Icelandic Verbs

Icelandic verbs play a crucial role in the language’s grammar and structure. These verbs are known to be conjugated for both the present and past tense, while the future tense is often indicated through the use of auxiliary verbs such as munu, skulu, and vera að fara að. In addition, Icelandic verbs can be divided into weak and strong verbs, with each group having unique conjugation patterns and past tense formation.

When it comes to moods, Icelandic verbs are conjugated for indicative and subjunctive moods, and there are four main moods in total: indicative, imperative, conditional, and subjunctive. The verbs in Icelandic are also essential in determining the case of subsequent nouns, pronouns, and adjectives in a sentence.

Regular Icelandic verbs typically follow common endings such as -a, -ar, -ar, -um, -ið, and -a, while the second most frequent verb endings are -i, -ir, -ir, -um, ið, and -a. It’s essential for learners of the language to understand and practice these patterns to effectively communicate and express ideas in Icelandic.

Icelandic Verb Conjugation

Icelandic verbs can be categorized into regular and irregular groups. Conjugating Icelandic verbs depends on their class and the verb tense. This section discusses both the regular and irregular verbs and their conjugation patterns.

Regular Verbs

Regular Icelandic verbs can be classified into weak and strong verbs. Weak verbs follow a predictable pattern of conjugation, while strong verbs undergo a change in the stem vowel in some tenses. Weak Icelandic verbs are mainly grouped into three types based on their endings: -ar, -ir, and -ur. For example:

GroupInfinitive3rd Person Singular Present
-arelska (to love)elskar
-irkemba (to comb)kemur
-urbryna (to sharpen)brynur

Strong verbs, on the other hand, are categorized into seven groups based on the changes in the stem vowel, as seen in the Verbix Verb Conjugator.

Irregular Verbs

Icelandic irregular verbs do not follow the typical conjugation patterns of regular verbs. These verbs are usually auxiliary, ri-verbs, or valda. An example of an irregular verb is “að tala” (to speak), as mentioned in Wikipedia’s article on Icelandic grammar.

Irregular verbs are less predictable in their conjugation patterns and often require memorization. To learn more about the conjugation of Icelandic verbs, you may find resources such as’s Icelandic verb conjugator or books like “Icelandic Verb Conjugator” by Björn Albrechtson helpful.


Icelandic verbs have four moods: indicative, subjunctive, imperative, and conditional. Moods help express the speaker’s attitude towards the action or state described by the verb.


The indicative mood is used to express certain facts, statements, or events that are considered real or true. It’s the most common mood in Icelandic, representing the majority of sentences in conversation and written text.

In Icelandic, there are two simple tenses – simple present and simple past. All other tenses are formed using auxiliary constructions. For example:

  • Ég tala (I speak)
  • Hún tók (She took)


The subjunctive mood in Icelandic, called Viðtengingarháttur, reflects unreality or uncertainty. It’s used when describing hypothetical actions, possibilities, wishes, plans, and suspicions. The subjunctive mood is important for polite phrases in Icelandic and has both present and past tense forms.

For example:

  • Ég óska að þú værir hér (I wish you were here)
  • Hann myndi gleyma því (He would forget it)


The imperative mood is used for direct commands and requests. It often has a more forceful or urgent tone. Imperative verbs in Icelandic typically have the same form as the present subjunctive, with some exceptions for regularity.

Examples include:

  • Taktu (Take it)
  • Komdu (Come)

Understanding the different moods in Icelandic and their conjugations helps create accurate and precise expressions in the language.


In Icelandic, verbs are conjugated according to tense, which expresses the time in which an action takes place. The tense system of Icelandic verbs consists of three main categories: present, past, and future.


The present tense in Icelandic is used to describe actions or events that are happening at the moment or actions that happen regularly. It can also be used to describe actions that are happening over a more extended period, such as “Ég býr á Íslandi” (I live in Iceland).

Strong verbs in Icelandic have seven groups, but the present tense shares the same rule for all groups: Find the stem of the verb by removing -a from the infinitive, then apply I-shift to the vowel in the stem.


According to Wikibooks, Icelandic verbs are conjugated for past tense, which describes completed actions or past events in the language. The inflection tables available on the same page show how past tense conjugation is done for various verb examples.

As an example, the past tense for strong verbs is formed by a combination of unique stem changes and endings, which are different for each strong verb group. Regular verb examples in the past tense can be found in LingQ Icelandic Grammar Guide.


The future tense in Icelandic is indicated by auxiliary verbs such as munu, skulu, and vera að fara að, as stated in Wikibooks. These auxiliary verbs help construct the future tense expressions to talk about actions that will happen in the future.


In Icelandic grammar, verbs are conjugated based on their voice. The voice of a verb refers to the relationship between the subject and the action described by the verb. Icelandic verbs have three voices: active, passive, and middle.

Active Voice

The active voice is the default voice in Icelandic verbs. In this voice, the subject of the sentence performs the action. Active verbs in Icelandic can be further divided into strong and weak verbs, with the latter being divided into three main groups based on their third person singular present conjugation endings: -ar, -ir, and -ur. For example:

  • Present: Bryndís kaupir nýtt hús. (Bryndis buys a new house.)

Passive Voice

The passive voice in Icelandic expresses an action done to the subject, rather than performed by the subject. Passive verbs are formed using auxiliary verbs along with past participles. For example:

  • Present passive: Það er keypt af Bryndísi. (It is bought by Bryndis.)

In the passive voice, the focus is on the action rather than the doer of the action. It is often used to describe a situation in which the doer of the action is unknown or irrelevant to the subject.

Personal Pronouns and Verb Forms

Understanding personal pronouns and how they relate to Icelandic verb forms is an essential part of mastering the language. Icelandic pronouns can be separated into first, second, and third person, with masculine, feminine, and neuter forms for pronouns such as ‘they’. It’s important to use the appropriate pronoun to avoid confusion when speaking or writing in Icelandic.

For example, the first person personal pronouns in Icelandic are as follows: ég (I) and við (we). The second person personal pronouns are þú (you, singular) and þið (you, plural). The third person personal pronouns have masculine (hann, þeir), feminine (hún, þær), and neuter (það, þau) forms.

Since the pronoun usually comes before the verb, the verb form needs to match the pronoun. For example, one would say “ég heiti Magnús” to say “I am called Magnús”. Also, when forming the imperative or giving a command, the verb form follows the pronoun and may assimilate, as in “farðu” (go!) and “komdu” (come!) for the singular imperative with pronoun ‘þú’.

When it comes to Icelandic personal pronouns and verb forms, keep in mind the need for correct gender and number agreement as well as the position of the pronoun in the sentence. Familiarizing oneself with these rules and practicing them in context will ultimately help improve fluency in Icelandic.