Norwegian Business Communication Skills: Business Writing & Grammar in Norwegian


In today’s globalized business world, effective communication is crucial for success. When it comes to doing business in Norway or with Norwegian partners, mastering Norwegian business communication skills can give you a significant advantage. This comprehensive guide will delve into the intricacies of business writing and grammar in Norwegian, providing you with the knowledge and tools to communicate effectively in a Norwegian business context.

Norway, with its robust economy, innovative business landscape, and strategic position in Northern Europe, presents numerous opportunities for international businesses. However, to fully capitalize on these opportunities, understanding and using the Norwegian language in business communications is invaluable.

For those looking to rapidly improve their Norwegian business language skills, the NLS Norwegian Language School in Oslo offers private 1-to-1 classes. You can find more information and register at These personalized classes can help you quickly adapt to the nuances of Norwegian business communication.

The Importance of Norwegian in Business

While it’s true that many Norwegians speak excellent English, using Norwegian in business communications can provide several advantages:

  1. Show respect for the local culture: Using Norwegian demonstrates your commitment to understanding and respecting Norwegian business culture.
  2. Build stronger relationships with Norwegian partners: Communication in Norwegian can help create a more personal connection with your business partners.
  3. Demonstrate commitment to the Norwegian market: It shows that you’re serious about doing business in Norway long-term.
  4. Provide a competitive edge: Your willingness to communicate in Norwegian can set you apart from competitors who rely solely on English.
  5. Understand cultural nuances: Language and culture are deeply intertwined. By learning Norwegian, you’ll gain insights into cultural nuances that can be crucial in business negotiations and relationships.

Norwegian Business Writing: Key Principles

Formality and Tone

Norwegian business writing tends to be less formal than in many other languages, reflecting the generally egalitarian nature of Norwegian society. However, it’s still important to maintain a professional tone. Here are some guidelines:

  • Use of “Du”: In most business contexts, the informal “du” (you) is used. This reflects the flat hierarchical structure common in Norwegian businesses.
  • Greetings: Begin emails with “Hei” (Hi) for familiar contacts or “Kjære” (Dear) for more formal situations. “God dag” (Good day) can also be used in formal written communication.
  • Closings: End emails with “Med vennlig hilsen” (Kind regards) or “Beste hilsener” (Best regards). For more formal letters, “Vennlig hilsen” (Friendly regards) can be used.

Clarity and Conciseness

Norwegian business writing values clarity and directness. This reflects the Norwegian cultural value of “å være rett på sak” (getting straight to the point). Here are some tips:

  • Use short, clear sentences: Avoid complex sentence structures that might confuse the reader.
  • Avoid unnecessary words and jargon: Be precise and to the point.
  • Use active voice where possible: This makes your writing more dynamic and clear.
  • Structure your writing with clear headings and bullet points when appropriate: This helps the reader navigate your document easily.


A typical Norwegian business letter or email follows this structure:

  1. Greeting
  2. Introduction (reason for writing)
  3. Main content
  4. Conclusion (next steps or call to action)
  5. Closing salutation

Norwegian Business Grammar: Key Points

Understanding Norwegian grammar is crucial for effective business communication. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

Nouns and Articles

In Norwegian, nouns have two genders: common (en/et) and neuter (et). The definite article is attached to the end of the noun. For example:

  • en rapport (a report) → rapporten (the report)
  • et møte (a meeting) → møtet (the meeting)
  • en bedrift (a company) → bedriften (the company)
  • et marked (a market) → markedet (the market)

In business writing, it’s crucial to use the correct gender and definite form of nouns. Mistakes in this area can make your writing appear unprofessional.


Norwegian verbs are relatively simple compared to many other languages. They don’t conjugate for person or number. However, tense is important. Here are some common business-related verbs and their conjugations:

  • å sende (to send):
    • Present: sender
    • Past: sendte
    • Perfect: har sendt Example: Jeg sender rapporten i morgen. (I’ll send the report tomorrow.)
  • å møte (to meet):
    • Present: møter
    • Past: møtte
    • Perfect: har møtt Example: Vi møtes klokken 10. (We’ll meet at 10 o’clock.)
  • å avtale (to agree/arrange):
    • Present: avtaler
    • Past: avtalte
    • Perfect: har avtalt Example: Vi har avtalt et møte neste uke. (We’ve arranged a meeting next week.)

Compound Words

Norwegian frequently uses compound words, especially in business and technical contexts. This is an important feature of the language to master for effective business communication. Here are some examples:

  • forretningsplan (business plan) = forretning (business) + plan (plan)
  • markedsføringsstrategi (marketing strategy) = markedsføring (marketing) + strategi (strategy)
  • kundeservice (customer service) = kunde (customer) + service (service)
  • salgstall (sales figures) = salg (sales) + tall (figures)

When forming compound words, be aware that sometimes a linking ‘s’ is added between the words, as in “forretningsplan” and “markedsføringsstrategi”.

