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  5. "What happened?"

"What happened?"

Translation:Hvad skete der?

December 6, 2014



why do you need to include der? wouldn't that be what happened there?


It's a fixed phrase in Danish :)


I don't know the exact answer to this, but I do notice that this is grammatically identical to Dutch--"Wat gebeurde er?" which also translates literally as "What happened there?" Danish and Dutch have quite a few similarities due to a common Low German influence in the Middle Ages, so perhaps this is the origin of the seemingly extraneous "der"/"there."


So is the "there"/"der"/"er" required or just formal/conventional? If you left it off would it just be nonsensical or just informal?


I know in Dutch, it is mandatory--"er" is used in a lot of circumstances where there would be no subject pronoun in English, such as with "what" questions.

"Wat zit er op de tafel?" - What is (there) on the table?

Perhaps this is also the case in Danish (can't seem to find an answer online) or maybe this is just a fixed expression, but I would say that, yes, "der" is required here. Hopefully a native Dane can drop in for some clarity!

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