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Dutch for Beginners: Part II


In part one of this course you have seen some of the basics of the Dutch language. You have seen the verb "zijn", personal pronouns, articles and gender, formal pronouns, possessive adjectives and plural nouns, regular verbs and negation and adjectives, adverbs and questions. In this second part we will expand our knowledge and go deeper into the material.

Lesson 6: More pronouns

More pronouns

In Lesson One we learned about personal pronouns, we can remember the following list:

 Ik  I
 Jij  You
 U  You (formal)
 Hij  He
 Zij  She
 Wij  We
 Jullie  You (plural)
 Zij  They

Note that all of these pronouns appear in the subject position of the sentence:

 Ik zie de man I see the man

We all know that personal pronouns have a different form when they are in the object position of the sentence. The object is the part of the sentence that is undergoing the action of the verb while the subject is the one initiating the action of the verb. If we would simply move a personal pronoun from subject position to object position, then we would get a wrong sentence, as the following example illustrates:

 *I see he

Because "he" appears in object position in this case, we have to change it's form to "him". Likewise "we" changes to "us", etc.. The same principle applies to Dutch. We can construct the following table for Dutch object pronouns:

 Mij  Me
 Jou  You
 U  You (formal)
 Hem  Him
 Haar  Her
 Ons  Us
 Jullie  You (plural)
 Hen  Them

So the example sentence would translate as follows:

 I see him  Ik zie hem

So you get the idea: in object positions you have to use the object pronoun because otherwise you will get an ill-formed sentence, just like in English.

We can distinguish another grammaticality. Pronouns can appear in, the so-called indirect object. An indirect object is the receiver of the action. Consider the following:

 I give the man a present  Ik geef de man een kado

You will note that de man is obviously the receiver in this example, and therefore it is the indirect object. Like there are direct object pronouns, which we've just seen, there are also indirect object pronouns. Fortunately, there happens to be no difference between the two in Dutch, so we see the same table for indirect object pronouns:

 Mij  Me
 Jou  You
 U  You (formal)
 Hem  Him
 Haar  Her
 Ons  Us
 Jullie  You (plural)
 Hen  Them

And thus we can replace "de man" with an indirect object pronoun, obtaining the following result:

 I give him a present Ik geef hem een kado

We can even construct double pronouns now:

 I give the man a woman  Ik geef de man een vrouw
 I give him a woman  Ik geef hem een vrouw
 I give him her  Ik geef hem haar

Like in English, the indirect object pronoun comes first in this case and is followed by the direct object pronoun.

We have cleverly omitted the neutral pronoun in our discussion, but we will need to bring it into the picture as well because it is often used. The neutral pronoun in Dutch, the equivalent of the English pronoun "it" is "het". This pronoun has the same form in subject, object and indirect object position, just like English. A small exception in word order occurs however when we deal with double pronouns:

 I give the man a present  Ik geef de man een kado
 I give him a present  Ik geef hem een kado
 I give him it  Ik geef het hem

You see that in the last Dutch example, the two pronouns have swapped position, unlike in English. In English this can be done to: "I give it to him", but that introduces an extra preposition "to". And in Dutch the words HAVE TO are swapped, because otherwise the sentence would be incorrect.

Colloquial Use

You have to be aware of the fact that the forms we have discussed so far are often replaced with simpler versions where the ij or ou sound is replaced by a neutral e. The following forms are all equivalent:

 Official  Alternative
 Jij  Je
 Zij  Ze
 Mij  Me
 Jou  Je
 Wij  We

You might expect "hij" to change into "*he", but that never happens and it would produce an incorrect sentence. Below are some sentences that are all exactly the same in meaning:

 Ik zie jou  Ik zie je
 Jij ziet mij  Je ziet me
 Jij ziet mij  Je ziet mij
 Jij ziet mij  Jij ziet me
 Zij zien jou  Ze zien je

Using the formal ij or ou form has a highlighting result. You stress explicitly the pronoun and make it more obviously present. In daily speech, you will find the colloquial form more often.


 Geven  To give
 Het kado  The present


Note that we will mainly use the colloquial pronoun forms from now on.

