Dutch IV Tutorial: Basic Phrases, Vocabulary and Grammar
61. Parts of the Body
bot / been (n)
hals / nek
skelet / geraamte
62. Relative Pronouns
Relative clauses begin with relative pronouns - words that
correspond to who, whom, that and which in English. These
may be omitted in English, but must be included in Dutch. The relative
pronoun is put into the correct gender depending on the noun it refers
to. The conjugated verb goes to the end of the sentence as well
as with subordinate clauses. Die and dat are the relative
pronouns in Dutch; die refers to people, singular common nouns
and all plural nouns, whereas dat refers to singular neuter nouns.
Kent u de man die daar op de hoek staat? Do
you know the man who is standing there on the corner? Dat is het boek dat ik las. That is the book (that) I read. Hier is de jurk die ik gisteren gekocht heb. Here is the
dress (which) I bought yesterday.
Die is replaced by wie when the clause refers
to people and is preceded by a preposition. In addition, whoever
is translated as wie.
De jongen met wie ik praatte heet Piet. The
boy with whom I spoke is called Peter.
No relative pronoun is used when the clause refers to things
and is preceded by a preposition. In this case, waar- and
the preposition are used instead. In some cases, waar- and
a preposition can also replace the relative pronoun when referring to
Dat zijn mensen waarop je rekenen kunt. They
are people upon whom you can count. (They are people you can count on.)
Wat replaces dat when the pronoun refers to
the words alles (everything), iets (something), niets
(nothing); to the superlative form of an adjective used as a noun; to
the whole preceding clause. It is also used when there is no antecedent
(no preceding noun/pronoun to refer to.)
Dat is alles wat ik heb. That is everything
that I have. Zij komt altijd te laat, wat mij ergert. She always comes
late, which annoys me.
63. Uses of Er
1. Personal pronouns are used after prepositions when referring
to people. However, when you need to refer to a thing, a compound
using er- plus the preposition (either written as one word, or
separated by adverbial expression) is used. Daar (that) and hier
(this) can also replace er when it is not written as one word.
De kinderen spelen er vaak mee. The children often play with it. De kinderen spelen daar/hier vaak mee. The children often play
2. Er is used when talking about a quantity or an amount.
It is translated as "of it" or "of them," though these
expressions are not always used in English.
Ik heb er genoeg gehad. I've had enough (of it.) Hoeveel poesjes heb je? Ik heb er twee. How many kittens
do you have? I have two (of them.)
3. In an unstressed position, er means there (an adverb
of place). It is replaced by daar in stressed positions (such
as the beginning of a sentence.)
4. Er can introduce sentences with an indefinite subject.
In this case, er functions as there as a subject, as in "there
katje / poesje (n)
kat / poes
vacht / pels
kip / hen
65. Infinitive Constructions
Some verbs require a preposition before an infinitive in Dutch,
while others do not. This is true in English as well; e.g. I want to leave
vs. I can read. Verbs that do not require te before an infinitive include:
modal verbs, blijven, laten, zullen, zien (to see), horen (to
hear), voelen (to feel), komen, gaan, vinden (to find), leren (to teach), and helpen.
Ik kan komen. I can come.
Het zal morgen regenen. It will rain tomorrow.
Zij gaat iedere dag zwemmen. She goes swimming everyday.
The preposition used in Dutch is te, although
the om... te construction can also be used. Verbs that
use only te before an infinitive include: zitten, staan, liggen,
lopen (to walk), beginnen, proberen (to try), durven (to dare), hoeven
(to need), weten. After these prepositions, te is used before
an infinitive: zonder (without), in plaats van (instead of), and
door (by.) When using om...te, all adjectives,
adverbs, objects, and expressions of time, manner and place are placed
between om and te. Om... te is always used when the infinitive occurs
at the beginning of the sentence, and when the infinitive refers to a
Hij stond op de bus te wachten. He stood
waiting for the bus. Het begint te regenen. It's beginning to rain. Ik zei het zonder te denken. I said it without thinking. Het is erg moeilijk om te doen. It is very difficult
to do. Hoeveel kost het om hier te parkeren? How much is it
to park here? Het is een interessant programma om naar te kijken. It
is an interesting program to watch.
