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Disambiguation: Dutch 'Al' - Multiple Meanings and Related Words

Disambiguation: Many common Dutch words have more than one meaning.

Disambiguation Home - 'Al' - 'Als' - 'Daar' - 'Dan' - 'Dat' - 'Door' - 'Eens' - 'Er' - 'Erg' - 'Even' - 'Haast' - 'Het' - 'Laat' - 'Maar' - 'Net' - 'Nog' - 'Of' - 'Om' - 'Over' - 'Toen' - 'Van' - 'Voor' - 'Vroeg' - 'Waar' - 'Wat' - 'Zo' - more

Al

click to hear 2
  1. 'already' - "Are the bananas already yellow?"
  2. 'all, every' (adverb and adjective) - "I've sold all my books" - >>
    'all, everything' (noun) - "All's well that ends well" - >>
  3. 'even if' - a contradiction, an exaggeration or a strong feeling - "Even if it takes me years" - >>

1. 'Al' = 'Already'

Already - something happened or was established in the past, before now, nothing new - the status of an expected development
Zijn de bananen al geel? click to hear 2 Are the bananas already yellow?
Zijn de perziken al rijp? click to hear 2 Are the peaches ripe already?
Heb je al kaartjes? click to hear 2 3 Did you already get the tickets? (travel, events)
Heb je al een rollator? click to hear 2 3 Do you have a walker already?
't Is al over elven click to hear 2 It's already past 11
Weet je al wanneer? click to hear 2 Do you already know when?
Weet je al wanneer 't gaat gebeuren? click to hear 2 3 Do you know already when it's going to happen?
Heb je al gegeten? click to hear 2 Have you eaten (already)?
Is de post al geweest? click to hear 2 Has the mail come in already? Has the mailman come by already?
Heb je al gestemd? click to hear 2 Did you vote already? Have you voted already?
Heb je het nieuws gehoord? click to hear 2 3 Have you heard the news?
Heb je het nieuws al gehoord? click to hear 2 3 Have you (already) heard the news?
Had ik dat al gezegd? click to hear 2 Did I say that already?
Zoals ik al zei click to hear 2 3 As I already said, as I said before
Er wordt al zoveel gezegd click to hear 2 So much is being/has been said already
Ze zijn al twintig jaar samen click to hear 2 They've already been together for 20 years (married, in a relationship)
Ze werken al twintig jaar samen click to hear They've been working together for 20 years already
't Is eigenlijk al te laat click to hear It is actually? already too late
Al doende leert men click to hear 2 3 [Already doing, you learn] - 'Practice makes perfect'
Daar was ik al bang voor click to hear 2 I was already afraid of that
Hij heeft z'n hand al ingepakt click to hear ( 2 3 4 ) He's packed his hand already *
Ik heb al zoveel click to hear I already have so much
Ik heb je er al vaak op gewezen click to hear 2 3 4 I have already pointed it out to you so often
Ik heb al verkering click to hear I am already in a relationship *
Hij zag de bui al hangen click to hear (expression) ['He had already seen the rainshower "hanging"'] - 'He understood trouble was brewing'
Doe maar normaal, dan doe je al gek genoeg click to hear 2 Just do like you always do, that's crazy enough already

Synomyms, Alternates and Related Words

The very old-fashioned alreeds click to hear 2 3 looks and sounds somewhat similar to 'already' - in books you may find the slightly more modern reeds click to hear 2

English 'ready' is klaar click to hear in Dutch, and both have the two related meanings: 'done, finished' and 'prepared'

De koffie is klaar click to hear Coffee is ready
Ik ben bang dat 't nog niet klaar is click to hear I'm afraid it's not ready yet
't Is bijna klaar click to hear It's almost ready
Ik ben zo klaar click to hear 2 I'll be ready (finished) in a moment
't Is morgen klaar click to hear It [is] will be ready tomorrow
... en klaar is Kees! click to hear ... and Casey is done! (said when a job is finished)
Klaar ... af! click to hear Ready ... set ... go!
Ben je er klaar voor? click to hear 2 3 Are you ready (prepared) (for it)?
Ben je al klaar? click to hear Are you done, finished already?

