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Får? Norwegian Help!

I was reading up on Norwegian modal verbs, and one article said there are only five: Vil (Want/will), Skal (Will), Må (Must), Kan (Can), and Bør (Should). Later, I was doing Verbs Present 2 in Norwegian and it used får as a modal verb, meaning "Shall, have, or may". I'm finding very little reference online regarding får in the context of a modal verb (I keep finding stuff about sheep). Are my translations correct? Can someone provide some clarification? Are there any more modal verbs? Tusen takk!

July 11, 2015



I have only seen å få (får/fikk) listed as a modal verb in one book (Norwegian, An Essential Grammar by Åse-Berit and Rolf Strandskogen), but I have noticed my friend (a native Norwegian speaker) uses it that way fairly often. Here are example sentences from her: "Jeg får bare håpe de sovner." "Jeg får sette meg nede og fortsette." "Jeg får se hva jeg rekker" "Jeg får ta en pause" "Jeg får jobbe litt, jeg".

The book defines it as: får/fikk (may/might) can sometimes be used instead of kan/kunne to express permission.


I really like your examples, they sound completely natural to me (native speaker). Just to expand, I would translate them thus: «I can only hope they fall asleep», «I shall have to seat myself downstairs and continue», «I shall have to see what I have time for», «I will/shall have to take a break», «I'll (have to) work a little now.»

It's a tricky verb to translate because it modifies the meaning of the sentences slightly. To me it's more about expressing obligation than permission.


Mostly agree with Turid. However, 'få' can certainly be used to express permission ("Får jeg kysse deg?" - "May I kiss you?") - and obligation is perhaps too strong a word? In many cases, suitable colloquial English translations are "had better" or "should probably", e.g. "Vi får se å komme oss hjem" - "We had better be going [home]" in circumstances when you'd quite like to stay, but know that you have to get up early the next morning.


Får jeg lov å gratulere deg med en utmerket forklaring? :)

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