Dutch III Tutorial: Basic Phrases, Vocabulary and Grammar


41. Word Order

Dutch word order requires Time - Manner - Place. English generally uses place before time, but Dutch cannot.
Hij gaat morgen met de trein naar Londen.
He's going to London tomorrow by train. (Literally: he's going tomorrow by train to London.)

The verb must always be in the second position in a Dutch sentence. This not does not mean that it must always be the second word, however. (Inversion of subject and verb to form questions is an exception.)
In de winter gaat hij met de trein naar Londen. In the winter he's going to London by train. (Literally: In the winter goes he by train to London.)

Separable prefixes, past participles and infinitive always go to the end of the clause or sentence. The double infinitive construction always goes to the end of the clause or sentence as well.


42. Commands

The stem with the appropriate spelling changes is most commonly used as the command form. When being polite, the u form is used (with u following the verb.) If a verb has a separable prefix, it is sent to the end of the clause. The "let's" form plus a verb is rendered in Dutch by laten we + infinitive. When the command is general and no one in particular is being addressed, the infinitive is used, especially on signs.

Kijk! Look!
Laat mij het doen! Let me do it!
Blijft u zitten. Please remain seated.
Kijk uit! Look out!
Laten we gaan. Let's go.
Niet roken. No smoking.
Trekken / Duwen. Pull / Push.

Note that zijn has an irregular imperative form: wees (and the polite form: weest u)


43. Coordinating and Subordinating Conjunctions

Coordinating conjunctions join two sentences together. Word order is not affected by coordinating conjunctions. Examples are en (and), dus (so, thus), maar (but), of (or) and want (for, because).

Subordinating conjunctions are used to connect an independent and dependent clause together, and they do affect word order.  An independent (or main) clause contains a subject and verb and can stand alone as its own sentence.  A dependent (or subordinate) clause also contains a subject and verb, but is introduced with a subordinating conjunction and cannot stand alone as its own sentence.

Mijn zoon was ziek, toen hij klein was. My son was sick when he was little.
Ik weet dat jij mij leuk vindt. I know that you like me.

When a subordinating conjunction introduces a clause, the next clause must begin with a verb.

Hoewel hij jong is, is hij erg rijk. Although he is young, he is very rich.
Zodra ik klaar ben, kom ik even langs. As soon as I'm ready, I'll come over.

Subordinating Conjunctions

if/when
as if
except that
that
although
to the extent that
now
whether
because
after
since
als
alsof
behalve dat
dat
hoewel
inzover(re) dat
nu(dat)
of
omdat
na(dat)
sinds
unless
while
when (in past)
until
when
before
just
so that
as long as
without
as far as
tenzij
terwijl
toen
tot(dat)
wanneer
voor(dat)
zoals
zodat
zolang
zonder dat
zover

44. Holiday Phrases

Happy New Year
Happy Easter
Merry Christmas
Happy Birthday

Gelukkig nieuwjaar
Zalig pasen / Vrolijk Pasen
Zalig kerstfeest
Hartelijk gefeliciteerd (met je verjaardag)

 

Zalig is the word traditionally used by Catholics (the Pope uses it) when saying something in Dutch at Christmas. Protestants say Prettige kerstdagen (nice), Gelukkig kerstfeest (happy), or Vrolijk kerstfeest (cheerful); a lot of variation is possible.


45. Blijven and Laten

Blijven (to remain) can be used with an infinitive to express a continuous or repeated action.  Blijven acts like a modal verb in the sentence; blijven is conjugated and the other verb remains in the infinitive and goes to the end of the sentence.

De kat blijft naar de muis kijken.  The cat keeps looking at the mouse.
Blijft u maar zitten!  Please remain seated!

Laten (to let, leave) can also behave like a modal verb when used with another verb.  It corresponds to "to let" or "to have something done (by someone else)."  In the perfect tense, laten also behaves like a modal because the infinitive is used instead of the past participle when it occurs with another verb.

Laten we naar huis gaan.  Let's go home.
Zij laat haar kamer verven.  She's having her room painted.
Hij heeft zijn auto laten wassen.  He's had his car washed.