Exercise A: Translate to English
1) Ik geef de aardige man een groot kado.
2) Hij geeft mij een nieuwe fiets.
3) Wij zien hen goed.
4) Wat wil ze?
5) Waarom lopen ze snel?
6) U ziet haar niet.
7) We geven het hen.
8) Ze zien het niet.
9) Het is goed.

Exercise B: Translate to Dutch
1) I see her.
2) Her dog sees me well.
3) You give me a present.
4) They see it.
5) What does she give him?
6) Why don't you see it?
7) They give me her.


In this lesson, we will list both the official pronoun forms as well as the colloquial ones, In next lessons we will only list one of them.

Solutions to Exercise A
1) I give the nice man a big present.
2) He gives me a new bike.
3) We see them well.
4) What does she want?
5) Why do they walk fast?
6) You don't see her.
7) We give it to them.
8) They don't see it.
9) It is good.

Solutions to Exercise B
1) Ik zie haar.
2) Haar hond ziet mij/me goed.
3) Je eeft mij/me een kado.
4) Zij/Ze zien het.
5) Wat geeft zij/ze hem?
6) Waarom zie jij/je het niet?
7) Ze geven mij/me haar.

Lesson 7: Prepositions and Conjunctions

Until now we've managed to stay away from prepositions. But now the time has come to discuss this issue, because prepositions are such a vital part of a language and it's hard to build a sentence without them.


Prepositions are those little words that mark places in space or time. The prepositions are best explained when envisioning a birdcage and a bird, and the ways they relate to each other:

The bird can be in the cage. ("in" being a preposition) But it can also be on top of the cage, under the cage, it can fly through the cage. Or fly out of the cage. It can be stuck between two cages or it can take a nap in front of the cage. You see that there are a lot more possibilities! All those bold-faced words are prepositions.

Prepositions are quite abstract and therefore different languages have entirely different prepositions. There is not a simple one-to-one relation between pronouns in different languages so they will have to be discussed separately.

Let us start our discussion with possession. In English we use the pronoun "of", in Dutch we use: "van".

Het huis van mijn vader  The house of my father

But like in English, Dutch also has an analogous way of expressing this without a preposition:

 Mijn vader's huis  My father's house


 Ik kom uit Nederland  I come from the Netherlands
 Ik krijg een kado van mijn vader  I get a present from my father

Here you already see two possible translations for the English prepositions. "uit" is used with countries/cities. But "van" is a more common translation in other situations. It's often hard to know what preposition to use, and differences between languages are huge. Often only experience and practice can help you.


 Ik ga naar school  I go to school
 Ik ga naar mijn vader  I go to my father

We will discuss now some simple prepositions specifying a location:

 Ik ben in het huis  I am in the house
 Ik sta voor het huis  I stand in front of the house
 Ik sta achter het huis  I stand behind the house
 Ik sta op het huis  I stand on the house
 Ik sta naast het huis  I stand on the side of the house
 Ik sta bij het huis  I stand near the house
 Ik sta onder het huis  I stand under the house
 Ik sta boven het huis  I stand above the house
 Ik sta boven op het huis  I stand on top of the house
 Ik sta tussen de huizen  I stand between the houses

Note that when it comes to movement, Dutch sometimes uses postpositions instead of prepositions, meaning that the word comes after the complement it applies to.

 Ik ga het huis in  I go into the house
 Ik ga het huis uit  I go out of the house
 Ik spring over het huis  I jump over the house
 Ik spring op het huis  I jump onto the house
 Ik ga door het huis  I go through the house

The Dutch prepositions above are more-or-less used in the same situation as their English counterparts.

Horizontal vs. Vertical Placement

 Het schilderij ligt op de tafel  The painting lies on the table
 Het schilderij hangt aan de muur  The painting hangs on the wall

You see that for horizontal placement, the Dutch use "op", while for vertical placement they use "aan", whereas English only uses one preposition.


