone knows anything?

6 months ago

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Since "tog" is used with out any article, this is a general question, which could probably be translated as: When are (there) trains departing for Jutland? "der"/"there" can be used simply to express existence without reference to a particular place.

It sounds more natural (at least in English) in a sentence like this one: Der afgår mange tog fra København til andre lande. There are many trains that depart from Kopenhagen to other countries.

6 months ago

Thanks! But some sentences similar to this one don't have it which is what I don't get. For example:

Hvornår åbner supermarkeder i morgen?

Why is it we don't use "der" in this case?

6 months ago

As a general rule, you cannot start the sentence with a subject (singular or plural) if is indefinite. In that case, you use "der" as a provisional subject. Then comes the verb, and the "real subject". The same is true if it is a qustion.

So: "Hvornår åbner supermarkeder i morgen?" is not correct.

It should be: Hvornår åbner der supermarkeder i morgen? Or: Hvornår åbner der et supermarked i morgen?

Or, if you speak about one spcific supermarket:

Hvornår åbner supermarkedet i morgen? (i.e. without "der" because the subject is definite).


Correct: Der sidder en elefant i min seng. (subject indefinite - needs "Der") Wrong: En elefant sidder i min seng. (subject indefinite) Correct: Elefanten sidder i min seng. (subject definite)

6 months ago
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