Swedish, Norwegian, and Icelandic: Placement of ‘nu’ / ‘nå’ / ‘núna’



English is pretty flexible when it comes to the placement of ‘now’ and I was wondering whether Swedish, Norwegian, and Icelandic are equally flexible. In English, you can say each of (1). Are all the sentences in (2) to (4) likewise correct? Also, is it natural to use ‘nu’ / ‘nå’ / ‘núna’ at all, or is this so strongly implied by the present tense that including it is unnatural?

(1a) I am home now.

(1b) Now I am home.

(1c) I am now home.

(2a) Jag är hemma nu.

(2b) Nu är jag hemma.

(2c) Jag är nu hemma.

(3a) Jeg er hjemme nå.

(3b) Nå er jeg hjemme.

(3c) Jeg er nå hjemme.

(4a) Ég er heima núna.

(4b) Núna er ég heima.

(4c) Ég er núna heima.

Thanks a lot!
  • Svenke

    Senior Member
    The Norwegian examples are all correct, but (c) is less common than (a) and (b).
    If there had been an auxiliary, would have been placed between it and the main verb in the (c) version: Jeg vil nå være hjemme. Placing it between the main verb and hjemme is not acceptable: *Jeg vil være nå hjemme.

    For Icelandic:
    All three examples are correct.
    Also note that for 4b you could use "nú" instead (Nú er ég heima), but unlike "núna", "nú" sounds unnatural/stilted if used instead in 4a and 4c.
    And although having "nú/núna" does place more emphasis on the "now" aspect than the plain present tense would, it is in no way unnatural to include it.

    Don't know about the other ones (i.e. Norwegian nor Swedish)


    Senior Member
    (2a) Jag är hemma nu.

    (2b) Nu är jag hemma.

    (2c) Jag är nu hemma

    I think they're all correct in Swedish, but "c" sounds a bit 'stiff' and is more unusual I think.

    I would also say that there's a slight difference between a/b. If for example the person you live with is out and needs you to look for something at home, and you just got home, then you would tell that person "Nu är jag hemma", with the emphasis on "Nu" if you emphasize that.

    In contrast, suppose that someone wants you to do something at home at a later time, but you're currently home and are leaving in 10 minutes and then you'll be gone for 3-4 hours (which is when they want you to do that thing), you'd use "a" instead (with emphasis): "(Men) Jag är hemma nu!" One more case where "a" is more suitable I think is if you want to emphasize where you are at the moment more so than that it is happening now. So if the situation is the opposite where someone wants you to also buy milk at the grocery store you might object and point out that you're now at home: "Jag är hemma nu". I would not expect "b" in this case.

    If you asked me how to figure out why I think the above examples are more frequent or why it works that way I can't help unfortunately, but those are examples I can come up with that shows a difference. "c" I would maybe expect to read in a written 'account' of my whereabouts, maybe in a book or something, but less so in actual speech.