 Ik ga met jou  I go with you
 Ik ga zonder jou  I go without you


Ik ga met de fiets  I go by bike
 Ik eet met mijn handen  I eat with my hands


 Gemaakt door mij  Made by me

Being with people

 Ik ben bij mijn ouders  I am with my parents
 Ik ben bij mijn ouders  I am at my parents'


 Ik ga na jou  I go after you
 Ik ga voor jou  I go before you
 Ik blijf tot vanavond  I stay until tonight
 Ik ben hier sinds gisteren  I am here since yesterday
 Ik ben hier voor drie dagen  I am here for three days
 Ik kom over drie dagen  I come in three days
 Ik schrijf je binnen drie dagen  I write you within three days

When you use a personal pronoun after a preposition, you have to used the forms equal to those you use as a direct object, but in this case you have to use the long forms with ij and ou and can never shorten them to e!


We have now shown you the most common prepositions. Try to practice a lot with them because that's the best way to learn them. We will now move on to conjunctions. Conjunctions are the words that glue sentences together. The most obvious one we have already dealt with: "en" meaning "and". But there are far more such words which can glue sentences together in a certain way. Like we did with the prepositions, we will discuss these through examples...

 Ik ga en ik wil reizen  I go and I want to travel
 Ik ga of ik wil reizen  I go or I want to travel
 Ik ga want ik wil reizen  I go because I want to travel
 Ik ga, maar ik wil reizen  I go, but I want to travel

These are the so-called coordinating conjunctions. The sentences that are glued together are of equal importance. There is also a second type of conjunction, which is more common: the subordinate conjunction. It also glues sentences together but the sentences are not of equal importance. One sentence is called the subordinate clause and is more or less integrated into the main clause using a subordinate conjunction. In the following example we demonstrate what a subordinate clause is by highlighting that part of the sentence:

 I go because I see you Ik ga omdat ik je zie

Note that the word order in the Dutch subordinate clause is different from what we are used to! This is the case in all Dutch subordinate clauses. In a normal sentence we would expect to see:

ik zie je

Which is a SUBJECT-VERB-OBJECT order which we also see in English. However, subordinate clauses in Dutch have a different word-order, namely: SUBJECT-OBJECT-VERB, as in the following example:

.........ik je zie

This is obligatory and a crucial fact of many Germanic languages: subordinate clauses have different word order. Now we know about this we can start discussing the subordinate conjunctions.

 Ik ga omdat ik je zie  I go because I see you
 Ik ga hoewel ik je zie  I go although I see you
 Ik ga tenzij ik je zie  I go unless I see you
 Ik ga als ik je zie  I go if I see you
 Ik ga terwijl ik je zie  I go while I see you
 Ik ga wanneer ik je zie  I go when I see you
 Ik ga zodat ik je zie  I go in order to (so) I see you

Relative pronouns

This now takes us to a similar issue where subordinate clauses are involved. The subordinate clause in this case is related to a part of the main clause or the main clause entirely. Take a look at the following example:

 Ik weet dat ik je zie  I know [that] I see you
 Ik weet wat ik zie  I know what I see
 De stad waar ik ben  The city where I live
 De man die je ziet  The man who sees you
 De stoel die groot is  The chair which is big
 Het huis dat groot is  The house which is big

Note that while "that" in English can often be omitted, it can never in Dutch.

The use of "dat" or "die" depends, just like with the demonstrative pronouns we've seen in part one, on the gender and number of the noun it applies to.


 ook  also/too
 nog [steeds]  still
 al  already
 alleen [maar], slechts  only, just
 nu  now
 de stad  the city
 de vrouw  the woman, the wife


Exercise A: Translate to English
1) Hij komt ook uit Nederland.
2) Zie jij dat ik je zie?
3) Ik ben al in mijn huis.
4) Ik ga met mijn vader naar Amsterdam omdat het een grote stad is.
5) Ik zie een oude man die naar het huis rent.
6) De stoel die ik zie is niet groot.
7) Ik loop voor het huis.
8) Ik zie het gebouw na jou.
9) Ik zie alleen een man met een hond die door mijn nieuwe huis loopt.
10) Ik heb een stoel voor deze hond.

Exercise B: Translate to Dutch
1) Do you see that man with his wife?
2) I walk to the city so I can see my new house.
3) My father's house is big although he is a small man.
4) I go to school by bike because my bike is fast.
5) He has a cat, but he wants to have a dog.
6) They go into the house that is new.
7) She goes when he goes into the house.


