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  5. "Røre" vs. "røre ved"


"Røre" vs. "røre ved"

The following is a reply of mine to a question in a sentence discussion. If something is unclear, please don't hesitate to ask about in the comments, and I will clarify the post.

A Learner Asked: What is the difference between rører (infinitive røre) and rører ved (infinitve røre ved)?

Well, it's one of those things caused by the eternal language change. Originally, røre was an intransitive verb, meaning it took only a subject and no object. Similar to how to sleep takes only a subject (you can't say I sleep you) but to punch is transitive (I punch you, subject and object). So in order to attach an object, you had to use a modifier, similar to how you can say I cause you to sleep (but not quite).

Another variant is berøre from the prefix be- which is a (no longer productive) modifier to turn a verb into a transitive verb (similar to smile - besmile in English. I besmile you - I smile upon/towards you). This prefix is found in a LOT of verbs in modern Danish, similar to Dutch and German (my research tells me).

Today, however, røre is used by many people as a transitive verb with the same meaning as røre ved and berøre. To me, it still sounds a bit strange, but that's just how it is :)

In any case this sentence is a bit confusing, because it sounds like a command, but it's actually in the present tense, not imperative. I.e. it means you are not touching it, as a statement, not do not touch it which would be (du) rør ikke ved den.

September 6, 2014



What's really confusing about it is that we learned before that "ved" means "know(s)". And when you hover the mouse cursor over "rører ved", a tooltip shows up informing you that "rører" means "touch", "ved" means "know" and "rører ved" together means "touch". And I couldn't really figure out how a combination of "to touch" and "to know" could mean "to touch". Now that I understand that "ved" is (in this context) obviously a preposition meaning "at" or "next to", it makes a lot more sense.

And for the German speakers: I guess "rører ved" can be compared to "an etw. rühren" (which is an odd way to say "etw. berühren" [to touch sth.]).


Ah, yes.... "ved" does have several meanings. There is the one that means to know, "at vide". But there is also the word "ved" in the meaning "by" or "at", e.g. "huset ved vejen" (the house by the road) or "klinikken ved skolen" (the clinic at the school). I suppose in this case the use of "ved" is to indicate that the "touching" occurs "in the area around" the hat or something to that effect.


Another meaning of "ved" is wood as in the hard material a tree is made from. However, "ved" is not often used, instead "træ" is more commonly used for wood as in the hard material a tree is made from.


How could 'touch' ever have been intransitive? Did it used to retain the sense of 'feel', maybe? Like, "I touch", but it's more like "I (am feeling this) touch"?


I was just wondering, considering it's a similar question, whether there's a big difference between the verbs "leger" and "spiller". They are both translated as "to play" in the tree, is there any marked or subtle difference between the two?

Also loving the course so far :) Thanks for all the hard work you've put in.

  • At lege (the verb) or en leg (the noun) is usually unorganized, with few or no rules, and often spontaneous.
  • At spille or et spil has rules, is organized, and planned.

So children in the yard leger, or what you do with a pet, or in the pool. A board game is et spil, and so is a computer game. The verb and nouns are always used in pairs, so man leger en leg and man spiller et spil -- both are one plays a game in English.


Awesome. A great explanation - worth adding to the grammar for that section! Thanks heaps!


Well, not to be a pest, but in the present tense verb lesson, we were given the sentences- Katten rører den, and Pigen rører hestene. Why is ved not used in either of these previous examples of the verb?


Thank you, Rune! Thank you for following my command and posting it.


You just lost your candy, smartypants.


Really terrific explanation.


Thank you Runem! I give you a lingot!


Wow that is so generous to explain it to everyone else cos that is a very confusing thing about Danish and you found out why to care for other duolingos to tell everyone else. Thanks ever so much I appreciate it Keep doing these kind deeds to help From AmyKitten10


Then does ved always collocation with røre as a rule, and dropping ved is a trend in modern parlance? Tak!


I didn't understand it. so 'røre' can just be used instead of 'røre ved'? So I can say instead 'Du rører ikke den!', yes?


You could, but the sentence would be "Du rører den ikke!" or just "Rør den ikke!" - including "ved" makes it a little more broad, as in "don't even think about going near this thing" - where "ved" is about proximity


I gave you 3 lingots


I'm still a tad confused because 'ved' translates to 'with'. Shouldn't it be 'touch with'?


Totally awesome post. thumbs up and 3 lingot worthy


I asked a Dane and he told me that they use it both ways- with and without ved and everyone would understand what it means and they don't think one or the other is incorrect.

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