Word Order

Norwegian generally follows a Subject-Verb-Object (SVO) word order, similar to English. However, there are some important differences to note:

  1. In questions, the verb comes before the subject:
    • Har du mottatt rapporten? (Have you received the report?)
  2. When a sentence starts with an adverb or a subordinate clause, the verb comes before the subject in the main clause:
    • I morgen sender jeg rapporten. (Tomorrow I will send the report.)
    • Hvis det passer, møtes vi klokken 10. (If it suits, we’ll meet at 10 o’clock.)
  3. In subordinate clauses, the negation “ikke” comes before the verb:
    • Jeg tror ikke at han kommer. (I don’t think he’s coming.)

Understanding and correctly using these word order rules will make your Norwegian business writing more fluent and professional.

Types of Business Writing in Norwegian

1. Emails (E-poster)

Emails are the most common form of business communication. A typical Norwegian business email includes:

  • Greeting: “Hei [Navn]” or “Kjære [Navn]”
  • Introduction: State the purpose of your email
  • Main content: Keep it concise and to the point
  • Conclusion: Summarize any actions to be taken
  • Closing: “Med vennlig hilsen” followed by your name and title


Hei Kari,

Jeg håper denne e-posten finner deg vel. Jeg skriver angående vårt kommende prosjektmøte.

Basert på tilbakemeldingene fra teamet, foreslår jeg at vi flytter møtet til neste tirsdag kl. 14:00. Dette vil gi oss mer tid til å forberede presentasjonen.

Vennligst gi meg beskjed om dette passer for deg. Hvis du har noen spørsmål eller bekymringer, ikke nøl med å ta kontakt.

Med vennlig hilsen, [Ditt navn] [Din tittel]

2. Business Letters (Forretningsbrev)

While less common than emails, formal business letters are still used for official communications. A Norwegian business letter typically includes:

  • Sender’s address
  • Date
  • Recipient’s address
  • Subject line (Emne:)
  • Salutation
  • Body
  • Closing
  • Signature

3. Reports (Rapporter)

Reports in Norwegian business contexts should be clear, concise, and well-structured. Use headings and subheadings to organize information. Common sections include:

  • Sammendrag (Summary)
  • Innledning (Introduction)
  • Metodikk (Methodology)
  • Resultater (Results)
  • Diskusjon (Discussion)
  • Konklusjon (Conclusion)
  • Anbefalinger (Recommendations)

When writing reports, focus on clarity and use appropriate business terminology. Avoid unnecessary jargon and explain any technical terms if needed.

4. Presentations (Presentasjoner)

When creating slides for a Norwegian business presentation, remember:

  • Keep text minimal
  • Use bullet points for key information
  • Include visual aids where appropriate
  • Use Norwegian terms and phrases
  • Practice your pronunciation of key terms

Remember to engage your audience and be prepared for questions. Norwegians often appreciate a direct and honest approach in presentations.

Common Norwegian Business Phrases

Learning key Norwegian business phrases can greatly enhance your communication skills. Here are some useful expressions:

  • Vi ser frem til å høre fra deg. (We look forward to hearing from you.)
  • Vennligst ta kontakt hvis du har spørsmål. (Please contact us if you have any questions.)
  • Takk for din henvendelse. (Thank you for your inquiry.)
  • Vi bekrefter mottak av din bestilling. (We confirm receipt of your order.)
  • Vedlagt finner du… (Attached you will find…)
  • Jeg skulle gjerne ha diskutert dette nærmere. (I would like to discuss this further.)
  • Kan vi avtale et møte? (Can we arrange a meeting?)
  • Hva er din mening om dette forslaget? (What is your opinion on this proposal?)
  • Vi må dessverre avslå tilbudet. (We must unfortunately decline the offer.)
  • Vi er interessert i å inngå et samarbeid. (We are interested in entering into a collaboration.)

Norwegian Business Writing: Common Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Overuse of passive voice: While passive voice is used in Norwegian, overuse can make your writing seem weak or evasive. Use active voice where possible.
  2. Direct translation of idioms: Many English business idioms don’t translate directly to Norwegian. For example, “ballpark figure” doesn’t have a direct Norwegian equivalent. Instead, you might say “et grovt anslag” (a rough estimate).
  3. Incorrect use of formal vs. informal address: Using “De” when “du” is more appropriate can create an awkward tone. In most business contexts, “du” is appropriate.
  4. Neglecting Norwegian punctuation rules: For example, Norwegian uses a comma before “og” (and) in lists, unlike English.
  5. Misuse of modal verbs: Norwegian modal verbs (like “kan”, “må”, “bør”) have subtle differences in meaning that are important to understand.
  6. Incorrect word order: Remember the V2 rule in Norwegian main clauses, where the verb must be the second element in the sentence.
  7. Gender mistakes with nouns: Using the wrong gender for a noun can make your writing appear unprofessional.
  8. Overcomplicating language: Norwegian business writing values clarity and directness. Avoid unnecessarily complex language.