We will use either the official or colloquial form of the pronouns, so multiple answer are possible.

Solutions to Exercise A
1) He also come from The Netherlands.
2) Do you see that I see you?
3) I am already in my house.
4) I go to Amsterdam with my father because it is a big city.
5) I see an old man who runs to the house.
6) The chair which I see is not big.
7) I walk in front of the house.
8) I see the building after you.
9) I only see a man with a dog who walks through my new house.
10) I have a chair for this dog.

Solutions to Exercise B
1) Zie je die man met zijn vrouw?
2) Ik loop naar de stad zodat ik mijn nieuwe huis kan zien.
3) Mijn vader's huis is groot, hoewel hij een kleine man is.
4) Ik ga naar school met de fiets omdat mijn fiets snel is.
5) Hij heeft een kat, maar he wil een hond hebben.
6) Zij gaan het huis dat nieuw is in, Zij gaan het huis in dat nieuw is.
7) Zij gaat wanneer hij het huis in gaat.

Lesson 8: Verb Tenses

Our knowledge of Dutch is already improving gradually! It is time we now move on from present tense and discuss other verb tenses as well. We will start with the past tense:

Past tense

Dutch past tense of regular verbs comes in three groups: Strong verbs, Weak verbs with T, Weak verbs with D. The strong verbs have an irregular stem in the past tense, but are conjugated regularly, the only issue is remembering the correct stem. Weak verbs are completely regular and come in two flavors: a T-flavor and a D-flavor. The flavor it takes depends on the final consonant of the verb's stem. If the final consonant is one appearing in the mnemonic word 'T KOFSCHIP then it belongs to the T-group, otherwise it belongs to the D-group, provided that is isn't a strong or irregular verb. Can you still follow it? Let's start conjugating each of the three groups as an example:

Strong verb conjugation

 LOPEN (liep)  TO WALK
 Ik liep  I walked
 Jij liep  You walked
 Hij/zij liep  He/she walked
 Wij liepen  We walked
 Jullie liepen  You walked
 Zij liepen  They walked

Above you see the past tense conjugation of the strong verb "lopen". Since the verb is strong it has an irregular stem in the past tense: "liep". You see that the rest of the conjugation is quite straightforward and there are in fact only two different forms. It is important that when you learn a strong verb, you memorize it's stem in past tense, just like you do for English verbs like "bite - bit - bit". Now let's take a look at the weak verbs. The two left columns show a T-group weak verb (since it's final consonant is one of 'T KOFSCHIP). The two right columns show a D-group weak verb:

 Ik hoopte  I hoped  Ik deelde  I shared
 Jij hoopte  You hoped  Jij deelde  You shared
 Hij/zij hoopte  He/she hoped  Hij/zij deelde  He/she shared
 Wij hoopten  We hoped  Wij deelden  We shared
 Jullie hoopten  You hoped  Jullie deelden  You shared
 Zij hoopten  They hoped  Zij deelden  They shared

You notice the similarities in conjugation between the two types of weak verbs, one uses a T, and one uses a D. That's all there's to it, and with 'T KOFSCHIP you have an easy mnemonic tool for determining whether a verb uses the T or the D form, provided of course that you can rule out that it is a strong verb. There are no tricks for knowing that, so that will have to be memorized.

Now things will get even more confusing: you probably just grabbed the concept of when the double consonants and vowels and when to make them single again; it all has to do with retaining the sound of the vowel. However, when it comes to strong verbs, this principle is set aside partially. When a past verb stem contains a short vowel, then it is no problem if this short vowel gets replaced by a long one for the plural forms. Consider the following example of a strong verb:

 Ik sprak  I spoke
 Jij sprak  You spoke
 Hij/zij sprak  He/she spoke
 Wij spraken  We spoke
 Jullie spraken  You spoke
 Zij spraken  They spoke

Notice that because of the Dutch pronunciation rules, the A-vowel in "sprak" sounds different than the A-vowel in "spraken". But also note that although you are used to compensating this by adding a consonant, this is not done when conjugating strong verbs in the past tense. However, the other way round still applies, if the vowel in the stem is a long one, then it has to remain long even after addition of -EN.

