Danish: gå vs. tage

Sesio

New Member
Castellano
Hi, everyone. I've recently taken up the study of Danish and I'm finding it fascinating and way easier than expected. I am a bit confused with the use of the verbs "at gå" and "at tage". What's the difference between "Han går til arbejde" and "Han tager til arbejde"? Is one of them more formal and the other more colloquial? Do time expressions (nu, i dag, i morgen, på fredag) affect the choice?

Thanks a lot beforehand.
 
  • Sepia

    Senior Member
    High German/Danish
    Hi, everyone. I've recently taken up the study of Danish and I'm finding it fascinating and way easier than expected. I am a bit confused with the use of the verbs "at gå" and "at tage". What's the difference between "Han går til arbejde" and "Han tager til arbejde"? Is one of them more formal and the other more colloquial? Do time expressions (nu, i dag, i morgen, på fredag) affect the choice?

    Thanks a lot beforehand.
    You are right it really is an easy language to learn, with very few flexions, and about 40 irregular verbs. The tricky part is knowing the right genders, understanding spoken language and getting used to idioms like the ones you are mentioning.

    I would not say that one is more colloquial than the other one. It is simply that one of them includes the verb "at gå" which also means "to walk" - that might be an implication that he actually has to walk to get there - or at least that in the part of it that is vivid in the speakers mind, he is walking. Bit it doesn't have to. And with "at tage" - man kan tage bussen - this might imply that he is using some kind of transportation other than his feet. Might, but doesn't have to. I'd say, the meaning of the two overlap by at least 90%.
    Besides, I think that most people - or at least I would - say "Han går på arbejde" and "Han tager på arbejde" but I couldn't say that using "til" would be wrong. Well that is except in
    "Han går på arbejde" in a slightly different meaning; "at gå på arbejde" may also mean that someone has a regular job, totally with out taking into consideradion how or when he goes to his place of work. Using "til" would exclude that meaning.

    Time adverbials would not make any difference in your choice.
     
    Adding to Sepia's remarks I would (out of context) interpret the first statements as:

    - "At gå på arbejde" (to maintain a job). -- "Hvordan får du økonomien til at hænge sammen? Jeg går på arbejde og tjener penge."

    In the more literal context i would read it as:

    - "At gå på arbejde" (to walk to work). -- "Hvordan holder du dig så slank? Jeg går på arbejde hver dag."

    I would however only interpret the the second sentence as:

    - "At tage på arbejde" (to head for work). -- "Når min kæreste er taget på arbejde om morgenen bliver huset så stille".
     

    bicontinental

    Senior Member
    English (US), Danish, bilingual
    I am a bit confused with the use of the verbs "at gå" and "at tage". What's the difference between "Han går til arbejde" and "Han tager til arbejde"? Is one of them more formal and the other more colloquial? Do time expressions (nu, i dag, i morgen, på fredag) affect the choice?
    My two cents regarding the choice of prepositions,

    When I read your sentence: han går til arbejde (without any further context) I understand it to mean “he walks to work” and nothing else. The finite verb går is stressed, han går til arbejde (maybe he used to bike or take the bus, but now he walks to work.)

    If I want to say “he goes to work (every day)” i.e. to convey the idea that he holds a job, I would not use the preposition til which emphasizes direction or movement towards a certain place. Han går på arbejde hver dag would be my preferred translation and here the finite verb går is not stressed.

    The phrase, han tager på arbejde hver dag is another way of saying “he goes to work every day” but there are subtle changes in the meaning of this verb phrase depending on the context:
    Han tager på arbejde kl. 7 (he leaves for work at 7am)
    Han tager til (og fra) arbejde med tog (he takes the train to work)

    Bic.
     

    Sesio

    New Member
    Castellano
    Thanks a lot for the help. Another question: what about 'I'm going to work now' (as in 'I'm leaving for work now')? Should it be 'jeg skal tage til arbejde'? 'Jeg skal tage på arbejde'? 'Jeg skal gå til/på arbejde'?

    Please excuse me if the question is too basic, but I've just begun the study of the language.
     

    Sepia

    Senior Member
    High German/Danish
    I'd say,
    Jeg tager (af sted) på arbejde nu,
    Jeg skal (af sted) på arbejde nu (the modal verb is used alone)

    Bic.

    This could also happen:

    - hvor er Peter?

    - han er gaaet paa arbejde.

    Here it clearly means the action that he has already left for work. "Gaaet" is not stressed.

    One could also use "tage" - would not make more difference than I have already described.
     

    MindBoggle

    Senior Member
    Danish. English from childhood
    Another question: what about 'I'm going to work now' (as in 'I'm leaving for work now')? Should it be 'jeg skal tage til arbejde'?
    We don't have continuous time in Danish (the English -ing form as in 'I'm going'). If we want to describe an ongoing process we a) either use simple present plus the time adverb 'nu' or b) we say 'jeg er ved at' + verb or c) 'jeg står/sidder/ligger og' + verb.

    We don't have a future tense either, again we just use simple present plus time adverbs.
    Danish usage:

    1. Jeg taler = I speak.
    2. Jeg taler nu = I am speaking.
    3. Jeg taler i morgen = I shall speak tomorrow.

    You may, if you wish, specify 2 and 3 like so:

    2. Jeg står og taler = I am speaking.
    3. Jeg vil tale i morgen = I shall (or I want to) speak tomorrow.

    Good luck with your Danish. :)
     
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