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  5. "The more you give, the more …

"The more you give, the more you get back."

Translation:Jo mer du gir, jo mer får du tilbake.

July 30, 2015



Why is it "du gir" in the first sentence, but "får du" in the second?


I believe it is like that because Germanic languages (except English) have the so called V2 Word order. This is that the verb always has to be in second position in a sentence. It is very well explained in the tips and notes of the skill Conjunctions:



Are these notes and tips separate from these comment sections? Is it only on the website?


They're only available on the website, where you'll find them below the lessons in the lesson overview of each skill.

We've been nagging Duo to port them to the mobile apps for years, but nothing has happened yet.


Deliciæ, I very much appreciate your prompt response to a lot of questions I have. You make learning a lot easier. I am starting to understand a lot more instead of guessing. By the way, what does your profile name and picture reference (just curiosity)?


Happy to read that. :)

My profile name has no particular significance to me, but it's the nom./voc. plural of the Latin word "delicia" which can mean anything from "darling" or "sweetheart" to "pleasure" and "delight". It used to be the name of one of my alt characters in an MMORPG way back, and what I landed on when I found all of my other name choices were taken. This was when I was a regular user, and as a mod I of course appreciate that I should have picked a name that is a little easier to spell and pronounce. Alas, "Linn" is still taken...

The picture, well, I'll admit to finding it through a google search and shamelessly borrowing it. I used to have blue hair, so I find it easy to identify with. I prefer not to use an actual photo of myself, as I can do without the attention that brings, but at the same time I like having a face - feels a little more approachable, perhaps. I tend to recognise users by their avatars rather than their user names, which makes me hesitant to change my own.


Ah, kjære or skatt as you might say in Norwegian. Though nobody's native tongue ever sounds good to their own ears (at least I assume you're Norwegian with your grasp of the language). You probably recognize my picture if you're from Norway (stave church in Ringebu). I'll probably have 1001 more questions about grammar in the future. Vær klar! ;-)


Are you referring to the subject-verb order?


Yeah. Since the sentence starts in the same way in both cases, I would expect the order would be the same too?


Yeah, me too. It seems it's s-v then v-s for some reason, but there is at least one exception to this rule as there's a verse from a well-known song: "Jo mere vi er sammen, jo gladere vi blir". Maybe it has changed to the s-v v-s pattern recently.

Edit: Disregard this, read taral's reply instead.


Traditionally sentences like this are not expressed “jo …, jo …”, but rather “jo …, desto …”. According to this scheme the sentence would be Jo mer du gir, desto mer får du tilbake. Then it is easier to explain: jo introduces a subordinate clause, while desto introduces a main clause.

Then the general rule applies: When a subordinate clause precedes the main clause, the word order in the subordinate clause is generally S + V, while the word order in the main clause is V + S.

So when people say “jo …, jo …” instead of “jo …, desto …” they keep the word order from the latter construction. (It’s perfectly normal to say “jo …, jo …”, though style guides recommend using “jo …, desto …” instead, except for certain fixed expressions like “jo før, jo heller”, meaning “the sooner, the better”.)

As for the example “Jo mere vi er sammen, jo gladere vi blir”, this is simply because it fits the melody better. The neutral pronunciation of this sentence has a small emphasis on blir, while vi is left unstressed. Emphasizing vi instead of blir would change the meaning slightly, stressing that it is we (and not somebody else) who becomes happier when we are together. The melody for this particular song, on the other hand, has a natural stress on the final syllable, while the penultimate one remains unstressed. Thus, the songwriter had to choose between emphasizing the wrong word or using a grammatically unconventional word order, and must have decided that it would be less awkward to do the latter.


This is a good explanation. Isn't a main clause one that can stand on its own, though, while a subordinate clause requires another clause to be a complete sentence ('the more you get back' wouldn't make sense as a complete sentence)?


I have no issue with the word order. I'm just confused about the use of the contradictory yes (jo) in place of 'the'.


"Jo" has several meanings and functions, just as "the" has. One of them is to introduce these sort of comparative sentences.

If the sentence you're translating consist of:

"The [comparative adjective][X], the [comparative adjective][X]"

You get:

"Jo [comparative adjective][X], [jo/desto/dess*][comparative adjective][X]".

*all acceptable in Bokmål, but "dess" is a bit more on the colloquial side, so you'd be more likely to hear it than to read it.


You couldn't use "flere"? The more things you give?


Flere means several - it wouldn't make sense that way.

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