Search my site: 'Like' the Dutch Website on Facebook
- New Page: August 2016
revised October 2016

Disambiguation: Dutch 'Erg' - 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

Erg

click to hear
  1. 'very'- "I'm very tired"
  2. 'very bad, awful, terrible'- "It's not as bad as it looks"

1. 'erg' = 'very'

Hij is erg blij click to hear He's very happy
Ik ben erg moe click to hear 2 I'm very tired
Hij was erg moe click to hear He was very tired
Ze waren erg arm click to hear 2 They were very poor
Ze zijn erg gevoelig click to hear 2 They are very sensitive
Gisteren was het erg mooi weer click to hear Yesterday the weather was very nice
Gisteren was het erg slecht weer click to hear Yesterday the weather was very bad
Heb je je erg verveeld? click to hear 2 Were you very bored? Was it really boring?
Het valt erg mee click to hear 2 3 It's by far not as bad as we were afraid of or as it looked
Ik hou(d) erg van Bach click to hear 2 3 I really like Bach, I love Bach
Hij houdt erg van soep click to hear 2 He likes soup very much, he really loves soup
Hij kan erg hard fietsen click to hear 2 He can ride a bike very fast, he's a fast biker
Hij is erg nieuwsgierig click to hear 2 3 He is very curious (inquisitive, eager to know things)
Hij gaat erg achteruit click to hear 2 3 ['He goes backward badly..'] He's quickly getting worse (health, mental state)
erg lekker click to hear 2 very enjoyable (food, sensations)
Het eten was erg lekker click to hear The food was [very tasty, very enjoyable] great
M'n zoon vond 't erg leuk click to hear My son really enjoyed it (say, a concert)
De film ... van ... vind ik ook erg goed click to hear I also really like the movie ... by ...

't Was erg gezellig click to hear It was really pleasant, we/I enjoyed it very much

'gezellig' click to hear 2 3 pleasant, nice, enjoyable, gregarious, cosy (there is no exact English equivalent for this word)

A person can be gezellig: een gezellige man click to hear a gregarious guy
een gezellige prater click to hear 2 a person that it's nice talking with
a space can be gezellig: een gezellige kamer click to hear a cosy room
time spent together can be gezellig: een gezellige avond click to hear an enjoyable evening
or: een gezellig etentje click to hear 2 3 a cosy, enjoyable dinner (in or out)
'Een gezellige dag gewenst' click to hear 2 3 'Wishing you a pleasant day (in the company of family and friends)'
also used as an adverb: Gezellig dat je meedoet click to hear 2 3 It's so nice that you're joining us (in an activity)
We zaten gezellig te praten click to hear 2 We were having a pleasant conversation, a nice chat
herinneringen ophalen click to hear 2 to reminisce, bringing up memories
We zaten gezellig herinneringen op te halen click to hear 2 We were reminiscing pleasantly, we were having a good time chatting about the past
Gezelligheid kent geen tijd click to hear 2 [Good times know of no clocks] ~ 'Time flies when you're having a good time with friends'
Het was vorige maand erg koud click to hear It was very cold last month

'Heel erg' click to hear 2 is the superlative degree for 'erg' meaning 'very' - there's no straightforward equivalent in English ('very very') - I often translate it as 'really very' or something like that.
heel erg veel click to hear very much, really a lot, a very large amount
'Erger' is the superlative degree of 'erg' meaning 'bad' - see - below

Het is heel erg koud click to hear 2 It's really very cold, terribly cold
Ik ben heel erg moe click to hear 2 I'm really very tired, terribly tired
Hij is heel erg moe click to hear He's really very tired, terribly tired
't Spijt me heel erg click to hear 2 3 I'm really very sorry
Er is erg veel regen click to hear 2 There's [very much] really a lot of rain

Synomyms, Alternates and Related Words

'Heel' click to hear 2 3 is an alternative Dutch word for 'very.' Looking at the examples, I think they're mostly interchangeable, though 'heel' is more colloquial. In writing, I would mostly use 'erg.' And as I said above, you can say 'heel erg' - but 'erg heel' is completely wrong and 'erg erg' is also not good Dutch.
See also the paragraph - above
Heel goed, dank je click to hear 2 Very good, thank you (in answer to: 'how are you?')
Het houten huis is heel oud click to
   hear The wooden house is very old
Ik vind het heel raar click to hear 2 I think it's very strange
Een heel klein beetje click to hear 2 A very small amount
heel even click to hear 2 a very short time
Hij speelt heel goed gitaar click to hear 2 3 He plays the guitar very well
't Betekent heel iets anders click to hear 2 It means something [very] completely different
'Cowboy Gerard' in 'Het Spel Kaarten:'
Wat heb je daarop te zeggen? click to hear 2 What have you got to say about that? (explain yourself)
Heel veel click to hear 2 Really a lot, very many things
See also 'Heel,' 'Veel' and 'Erg' on the 'Common Problems in Dutch' page

