N-word ( N-ord ) or T-word (T-ord). PD2

In Danish we have nouns described as n-ord ( words having en in the definite singular form) , and other  words described as t-ord ( words having et in the definite singular form).

There is no hard and fast rule to know if a noun is an n-word or a t-word.

Most   nouns in Danish, depicting living things are n-words. For example en hund (a dog), en mand (a man), en kanin (a rabbit ). But take note of exceptions like  et menneske (a person), et dyr (an animal) and et træ ( a tree).

Most nouns in Danish ending with an e in the basic form are n-words. For example en abe, en adresse, en flaske.

Most nouns in Danish ending with an –hed, –dom, –else,-ing,- inde are n-words . For example en begivenhed (an event ) , en sygdom  ( an illness) , en begravelse ( a funeral ), en afdeling ( a department), en veninde ( a girlfriend ).

Danish nouns ending with –eri and  –um  are usually t-words. For example : et verbum (a verb), et krydderi ( a spice)

About 80 % of all nouns are n-words, so when in doubt, it’s better to use the n-word form.

In Danish, some compound words are created from two nouns (sammensat af to substantiver ). For example en cykeltur (a bike ride) is made up of the nouns en cykel and en tur or et havebord ( a garden table). Compounds words take the –n or the –t form, depending on the form of the indefinite article in the second noun of  the compound word.  So we have en cykeltur because of en tur and we have et havebord because of et bord.

In some cases the articles en or et are not used with the basic form of the nouns. For example:

a) When you talk about   uncountable nouns.

i)                    Han drikker altid øl ( he always drinks beer). Beer cannot be counted. Other examples are, wine (vin), water (vand).

ii)                   If the uncountable noun is contained in another countable now, such that the container  comes before the noun, then the article can be used. For example , vil du have en flaske øl ?

b) When you talk about a job (what: you are, will be or had been) or nationality. For example:

iii)                 Han er buschauffør (He is a bus driver) and not Han er en buschauffør.

iv)                 Han vil være buschauffør ( He will like to become a bus driver ) and not Han vil være en buschauffør)

v)                  Han blev buschauffør sidste år ( He was  a bus driver last year ) and not Han blev  en buschauffør sidste år.

vi)                 It is ok however to say jeg vil gerne  snakke  med en buschauffør nu (I would like to talk to a bus driver now.)

vii)               It also ok to have the article if an adjective comes just before the noun. For example, hun er en smuk pige (She is a beautiful girl).

viii)              Han er dansker ( he is  Danish) and not han er en dansker

c)    When there is a permanent connection with a verb + a noun. For example , min søn kan godt lide at spille fodbold (My son likes to play football) and not min søn kan godt lide at spille en fodbold  .

d)   When there is a permanent connection with a verb + a preposition + a noun we use the basic form of the word or the indefinite  plural form, as the case may be. For example, Per går på kursus to dage om uge (Per attends courses twice a week). In this sentence, går is a verb, på is a preposition, and kursus is a noun.

Here is the table of some nouns in the different singular and plural forms:

Type of word Singluar (Ental) Plural (Flertal)
Indefinite (Ubestemt) Definite (bestemt) Indefinite (Ubestemt) Definite (bestemt)
n-word ( n-ord) en dreng ( a boy) Drengen (the boy) Drenge (boys) Drengene

(the boys)

t-word (t-ord ) et æble ( an apple) Æblet  ( the apple) Æbler (apples ) Æblerne

(the apples)