Below we will quickly show how to conjugate some irregular and strong verbs we have seen in past lessons. The irregular verbs are fully conjugated. For the strong verbs we only mention the stem, since you can do the rest yourself with what you have learned in this lesson.

 Zijn: Ik was, jij was, hij was, wij waren, jullie waren, zij waren
 Hebben: ik had, jij had, hij had, wij hadden, jullie hadden, zij hadden
 Weten: wist
 Zien: zag
 Zeggen: Ik zei, jij zei, hij zei, wij zeiden, jullie zeiden, zij zeiden
 Doen: deed
 Spreken: sprak
 Lopen: liep
 Kijken: keek
 Vliegen: vloog
 Zwemmen: zwom
 Komen: kwam
 Geven: gaf
Perfect Tense

Like in English, this is not the only kind of past tense the Dutch language knows. There is also the perfect tense (which in turn comes in two different forms). Your head might be spinning right now, but don't worry about it because perfect tense in Dutch is very similar to perfect tense in English. Let's first refresh your memory by showing what perfect tense is, we will show both forms, present perfect and past perfect and illustrate this with the example verb "to speak".

 Present Perfect  Past Perfect
 I have spoken  I had spoken
 You have spoken  You had spoken
 He/she has spoken  He/she had spoken
 We have spoken  We had spoken
 You have spoken  You had spoken
 They have spoken  They had spoken

You see that perfect tense is composed of a form of the verb "to have" + the so-called participle of the verb in question, in this case the participle is: "spoken", which is an irregular verb. For regular verbs, the participle looks just like the past tense, for example: "hoped".

In Dutch the participle of strong verbs is again, irregular. Most Dutch participles start with the prefix "ge-". Participles of weak verbs are formed like this:

For D-group verbs:: GE- + PRESENT-TENSE-STEM + D
For T-group verbs:: GE- + PRESENT-TENSE-STEM + T

So the participles of the two weak verbs we have discussed will be "gehoopt" and "gedeeld", since the present-tense stem of "hopen" is "hoop", and that of "delen" is "deel". The participle of the strong verb is, as we already explained, irregular. In the case of our example it would be: "gelopen".

The Dutch present perfect and past perfect is composed exactly the same as in English. It consist of a form of the verb "hebben", and a participle. For our three example verbs we can construct the following scheme for the present perfect:

 Ik heb gehoopt  Ik heb gedeeld  Ik heb gelopen
 Jij hebt gehoopt  Jij hebt gedeeld  Jij hebt gelopen
 Hij/zij heeft gehoopt  Hij/zij heeft gedeeld  Hij/zij heeft gelopen
 Wij hebben gehoopt  Wij hebben gedeeld  Wij hebben gelopen
 Jullie hebben gehoopt  Jullie hebben gedeeld  Jullie hebben gelopen
 Zij hebben gehoopt  Zij hebben gedeeld  Zij hebben gelopen

The past perfect tense is almost the same. The only difference is that the auxiliary verb "hebben" is conjugated in the past tense, just like in English ("have" vs "had"). Consider the following table:

 Ik had gehoopt  Ik had gedeeld  Ik had gelopen
 Jij had gehoopt  Jij had gedeeld  Jij had gelopen
 Hij/zij had gehoopt  Hij/zij had gedeeld  Hij/zij had gelopen
 Wij hadden gehoopt  Wij hadden gedeeld  Wij hadden gelopen
 Jullie hadden gehoopt  Jullie hadden gedeeld  Jullie hadden gelopen
 Zij hadden gehoopt  Zij hadden gedeeld  Zij hadden gelopen

While direct object and indirect objects in English appear after the HAVE + PARTICIPLE construction, they appear between them in Dutch. The participle is often last in the sentence.

