Getting a feel for the four cases of Icelandic does take some time, but through repitition it becomes second nature. These are the four cases for the word “my hamburger” (literally “the hamburger of mine”). You can click here to all the case tables for the word. Notice that the basic word is just “hamborgari”, the additional “-nn” means “the” (known as the definite article). The reason we add “the” to the word is that to say “my hamburger” you have to say “the hamburger of mine” (see here for a further explanation).
The words “hér er, um, frá, til” are not a part of the sentence “my hamburger”, instead they are helper words that we use to create the four items in the table. Speakers of Icelandic are not able to see a word and immediately tell you, for example, how the word is in the dative case (the third case). Instead they have to generate a sentence (such as here “from my hamburger”) that forces the word into the correct form — since the speaker has an innate feel for sentence structure the brain places it into the correct form, but the brain has no concept of a word being the third case or something else.
|Nom.||hér er hamborgarinn minn|
|Acc.||um hamborgarann minn|
|Dat.||frá hamborgaranum mínum|
|Gen.||til hamborgarans míns|
In this exercise, you will place the word “my hamburger” into the correct form. These are the rules you need to know for this exercise:
- er (að vera) (to be) causes the nominative case (the first case)
- að vilja (to want) causes the accusative case (the second case)
- að borða (to eat) causes the accusative case (the second case)
- á (onto) causes the accusative case (the second case) if the thing is moving to the other thing
- á (on) causes the dative case (the third case) if the thing is already on the other thing
You do not need to memorize these for now, instead what you should do is that for each problem below you should scroll up and see what case you should choose, then look at the table of cases above, and then try to make it fit into your sentence.
Þetta er ______. (This is my hamburger).
Vilt þú ______? (Do you want my hamburger?)
Ég ætla að setja ost á ______. (I am going to put cheese onto my hamburger)
Það er ostur á ______. (There is cheese on my hamburger)
Ég ætla að borða ______. (I am going to eat my hamburger)
Af hverju er ______ svona góður? (Why is my hamburger so good?)