Dutch klaar click to hear can also mean something like 'clear' - both 'unambiguous, easy to understand' and 'transparent, like water.' It is a bit old-fashioned.

klare taal click to hear 2 'clear language' - a clear, unambiguous statement
Zo klaar als een klontje click to hear 2 ['Clear as a piece of crystal sugar'] - very clear, no need for further explanation
't Klaart op click to hear 'It's clearing up' - clouds are disappearing and the sun is coming out
ouwe klare click to hear 2 'old clear' Jenever click to hear 2 ('Dutch gin') varieties - clear as water. 'Old' is spicy and about 40% alcohol, Young' is milder and about 30% alcohol
jonge klare click to hear 2 3 'young clear'

2. 'al' = 'all' - adjective and adverb 'every' and noun 'everything'

Remember that adjectives often get an -E ending: al/alle click to hear - more
Ik heb al m'n boeken verkocht click to hear 2 I have sold all my books
Ik heb al m'n gereedschap weggegeven click to hear I've given away all my tools
Al die dingen doen dat nou click to hear 2 3 4 [All those things do that now] - All those devices now have that feature
Al de domme dingen die ik gedaan heb click to hear 2 3 All the stupid things I've done
Al die moeite voor niks click to hear 2 All that effort [for nothing] wasted
Hoe krijgen we al dat water weer weg? click to hear How can we ever get rid of all that water?
Hoe krijgen we al dat water in hemelsnaam weer weg? click to hear How in heaven's name will we ever get rid of all that water?
Alle beetjes helpen click to hear [All little bits help] - Every little bit helps
'n Dag als alle andere click to hear 2 3 A day like all others, just another day
Alle mensen zijn gelijk click to hear All people are equal
met alle mogelijke middelen click to hear 2 (doing something) with all possible means, throwing everything available at it
We hebben alle tijd click to hear 2 3 4 We have all the time (in the world) - no need to rush
Alle begin is moeilijk click to hear 2 3 Every start is difficult, starting is always difficult
Alle hens aan dek click to hear 2 3 'All hands on deck' (probably in imitation of the English phrase)
Voor alle zekerheid click to hear 2 3 [for all certainty] - to be absolutely sure, making sure something is safe

'Al' click to hear 2 as a noun ('everything') is a little old-fashioned. The more common Dutch word for 'everything' is alles click to hear

Al wat groeit en bloeit en ons telkens weer boeit click to hear All that grows and blooms and fascinates us again and again ('nature' segment of a radio program by Dr. Fop I. Brouwer)
Eind goed, al goed click to hear 2 3 [End good, all good] - All's well that ends well
Wat hebben we al niet willen opknappen! click to hear 2 All the things we wanted to, were going to fix! (Nescio)
Aan alles komt een eind click to hear 2 To everything there [comes] is an end
Alles blijft veranderen click to hear 2 All things keep changing
Alles grijpt in elkaar click to hear 2 Everything is connected
Alles op z'n tijd click to hear 2 3 Everything in (its) good time
Alles went click to hear 2 3 You (can, will) get used to anything
Alles gaat mis click to hear 2 3 Everything is going wrong
Alles was rustig click to hear All was quiet
Eerlijk zullen we alles delen click to hear 2 We'll share everything [honestly] fairly
Ze deden alles samen click to hear They were (always) doing everything together
Hij doet alles zelf click to hear 2 3 He does everything by himself
Alles is hetzelfde gebleven click to hear 2 Everything has remained the same
Alles wat je zegt click to hear 2 3 Everything (anything) you say
Sommige dagen gaat alles mis click to hear 2 On some days everything goes wrong
Sommige dagen gaat er van alles mis click to hear On some days all kinds of things go wrong
Ik heb al van alles click to hear 2 I already have all kinds of things

