"To go" in Norwegian...

So, I was planning on making a video on this one, but I've got so many things I want to say (and since I'm not a fan of learning a script, I prefer writing it all down so that you can take your time and analyse the examples as we go along :) 

So, are you ready? Let's go! 

In Norwegian, we have three words (at least) that can translate the verb "to go". Here they are (notice that they have other translations as well that we will take a closer look at): 

 

1. Å gå (to go, to walk, to leave)

2. Å dra (to go, to travel, to leave)

3. Å reise (to go in the sense of travelling, to leave)

 

Let's take a look at some examples to get a closer understanding of the differences:

 

"Jeg går på fjellet"

= to walk on the mountain; to go to the mountain (here the mountain is seen like a place for activity and the activites one can do on the mountain is in focus, not the trip to the mountain).

 

"Jeg går til fjellet"

= I'm walking to the mountain. When you use "å gå" with the preposition "til" then the meaning is always "walk". 

 

"Jeg drar på fjellet"

= this means "I'm going to the mountain" and can have the same meaning as "jeg går på fjellet" (remember: the mountain and it's possibilities when it comes to activites is in focus, not the trip TO the mountain!). I suggest you use this verb instead of "å gå" to not confuse people :)

 

"Jeg drar/reiser til fjellet"

= this still means "I'm going to the mountain, but with the preposition "til", the focus is the trip to the mountain, and not the mountain part of the trip, if that makes any sense!

 

So, what you need to remember here is:

1. "Å gå" and "å dra" is used for activities with the preposition "på".

"Jeg går/drar på kino" (I'm going to the movies). 

"Jeg går/drar på kafé" (I'm going to a café)

"Jeg går/drar på biblioteket" (I'm going to the library)

 

2. You can also use "å reise" for activities in the same way ("jeg reiser på kino"), but in my humble opinion it's less common, and it feels like you're going far away. Plus the trip is more in focus than the activity you're going to. 

 

3. With the preposition "til", "å gå" means "to walk" and "å reise" and "å dra" means "to go" in the sense of "to travel". 

"Jeg går til kinoen" (I'm walking to the movies)

"Jeg drar til Oslo" (I'm traveling to Oslo)

"Jeg reiser til Hawai (I'm going to Hawai)

"Jeg går til Oslo" (I'm walking to Oslo)

 

4. Nobody is perfect. Some Norwegians might say "å gå til" while what they actually mean is "å reise/dra til", it's quite common. For instance, I could easily say "jeg går til ei venninne" (I'm walking/going to a friend's place) while what I want to say is "jeg drar til ei venninne" (I'm going to a friend's place). For places that aren't far away, this mistake doesn't sound very odd, but if I say for instance "jeg går til Syden* i ferien" (I'm walking to the south this holiday), people might think I'm a sport fanatic...

*Syden: if you haven't heard about "Syden" before (literally: the south), you should know that this is Paradise on Earth for Norwegians, the most common destination for Norwegians in summertime. Where it really is, isn't very well defined by anyone, but let's say that it's the countries around the Mediterranean Sea (and a littel bit beyond). 

 

Let's have a look at some other examples, just to get a better feel of it :) 

If I say only "jeg går" it can mean "I walk" or "I'm leaving" (for instance after a fight, that would be a good way to say "I'm off!"). 

"Jeg drar" means "I'm leaving", but not just for leaving the room, you have to at least leave the building you're in... 

"Jeg reiser" alone means either "I'm travelling/I travel" (for instance "I travel a lot" = "jeg reiser mye")  or "I'm leaving", but here you have to take the car/bus/train/boat and at least move away some kilometers from where you are to make it count :) Remember: the noun "en reise" means "a trip", so it has to be more than just walking away out on the street ;) 

I could give you so many examples, but I think I'll stop here for now just to let it soak in (and feel the essence of the meaning behind these verbs). If you have any questions about this, please feel free to ask, I love analysing examples ;)

Vi snakkes snart :) Talk to you soon :)

 

Silje