Confusing use of object pronouns in Norwegian

I was wondering if there is a rule dictating when to use the subject pronoun along with the object pronoun in sentences like, "Han føler seg bra," or "jeg viser meg." In English we would just say, "He feels good," or, "I show off," so I don't understand in what circumstances i would ad the extra "myself," or, "yourself," etc..

August 9, 2018


Norwegian has lots of reflexive verbs -- the same entity is both the subject and the object of the verb. The object is always a pronoun.

English no longer has as many reflexive verbs as Norwegian but still has several. "I cut myself." "She hurt herself." "He killed himself." "They enjoyed themselves." 'We paid ourselves." "You made yourselves sick." The horses feed themselves."

Perhaps you will be able to reflect on sentences such as those and imagine how you might add the subject entity, as object of the verb even when one is no longer required in English. If you can add a pronoun object to represent the subject noun in an English sentence there is a very high likelihood that you will have to do that in Norwegian. Your imagined sentences will seem really weird but if the subject and object are the same entity then, in fairly short order, I think you will develop the habit for use in Norwegian.

An example of what I mean is: "I feel like a real cowboy." "I feel myself like a real cowboy." "Jeg føler meg som en riktig cowboy."

Another example is: "I feel well." "I feel myself well." "Jeg føler meg bra."

I hope that helps a bit.

August 10, 2018

If you want to see a list of reflexive verbs (refleksive verb) in Norwegian there is one here:

You use these verb as reflexive when the result of the action is on the person taking the action (doing the activity the verb specifies). I believe you just have have to dig into it and work hard to get it under your skin..

September 21, 2018

Here's another thread on the topic:

I'm new to Norsk, but here's my $0.02 anyway... I think the situation is similar to phrasal verbs in English.

Sometimes, you just have to include the preposition in the phrasal verb. You need the "up" in "I was brought up by wolves" or you're going to mean something completely different.

And sometimes the preposition is sort of optional, but still makes a difference to the meaning. Compare "I'm reading the document" with "I'm reading over the document". Or "Try on this shirt" with "Try this shirt". Or, "I found out that my husband was cheating on me" with "I found that my husband was cheating on me." You can leave out the preposition in all of those examples, but it affects the meaning.

So, similarly, in Norsk... With some verbs, you just have to use "seg". They're fixed expressions. Glede seg, skynde seg, konsentrere seg, legger seg, etc.

With other verbs, "seg" creates a different meaning or emphasis or whatever. So, in a sense, maybe it's optional.

The example I like is "Jeg ser seg rundt kjokkenet", "I look around the kitchen". You can definitely leave out the "seg", and maybe the difference it makes to meaning isn't easily translatable into English. But it does make a difference.

Is there a rule? Not that I've seen... I think you just need to learn which verbs can be used with "seg", and what they mean when they are used this way, the same way someone learning English would have to learn phrasal verbs.

January 12, 2019
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