Synomyms, Alternates and Related Words

'al' click to hear 2 al/alle click to hear 'all'
ieder click to hear ieder / iedere click to hear 2 'every'
elk click to hear elk / elke click to hear 'each'
The words above do not mean exactly the same, but they are close. The differences are mostly in usage. I may not be getting the English exactly right.
De zon komt iedere dag op click to hear The sun comes up every day
Iedere soldaat heeft een moeder click to hear Every soldier has a mother
iedereen click to hear everyone, everybody
Niet iedereen kan dat click to hear 2 3 4 5 Not everybody can do that
Iedereen maakt fouten click to hear Everyone makes mistakes
Iedereen is welkom click to hear All are welcome
Elke dag is goed click to hear Every day is good, any day suits me
't Kan elk moment gebeuren click to hear 2 3 It can happen any moment
Ik sta elke dag vroeg op click to hear 2 I get up early every day
Er is elke dag weer te weinig tijd click to hear It's really every day that there is not enough time
Elk wat wils click to hear Something for everyone (to everyone's liking)
Elk pondje gaat door 't mondje click to hear Each pound goes through the mouth (dieting slogan)
Ik eet elke dag een sinaasappel click to hear 2 I [eat] have an orange every day
Elk vogeltje zingt zoals 't gebekt is click to hear Each bird sings as its beak is (you can't change a leopard's spots)
Elke dag heeft genoeg aan z'n eigen leed click to hear Each day has enough suffering of its own
Elk woord was waar click to hear Every word was true
per stuk click to hear 2 'each,' for each item
twee gulden per stuk click to hear 2 guilders each

Elkaar click to hear is 'each other'

onder elkaar click to hear 'among each other' - in trusted, exclusive company
mannen onder elkaar click to hear 2 3 'men among each other' - men without women, occasionally misbehaving
Ze ontmoetten elkaar op een feestje click to hear 2 3 They met [each other] at a party
Elkaar voor rotte vis uitmaken click to hear 2 3 4 (expression) 'Calling each other spoiled (rotten) fish' - mutual insulting
See also: Reciprocal Verbs

'Welk' click to hear 2 / 'welke' click to hear 2 (welk/welke' click to hear 2) is 'which'

Welke dag komt je het beste uit? click to hear [Which] What day would suit you best?
Welke kant op? click to hear 2 Which way? Which direction?
welke dan ook click to hear 2 3 'whichever' - any
op welke manier dan ook click to hear in whatever way possible, in any manner
Je kunt wel zien uit welke hoek de wind waait click to hear 2 ['You can see from which corner the wind is blowing'] - 'You can see where that's coming from, what's behind it'

There are many common compound words with 'al,' for instance:

altijd click to hear all the time, always ->>
meestal click to hear 2 most of the time, usually ->>
overal click to hear 2 everywhere
't heelal click to hear 2 3 ['the whole all'] - the universe
allemaal click to hear 'all,' 'all of it, in its entirety' and (about a group of people) 'everybody,' 'all (people)'
helemaal click to hear 2 completely, entirely, fully, all over
altijd click to hear all the time, always ->>
Er is altijd wel iets click to hear There's always something (wrong, bad)
D'r is ook altijd wat click to hear 2 There's always something
Er is voor jou altijd plaats click to hear 2 3 There's always room, a place for you
Hij staat altijd voor je klaar click to hear 2 He's always [ready] there for you
Er gaat altijd zoveel mis! click to hear 2 So many things go wrong, all the time
meestal click to hear 2 most of the time, usually ->>
't Is meestal bewolkt in Nederland click to hear 2 It's usually overcast in Holland
Ik ga meestal om half elf naar bed click to hear 2 I usually go to bed at 10:30
De trein is meestal op tijd click to hear 2 The train is usually on time
overal click to hear 2 everywhere
Waar je ook kijkt - overal water click to hear Wherever you look - water everywhere
't Is toch overal hetzelfde click to hear 2 It's the same [everywhere after all] wherever you go
Ik heb overal jeuk click to hear [I'm itching everywhere] - I'm itchy all over
allemaal click to hear 'all,' 'all of it, in its entirety' and (about a group of people) 'everybody,' 'all (people)'
't Is allemaal onzin click to hear 2 [All of it is nonsense] - It's all/pure nonsense
Wat een onzin allemaal click to hear 2 3 4 Such a load of nonsense/crap
't Was dus allemaal gelogen click to hear 2 So all of it [was lied] were lies
't Is allemaal hetzelfde gebleven click to hear 2 It has all remained the same
't Maakt toch allemaal niks uit click to hear 2 [All of it doesn't make a difference] - Nothing can be done, it's hopeless
Welterusten allemaal! click to hear 2 Goodnight all!
In die tijd hadden we allemaal lang haar click to hear At that time, all of us had long hair

