Elena Sokolova, September 8 th 2021
I am pretty sure you have sometimes doubted the endings in words like stresset/stressende; vokset/voksende, since such ‘pairs’ are occasionally confusing and look similar. In this blog post, you can learn about ‘adjectives’ that resemble verbs but are not verbs by their pure definition.
Present participle in Danish is often used in the adjective function to describe an activity-related quality inherent to an object, person or phenomenon. The idea of activity-related quality is derived from the verb. Thus, the present participle describes what an object, person or phenomenon is actively doing, not through a ‘normal’ verb, but a ‘verbal adjective’. The present participle is formed by adding -(e)nde to the infinitive, i.e. to the verbs initial dictionary form. If the infinitive of the verb already ends in -e (as the majority of Danish verbs do), the just -nde is added.
The present participle behaves like an adjective but never undergoes t-matching with the gender of the noun, e.g.
et krævende job = a demanding job (from kræve - to demand; no t-matching is needed with an ‘et-noun’).
It does not have the e-ending, unlike ‘pure’ adjectives for describing a plural noun/definite noun (after triggers like den/det/de/possessive words). It seems natural since it has already ‘-e’, and phonetic combinability does not allow an extra -e.
See some examples:
- at stige = to increase => stige (infinitive) + -nde => stigende = increasing
- en stigende arbejdsløshed = an increasing unemployment
- landets stigende arbejdsløshed = the country’s increasing unemployment
- jeres stigende interesse = your increasing interest
- de stigende priser = the increasing prices
- til en stigende pris = for an increasing price
- at vokse = to grow => + -nde => voksende = growing
- en voksende ulighed = a growing inequality;
- den voksende ulighed i samfundet = the increasing inequality in the society;
- voksende smittetal (pl. et tal, mange tal) = growing infection rates
Past participle in Danish is often used as an adjective to describe a passive activity-related quality/state inherent to an object, person or phenomenon. The idea of quality is derived from the verb. The past participle describes what a thing, person or phenomenon is/was exposed to passively, not through an ordinary verb in the passive voice, but a ‘verbal adjective’ of a passive meaning. It is therefore often called ‘static/state passive’. The past participle is formed by using the third form of the verb, the same, e.g. is used to create førnutid and førdatid.
See some examples:
at afvise (conjugation: afviste-afvist) = to reject => et afvist forslag = a rejected suggestion
at diskutere (conjugation: diskuterede - diskuteret) = to discuss => et diskuteret spørgsmål = a discussed question
at forbyde (conjugation: forbød - forbudt) = to prohibit => en forbudt medicin = a banned medicine
Unlike present participle, the past participle may undergo some changes, just like adjectives. Remember that the present participle never undergoes t-matching with the gender of the noun.
However, past participles of the verbs undergo the e-adding when there is a necessary trigger (for describing a plural noun/definite noun & after triggers like den/det/de/possessive words).
See some examples:
- at indføre (conjugation: indførte - indført) = to implement
- den indførte brugerbetaling i sundhedsvæsenet = the implemented healthcare fee E-adding here is necessary, since brugerbetaling is definite with the participle in front of it.
While adding the e-ending to the past participle, spelling changes may occur if the verb’s past participle form ends en -et. After the e-adding -et it will change to -ede.
- et diskuteret emne = a disucussed topic
- ét af de mest omdiskuterede emner i valgdebatten - one of the most discussed topics in the election debate (e-adding in ‘diskuteret’ for plural matching & defitine form of the noun; + changing of -et to -ede)
- en strikket trøje = a knitted shirt
- min strikkede trøje = my knitted shirt (e-adding after a possive trigger)
a) Alle væggene i huset blev malet. = All the walls in the house were painted. Focus on the activity, i.e. someone has come and painted the walls; i.e. traditional passive voice.
b) Alle væggene i huset var malede. = All the walls in the house were painted. Focus on the quality of the walls and how they looked like, i.e. they were not worn out and looked freshly painted.
Do you have questions, comments or suggestions - email to firstname.lastname@example.org.