We've already shown you the past-tense stem for the strong verbs (which are irregular) which we've seen in these lessons. Now we will show you the participle of these strong verbs:

 Zijn: geweest
 Hebben: gehad
 Weten: geweten
 Zien: gezien
 Zeggen: gezegd
 Doen: gedaan
 Spreken: gesproken
 Lopen: gelopen
 Kijken: gekeken
 Vliegen: gevlogen
 Zwemmen: gezwommen
 Komen: gekomen
 Geven: gegeven
Future tense

Now we've covered some quite difficult material it's time for something easy, and fortunately Dutch future tense is just that. In English future tense is made by "will" plus the infinitive form of the verb in question (meaning the full unconjugated form). In Dutch it is exactly the same. Verbs are made by a form of the verb "zullen" plus the infinitive form of the verb. Strong verbs, weak verbs, D's and T's are all out of of the picture here. Take a look at the table below:

 Ik zal zien  I will see
 Jij zult/zal zien  You will see
 Hij/zij zal zien  He/she will see
 Wij zullen zien  We will see
 Jullie zullen zien  You will see
 Zij zullen zien  They will see

Note that you can say both "Jij zult zien" and Jij zal zien". It means exactly the same.

Conditional tense

Strongly related to the future tense it the conditional tense, where instead of "will", the past tense "would" is being used. The same applies to Dutch by using the past tense of the verb "zullen". The following table will show this:

 Ik zou zien  I would see
 Jij zou zien  You would see
 Hij/zij zou zien  He/she would see
 Wij zouden zien  We would see
 Jullie zouden zien  You would see
 Zij zouden zien  They would see
Verbs with Prefixes

Before we end this lesson, we are going to have to take a closer look at the formation of participles. We learned that we can construct a participle for a weak verb by using the prefix "ge-", the present tense verb-stem and a final D or T. This is often the case, but not always.

There are verbs which already start with a common type of prefix. If this prefix is a meaningless one, the three most common ones being: "be-" and "ver-" and "ont-", then the prefix "ge-" is not needed anymore. For example, the participle of the verb "vertrouwen" ("to trust") is "vertrouwd" and never "*gevertrouwd". Another example: the participle of "bewaren" ("to save/to conserve") is "bewaard" and never "*gebewaard".

It is also possible that the verb start with a meaningful prefix derived from a preposition, such as the verb "uitstappen" ("to exit from something"). This verb starts with the prefix "uit" which is derived from the preposition "uit". Such verbs are quite common in Dutch and other Germanic languages. In this case you do use the prefix "ge" to form the participle, but the prefix is inserted AFTER the already existing prefix. So in this case we will obtain the participle: "uitgestapt" instead of "*geuitstapt"

In more cases you will see that the prefix derived from a preposition can take another position not directly attached to the other part of the verb. This is already immediately obvious in the present tense conjugation of such verbs:

 Ik stap uit  I exit
 Jij stapt uit  You exit
 Hij/zij stapt uit  He/she exists
 Wij stappen uit  We exit
 Jullie stappen uit  You exit
 Zij stappen uit  They exit

And also in past tense, this behavior continues:

 Ik stapte uit  I exited
 Jij stapte uit  You exited
 Hij/zij stapte uit  He/she existed
 Wij stapten uit  We exited
 Jullie stapten uit  You exited
 Zij stapten uit  They exited

It can go even further. If the verb can take a direct object and/or and indirect object, then the prefix moves all the way over those. The following is an example with the verb "uitzoeken" ("to select").

 Ik zoek een mooi boek uit  I select a nice book

Well, that's enough material for this lesson. We have discussed some very important aspects of Dutch grammar, not all easy or obvious.


Exercise A: Translate to English
1) Ik zag de hond die jij ook had gezien.
2) Ik zal naar huis lopen tenzij ik al in het huis ben.
3) Ik hoopte dat jij het met me zou willen delen.
4) Hij liep door het huis tot hij bij de hond kwam.
5) Wij hebben de hond gezien.
6) Ik keek naar mijn vader terwijl hij liep.
7) Ik zal naar het huis kijken.
8) Hij zou komen als ik ook kom.

Exercise B: Translate to Dutch
1) I spoke with my father while we walked.
2) She had seen the man before you saw him.
3) We will come to your house.
4) I trusted him.
5) I choose/select a bike for my father.
6) They would see the house.
7) He came because he saw me.


