Icelandic Impersonal Constructions

Icelandic Impersonal Constructions

These are very common in Icelandic. Simply, they are verbs that require the subject to be in a case other than the nominative, which is usually the case the subject has to be in. The following are used with the accusative case (acc) and/or dative case (dat):

Acc + langar í + acc = … would like …

Acc + vantar + acc = … lacks … (ie, I don’t have…. So can I borrow…)

Acc + þyrstir = … is thirsty

Dat + finnst + acc = … thinks …

Dat + líður á + acc = … likes …

These are the most common impersonal verbs. Another useful one is dat + vera (conjugated form) kalt: eg þér ert kalt means you are cold.

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Dr. Jennifer Wagner

PhD in Applied Linguistics, ESL/French teacher, author of two French books, and helping others to learn languages online at