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"Did you have a car when you were twenty?"

Translation:Hadde du bil da du var tjue?

May 23, 2015



why can't you say, "Hadde du en bil NÅR du var tjue"?


"Da" is used when describing single occurrences; things that only happened once.
"Når" is used when describing recurring events (think "every time when...").

Since you were only 20 once (even if it was over a period of time), "da" is the correct option.


Shouldnt the sentence be: "Hadde du -en- bil da du var tjue?"


No (it can be though). Many norwegian sentences drop the indefinite article, but you still need them in the english translations.


Jeg kjører bil = I am driving a car.

Hadde du tatovering når du du var yngre? = Did you have a tattoo when you were younger?


I think we drop it when we are talking about a thing more generally, for instance, Hadde du bil da du var tjue? doesn't really ask if you had one car.


I think you're talking about the case when things are not countable. The article is also omitted in English in this scenario. "Jeg trenger vann" / "I need water".

There is an alternative explanation also. "Mysteriet Om Nils: Part 2" claims that the indefinite article can be dropped when there is usually only one of a thing. It gives examples including "Han bygger hus", "Per skriver brev" and "Jeg kjøpte ny bil".

The last one is interesting, because it's also given in a completely different coursebook, "Stein På Stein", but I have had a native speaker tell me he'd never say this, and would always include the article, although he would say "Jeg kjørte bil". So, maybe the Nils rule is idiom-specific, and there is some variation depending on dialect / generation / whatever...


And again if you were young only once as you had 20 years only once there should be "da" instead of "når" in this sentence? - Hadde du tatovering "da" du var yngre?

[deactivated user]

    "Hadde du bil da dere var tjue?" should be accepted. I know it seems contradictory at first but the person we're talking about might have a twin brother (or a friend who's the same age as them) who has never had a car, which is why he's not included in the question. In that case the sentence makes perfect sense.

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