Tips for Improving Your Norwegian Business Writing Skills

  1. Read Norwegian business publications: Familiarize yourself with the style and vocabulary used in Norwegian business contexts. Publications like Dagens Næringsliv or E24 can be helpful.
  2. Practice regularly: Write emails, reports, or presentations in Norwegian, even if just for practice. Regular writing will help you internalize grammar rules and vocabulary.
  3. Use language tools wisely: Tools like Google Translate can be helpful, but always double-check the results. Online dictionaries like Ordnett can be more reliable for individual words and phrases.
  4. Learn from feedback: If possible, have a native Norwegian speaker review your writing and provide feedback. This can help you identify recurring mistakes and areas for improvement.
  5. Take a course: Consider enrolling in a Norwegian for Business course to improve your skills systematically. The NLS Norwegian Language School in Oslo offers private 1-to-1 classes that can be tailored to your specific needs in business Norwegian. You can find more information and register at
  6. Immerse yourself in the language: If possible, spend time in Norway or engage with Norwegian media. This can help you pick up natural phrases and improve your overall language skills.
  7. Study Norwegian business culture: Understanding the cultural context can help you communicate more effectively. Norwegian business culture values equality, directness, and consensus-building.
  8. Build a vocabulary list: Keep a running list of business-related Norwegian words and phrases you encounter. Review and practice these regularly.
  9. Use mnemonic devices: Create memory aids to help you remember tricky grammar rules or vocabulary.
  10. Be patient with yourself: Learning a new language for business purposes takes time. Celebrate your progress and don’t be discouraged by mistakes – they’re a natural part of the learning process.

The Role of English in Norwegian Business

While this guide focuses on Norwegian business communication, it’s worth noting that English is widely used in Norwegian business contexts, especially in international companies. However, having Norwegian skills can still provide a significant advantage. It allows you to:

  • Understand informal conversations between Norwegian colleagues
  • Read Norwegian business documents and publications
  • Connect more deeply with Norwegian clients and partners
  • Show respect for and interest in Norwegian culture

Even if you primarily use English in your business dealings, having some Norwegian skills can be beneficial. It’s often appreciated when foreign business people make an effort to use some Norwegian, even if it’s just for greetings or simple phrases.

Norwegian Business Culture: Key Aspects to Consider

Understanding Norwegian business culture is crucial for effective communication. Here are some key aspects to keep in mind:

  1. Egalitarianism: Norwegian society, including business culture, is highly egalitarian. Hierarchies are typically flat, and everyone’s opinion is valued.
  2. Work-Life Balance: Norwegians value their personal time highly. Respect for work hours and vacation time is important.
  3. Punctuality: Being on time is crucial in Norwegian business culture. Arrive a few minutes early for meetings.
  4. Consensus-Building: Decisions are often made through consensus rather than top-down directives.
  5. Directness: Norwegians appreciate clear, straightforward communication. Don’t be afraid to be direct, but always remain polite.
  6. Modesty: Boasting or overselling is generally frowned upon. Let your achievements speak for themselves.
  7. Environmental Consciousness: Sustainability and environmental responsibility are important values in Norwegian business.
  8. Trust: Building trust is crucial. Norwegians value long-term relationships in business.

Understanding and respecting these cultural norms can greatly enhance your business communications and relationships in Norway.


Mastering Norwegian business communication skills can significantly enhance your professional opportunities in Norway. By understanding the nuances of Norwegian business writing and grammar, you can effectively communicate with Norwegian partners and clients, building stronger relationships and demonstrating your commitment to the Norwegian market.

Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t hesitate to use your Norwegian skills whenever possible in a business context. Whether you’re writing an email, preparing a report, or giving a presentation, your efforts to communicate in Norwegian will be appreciated.

For those serious about improving their Norwegian business language skills quickly, consider taking private 1-to-1 classes at the NLS Norwegian Language School in Oslo. Their personalized approach can help you rapidly improve your Norwegian business communication skills. You can find more information and register at

With dedication and practice, you can develop the Norwegian business communication skills necessary to succeed in the Norwegian business world. By combining language skills with an understanding of Norwegian business culture, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate the Norwegian business landscape effectively.

Lykke til med din norske forretningskommunikasjon! (Good luck with your Norwegian business communication!)

If you want to learn Norwegian, you can register for classes here. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you become fluent in Norwegian.

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