Norwegian: å dra versus å reise

Discussion in 'Nordic Languages' started by vthebee, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. vthebee Senior Member

    English- Ireland

    I did a search on this forum but couldn't find an answer. I am trying to find the difference in usage between å dra and å reise in Norwegian.
    I did a google search and could only find one site, which made reference to the difference. It suggested that å reise is used for long journeys only whereas å dra is used for mainly short journeys (but could also be used for long journeys). E.g. å reise would be used if I was travelling to Paris for my summer holidays (but å dra could also be used), whereas å dra would be used if I was travelling to the bank in town (but å reise could not be used).

    Is this understanding correct?

    Takk for hjelpen.
  2. myšlenka Senior Member

    Å dra - to go
    Å reise - to travel

    So yes, your understanding is correct.
  3. vthebee Senior Member

    English- Ireland
    Hi thanks for your reply.
    Is there any difference between å dra and å gå?

  4. myšlenka Senior Member


    å gå - to walk (in most cases).

    1) Jeg skal dra til London - I will go to London.
    2) Jeg skal gå til London - I will walk to London.

    So don't get tempted to use "å gå" where you use "to go" in English :)
  5. NorwegianNYC

    NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    Å gå in most cases mean "to walk"
  6. vthebee Senior Member

    English- Ireland
    Hi thanks for both replies. I'm glad I asked because I never realised that å gå in most cases is used for 'to walk'. Thanks so much, I understand the basic differences between them now much better.
  7. NorwegianNYC

    NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    There are - however - certain fixed expressions where "gå" is used either similar to English or the basic meaning is not to walk:

    Gå på skole = go to school/attend school
    Gå på jobb = go to work
    Gå på kino/konsert/teater etc. = go to/attend the movies/concert/theater etc.
    Gå på piano/fotball etc. = go to/participate in piano lessons/football etc.
    Gå på stønad/trygd etc. = receive welfare/benefits/compensation etc. (akin to "go on the dole")
  8. Dan2

    Dan2 Senior Member

    English (US)
    1. Suppose my wife and I are home; she sees me put on my coat and walk towards the door. In English she'd ask, "Where are you going?" Which Norwegian verb would be most likely in this context? Would the following be relevant in this case?
    a) We live in a small city and walk everywhere we need to go.
    b) We live in a rural area and have to use our car whenever we go somewhere.

    2. In English my response to the question might be, "I'm going over to Peter's house". Which would be the most natural Norwegian verb here under each of the assumptions (a) and (b) above?

    3. German, like Norwegian, distinguishes between going on foot ("gehen" in German) and going by vehicle ("fahren"). (There are exceptions, as with Norwegian.) But German often feels the need to clarify that walking is truly meant ("zu Fuß gehen", "laufen") and I get the impression that "å gå" has an even stronger association with walking than "gehen" does. Do any of the Norwegians here know German well enough to comment on this? Or consider this English sentence: "He was 10 km away but I knew he badly needed help and I didn't have my car. So I walked!" Would "Jeg gikk!" be strongly enough associated with walking to stand by itself in this context as the equivalent of "I walked!"?

    4. (Perhaps now wandering off-topic.) Does Swedish "åka" correspond well to any single Norwegian "go" verb or is the relationship between the "go" verbs in the two languages complicated?

    Thanks in advance!
  9. NorwegianNYC

    NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    Hi Dan,

    1) The question would be: "Hvor skal du?
    2) the reply (in both cases) would be: "Jeg skal bort til Peter"
    3) Yes, "jeg gikk" would suffice. When it comes to walking to the store (gå til butikken) and driving, Norwegians tend to used "dra til butikken" instead of (like German) specifying the means of transportation. To "dra til Bergen" (by plane), "dra til Moss" (by train), "dra til byen" (by subway, tram, buss, car, bicycle, boat) is contextual.
    4) As far as I know, but I'll let the Swedes chip in here.
  10. AutumnOwl Senior Member

    The Swedish "åka" corresponds somewhat with "å dra", meaning to go (åka till London, åka till jobbet - go to work (by car, bus), åka bort över helgen - go away for the weekend. We also use "dra", perhaps a loan fro Norwegian(?), jag ska dra till London över helgen - I will go to London for the weekend; det är dags att dra sig hemåt - it's time (for oneself) to go home.

    Att gå usually means walk somewhere, but as in Norwegian there are fixed expressions:
    "Att resa" corresponds with the Norwegian "att reise", to travel, but we also have "att fara (bort)" for to travel, it can sound a bit old-fashioned, but it's possible to say "Han ska fara till Indien i morgon" - He's going to travel to India tomorrow, and there is also the expression "att fara bort över helgen" - to travel away for the weekend, meaning I won't be at home for the weekend.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013
  11. myšlenka Senior Member

    As NorwegianNYC already has shown in his translation, verbs of motion can be omitted when we have a modal verb (skulle/måtte/ville). In fact, I would consider your case 1) as a case where it's obligatory to omit the verb.

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