Icelandic Pronouns

Icelandic pronouns are an essential aspect of the Icelandic language, functioning as words that take the place of nouns. They can refer to people, places, or objects, and help provide clarity, structure, and conciseness within sentences. Icelandic pronouns include personal pronouns, indefinite pronouns, relative pronouns, and reciprocal or reflexive pronouns.

Icelandic Pronouns Overview

Personal pronouns in Icelandic are used to differentiate between the speaker, the person being spoken to, and the person or thing being spoken about. Icelandic has separate masculine, feminine, and neuter pronouns for the third person singular (he, she, it) and plural (they). It is essential to refer back to a noun with the correct gender, as Icelandic pronouns must agree with the gender of the noun they’re replacing. For example, if a noun like “rós” (rose) is feminine, it is referred back to as hún (she).

he (masculine)hann
she (feminine)hún
it (neuter)það
they (masculine)þeir
they (feminine)þær
they (neuter)þau

When discussing a group of mixed-gender people or items, the neuter form is used. Word order generally follows a subject-verb-object structure, similar to English, with the pronoun typically appearing before the verb. For example, “ég heiti Magnús” translates to “I am called Magnús”.

Indefinite, relative, and reflexive pronouns further enrich the Icelandic language by connecting sentence parts, providing alternative references, and showing reflexivity or reciprocity in actions. Each pronoun category has its own unique function, contributing to the diverse and precise nature of the Icelandic language.

Personal Pronouns

Icelandic personal pronouns are essential for effective communication in the language. They play a crucial role in expressing oneself clearly and confidently during conversations. In this section, we will explore the four cases of Icelandic personal pronouns: nominative, accusative, dative, and genitive.

Nominative Case

In the nominative case, Icelandic pronouns are used as the subject of a sentence. These pronouns indicate the person or thing doing the action in a statement. Here is a simple table displaying the nominative personal pronouns:


Accusative Case

The accusative case is used for the direct object of a verb or the object of certain prepositions. These pronouns receive the action performed by the subject. The following table presents the accusative personal pronouns:


Dative Case

Personal pronouns in the dative case are used as indirect objects or with certain prepositions. They indicate to whom or for whom an action is performed. Here is a table illustrating the dative personal pronouns:


Genitive Case

The genitive case of Icelandic personal pronouns is used to show possession, relationships, or origin. These pronouns indicate what belongs to the person or thing mentioned. The table below provides the genitive personal pronouns:


By understanding and correctly applying the Icelandic personal pronouns in all four cases, learners can communicate more effectively and accurately in the language.

Reflexive Pronouns

In Icelandic, reflexive pronouns are used when the object of the verb is the same as its subject – when someone is doing something to themselves. Icelandic reflexive pronouns inflect for person (first, second, third), number (singular, plural), and case (accusative, dative, genitive). However, they do not inflect for gender.

There are four cases in which reflexive pronouns are used in Icelandic: accusative, dative, genitive, and possessive. It is important to note that reflexive pronouns can never be the subject of a sentence, and as such, they do not exist in the nominative case.

Here’s a breakdown of the reflexive pronouns in Icelandic (for possessive, see further down):

CaseFirst Person SingularSecond Person SingularThird Person SingularFirst Person PluralSecond Person PluralThird Person Plural

Some examples of sentences using reflexive pronouns in Icelandic include:

  • Ég meiddi mig í slysinu. (I hurt myself in the accident.)
  • Þú greiðir þér áður en þú ferð út. (You comb your hair before you go out.)
  • Anna þvær sér með sápu. (Anna washes herself with soap.)
  • Krakkarnir skemmta sér í lauginni. (The children have fun in the pool.)
  • Þið eigið að skammast ykkar! (You should be ashamed of yourselves!)

Learning to use reflexive pronouns accurately is an important aspect of mastering Icelandic grammar. Practice using them with different verbs and in different contexts to gain a better understanding of their usage.

Demonstrative Pronouns

In Icelandic, demonstrative pronouns are used to point out specific things or people and distinguish items within a set. There are three main demonstrative pronouns in Icelandic: þessi, sá, and hinn. These pronouns inflect for gender, number, and case.


