Written Icelandic is much more formal than spoken Icelandic. In particular:
- The word order is often different
- It uses more antiquated words and phrases
Switching the word order by placing the verb first can make your sentence sound much more formal.
- Maðurinn datt. Hlaut hann tognun. – A normal sentence would be: „Maðurinn datt. Hann hlaut tognun.“
Newspapers drop certain words from the headlines:
- Fylgjast grannt með. – A normal sentence would be: „Þau fylgjast grannt með.“
Examples of words use you can only use in written language:
- Það var snemma morguns er hann lagði af stað. – Er is not the verb "to be", instead it means "when".