Þetta er…

I decided that this weekend I wanted to review the Icelandic lesson chapters I already completed with my tutor.

After learning the different uses for þessi or þetta, I grew a tad confused when I saw this easy peasy example from an early lesson:

Screen Shot 2019-04-13 at 1.06.06 PM

Why is “Þetta er” used here when Adam is male and we know that þetta = neuter?

I asked my Iceland BFF, a bit in a confused panic, and she confirmed my suspicion that essentially “Þetta er” is more for introductions. However, if you’re describing something/someone, then our normal rules for þessi and þetta apply. Example: Þessi er sætur.

My friend also shared these examples:

  • “Þessi stúlka er frænka þín.”
  • “Þessi drengur heitir Adam og er frændi minn.”

So when the word is paired with a noun, then we stick with the þessi form.

(And if the the words stúlka and drengur confuse you like they did me, read this quick post on the differences between stelpa og stúlka, og strákur og drengur.)

My tutor later further explained, “When we’re just saying this on its own as in ‘this thing/person that I am indicating,’ we can just use þetta.”

Perhaps you all were already well aware of this little rule, but it’s one I don’t think I learned—or perhaps I knew it and forgot it. 😉


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