How to Use SOM in Norwegian: A Comprehensive Guide

Norwegian, with its melodic tones and unique syntax, is a captivating language for learners. One word that often appears across various contexts is “som.” This versatile word plays multiple roles in sentences, from relative pronouns to comparative markers. Understanding how to use “som” correctly can significantly improve your Norwegian language skills. In this article, we’ll explore the different uses of “som” and provide examples to help you master its application.

1. “Som” as a Relative Pronoun

In Norwegian, “som” is frequently used as a relative pronoun, connecting a main clause to a relative clause. It translates to “who,” “whom,” “that,” or “which” in English. The relative clause provides additional information about a noun without starting a new sentence.


  • The person who called you is on the line.
    • Personen som ringte deg, er på linjen.
  • The book that I read was fascinating.
    • Boken som jeg leste, var fascinerende.

2. “Som” in Comparative Structures

“Som” is also used in comparisons, similar to the English word “as.” It is used to compare two things, indicating similarity or equality in terms of quality, quantity, or condition.


  • He is as tall as his brother.
    • Han er like høy som broren sin.
  • She sings as beautifully as a nightingale.
    • Hun synger like vakkert som en nattergal.

3. “Som” for Describing Roles or Functions

“Som” can describe the role, function, or job of a person or thing, similar to the English word “as.”


  • He works as a teacher.
    • Han jobber som lærer.
  • She used a shoe as a hammer.
    • Hun brukte en sko som en hammer.

4. “Som” in Fixed Expressions

There are several fixed expressions in Norwegian where “som” is used, carrying specific meanings that might not directly translate to English.


  • Som oftest (most often)
  • Som sagt (as said)
  • Som regel (as a rule)

5. Tips for Using “Som” Correctly

  • Context Matters: Pay attention to the sentence structure and the role “som” is playing—whether it’s linking clauses, making comparisons, or describing roles.
  • Practice with Examples: The more you read and practice sentences with “som,” the better you’ll understand its nuances.
  • Ask for Feedback: If you’re learning Norwegian, asking native speakers or teachers for feedback on your usage of “som” can be incredibly helpful.

6. 20 example sentences using “som” in various contexts

Here are 20 example sentences using “som” in various contexts in Norwegian, showcasing its versatility as a word:

  1. Boken som jeg leste, var utrolig spennende.
    • The book that I read was incredibly exciting.
  2. Hun jobber som lærer på en ungdomsskole.
    • She works as a teacher at a middle school.
  3. Han er like høy som broren sin.
    • He is as tall as his brother.
  4. Katten som sover på sofaen, er min.
    • The cat that is sleeping on the sofa is mine.
  5. Han oppfører seg som en helt.
    • He behaves like a hero.
  6. Det huset som du ser der, ble bygget i 1920.
    • That house that you see there was built in 1920.
  7. Hun synger like vakkert som en nattergal.
    • She sings as beautifully as a nightingale.
  8. Mannen som står ved døren, er min onkel.
    • The man who is standing by the door is my uncle.
  9. Jeg har en venn som bor i Oslo.
    • I have a friend who lives in Oslo.
  10. Bilen som jeg kjøpte, er veldig pålitelig.
  • The car that I bought is very reliable.
  1. Han brukte en stein som hammer.
  • He used a rock as a hammer.
  1. Jenta som du møtte i går, er min niese.
  • The girl whom you met yesterday is my niece.
  1. Som regel står jeg opp klokken seks.
  • As a rule, I get up at six o’clock.
  1. Vi trenger en person som kan snakke flere språk.
  • We need a person who can speak several languages.
  1. Hun har en drøm som hun håper går i oppfyllelse.
  • She has a dream that she hopes will come true.
  1. Som oftest går jeg til jobb til fots.
  • Most often, I walk to work.
  1. Filmen som vi så, var basert på en sann historie.
  • The movie that we watched was based on a true story.
  1. Han behandlet meg som en god venn.
  • He treated me like a good friend.
  1. Det er som å finne en nål i en høystakk.
  • It’s like finding a needle in a haystack.
  1. Som sagt, vi vil vurdere forslaget nøye.
  • As said, we will carefully consider the proposal.

These sentences demonstrate the use of “som” as a relative pronoun, in comparative structures, to describe roles or functions, and within fixed expressions, providing a comprehensive overview of its versatility in Norwegian.


Mastering the use of “som” can significantly enhance your fluency in Norwegian. Whether it’s linking detailed information with a relative pronoun, making comparisons, describing roles, or navigating fixed expressions, “som” is a small word that holds significant power in the language. Remember, practice and exposure to real-life Norwegian texts and conversations will improve your understanding and usage of “som.”


FAQ: Understanding “Som” in Norwegian

Q1: What does “som” mean in Norwegian? A1: “Som” is a versatile word in Norwegian that can mean “who,” “whom,” “that,” “which” in relative clauses, and “as” in comparative structures. It also describes roles or functions similar to the English “as.”

Q2: How is “som” used as a relative pronoun? A2: “Som” is used to connect a main clause with a relative clause, providing additional information about a noun. It functions similarly to “who,” “whom,” “that,” or “which” in English.

Q3: Can you give an example of “som” in a comparative structure? A3: Yes. For instance, to say “He is as tall as his brother” in Norwegian, you would say “Han er like høy som broren sin,” where “som” is used to compare height.

Q4: How does “som” describe roles or functions? A4: “Som” describes the role, function, or job of a person or thing. For example, “He works as a teacher” translates to “Han jobber som lærer” in Norwegian.

Q5: Are there fixed expressions in Norwegian that use “som”? A5: Yes, there are several fixed expressions like “som oftest” (most often), “som sagt” (as said), and “som regel” (as a rule), where “som” carries specific meanings.

Q6: What are some tips for using “som” correctly? A6: Understanding the context is crucial. Practice using “som” in different sentences, read Norwegian texts, and seek feedback from native speakers or teachers.

Q7: Is “som” difficult to master for Norwegian learners? A7: Like any aspect of a new language, “som” can be challenging at first. However, with practice and exposure to the language, learners can grasp its various uses and nuances.

Q8: Can “som” be omitted in Norwegian sentences? A8: In some contexts, particularly in informal spoken Norwegian, “som” might be omitted, but its use is generally important for clarity and correctness in written and formal spoken Norwegian.

Q9: How important is practicing with real-life examples for mastering “som”? A9: Practicing with real-life examples is crucial. It helps learners understand the application of “som” in various contexts, enhancing their ability to use it fluently and appropriately.


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