46. Places

airport luchthaven lane (town) steeg
bakery bakkerij library bibliotheek
bank bank market markt
barn schuur monument gedenkteken (n)
barracks kazerne museum museum
bridge brug palace paleis
bookstore boekwinkel path pad (n)
building gebouw (n) pavement trottoir (n)
castle slot (n) pharmacy apotheek
cathedral kathedraal police station politiebureau (n)
cemetery kerkhof (n) port haven
church kerk prison gevangenis
cinema bioscoop restaurant restaurant
consulate consulaat (n) road (highway) landweg
corner straathoek school school
drugstore apotheek square plein (n)
embassy ambassade stadium stadium
factory fabriek store winkel
farm boerderij street straat
fountain fontein suburb voorstad
garage garage theater theater / schouwburg
hospital ziekenhuis (n) tower toren
hotel hotel town stad
house huis (n) town hall stadhuis (n)
hut hut university universiteit
inn herberg village dorp


47. Transportation

bus (auto)bus
train trein
airplane vliegtuig
ship schip
boat boot
motorcycle motorfiets
automobile automobiel
streetcar tram
moped bromfiets
bicycle fiets
car auto(mobiel)


48. Simple Past Tense

The simple past tense in Dutch corresponds to the simple past tense in English.  It is not a compound tense like the perfect tense, and some verbs have vowel changes, as in English.  Generally, the simple past tense is indicated in English by adding -ed to the verb (for regular verbs, at least.)  This tense is used for actions that happened in the past and that are completely done.  To form the past tense, add -te (or -de) to the stem for the singular persons and -ten (or -den) to the stem for the plural persons.  If the verb stem ends in p, t, k, f, s, or ch, add -te or -ten; for all other endings, add -de or -den.  Verbs that have either v or z as the final consonant of the stem change them to f or s first and then add -de and -den.
 

  ik, jij, u, hij, zij wij, jullie, zij
wonen - to live woonde woonden
geloven - to believe geloofde geloofden
praten - to talk praatte praatten
spelen - to play speelde speelden
trouwen - to marry trouwde trouwden
werken - to work werkte werkten
fietsen - to cycle fietste fietsten


49. Irregular Stems in Simple Past Tense

For some verbs, the internal vowel of the stem changes in the past tense.  The stem with the changed vowel then acts as the past tense for all persons of the singular, while the plural adds -en to the changed stem.  In addition, there are some irregular verbs that change more than the vowel, but still add nothing for the singular and -en for the plural.
 

  ik, jij, u, hij, zij wij, jullie, zij
zijn - to be was waren
hebben - to have had hadden
gaan - to go ging gingen
weten - to know wist wisten
denken - to think dacht dachten
blijven - to stay bleef bleven
drinken - to drink dronk dronken
eten - to eat at aten
breken - to break brak braken
bijten - to bite beet beten
gieten - to pour goot goten


50. House and Furniture
 
alarm clock wekker desk bureau painting schilderij (n)
armchair leunstoel door deur pillow kussen (n)
ashtray asbak (n) drawer lade pipe (water) pijpleiding
balcony balkon (n) dresser ladenkast radio radio
basement kelder fire vuur (n) refrigerator koelkast
basket korf flame vlam roof dak (n)
bathroom badkamer (n) flat (apartment) apartement room kamer
bed bed (n) floor vloer sheet laken (n)
bedroom slaapkamer flower bloem shovel schop
(door)bell (deur)bel furniture meubelen (pl.) shower douche
blanket deken garden tuin smoke rook
blinds rolgordijn (n) ground floor benedenverdieping sofa (zit)bank
box kist hearth haard stairs trap
broom bezem house huis (n) floor (of building) verdieping
bucket emmer iron (flat) strijkijzer (n) stove kachel
candle kaars kerosene petroleum table tafel
carpet tapijt (n) key sleutel tap (faucet) kraan
ceiling plafond (n) kitchen keuken television televisie
chair stoel ladder ladder toilet (WC) wc / toilet
chimney schoorsteen lamp lamp towel handdoek
closet kast lock slot (n) vacuum cleaner stofzuiger
computer computer mattress matras vase vaas
corner hoek mirror spiegel wall (house) muur
cupboard kast oven oven wall (room) wand
curtain gordijn (n) pantry provisiekast window raam (n)
cushion kussen (n) paper basket prullenmand yard (achter)tuin


51. Staan, liggen and zitten

These verbs are all translated as "to be" in certain cases.  When an object is in an upright position, staan is used.  When an object is lying down, liggen is used.  When an object is inside of something else, zitten is used.

De auto staat voor het huis.  The car is in front of the house.
De krant ligt op de grond.  The newspaper is on the floor.
De pen zit in de tas.  The pen is in the bag.