Solutions to Exercise A
1) I saw the dog that you saw too.
2) I will walk to the house unless I already am in the house.
3) I hoped you would share it with me.
4) He walked through the house until he came to the dog (until he reached the dog).
5) We have seen the dog.
6) I looked at my father while he walked.
7) I will look at the house.
8) He would come if he come too.

Solutions to Exercise B
1) I sprak met mijn vader terwijl we liepen.
2) Ze had de man gezien voor jij hem zag.
3) We zullen naar jouw huis komen.
4) I vertrouwde hem.
5) Ik zoek een fiets uit voor mijn vader.
6) Zij zouden het huis zien.
7) Hij kwam omdat hij me zag.

Lesson 9: Reflexive Verbs, Gerund, and Degrees of Comparison

In our previous lesson we have obtained a lot of information about Dutch verbs. However, we have not yet found the time to discuss reflexive verbs. That we will do now.

Reflexive Verbs

Reflexive verbs are accompanied by a so-called reflexive pronoun. The following table illustrates the reflexive verb "to wash oneself" and the Dutch equivalent "zich wassen". Note that in these infinitive verbs forms, we can already note the reflexive pronoun "zich" ("oneself")

 Ik was me  I wash myself
 Jij wast je  You wash yourself
 Hij wast zich  He washes himself
 Zij wast zich  She washes herself
 Wij wassen ons  We wash ourselves
 Jullie wassen je  You wash yourselves
 Zij wassen zich  They wash themselves

Every Dutch reflexive pronoun can also be found with the suffix "-zelf" which will make them resemble the English form more.


In English, we are all familiar with the continuous tense, better known as the "-ing" tense. In Dutch you will find this less, but it does exist. While in English we use "to be +ing", the Dutch use "zijn aan het +infinitive". Consider the following example:

 Ik ben aan het lopen  I am walking
 Jij bent aan het lopen  You are walking
 Hij/zij is aan het lopen  He/she is walking
 Wij zijn aan het lopen  We are walking
 Jullie zijn aan het lopen  You are walking
 Zij zijn aan het lopen  They are walking

Do not forget though, that this is used far less than in English, so you shouldn't substitute every English continuous tense with this Dutch construction. Instead, the Dutch present tense usually suffices.

Degrees of Comparison

Adjectives and adverbs can be modified according to degrees of comparison to their meaning BIGGER or BIGGEST. In English we obtain sets of three like: "late - later - latest". In Dutch this is exactly the same: "laat - later - laatst". There is no difference whatsoever.

And the analogy goes further. We can say "the latest" in English. In Dutch we get: "het laatst" and when we are using it adjectively we have to make it agree with the noun gender and number, so the article can change and the adjective can get an extra E as the following table illustrates:

 Het laatste uur  The latest hour
 De laatste minuut  The latest minute
 De laatste uren  The latest hours

When used as an adverb we don't need the extra E but we can't omit the article as in English.

 Ik kom het laatst  I come [the] latest

Now we will take a look at comparisons of inequality and later we will discuss comparisons of equality. The sentence below illustrates a comparison of inequality:

Ik ben groter dan jij  I am bigger than you
Hij is kleiner dan wij  He is smaller than we

And an example of comparisons of equality:

 Ik ben even groot als jij  I am as big as you
 Hij is even klein als wij  He is as small as we

An alternative way of saying this is possible too:

 Ik ben net zo groot als jij  I am [just] as big as you
 Hij is net zo klein als wij  He is [just] as small as we


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Lesson 10: Filling the gaps

In this lesson we will discuss some small issues we haven't gotten around yet. You will see things you might have been wanting to know all along..

Small Nouns

In Dutch there is a suffix "-je" that will make a noun small. For example, adding "-je" to "huis" generates "huisje", meaning "little house". You will often see such small nouns in Dutch. Note that they all are of neuter gender and therefore use the article "het" in singular.

