Dutch Present Tense of Regular Verbs

Learn how to conjugate verbs in the present tense in Dutch

The Netherlands  Belgium  Suriname

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Conjugating Regular Verbs in the Present Tense in Dutch


English has three ways of expressing the present tense, such as I run, I am running, I do run.  All three of these tenses are translated as one tense in Dutch. Most verbs are regular in Dutch in the present tense, and it is formed by using the verb stem (the infinitive minus the -en), and adding the following endings. Note that there is no ending for the first person singular form, and all the plural forms are identical to the infinitive.

Verb endings
drinken - to drink  


There is, however, an alternative present tense to express an action that is currently happening: use zijn aan het with the infinitive. Ik ben aan het koken would translate as I am cooking (right now.)

The perfect tense in English of expressions of "for," "since" and "how long?" are rendered by the present tense in Dutch:
Ik woon hier al vijf jaar. I have lived here for five years.
Hij werkt sinds april met zijn broer. He has been working with his brother since April.

Graag is an adverb used with verbs to express "to like to" instead of using the verb houden van, which literally means to like or love.

To form questions, simply invert the subject and verb. For the second person singular form (jij), the -t ending of the conjugated verb is dropped. Dutch does not have an equivalent of the English "do" in questions, so Woon jij in Rotterdam? means Do you live in Rotterdam? although it literally is Live you in Rotterdam?

Negative Sentences


The word niet (not) is used to negate sentences, and is generally placed at the end of the clause. However, niet precedes a preposition, an adjective that follows a noun, and the words binnen (inside), buiten (outside), beneden (downstairs), boven (upstairs) and thuis (at home).

Een is usually not preceded by niet or any phrase ending with niet (ook niet - not either, nog niet - not yet). Instead, geen, ook geen and nog geen replace the article. Geen is translated by not a, not any or no when followed by a noun in English. Geen also negates nouns that cannot be counted, such as water, bier and wijn.

Jan leest niet. Jan does not read.
Hij werkt volgende week ook niet. He is not working next week either.

Ik wil geen kopje koffie. I don't want a cup of coffee.
Zij hebben nog geen huis gevonden. They have not found a house yet.


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