'Verschrikkelijk' click to hear (verschrikkelijke click to hear 2) can mean 'horrible' but also 'terrible' - 'very serious,' in a serious, often 'terrifyingly' high degree

Ik ben verschrikkelijk moe click to hear 2 I am terribly tired, really very tired
verschrikkelijk langzaam click to hear 2 3 terribly slow
Dit is verschrikkelijk langzaam click to hear 2 This is terribly slow
Dit is niet verschrikkelijk langzaam click to hear This is not terribly slow
Een verschrikkelijke winter click to hear A horrible, very bad Winter
also: vreselijk click to hear 'dreadful, terrible, horrible'

2. 'erg' = 'very bad, awful, terrible '

Ik hoop dat je het niet erg vindt click to hear I hope you don't think it's bad, I hope you don't mind
't Is niet zo erg als het lijkt click to hear 2 It's not as bad as it looks
Ik vind het heel erg click to hear I think it's [very] really bad, I'm upset over it.
Compare 'heel erg' in the last example with the previously menioned line:
't Spijt me heel erg click to hear 2 3 I'm really very sorry

Synomyms, Alternates and Related Words

The superlative degree of the 'erg' click to hear meaning 'very bad' is 'erger' click to hear 2 3 - meaning: 'worse, extremely bad' - or 'erger' can be the simple present for 'I' of the reflexive verb zich ergeren click to hear 2 ('to be annoyed')
Is 't erger geworden? click to hear 2 Did it [become] get worse?
't Had erger kunnen zijn click to hear 2 It could have been worse
't Was nog erger dan ik dacht click to hear 2 3 It was even worse than I had thought
't Wordt steeds erger click to hear 2 3 It's getting worse [all the time] and worse
Ik erger me dood click to hear 2 3 I'm annoyed to [death] no end
'Ergste' click to hear means 'worst' - it is the superlative degree of 'erg' meaning 'bad.' In the examples it's used as a noun:
op 't ergste voorbereid click to hear 2 prepared for the worst
't Ergste is voorbij click to hear 2 The worst is over
't Ergste dat je kan overkomen ... click to hear 2 3 The worst that can happen (to you) ... (usually said when that 'worst' isn't so bad, you're not taking much risk)

'Ergs' is the noun of 'erg'

Er is iets heel ergs gebeurd click to hear 2 3 4 Something [very] really bad happened ->>

As you may have seen the Dutch word (de) worst click to hear means 'sausage' (like German 'Wurst')

De worst is over click to hear 2 The sausage was left over, not eaten

'Ergens' click to hear 2 ('somewhere') and 'nergens' click to hear 2 ('nowhere' - and in some expressions 'nothing') look somewhat like 'erg' but are probably not related.

Er moet ergens een lek zijn click to hear There has to be a leak somewhere
Zullen we ergens gaan eten? click to hear 2 Shall we go eat (lunch, dinner) somewhere? (i.e. in a restaurant)
Ik heb ergens gelezen dat ... click to hear 2 (3) I read somewhere that ...
Je kunt nergens beter Nederlands horen click to hear 2 There is no place where you can hear better Dutch
- You can't hear better Dutch anywhere
't Lijkt nergens op click to hear 2 [It looks like nothing] It doesn't look good, it's a bad job
Ik sta nergens meer van te kijken click to hear 2 Nothing surprises me anymore
Dat was nergens voor nodig click to hear 2 ["That was necessary for nothing"] - there was no need for that (criticism or regret for an action)
The somewhat old-fashioned zeer click to hear 2 similarly to 'erg' means both 'very' and 'hurt, pain.'
zeer vereerd click to hear [very] much honored, "obliged"?
oud zeer click to hear 'old hurt,' historical wrongs, long-lasting grievances
Doet 't zeer? click to hear 2 Does it hurt?
Tegen 't zere been click to hear 2 3 ['Against the sore leg'] - figuratively hitting someone in a sensitive, already sore spot, like pointing out an already acknowledged failure

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

email - Copyright © Marco Schuffelen 2016. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, redistributed, or hotlinked to.
Don't be a dief (thief) / dievegge (female thief) - diefstal (theft) - stelen (to steal) - heler (dealer in stolen goods) - hear Dutch - 2