Norwegian expression of the day: Det skulle bare mangle

Agnes Erickson
Agnes Erickson - [email protected]
Norwegian expression of the day: Det skulle bare mangle
You can use this to both point out the obvious and to also tell somebody it was the least you could do. Photo by Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond.

Should I wear something professional for my job interview? Det skulle bare mangle!


Today's word of the day was requested by one of our readers, if you want to see us cover your favourite Norwegian word or expression, you can get in touch, and we will try and feature it in the future

Why do I need to know this? 

Understandably, Det skulle bare mangle is one of the tougher expressions for newcomers to understand fully. The construction does not seem entirely logical to everyone, and its meaning can slightly change when used in various contexts.

What does it mean?

Directly translated to English, det skulle bare mangle means "It should just be missing".

It is an expression used when something is obvious in the sense that a person or an institution is absolutely obliged to do so. Depending on how and when the phrase is used, det skulle bare mangle could mean "That's the least that I expect", or "Well, isn't that obvious", or as a more humble way of saying, "It's the least I can do". 


The saying is often used in isolation and as a response. 

Examples of how to use det skulle bare mangle

(A) Let's say Per is a defence lawyer who has no way to prove his guilty client's innocence. He then says to the prosecutor Anna, "Vi har ikke tenkt å gå videre med saken." or "We haven't planned to go further with the case"In response, Anna would say, "Det skulle bare mangle" or "Well isn't that obvious".

(B) Tomas to Henrik: “Tusen takk for at du hjelp meg med bilen min” or “Thank you for helping me with my car”

Henrik answers: “Ingen årsak. Det skulle bare mangle” or “No problem. It was the least I could do.

(C) Det skulle bare mangle at vi prøver våre best. - It's obvious we should try our best.


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