In the neuter form, the demonstrative pronouns are as follows:

  • Þessi: this (one), that (one)
  • Sá: that (one)
  • Hinn: the other (one)

For example:

  • Þetta hus (this house)
  • Það barn (that child)
  • Hitt fólkið (the other people)


The masculine forms of the demonstrative pronouns are as follows:

  • Þessi: this (one), that (one)
  • Sá: that (one)
  • Hinn: the other (one)

For example:

  • Þessi bók (this book)
  • Sá hundur (that dog)
  • Hinn maður (the other man)


The feminine forms of the demonstrative pronouns are as follows:

  • Þessi: this (one), that (one)
  • Sá: that (one)
  • Hinn: the other (one)

For example:

  • Þessi stelpa (this girl)
  • Sú kona (that woman)
  • Hin systir (the other sister)

In conclusion, the three Icelandic demonstrative pronouns, þessi, sá, and hinn, play an essential role in the language by indicating specific things or people and setting them apart from others in a set. They inflect for gender (neuter, masculine, and feminine), number (singular and plural), and case (nominative, accusative, dative, and genitive).

Interrogative Pronouns

Interrogative pronouns in the Icelandic language serve to pose questions, and they play a vital role in understanding and forming queries. They are an essential aspect of Icelandic grammar and learning them is necessary to communicate effectively in the language.

Here is a list of Icelandic interrogative pronouns:

  • hvaða: which, what kind
  • hvaðan: from where, whence
  • hvor: which of two, who/whom/which between two

It is important to note that some of these interrogative pronouns have different forms based on the gender or case of the noun they are modifying. For example, “hvor” has the following forms:


When forming questions in Icelandic, interrogative pronouns typically come at the beginning of the sentence. For instance:

Hvaða bók ertu að lesa? (Which book are you reading?)

Hvaðan kemur þú? (Where do you come from?)

Relative Pronouns

Relative pronouns are a crucial part of Icelandic grammar as they connect parts of sentences and provide additional information. Icelandic utilizes the word “sem” as the primary relative pronoun, equivalent to “who,” “which,” or “that” in English.

The usage of “sem” allows for the connection of two clauses together, simplifying and clarifying the relationship between them. It aims to refer back to a previously mentioned element in the sentence while introducing additional information. Interestingly, “sem” does not change its form based on gender, number, or case, robustly maintaining the same structure.

For example:

Hundurinn er gulur. (The dog is yellow.)

Hundur, sem er gulur. (The dog, which is yellow.)

In the above sentences, notice how the word “sem” connects the two clauses and offers further detail about the subject. It is essential to be familiar with relative pronouns in Icelandic to create more complex and informative sentences.

Indefinite Pronouns

In Icelandic, indefinite pronouns, also known as óákveðið fornafn, are used to express the quantity or number of something in vague terms rather than specific ones. These pronouns can stand on their own or be used with a noun or adjective, and they inflect for gender, number, and case.

Some common Icelandic indefinite pronouns include ‘nokkur’ (some/few), ‘sum’ (some), ‘enginn’ (no/none), and ‘eitthvað’ (something). In terms of gender, number, and case, Icelandic indefinite pronouns inflect across masculine, feminine, and neuter categories, as well as in singular and plural forms, adapting to nominative, accusative, dative, and genitive cases.

Here is an example of a sentence using the Icelandic indefinite pronoun ‘nokkur’:

Það eru nokkur glös á borðinu.

In this sentence, ‘nokkur’ is translated as ‘some’, indicating a vague quantity of glasses on the table.

As with other pronouns in Icelandic, indefinite pronouns aid in forming more complex, nuanced sentences. By understanding and becoming familiar with the use of these pronouns in the Icelandic language, learners can better express themselves using a variety of linguistic tools to convey meaning and context.

Possessive Pronouns

Possessive pronouns in Icelandic are used to indicate ownership or possession. They inflect for person, gender, number, and case. In this section, we will examine neuter, masculine, and feminine possessive pronouns in Icelandic.

Neuter Possessives

Neuter possessive pronouns in Icelandic include words like “þitt” (your) and “þess” (its). They do not change according to the case. For example:

  • Þetta er bókin þitt (This is your book)
  • Ég sá húsið þess (I saw its house)

Masculine Possessives

Masculine possessive pronouns in Icelandic include words like “minn” (my) and “þinn” (your). These pronouns conjugate and must agree with the noun they modify. For example:

  • Þetta er bókin minn (This is my book)
  • Er þetta bíllinn þinn? (Is this your car?)

Feminine Possessives

Feminine possessive pronouns in Icelandic include words like “mín” (my) and “hennar” (her). Some of these pronouns, such as “hennar,” do not change according to the case. For example:

  • Þetta er peysan mín (This is my sweater)
  • Ég er ekki búin að sjá köttinn hennar (I haven’t seen her cat yet)

Remember that in Icelandic, a possessive pronoun normally comes after the thing being described.