https://www.duolingo.com/tbarasmussen

Rules about "en" and "et"

<h1>en or et?</h1>

Introduction

en is common and et is neuter. But how can I know which gender a word is? The only way is to look it up in a dictionary (you can find a Danish one here: dsn.dk), but, well, there are some rules, but they have exceptions – many exceptions. The list of rules here is from Dansk Sprognævn and kindly translated to English by the Duolingo user tbarasmussen who, by the way, will be glad to help you with any further questions.

The mnemonic rules

Common (en)

  • Used with the majority of all Danish nouns (75%)
  • Typically used with words describing animals and human being; for example:
    • en dreng (a boy)
    • en far (a dad)
    • en lærer (a teacher)
    • en kone (a wife)
    • en udlænding (a foreigner)
    • en tysker (a German)
    • en hund (a dog)
    • en kat (a cat)
    • en ko (a cow)
    • en laks (a salmon)
    • en hest (a horse)
    • en mus (a mouse)
    • EXCEPTION et barn (a child)
    • EXCEPTION et menneske (a human)
    • EXCEPTION et postbud (a letter carrier)
    • EXCEPTION et dyr (an animal)
    • EXCEPTION et egern (a squirrel)
    • EXCEPTION et svin (a pig; a swine)
  • Typically used with words describing plants, trees, and fruits; for example:
    • en birk (a birch)
    • en blomst (a flower)
    • en bøg (a beech)
    • en nød (a nut)
    • en pære (a pear)
    • en banan (a banana)
    • en eg (an oak tree)
    • en rose (a rose)
    • en tulipan (a tulip)
    • EXCEPTION et bær (a berry)
    • EXCEPTION et frø (seed)
    • EXCEPTION et løg (an onion)
    • EXCEPTION et træ (a tree)
    • EXCEPTION et æble (an apple)
  • Typically used with words describing streams; for example:
    • en å (a stream; a small river)
    • en flod (a river)
    • en strøm (a stream)
    • en bæk (a brook)
  • Typically used with words ending on -else, -ance, -dom, -ence, -er, -hed, -ing, -isme, -sion, -ør; for example:
    • en bevægelse (a move)
    • en forsinkelse (a delay)
    • en overraskelse (a surprise)
    • en skuffelse (a disappointment)
    • en tilladelse (a permission)
    • en ambulance (an ambulance)
    • en chance (a chance)
    • en debutant (a debutant)
    • en variant (a variant)
    • en ejendom (a property)
    • en sygdom (an illness)
    • en kompetence (a competence)
    • en konference (a conference)
    • en bager (a baker)
    • en hastighed (a speed)
    • en lejlighed (a flat)
    • en parkering (a parking)
    • en stilling (a job)
    • fascismen (the fascism)
    • kommunismen (the communism)
    • en diskussion (a discussion)
    • en direktør (a business manager)
    • en frisør (a hairdresser; a barber)
    • EXCEPTION et spøgelse (a ghost)
    • EXCEPTION et værelse (a room)

Neuter (et)

  • Typically used with words describing substances or masses, for example:
    • brødet (the bread)
    • glasset (the glass)
    • guldet (the gold)
    • jernet (the iron)
    • kødet (the meat)
    • papiret (the paper)
    • sølvet (the silver)
    • vandet (the water)
    • EXCEPTION jorden (the earth; the ground)
    • EXCEPTION luften (the air)
    • EXCEPTION regnen (the rain)
  • Typically used with words describing areas and locations
    • et amt (a county)
    • et distrikt (a district)
    • et kontinent (a continent)
    • et land (a country)
    • et sogn (a parish)
    • et torv (a square)
    • EXCEPTION en by (a city)
    • EXCEPTION en gård (a farm)
    • EXCEPTION en ø (an island)
  • Typically used with words ending –dømme, -ri, -ed, -um; for example:
    • et herredømme (a supremacy)
    • et omdømme (a reputation)
    • et bageri (a bakery)
    • et hoved (a head)
    • et marked (a market)
    • et gymnasium (a high school)
    • et museum (a museum)
4 years ago

37 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/ElOtroMiqui
ElOtroMiqui
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Tak! Det er nyttigt.