52. Clothing & accessories

 

belt riem pants (trousers) broek
boot laars pin speld
braces bretels (pl.) pipe pijp
brush borstel pocket zak
button knoop shirt overhemd (n)
cigar sigaar shoe schoen
cigarette sigaret shoelace schoenveter
clothes kleren silk zijde
coat jas skirt rok
collar boord sleeve mouw
comb kam soap zeep
cotton katoen (n) sock sok
dress jurk stick stok
fashion mode stocking kous
glasses bril (sing.) tie stropdas
glove handschoen toothbrush tandenborstel
handkerchief zakdoek toothpaste tandpasta
hat hoed umbrella paraplu
jeans spijkerbroek underwear onderbroek
match lucifer waistcoat vest (n)
needle naald watch horloge (n)
overcoat overjas wool wol


53. Future Tense

The future tense consists of a conjugated form of zullen and an infinitive placed at the end of the sentence. Except for the word order, this is similar to English will + an infinitive. The future tense can also be used to express probability.  When it does, wel is added to the sentence.

ik zal wij zullen
jij, u zult / zal jullie zullen
hij, zij het zal zij zullen

 

Like the modals, either zult or zal can be used with jij and u. Both are considered correct.

 

De reis zal twee uur duren.  The trip will last two hours.
Wij zullen het wel weten.  We will probably know it.

The regular present tense can also express a future event with the use of time expressions.  This is common in English too.

Morgen gaan zij naar Rotterdam.  They're going to Rotterdam tomorrow.

Gaan and an infinitive at the end of the sentence can also be used to express the future.  This is equivalent to the English construction "going to + verb."

Ik ga een brief schrijven.  I'm going to write a letter.

Future Perfect Tense

The future perfect expresses "will have + past participle" and is as uncommon in Dutch as it is in English. Zullen is still used at the conjugated verb, but the past participle and infinitive of hebben (or zijn) are put at the end of the sentence.

Hij zal de krant gelezen hebben. He will have read the newspaper.


54. Verb Meanings

Some verbs in English are expressed in Dutch as two different verbs and vice versa.  The most common are:

kennen: to know a person or a place; to be acquainted with (general familiarity)
weten: to know facts (specific knowledge)

leven: to be alive, to exist, to subsist
wonen: to reside, to dwell

betekenen: to signify
bedoelen: to intend

noemen: to call, name
heten: to be called, be named

lenen aan: to lend to
lenen van: to borrow from

leren: to teach (someone something)
leren (van): to learn (from someone)


55. Inflections of Adjectives

When adjectives are placed before nouns, and not after, they add the ending -e.  The spelling rules that affect pluralization of nouns and verb conjugations also apply when inflecting adjectives.  However, the -e is not added when the adjective occurs before a neuter singular noun without an article (warm water) or a neuter singular noun preceded by een, geen, elk (each), ieder (each), menig (many a), veel (much), welk (which) or zo'n (such a).  Adjectives that end in -en, as well as the adjectives linker (left) and rechter (right), do not add -e either.

het grote huis - the large house
de lange muur - the long wall
mijn mooie tuin - my beautiful garden
snelle treinen - fast trains

een oud huis - an old house
vers brood - fresh bread
de houten trap - the wooden staircase
zijn rechter oog - his right eye

When an adjective is placed directly after iets (something), niet (nothing), veel (much), weinig (little), and wat (something), it adds the ending -s.

iets moois - something beautiful
niets nieuws - nothing new

If the noun following the adjective has been mentioned before, it may be omitted.  In English, "one" is used in its place, but there is no equivalent word in Dutch.  Dutch simply uses the article and adjective, with the -e inflection, if it is required.

Koop je een jurk?  Ja, ik neem de blauwe.  Are you buying a dress?  Yes, I'll take the blue (one.)


56. Adjectives

short kort high hoog light licht
long, tall lang wide wijd dark donker
loud luid fat, thick vet, dik terrible vreselijk
quiet stil thin dun sweet zoet
cute lief, schattig narrow nauw in love verliefd
perfect perfekt weak zwak serious serieus
sad triest, droevig strong sterk clean proper, net
happy blij, gelukkig deep diep dirty vuil
dear beste lazy lui shy verlegen
famous bekend, beroemd cheap goedkoop nervous nerveus, zenuwachtig
different verschillend, ander dumb dom comfortable comfortabel
easy gemakkelijk early vroeg worried bezorgd
difficult moeilijk near nabij, dichtbij right juist
pretty mooi nice mooi, aardig wrong verkeerd
ugly lelijk inexpensive goedkoop jealous jaloers
small klein expensive duur drunk dronken, zat
large groot crazy gek popular populair
good goed far ver(af) excellent excellent
bad slecht beautiful mooi valuable kostbaar
new nieuw curious nieuwsgierig alone alleen
tired vermoeid, moe old oud important belangrijk
angry kwaad, boos young jong busy bezig, bezet
annoying vervelend, irritant interesting interessant sick ziek, misselijk
wonderful wonderlijk fantastic fantastisch ready klaar


57. Comparative and Superlative

Comparisons of equality use the expression even + adjective + als and it translates to "as + adjective + as."  In addition, you can use net zo + adjective + als to mean "as + adjective + as," but it is more emphatic.

