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Omdat and doordat, revisited Posted by on Mar 12, 2009 in Dutch Language

In response to a few comments and questions on my ‘Omdat and doordat’ post, I would like to shortly revisit the topic again.

The reason why this topic seems so difficult, is because the topic itself is difficult, even for native Dutch people. That’s the reason why the word ‘omdat’ is also more and more used where ‘doordat’ should be used. It seems like ‘doordat’ is slowly fading away and being replaced by ‘omdat’. Still, there is still an official difference between the two words.

It’s difficult to find a proper English translation… but ‘omdat’ is used in a sentence that shows a ‘reason’ and ‘doordat’ is used in a sentence with a ‘cause and effect’. Also, ‘omdat’ refers to a human decision or opinion. ‘Doordat’ refers to an external (non human) event.

So, to use the examples Bill provided in his comment:

1) He had a big cut on his arm DOORDAT he was in a knife fight.

2) He arrived late DOORDAT his car broke down.

3) I enjoy this class OMDAT it’s fun.

And you are correct in all three sentences! Seems like you got the theory nailed Bill!

The first two sentences clearly show a ‘cause and effect’. The knife fight is the ‘cause’ and the big cut is the ‘effect’. The broken car is the ‘cause’ and arriving late is the ‘effect’.

Also the second sentence refers to an external (non human) event (the car broke down)… something that’s not as clear in the first sentence, but in that case ‘doordat’ is still correct because of the ‘cause and effect’.

And to be honest, it sometimes still confuses me because ‘rain’ is also an external event and still in that example ‘omdat’ is correct to use.

To give you two more examples:

“I never buy Brussel sprouts OMDAT I hate them”

“Yesterday I missed an important meeting DOORDAT the train was delayed.

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  1. Peter Simon:

    Thank you, it’s clear now!

  2. Yi Zhen:

    Hallo, im learning the dutch “voegwoord” now. The word doordat and omdat is really confusing. But this page gives me a lot of help to differentiate doordat and omdat. However, i still have an example that still confuses me, if you would explain it for me i’d be very grateful.

    Morgen is er geen les. Het is een feestdag.

    Am i able to use “doordat” to put these two sentenses together?

    Thanks for your help!

    • Sten:

      @Yi Zhen Hi Yi!

      Yes, you could: However I would still use omdat here!
      Omdat is causal, whereas doordat is consequential. Thin line.