Dutch Language Blog

Tag Archives: grammar

Wat móét ik nou hiermee? Accents on Dutch Words, Explained Posted by on Feb 21, 2022

Dutch Dit dat emphasis signs streepje accent aigu accent grave

Dutch is pretty straightforward. Unlike German, French, Spanish or some Nordic languages, we don’t put accents on our letters! But then words like ingeënt, kopiëren, reünie, drieënvijftig, geïnd and tweeën say hello. This is what we call het trema (diaeresis), and in the Netherlands, it doesn’t signify that we pronounce the letter differently, but it’s rather an indication that…

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Er en daar: The (not so) confusing Dutch versions of “there” Posted by on Aug 27, 2021

er en daar there that pronoun proposition

Like many other languages, Dutch has a differentiation between er and daar, which in English both translate to “there”. So what is that difference, how can you keep them apart, and what do you use when? “There” is the culprit Like the English word “some”, which has quite a range of translations in Dutch, “there” seems to be the reason…

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What’s “some” in Dutch? Posted by on Aug 10, 2021

A few days ago, a friend of mine who’s learning Dutch right now told me about how een paar, enkele, sommige, wat, een beetje and soms are confusing, because they all mean some! I was taken aback – is that true? I had never thought about how confusing that can be. She gave me some examples, and I…

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How Nouns In Dutch Are Falling Apart Posted by on Jul 15, 2019

Samenstellingen (compounded nouns) are a fun thing in the Dutch language. There are some fun challenges I remember from my childhood where we would make very long samenstellingen that you could basically make endless, even if nonsensical: hottentottententententoonstelling (Hottentot hut exposition) or fietsventieldopjesfabrikantenvereniging (bicycle valve cap factory association). But that is tame in comparison to some made up at this…

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‘s Woensdags – How does the Dutch genitive work? Posted by on Feb 25, 2019

How do you say “On Wednesdays, we go shopping in Amsterdam” in Dutch? The answer may not be as straightforward as you’d think. And that is what this post is about! Genitief ‘s Woensdags winkelen we in Amsterdam. What stands out in the sentence above? Perhaps the apostrophe and lowercase s at the BEGINNING of a sentence. Woensdags…

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Wil or wilt? Posted by on Dec 17, 2018

A rather small conundrum, but an important one if you want to understand Dutch properly: is it jij wil or jij wilt? Small difference, but is it significant? Let’s find out. The difference of one letter Willen (to want) is an important verb, often a hulpwerkwoord (auxiliary verb). The official conjugation is as follows: ik wil (I want) jij/u wilt (you (informal)/you (formal) want) hij/zij/het…

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Versterkende bijvoeglijke naamwoorden – pebbles and cats are super! Posted by on Dec 30, 2016

Last week, we looked at trappen van vergelijking (degrees of comparison). They allow you to show that a thing is nice, very nice or the nicest. But there is another way to differentiate between nice things and very nice things – with versterkende bijvoeglijke naamwoorden (“strengthening adjectives”). They do not have degrees of comparison, and so they only…

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