(correct my very basic sentence if it's wrong lol)
4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/runem
runem
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Lingot for full correctness!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/schiffmeister
schiffmeister
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Thanks for directing me here.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sofiadcs
Sofiadcs
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LINGOT-RAIN

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ElOtroMiqui
ElOtroMiqui
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Yay!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tbarasmussen

You're welcome. I know how tricky it can be from German and Spanish

You're sentence is correct, by the way!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sofiadcs
Sofiadcs
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Thanks for the wordlist! I'm sure this will help out a lot of students. :D

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tbarasmussen

You're welcome. We should really Anita who asked the Sprognævn so - if she had not we probably wouldn't have the list at all.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/runem
runem
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If you could rewrite this using Markdown instead of images, I'll gladly add it to the overview post :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tbarasmussen

Okay, thanks a lot. I've uploaded it to Google Drive, so feel free to convert it and then use it: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzNf4GdU41ZmSEU2d0FlQWR6U0U/edit?usp=sharing

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/runem
runem
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Ah but I meant that you could post it yourself, using the text formatting options available here in the forum. Then I can link to it from the overview thread, and you get proper credit :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tbarasmussen

No problems - all done. If needed you'll find the Danish original here: http://sproget.dk/raad-og-regler/artikler-mv/svarbase/SV00000096

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/schiffmeister
schiffmeister
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Is it posted somewhere else or is this the final?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tbarasmussen

A little to late, but this is the final.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/NeueEule

Tak! This is very helpful (:

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tbarasmussen

You're welcome :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RikSha
RikSha
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Thanks a lot! Are there many words which can have two genders? I know only one: et frø (a seed) - en frø (a frog).

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DaneTR

Yes.

Take et ø (the letter ø) and en ø (an island)

Some words can both be common and neuter without changing meaning. E.g. "et/en kompliment" (a compliment) and "et/en cirkus" (a circus)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RikSha
RikSha
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Wow, that was new information, thanks! What I've already noticed is that some nouns can have several plurals, like en sandwich -> mange sandwicher eller mange sandwiches. Danish sure is an interesting language :D

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DaneTR

Actually, "mange sandwiches" is incorrect usage, and I have now complained to the team about it. "mange sandwich" and "mange sandwicher" are the two correct ways to say it.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RikSha
RikSha
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According to DDO 'sandwiches' is unofficial. What does is actually mean? That everybody uses it in spoken Danish but never in written Danish?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DaneTR

Yeah, it is used in non-formal speech, but "sandwich" is the most common plural.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/skaarup75
skaarup75
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If You are confused still You can visit the light blue area here: http://www.jyskordbog.dk/ordbog/scripts/atlaskort.cgi?nr=7_1 Here only common gender exists - if You speak a dialect. You might be considered a bit backwards if You use it, though :-)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/yeahbuddy34
yeahbuddy34
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En udlænding - a foreigner*

Great job though, should be very helpful for learners!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tbarasmussen

Thanks for correcting me.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/efisgpr
efisgpr
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THANKS! :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Steven_Dorey

Thank you for posting this! I kept losing hearts because of en / et and never quite saw a pattern I could rely on. This is very helpful!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Suzpi

Jeg giver dig en lingot. Mange tak for dette. Det er praecis, hvad jeg har brug for at vide.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DanLye3
DanLye3
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Tak

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Elena219917
Elena219917
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Tak! Min mor's familie er bornholmsk så jeg må tit tale dansk, men jeg ka' aldrig huske en og et. Mange tak og tak igen!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ninamstone

Are there more exceptions than listed here or only them?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rich110411

A very smart friend of mine from India, Ashok Kapoor, who knew fluently and perfectly a dozen languages told me that often, but not always, 'et' is used when foreign words arrived in Danish and Swedish. Non-foreign words, often Viking-origin words, use a simple 'en' prefix. This distinction seems correct to me. Try it sometime!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EsaToivonen1

I disagree, as our teacher told us, that it is just the opposite; loaned words are 'en' words: arrangement, baguette, bazooka, bonsai, coach and macho.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lerura
Lerura
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@EsaToivonen1 I guess your teacher should dig deeper into danish. Only 3 of the words mensioned are strict common gender. Neuter gender: arrangement: Either gender: baguette and bonsai

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SnailChitC

It is a great article for app developer. I tried to be little extra and simple. try it out for better danish vocabulary. Ios- https://goo.gl/rEQ6Dq Android - https://goo.gl/NXYHqD

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Daniel153041

Tak skal du have

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CarolineSong68

Thank you so much, it is very useful. just started learning danish for 8 days now.

2 weeks ago
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