 0  nul
 1  één
 2  twee
 3  drie
 4  vier
 5  vijf
 6  zes
 7  zeven
 8  acht
 9  negen
 10  tien
 11  elf
 12  twaalf
 13  dertien
 14  veertien
 15  vijftien
 16  zestien
 17  zeventien
 18  achttien
 19  negentien
 20  twintig
 21  éénentwintig
 22  tweeëntwintig
 23  drieëntwintig
 24  vierentwintig
 30  dertig
 40  veertig
 50  vijftig
 60  zestig
 70  zeventig
 80  tachtig
 90  negentig
 100  honderd
 123  honderddrieëntwintig
 200  tweehonderd
 1000  duizend
 10000 tienduizend
 100000 honderdduizend
 1000000 [één] miljoen
Days of the week

Unlike in English, the days of the week do not receive a capital first letter.

 Monday  maandag
 Tuesday  dinsdag
 Wednesday  woensdag
 Thursday  donderdag
 Friday  vrijdag
 Saturday  zaterdag
 Sunday  zondag

The preposition used to point at day is always "op". However, there is also an alternative construction using "'s" and the name of the day appended by an extra S.

 Ik kom op maandag  I come on Monday
 Ik kom 's maandags  I come on Monday
The months of the year

Like the days of the week, the months of the year are never capitalized:

 January  januari
 February  februari
 March  maart
 April  april
 May  mei
 June  juni
 July  juli
 August  augustus
 September  september
 October  oktober
 November  november
 December  december

The preposition used to point at a month is "in", just like in English.


There is still a verb tense we have left undiscussed: the so-called imperative tense/mood. This is used to give commands and is very easy to use in Dutch because like in English, it simply consists of the present tense stem:

 Kom!  Come!
 Loop!  Walk!

We can also form this into a "Let's ..." expression using "Laten we" plus the infinitive verb:

 Laten we lopen!  Let's walk!
 Laten we vliegen!  Let's fly!

Below you will see a very extensive scheme that will show you words like "somebody":

Unspecific Interrogative Specific All-inclusive All-exclusive
 Quality   Some/any kind of   What kind of?   That kind of, such a   Every kind of, all kinds of   No kind of 
 Een soort   Wat voor soort?   Dat soort, zo'n [soort]   Elk soort   Geen [enkel] soort 
 Reason   For some reason   Why?   Therefore, so   For every reason   For no reason 
 Om één of andere reden   Waarom?   Daarom   Om alles   Nergens om 
 Time   Sometime, anytime, ever   When?   Then   Always   Never 
 Ooit, eens   Wanneer?   Dan   Altijd   Nooit 
 Location   Somewhere, anywhere   Where?   There   Everywhere   Nowhere 
 Ergens   Waar?   Daar   Overal   Nergens 
 Direction   Somewhere, anywhere   Where to?   [to] there   [to] everywhere   [to] nowhere 
 Ergens [heen]   Waarheen?   Daarheen   Overal naartoe   Nergens naartoe 
 Manner   Somehow, anyhow   How?   Like that, so   In every way   In no way 
 Op één of andere manier   Hoe?   Zo   Op elke manier   Op geen enkele manier 
 Possession   Someone's, anyone's   Whose?   That one's, his, hers, theirs   Everybody's, everyone's   Nobody's 
 Iemand's   Wiens?   zijn,haar,hun   Iedereen's   Niemand's 
 Object   Something, anything   What?   That   Everything   Nothing 
 Iets   Wat?   Dat   Alles   Niets, niks 
 Quantity   Some   How much?, How many?   That/so much, That/so  many   All [of it]   None [of it] 
 Enige   Hoeveel?   Zo veel   Alles   Niets 
 Person   Somebody, anybody   Who?   That one, he,she,they   Everybody, everyone   Nobody 
 Iemand   Wie?   Die, hij, zij, hen   Iedereen   Niemand
 Adjective   Some, any   which?, what?   That   Every, each, all   None, no 
 Enig, enige   Welke?   Die   Elke, alle   Geen enkele, none 


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End Of Part Two

This is the end of the basic Dutch course. Now you've learned some of the basics of this fascinating language. In the future we might create a part three of this course but for now this is all. But you can learn more by visiting the UniLang Public Bookmarks or by taking a look at the Basic Wordlist Dutch.

Thanks for your interest in this course! If you discovered any mistakes or you just want to say something then please let us know . We do need feedback!

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