How to talk Fargo

Eight essential phrases to help you sound authentically "Minnesota nice"

Anyone who’s enjoyed blackly comic crime drama Fargo – or visited Minnesota, where it’s set – will know that the residents have a particular way of doing things, and a particular way of talking about them.


“Minnesota nice” means always being polite – even when you secretly hate something – and never swearing, even if you’ve just murdered your wife.

Here are eight key conversational phrases to help you feel authentically Fargoan – all to be pronounced with that uniquely Norwegian-tinged accent…

“Uff-da!”: This is a brilliantly flexible word and can be used to express astonishment, frustration, relief or exhaustion. So if someone tells you a story about their recent trip to the store, which had run out of their favourite pop*: “Uff-da!” If they got to the store just in time to buy the last case of their favourite pop: “Uff-da!” Or if they’d just carried a couple of very heavy cases of their favourite pop into the house and dumped them on the kitchen counter: “Uff-da!”

*Minnesotans always call fizzy drinks pop, never soda

“Dontcha know?”: Tag this on to the end of a sentence during conversation, just to make sure the other person is still listening (or just to make yourself sound authentic Minnesotan).

“You betcha!”: Likewise, on the other side of the conversation, use this to show you’re still interested  or simply to agree. See also: “For sure.”

“That’s different!”: I don’t like the sound of that, but I’m too polite to say so.

“Um, I guess that might be okay”: I really don’t like the sound of that, but I’m too polite to say so. 

“Oh yah!”: Yes/no/I have no idea what you’re taking about. 
Throw this into conversation as much as possible, you can’t go wrong.

“Oh jeez…”: I’ve just murdered my wife.

“For crying out loud!”: You’ve just murdered someone in my living room. 


Fargo season 1 is out now on Blu-ray and DVD

Fargo Season 1 is drenched in the trademark humour, murder and “Minnesota nice” that made the film an enduring classic. Oscar winner Billy Bob Thornton stars as Lorne Malvo, a rootless, manipulative man who meets and forever changes the life of Martin Freeman’s small town insurance salesman Lester Nygaard, played by Bafta winner Martin Freeman