Dutch Language Blog

Deze, die, dit, dat Posted by on Nov 10, 2008 in Dutch Language

As I was browsing – again- on the internet, I noticed a little problem some people have with the Dutch language.

I’m talking about the pronouns dit/deze and die/dat. I think in English both pair of pronouns would be this/that. Of course, in Dutch we have common gender words and neuter gender words that’s why we have these two pairs of pronouns.

Dit/deze are words to describe items or circumstances which are close by. Die/dat are words to describe items or circumstances further away.

To make things a bit more confusing… dit/dat are the words used for neuter gender words (het) and deze/die are used for common gender words (de).

A few examples to make things a little more clear:

* Dit boek is nieuw en dat boek is oud.

This book is new and that book is old.

– ‘Boek’ uses the article ‘het’ because it’s a neuter gender word, hence ‘dit/dat’

* Deze man is jong en die man is oud.

This man is young en that man is old.

– ‘Man’ uses the article ‘de’ because it’s a common gender word, hence ‘deze/die’-

* Deze man woont in dat huis.

This man lives in that house.

-‘Man’ uses the article ‘de’, hence ‘deze’, house uses the article ‘het’ hence ‘dat’-

* Dit huis is van die man.

This house belongs to that man.

-‘House’ uses the article ‘de’, hence ‘dit’, ‘man’ uses the article ‘de’ hence ‘die’-

As you can see, deze/dit both mean ‘this’ and die/dat both mean ‘that’.

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  1. tom:

    Dank u man ik wist da nie THANKS.

  2. Sharry:

    Hallo! Heel erg bedankt voor deze uitleg! Het helpt me alles beter te begrijpen en het zo aan mijn vrienden die Nederlands leren uit te leggen.

  3. Twisss:

    You made a mistake in the last example: House uses the article ‘het’ not ‘de’. That’s why it uses ‘dit’.

    • Jorginho francois:

      @Twisss Yes it’s true

  4. Sean:

    But what about plurals then? I thought ‘dit’ and ‘deze’ meant this and these, and ‘dat’ and ‘die’ meant that and those.

  5. Zeyu:

    Thanks so much, studying for my Dutch exam and this really helped.

  6. Yash Daryani:

    Thank u so much… Was really confused between these pronouns. Helped a lot for my exams. Really appreciate!

  7. Tilak:

    so it is dit boek and deze boeken?