Similar to 'allemaal' ('all of it') Dutch has 'helemaal' click to hear 2 ('completely, entirely, fully, all over.')

't Was helemaal wit click to hear It was (had gone) entirely white (probably after snowfall)
Ik vertrouw 't niet helemaal click to hear 2 I do not fully trust it, I'm a bit suspicious
Ik ben helemaal gaar click to hear I'm fully cooked (something lasted too long)
Ik werd er helemaal naar van click to hear It (fear or other emotion) made me sick all over
Ik was 't helemaal vergeten click to hear I had completely forgotten (it) - I'd forgotten all about it
Je hebt helemaal gelijk click to hear 2 You are entirely right (informal 'you')
U heeft helemaal gelijk click to hear You are entirely right (polite 'you')
Hij was helemaal niet wijzer geworden click to hear He [had become] was none the wiser
Ik heb helemaal geen interesse click to hear I have no interest at all
We zijn er bijna ... click to hear We're almost there ...
... maar nog niet helemaal click to hear 2 ... but not yet entirely (travel)
Ik voel me niet helemaal helder click to hear I'm don't feel entirely clear/awake, I feel a bit foggy
Ben je helemaal gek geworden? click to hear Have you gone completely crazy? Are you out of your mind?
De minuutwijzer lijkt wel helemaal stil te staan click to hear 2 It looks like the minutes hand completely stopped moving

Aller click to hear 2 - 'of all' - is the old-fashioned possessive of 'al' still found in names and standard phrases etc. (De) Allerheiligenbaai click to hear ('Bay of All Saints' - San Salvador (?) Brazil - probably named after the day it was 'discovered.')
Dutch has a phrase construction using aller with a superlative:

De mooiste auto aller tijden click to hear 2 3 4 'the most beautiful car [of all time] ever' ->>
de armen click to hear 2 3 'the poor' - also the body parts between hands and shoulders
de armsten click to hear 2 3 'the poorest people'
de allerarmsten click to hear 2 'the poorest of the poor'

The opposite of 'al/alles' ('everything') is 'niets' ('nothing') click to hear or the slightly more common 'niks' click to hear - note that while Dutch says 'verb nothing,' English usage is often 'not verb anything.'

