Dutch Language Blog

Back to Basics: Using the Present Tense Posted by on Aug 12, 2015 in Dutch Grammar

I know most of you are thinking…why do we need to go back to the basics with the present tense? This is perhaps the first grammar lesson we get in Dutch classes, and, to be honest, one of the easiest rules.

So why am I going to devote a post to the present tense? I’ve observed in myself that the more I observe and correct myself in more complex structures and topics, the more mistakes I make when I use simple ones like the present tense. Perhaps this mistake is simply just mine, but for the sake of continuing to improve our Dutch and for those beginning to learn Dutch, I shall review a bit of the present tense.

The two basic verbs that we must all learn to conjugate in all the different forms are hebben and zijn. Regardless of what language you are learning, these two verbs are not only two of the most used verbs, but they can also be helping verbs for other grammatical structures (bijvoorbeeld the past tense).

ik ben
jij/je bent
u bent
hij/zij is
wij zijn
jullie zijn
zij/ze zijn

ik heb
jij/je hebt
u hebt/heeft
hij/zij heeft
wij hebben
jullie hebben
zij/ze hebben

LET OP:  Make sure to pronounce the ‘t’ for jij/je and u.

Although hebben and zijn are almost regular verbs, I will explain the rule for turning an infinitief into a verb conjugated in the present tense.

A verb in the infinitief form ends in -en with the exception of zijn. In order to get the root of the verb, you need to remove the -en. If the verb has a long vowel like, for example, wonen, then you add the second vowel.

wonen –> woon

Once you have your root verb, you simply need to add ‘t’ in the singular forms that need it.

ik woon
jij woont
u woont
hij woont

The plural forms are a lot easier because the present tense for plural subjects and the infinitief are the same.

wij wonen
jullie wonen
ze wonen

One of the instances where the present tense is commonly used is in the weather report in newscasts. Because the present tense can be used when talking about the present as well as the future, it can be good practice to listen to the present tense use and to report on the weather yourself. The following video is a good example:

In what other scenarios do you find yourself using the present tense?

Tags: , , , ,
Keep learning Dutch with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

About the Author: Karoly Molina

Since I was a little girl, I was fascinated with languages and writing. I speak English, Spanish, Italian, Dutch and a little bit of French. I am a writer, reader, language teacher, traveler, and a food lover! I now live in The Netherlands with my husband Riccardo, our cat Mona, and our dog Lisa, and the experience has been phenomenal. The Dutch culture is an exciting sometimes topsy-turvy world that I am happily exploring!


  1. Mohamed Sam:

    I came by accident to find this blog and i really liked it, i am learning dutch & Swedish now I speak fluent English and Native Arabic and I am sure your blog will help me a lot through my dutch studies. Dank je