English infinitives that follow an object are translated into
clauses using conjunctions in Dutch.
Zij verwacht dat ik kom. She is expecting
me to come. (Literally: She expects that I come.)
66. Past Perfect Tense
The past perfect tense corresponds to the perfect tense,
but the action occurred in the past before another action occurred in
the past. In English, it translates to "had" instead of
"have" before the past participle. To form this tense,
simply use the simple past of hebben or zijn (whichever auxiliary the
verb used in the present perfect tense) and the past participle.
Zij had de boeken niet gevonden. She had
not found the books. Jullie hadden in Paris gestudeerd. You had studied in
The conditional mood expresses doubt or uncertainty. In English,
"would + infinitive" is used for the present conditional and
"would have + past participle" is used for the past conditional.
In Dutch, zou/zouden + infinitive is used for the present conditional,
and zou/zouden + past participle + infinitive of hebben or zijn is used
for the past conditional. (Zou and zouden are the singular and plural
past tense forms of zullen.)
Ik zou graag thuis blijven. I would like
to stay home. Als ik jou was, zou ik dat huis niet kopen. If I were
you, I would not buy that house. Ik zou graag thuis gebleven zijn. I would have liked
to stay home.
Diminutives are forms of a word that show smallness or endearment
and are much more common in Dutch (especially spoken Dutch) than in English.
All diminutives in Dutch are formed by adding -je to
the noun, and all are neuter nouns and form the plural by adding -s.
kindje little child neusje little nose schaapje little sheep
Nouns endings in a vowel, y, w or j; nouns that contain a
long vowel or diphthong followed by r, l, or n; and nouns ending in unstressed
-er, -el, and -en add -tje to form the diminutive.
eitje little egg beentje little leg dekentje little blanket
Nouns containing a short vowel followed by r, l, n, m, or
ng add -etje.
balletje little ball stemmetje little voice
Nouns ending in unstressed -ing drop the final -g and add
verrassinkje little surprise
Nouns ending in -m add -pje (unless m is preceded by short
bezempje little broom
69. Present Participle
The present participle is made by adding -d
(or sometimes -de) to the infinitive of a Dutch verb.
Present participles are not used as frequently in Dutch as in English.
They are used mainly when another action takes place within the
specific period of time we are talking about. So, every example sentence
is about two actions that take place at the same time.
zingen to sing Ze liep zingend naar huis. She walked home singing.
lopen to walk Kun jij lopend lezen? Can you read while walking?
fluisteren to whisper Hij zei fluisterend dat hij eerder weg wilde. He said
whispering that he wanted to leave earlier.
Most of the time an English present participle is not translated
by a Dutch present participle. Usually, the Dutch simple present tense
is used instead.
Ze leest een boek. She is reading a book.
70. Passive Voice
When the subject of the sentence does something, the sentence
is in the active voice. If something happens to that person, we
use the passive voice.
Replacing the auxiliary verb hebben (to
have) by zijn (to be) or worden
(to become, to be from this moment on), very often results
in the passive voice.
The verb vinden (to find) is in the active voice: Ik heb gevonden. I have found. Ik had gevonden. I had found.
And in the passive voice: Ik ben gevonden. I am found Ik ben gevonden. I have been found. Ik was gevonden. I was found. Ik was gevonden. I had been found. Ik word gevonden. I am found (right now).
Suppose that Peter finds you. Ik ben door Peter gevonden. I am found by Peter. Ik was door Peter gevonden. I was found by Peter. Ik word door Peter gevonden. I am found by Peter (right
now). Ik word door Peter gevonden. I will be found by Peter.
"Ik word door Peter gevonden." in the present
perfect has about the same meaning as "Peter vindt mij."
in the simple present.
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