Alles of niets click to hear All or nothing
Er is mij niets van bekend click to hear 2 [Nothing is known to me about it] - I know nothing about it
Niets is heilig click to hear Nothing is sacred
't Gaat me niets aan click to hear 2 It's none of my business
(de) nietsnut click to hear 2 a good-for-nothing, useless person
Niks voor niks click to hear 2 'Nothing for nothing' - everything has a price, nothing is free
niks nieuws click to hear 2 3 nothing new
Daar weet ik niks van click to hear 2 I know nothing about that, I don't know anything about that
Ik weet er niks van click to hear 2 I know nothing about it, I don't know anything about it
Ik begrijp er niks van click to hear 2 3 [I understand nothing of it] - I don't understand any of it, I don't understand it at all
Dan weet ik nog niks click to hear 2 3 Then I still [know nothing] don't know anything - failed experiments
Er was helemaal niks over click to hear There was [nothing at all] not anything left
Er is niks te lachen click to hear 2 3 There is nothing to laugh about, it's not funny
Al die moeite voor niks click to hear 2 All that trouble for nothing, all that effort wasted
Ik vind er niks aan click to hear I don't care for it, it doesn't interest me (I'm bored)
Er is niks aan te doen click to hear There is nothing that can be done about it
Niks aan te doen! click to hear 2 3 Nothing can be done about it!
Ik kan er niks aan doen click to hear I can't help it /or/ it's not my fault
't Verbaast me niks click to hear 2 I'm not surprised
Je merkt er niks van click to hear 2 3 You won't notice a thing
't Voegt niks toe click to hear 2 It doesn't add anything
Ik geloof er niks van click to hear 2 3 I don't believe [anything] a word of it
Er is niks op tegen click to hear 2 There is nothing against it (go ahead)
Er is niks veranderd click to hear Nothing has changed
Er is helemaal niks veranderd click to hear 2 Nothing at all has changed, not a single thing
Er is niks aan de hand click to hear 2 There's nothing going on (move on)
Ik trek me er niks van aan click to hear 2 [It doesn't influence me] I don't care, it doesn't bother me, I'll just do what I do
't Maakt toch allemaal niks uit click to hear 2 It doesn't make any difference, it's hopeless
Ik wil niks verloren laten gaan click to hear 2 I don't want anything to go to waste
Ik wil er niks mee te maken hebben click to hear 2 3 I don't want to have anything to do with it, I don't want to be involved in it
Dat wordt toch niks click to hear 2 3 4 [That's going to be nothing anyway - That's not going to be anything ever] That's never going to work
'Biologisch' is niks anders dan vroeg negentiende eeuwse landbouw click to hear
'Organic' is nothing else than (the same thing as) early 19th-Century agriculture

niemand click to hear 2 nobody, no-one
Niemand is volmaakt click to hear Nobody is perfect
Er was niemand boven hem click to hear There was no-one above him
Niemand heeft genoeg tijd click to hear 2 3 Nobody has enough time

'Alleen' click to hear can sometimes be translated as 'alone' - which also either means 'only' or 'by yourself, on your own'

alleen suiker click to hear 2 sugar only, just sugar (in your tea or coffee)
alleen melk click to hear 2 milk only, just milk (cream for coffee is called 'melk')
Hij dronk alleen water click to hear He only drank water, all he drank was water
Er is alleen herrie click to hear There is only a racket, all there is is horrible noise
In de hemel zijn alleen goede mensen click to hear In heaven, there are only good people
't Is alleen windstil als je wilt vliegeren click to hear 2 3 The only time there's no wind is when you'd like to fly a kite
M'n vrouw zegt dat het alleen windstil is als je wil(t) vliegeren click to hear My wife says the only time there's no wind is when you'd like to fly a kite
De mens kan niet alleen van brood leven click to hear Man cannot live by bread alone
from 'Miracle on 34th Street'
Ik wil alleen maar bij deze lieve mevrouw blijven click to hear 2 [I want only] All I want is to stay with this kind lady

alleen thuis click to hear 2 home alone
Eenzaam maar niet Alleen click to hear Lonely but not Alone (Queen Wilhelmina's autobiography)
Je hebt 't rijk alleen click to hear 2 ['You have the realm to yourself'] - said when you leave one person by themselves in a house or an office

3. 'al' = 'even if'

Dutch 'al' can also mean something like 'even if' indicating a contradiction, an exaggeration or a strong feeling
Al zeg ik 't zelf click to hear 2 3 [Even if I say so] If I may say so myself
Al kost 't duizend gulden click to hear 2 3 Even if the price is a thousand guilders
Al kost 't me jaren click to hear 2 3 Even if it's going to take (me) years
Al is de leugen nog zo snel, de waarheid achterhaalt haar wel click to hear 2 3 4
['However quick a lie may be, the truth will overtake it'] - Lies won't last, the truth will come out eventually

Synomyms, Alternates and Related Words

In another type of sentences we find 'even' - zelfs click to hear
Zelfs in de schaduw was het warm click to hear Even in the shade it was hot
Zelfs als hij geweten had dat het zou gaan regenen ... click to hear 2 Even if he'd known that it was going to rain ...
See also the 'even' disambiguation page

Dutch Vocabulary Overview - Dutch Grammar Overview - Listen to and Read Dutch

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