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  5. Hej! Føj vs. tilføj?


Hej! Føj vs. tilføj?

Hi everyone. If this is the wrong place for this type of question, please let me know. First time posting on Duo :)

So, first a little background so my question makes sense: I started learning Danish here a little over a month ago, and am loving it. I am currently a mono-lingual American (17yo), a senior in college (CS major), and am planning to move to Copenhagen sometime in 2016. I am fascinated by the Danish culture and I know that Copenhagen has a large and growing tech/startup culture. Also looking forward to living in a progressive city/country for a change!

In addition to learning on Duolingo, I've switched the system language on my iPhone and MacBook to Danish, figuring that actually using it (the written form anyway) every day would be invaluable. It's been great, and I've already memorized lots of words/phrases, but there's one question that I haven't been able to find an answer to anywhere, so I'm asking y'all:

I know that 'til' means 'to' and 'føj' means 'add', but what does 'tilføj' mean? On my iPhone it seems to use 'føj' and 'tilføj' almost interchangeably. However, I've come up with an idea: 'føj' is used when the object we're adding to is specified (Føj til kontakter) and 'tilføj' when the object that's being added is specified (Tilføj telefon). Apple's usage of the two words appears to follow this rule, but it's just a guess.

Anyway, sorry for the long post. Thanks so much!


January 30, 2015



The difference lies in: "Føj telefon til..." and "Tilføj telefon". When using "føj" you would always specify what you are adding to, as you so keenly deduced. But if what you are adding to is unknown, implied, or for what ever other reason redundant, you move the word "til" in front of "føj" and make "tilføj". So "tilføj" and "føj til" both mean "add to", where the first can stand alone, the second is an unfinished sentence and doesn't work without saying what you are adding to.

Hope that was helpful, I've never actually pondered over the difference between the two. And I am quite impressed you were able to figure so much out, just from the language settings on your phone.

I might add: "Føj" is also and outburst, used when you are disgusted, I'm not sure of the english equivalent though. "Yuck!" maybe? :P

I enjoyed reading your motivation for learning danish, keep it up!


This is a pretty common thing in Danish, where a verb that takes a preposition can have the preposition prepended to it for slight (or less slight) changes in meaning. I think it's the same in German, and probably other Germanic languages.

Some examples: - "Smide ud", "udsmide" -> throw away. - "Smøre på", "påsmøre" -> spread on - "Smile til", "tilsmile" -> smile at

This can also help in understanding words sometimes, if you recognize a preposition at the front, take it away and see if you don't already know that verb :)


Very helpful comment ^ I use it when I'm learning german, and it's very useful!

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