Questions in Icelandic

Learning how to ask questions in Icelandic is a crucial aspect of mastering the language. Icelandic question words often begin with “hv,” which leads to terms such as “where” (hvar), “when” (hvenær), “what” (hvað), and “why” (hvers vegna). These question words, combined with correct grammar and sentence structure, allow learners to engage in meaningful conversations and acquire valuable information.

The formation of questions in Icelandic typically involves inverting the verb, which simplifies the process of constructing questions. For example, the word order is changed to place the verb in the first position. In addition to question words, understanding the declension of pronouns is essential for effective communication, as they guide the listener in interpreting the intended subject or object of the question.

Becoming proficient in asking questions enables language learners to connect more deeply with Icelandic culture and navigate everyday situations with ease. With a solid foundation in question words, grammar, and structure, individuals will be better equipped to immerse themselves in the Icelandic language and engage in purposeful exchanges.

Question Formation in Icelandic

In Icelandic, questions can be formed in various ways, depending on their type and purpose. This section will discuss the formation of yes/no questions, wh-questions, and tag questions in Icelandic, providing insight into the structure and use of questions in the language.

Yes/No Questions

Yes/no questions in Icelandic are typically formed by inverting the subject and verb in the sentence. For example, the statement “Hann fer í bókasafnið” (He goes to the library) can be turned into a yes/no question by swapping the subject and the verb: “Fer hann í bókasafnið?” (Does he go to the library?). The intonation of yes/no questions plays a crucial role, featuring a rising-falling contour.


Wh-questions in Icelandic are formed using wh-interrogative pronouns, also known as hv-pronouns. These pronouns relate to a constituent in the answer and typically appear at the beginning of the question. Examples of hv-pronouns in Icelandic include hvar (where), hvenær (when), and hver (who).

For example:

  • Hvenær kemur þú? (When are you coming?)
  • Hvar er bókasafnið? (Where is the library?)
  • Hver er hann? (Who is he?)

Tag Questions

Tag questions in Icelandic are formed by adding a question tag to the end of a statement. The choice of tag depends on the auxiliary verb or verb tense, often matching the tense and polarity of the main clause. A common tag for the present tense, for instance, is “sko”, which can be used in both positive and negative statements:

  • Þú elskar þetta, sko? (You love this, don’t you?)
  • Þú elskar ekki þetta, sko? (You don’t love this, do you?)

Knowing how to form questions in Icelandic is essential for effective communication in the language. By understanding the structure and use of yes/no questions, wh-questions, and tag questions, anyone learning Icelandic can ask for information, clarify statements, and engage in meaningful conversations.

Question Words in Icelandic

Learning to ask questions in Icelandic is essential for effective communication. Icelandic question words often begin with “hv” and are followed by various endings to convey specific meanings. Familiarizing yourself with these question words will help you in your Icelandic language journey.

Some of the most important Icelandic question words are:

  • What: hvað
  • Where: hvar
  • Where from: hvaðan
  • When: hvenær
  • Why: hvers vegna
  • How: hvernig
  • Who: hver – this word can be declined depending on the context

Additionally, in Icelandic, the simplest way to ask a question is to change the word order of a statement. For example, turning “Þetta er gott” (this is good) into “Er þetta gott?” (is this good) can be a quick approach to forming questions in the language.

Understanding and using these question words and structures will enable you to engage in conversations and seek information while speaking Icelandic.

Tips for Asking Questions in Icelandic

When asking questions in Icelandic, it is essential to understand the simple and effective techniques that will aid in forming clear inquiries. Start by familiarizing yourself with the common question words such as ‘why’, ‘how’, ‘where’, and ‘when’, and incorporate them into your questions.

One of the easiest ways to construct questions in Icelandic is by inverting the verb’s position. For instance, a statement like “Ég er” (I am) can be turned into a question by moving the verb to the beginning: “Er ég?” (Am I?). When dealing with “Þú” (you) in questions, it often gets attached to the verb, either losing the “þ” or changing it.

Intonation plays an essential role in differentiating between information-seeking and rhetorical questions. Familiarize yourself with various intonation patterns to ensure that your questions convey the intended meaning.


In summary, mastering the art of asking questions in Icelandic is essential for effective communication. As with many languages, understanding and utilizing the correct question words will significantly impact the clarity of your inquiries. These words include “hvernig”, “hvað”, “hvar”, “hvenær”, “hvers vegna/hví”, and “hver”.

Moreover, one should be aware of the different constructions of questions in Icelandic. Changing the word order or inverting the verb, for example, can create questions from statements. Additionally, certain pronouns may be assimilated when forming questions.

Furthermore, it is essential to acknowledge the intonation in information-seeking and rhetorical Icelandic questions. Intonation differences can distinguish questions from declaratives and help to convey a speaker’s intentions accurately.

By understanding and applying these key elements of Icelandic questions, learners can enhance their communication skills and more effectively speak and understand this unique language.