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  5. "Det er en katt hos oss."

"Det er en katt hos oss."

Translation:There is a cat at our house.

June 1, 2015



Say no more I'm on my way


Why is "det er" translated to "there is"? Or why does the Norwegian sentence not start with "der er"?


You ask an interesting question. In fact, Norwegian used to distinguish between the two different dummy subjects it is and there is same as in English with det er and der er respectively.

Der er as a dummy subject is now considered archaic, and is seldom used. If you see Der er the der is then most likely the demonstrative there rather than the dummy subject there.

Yes, it gets rather confusing when demonstratives and dummy subjects look exactly the same...

Dummy subject "der er" can be rewritten as "der finnes", "der lever", "der eksisterer". In other words, it talks about something existing, something concrete, often something living, that can thus have a location in space and time (even though it is a dummy subject, it is still closely linked to its etymological origin as a demonstrative).

Dummy subject "det er" is now used for both cases, but when it means "it is", just like in English, what you are talking about it usually something abstract, or what in other languages might be a subjectless verb describing a state, such as

  • "Det er varmt ute" = "The weather is hot".
  • "Det er sommer" = "It is summer".


I'm not a native Norwegian speaker, but I believe that is because this sentence is essentially equivalent to "A cat is at our house," focusing on the cat's existence or presence.

In contrast, der is used to emphasize the location of something or someone, like you're pointing your finger in that direction and saying "There it is! It's over there!"

If you can replace "there" with "here" (her) and produce a sentence that still makes sense, then using der is probably appropriate in that case:

Det er mat på bordet = There is food on the table. (edited, thanks HakonSoreide!)

("Here is food on the table" doesn't really make sense.)

Der er maten! = There's the food!

("Here's the food!" makes sense.)


Native speaker here, and I am sorry to say it's not quite as simple as that.

Also "det er maten på bordet" means "that is the food on the table". If you want to say "there is food on the table" it should be "det er mat på bordet."

English has two dummy subjects, "it" and "there", and Norwegian also used to have two, "det" and "der".

"Der er mat på bordet" is correct Norwegian, though quite old-fashioned now, and means "there is food on the table".

If you want to use the demonstrative "there", the sentence becomes "Der er maten på bordet", meaning either "now the food is on the table" or "the food is there on the table".

The demonstrative "der" is always stressed when speaking, but dummy subject "der" and "it" are never stressed.


And what about "hos" that it means at home?


"Hos oss" does not mean "at home". "At home" is "hjemme". "Hos oss" also doesn't necessarily mean at your house, though that is a common possible translation, and the word "hos" is etymologically derived from the word "hus".

If you were at someone else's house, you could say "hos oss". If you were in a restaurant and a cat suddenly came and stayed at your table, you could say it; if you for some reason were standing around in groups and you wanted to tell someone in which group the cat was, you could also say "hos oss" (or, of course, "hos dem" if you saw it in another group).

If you were talking to your uncle in Australia, and you wanted to talk about the weather in Norway, you could say "Det er vinter hos oss", meaning "It is winter in Norway", "hos" now including not just your group, your house, your town, but the entire country.

It only implies something being in a clearly defined relative location to a person or group of persons.


You might want to add that "hos" mainly relates to a person or group of persons (or generically, as in your example "here, where we are"), not a place. You wouldn't say "hos rådhuset/restauranten".


Good point. Although you could say something like "Hos Steen & Strøm kan du kjøpe møbler," so it can be used for shops.


so I put "hos oss" as "with us" and it was wrong, does this always mean "at our home/house"?


Yes, "with us" would be "sammen med oss".

Someone can be "hos oss" even when we're somewhere else, for example if they're looking after the house while we're on vacation.


I feel like it's missing a LOT of grammar. Is this one of those odd specific phrases that just sound like that like in English "go home" instead of "go_to_the_house"? Because "hos oss" sounds like "hus oss" like "house us... ?" Not even ours


"hos oss" means "with us" or "at our place". It has nothing to do with houses.


Etymologically, it is the prepositional form of the word for house, so it does have something to do with houses, even if its meaning has been extended.


Kind of off-topic but what happen if instead of "sammen med" i just use "med" when referring to someone being with me? Like "de var med meg"?


Just "med" works as well, and there's also the more dialectical "i lag" which you'll hear more in Central Norway.


Now with us works... worked for me


If you know any French, think of it as the distinction between "chez nous" and "avec nous."


I think that is an accurate comparison.


I am confused at the word "hos". Isn't "house" usually "hus"? Why is it "hos" here?


Hos oss is like the French expression chez nous. It means our place, or the place where we live.


Hus is a noun, huse is a verb, and hos is an adverb or preposition. They are all etymologically derived from the word «Hus».

  • Vi huser katten.
  • Katten er i huset vårt.
  • Katten er hos oss.

These don’t mean exactly the same thing, but they almost do, using the verb, noun and preposition respectively.

Norwegians don’t even think of hos and hus as being sort of the same word as they are used so differently.


It's ok "our house" but not "at home"?


Is there a distinction between "It is a cat at our house" and "there is a cat at our house"? (il est un chat... / il y a un chat...) I put the first one and it was marked correct.


House? I don't understand. I assume it is inferred, but why? How do I know it's not at your car or school? Is it that no specific place was mentioned so always assume it's home?


Afaik, "hos" is a preposition regarding the physical presence of a place. So like in english "at our place" you know is a house/apartment and not the school or a car.


which one is the best translation for this phrase?


I wrote "There's a cat at home". Why is it wrong?


You're missing the "oss" part that says the cat is staying at "our" home, and not necessarily the cat's home. Your phrase is ambiguous about that.


'Hjemme' vs 'Hos'?


"Hos" means "at". "Hjemme" means "at home". "De er en katt hos oss" means "There is a cat at our place/with us".


So, in German this would be "da ist eine Katze bei uns"? Without even mentioning a house, right?


It could translate as “bei uns”, yes. One could also say, “Wir haben zuhause eine Katze.”


If "hos oss" is "our place" can you also use "hos" for your place, their place, etc?


Yes, you can say "hos deg" etc. But actually "hos" means more like "at", not "place".


Technically, it means neither "at" nor "place" but "at ... place" or "with" (depending on context).


I feel like there could be a lot of translations to referring to something or someone at your house other than "hos oss". Could one not say "på huset vårt"?


One could say that, but it means something else: it means the cat is either on the outside wall or the roof. Also, "hos oss" doesn't necessarily mean at someone's house, though that is a common possible translation. If you were at someone else's house, you could say "hos oss". If you were in a restaurant and a cat suddenly came and stayed at your table, you could say it, etc. It only implies a clearly defined relative location.


Im really confused. How does "det er en katt hos oss" translate to "there is a cat at our house"? Where does "house" get brought into the sentence? I appreciate any help I can get on this, thank you.


"hos oss" means "at out place". It could be a house, a flat, or even a tent (if your family lives in a tent).


I really dont understand these "hos",the proper translation and where and how to use it, can someone explaine it to me please?


Literally, "hos" means "at". So "hos oss" means "at us" (literally), which in turn is a way to say "at our place" in Norwegian.


Bare hyggelig. :)

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