dit hotel is even duur als de andere - this hotel is as expensive as the others

But note: zo veel mogelijk - as soon as possible / zo vlug mogelijk - as fast as possible

When comparing two things, the comparative form of the adjective is used.  It is formed in Dutch by adding -er to the adjective (or -der if the adjective ends in -r).  This is used for all adjectives; there is no "more + adjective" construction as there is for some adjectives in English.  Comparative adjectives add the -e ending for the inflection according to the requirements above; however, adjectives with three or more syllables do not.  When using comparative adjectives, dan translates as "than."

leuk - nice
leuker - nicer
vriendelijk - friendly
vriendelijker - friendlier

When expressing the highest degree of a quality or characteristic, the superlative form of the adjective is used.  Most adjectives add -st (or just -t if the adjective already ends in -s).  Since the -st ending does not add a syllable to the adjective, the spelling rules do not apply.  All superlatives are inflected like regular adjectives.  However, if the superlative adjective is a predicate adjective (follows "to be" and does not precede a noun), then het precedes it and the -e is optional.  With the superlative, van translates as "in" or "of."  In contrast to English, Dutch does use the superlative to compare two or more things.

leuk - nice
leukst -
nicest
het grootste huis
- the biggest house
de duurste kleren - the most expensive clothes
Hij is de oudste van de twee.  He is the older (literally: oldest) of the two.

For ease of pronunciation, adjectives ending in -st and -sch do not add -st to form the superlative, but use meest (most) before.

meest juist - most just
meest logisch - most logical

Don't forget the spelling changes when dealing with long and short vowels:

groot, groter, grootst - big, bigger, biggest
laat, later, laatst - late, later, latest

Some of the most common adjectives have irregular forms:

adjective good goed bad erg much veel little weinig
comparative better beter worse erger more meer less minder
superlative best best worst ergst most meest least minst

58. Sports

golf golf
soccer voetbal
volleyball volleybal
football rugby, American football
basketball basketbal
baseball honkbal
hockey hockey
tennis tennis
bowling bowlen, bowling
sailing zeilen
horseback riding paardrijden
boxing boksen
roller-skating rolschaatsen
ice-skating schaatsen
skiing skien
bicycle racing wielrennen
riding a bicycle fietsen
swimming zwemmen


59. Nature

 

air lucht grass gras (n) rock rots
bank oever hail hagel sand zand (n)
bay baai hay hooi (n) sea zee
beach strand (n) heath heide shadow schaduw
bridge brug high tide vloed sky lucht
bush struik hill heuvel snow sneeuw
cave grot ice ijs (n) spring (water) bron
city stad island eiland (n) star ster
cloud wolk lake meer (n) storm storm
coast kust leaf blad stream beek
country land (n) light licht (n) street straat
country(side) platteland (n) lightning bliksem sun zon
current stroom low tide eb thaw (ont)dooi
darkness duisternis meadow weide thunder donder
desert woestijn moon maan tree boom
dew dauw mountain berg valley vallei
dust stof (n) mud modder view uitzicht (n)
earth aarde nature natuur water water (n)
farm boerderij peninsula schiereiland (n) fresh water zoet water (n)
field veld (n) plain vlakte salt water zout water (n)
flower bloem plant plant waterfall waterval
foam schuim (n) pond vijver wave golf
fog mist rain regen weather weer (n)
forest bos (n) rainbow regenboog wind wind
frost vorst river rivier world wereld

60. Object Pronouns

Subject Objects
I ik ('k) me mij (me)
you (fam.) jij (je) you jou (je)
you (form.) u you u
he hij him hem ('m)
she zij (ze) her haar (ze)
it hij / het it het ('t)
we wij (we) us ons
you (pl.) jullie you jullie (je)
you (form.) u you u
they zij (ze) them hen (ze) / hun (ze)

 

Direct and indirect object pronouns are the same in Dutch, except for "them."  Hen is used if it is a direct object, and hun is used if it is an indirect object.  Generally, indirect objects are preceded by "to" or "from" in English, and direct objects are not preceded by any prepositions.  Additionally, these object pronouns are used in prepositional phrases.

An alternative way of showing possession without using the possessive pronouns is to use van + object pronoun.  In fact, this is the only way to show possession with the jullie form, as there is no possessive pronoun for it.  This construction corresponds to "of + object" and occurs often in sentences with the verb "to be."  Is deze pen van jou?  Is this your pen?  Die schoenen zijn niet van mij.  Those shoes are not mine.

If the noun is not present in the clause, then die or dat + van + object pronoun is used. Mijn huis is klein; dat van hem is erg groot.  My house is small; his is very large.


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