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- New Page: August 2016
revised October 2016 Disambiguation: Dutch
Disambiguation: Many common Dutch words have more than one meaning.
- Multiple Meanings and Related Words
'very'- "I'm very tired"
'very bad, awful, terrible'- "It's not as bad
as it looks"
Hij is erg blij
He's very happy
Ik ben erg moe
2 I'm very tired
Hij was erg moe
He was very tired
Ze waren erg arm
2 They were very poor
Ze zijn erg gevoelig
They are very sensitive
Gisteren was het erg mooi weer
Yesterday the weather was very nice
Gisteren was het erg slecht weer
Yesterday the weather was very bad
Heb je je erg verveeld?
Were you very bored? Was it really boring?
Het valt erg mee
It's by far not as bad as we were afraid of or as it looked
Ik hou(d) erg van Bach
I really like Bach, I love Bach
Hij houdt erg van soep
He likes soup very much, he really loves soup
Hij kan erg hard fietsen
He can ride a bike very fast, he's a fast biker
Hij is erg nieuwsgierig
He is very curious (inquisitive, eager to know things)
Hij gaat erg achteruit
3 ['He goes backward badly..'] He's quickly getting worse
(health, mental state)
2 very enjoyable (food, sensations)
Het eten was erg lekker
The food was [very tasty, very enjoyable] great
M'n zoon vond 't erg leuk
My son really enjoyed it (say, a concert)
De film ... van ... vind ik ook erg goed
I also really like the movie ... by ...
't Was erg gezellig
It was really pleasant, we/I enjoyed it very much
pleasant, nice, enjoyable, gregarious, cosy
(there is no exact English equivalent for this word)
A person can be gezellig:
een gezellige man
a gregarious guy
een gezellige prater
a person that it's nice talking with
a space can be gezellig:
een gezellige kamer
a cosy room
time spent together can be gezellig:
een gezellige avond
an enjoyable evening
or: een gezellig etentje
3 a cosy, enjoyable dinner (in or out)
'Een gezellige dag gewenst'
'Wishing you a pleasant day
(in the company of family and friends)'
also used as an adverb:
Gezellig dat je meedoet
It's so nice that you're joining us
(in an activity)
We zaten gezellig te praten
We were having a pleasant conversation,
a nice chat
to reminisce, bringing up memories
We zaten gezellig herinneringen op te
We were reminiscing pleasantly,
we were having a good time chatting about the past
Gezelligheid kent geen tijd
[Good times know of no clocks]
~ 'Time flies when you're having a good time with friends'
Het was vorige maand erg koud
It was very cold last month 'Heel erg'
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
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
2 It's really very cold, terribly cold
Ik ben heel erg moe
2 I'm really very tired, terribly tired
Hij is heel erg moe
He's really very tired, terribly tired
't Spijt me heel erg
I'm really very sorry
Er is erg veel regen
There's [very much] really a lot of rain Synomyms, Alternates and
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
is also not good Dutch.
'erg erg' See also the paragraph - above
Heel goed, dank je
2 Very good, thank you
(in answer to: 'how are you?')
Het houten huis is heel oud
The wooden house is very old
Ik vind het heel raar
2 I think it's very strange
Een heel klein beetje
2 A very small amount
2 a very short time
Hij speelt heel goed gitaar
He plays the guitar very well
't Betekent heel iets anders
It means something [very] completely different
'Cowboy Gerard' in 'Het Spel Kaarten:'
Wat heb je daarop te zeggen?
2 What have you got to say about that?
2 Really a lot, very many things
on the 'Common Problems in Dutch' page
'Heel,' 'Veel' and 'Erg'
can mean 'horrible' but also 'terrible' - 'very serious,' in a serious,
often 'terrifyingly' high degree
Ik ben verschrikkelijk moe
I am terribly tired, really very tired
Dit is verschrikkelijk langzaam
This is terribly slow
Dit is niet verschrikkelijk langzaam
This is not terribly slow
Een verschrikkelijke winter
A horrible, very bad Winter vreselijk
'dreadful, terrible, horrible'
'very bad, awful, terrible '
Ik hoop dat je het niet erg vindt
I hope you don't think it's bad, I hope you don't mind
Is het echt zo erg?
Is it really that bad?
't Is niet zo erg als het lijkt
It's not as bad as it looks
Ik vind het heel erg
I think it's [very] really bad, I'm upset over it. 'heel erg' in the last example
with the previously menioned line:
't Spijt me heel erg
I'm really very sorry
Synomyms, Alternates and
The superlative degree
of the 'erg'
meaning 'very bad'
- meaning: 'worse, extremely bad' - or 'erger'
can be the simple present
for 'I' of the
('to be annoyed')
Is 't erger geworden?
2 Did it [become] get worse?
't Had erger kunnen zijn
2 It could have been worse
't Was nog erger dan ik dacht
3 It was even worse than I had thought
't Wordt steeds erger
It's getting worse [all the time] and worse
Ik erger me dood
I'm annoyed to [death] no end 'Ergste'
means 'worst' - it is the superlative degree of 'erg' meaning 'bad.'
In the examples it's used as a noun:
op 't ergste voorbereid
2 prepared for the worst
't Ergste is voorbij
The worst is over
't Ergste dat je kan overkomen ...
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
Something [very] really bad happened
may have seen
the Dutch word
means 'sausage' (like German (de) worst
De worst is over
The sausage was left over, not eaten 'Ergens'
2 ('somewhere') and
2 ('nowhere' - and
in some expressions 'nothing')
look somewhat like 'erg' but are probably not related.
Er moet ergens een lek zijn
There has to be a leak somewhere
Zullen we ergens gaan eten?
2 Shall we go eat (lunch, dinner) somewhere?
(i.e. in a restaurant)
Ik heb ergens gelezen dat ...
( 3) I read somewhere that ...
Je kunt nergens
beter Nederlands horen
2 There is no place where you can hear better Dutch
- You can't hear better Dutch anywhere
't Lijkt nergens op
2 [It looks like nothing]
It doesn't look good, it's a bad job
Ik sta nergens meer van te kijken
2 Nothing surprises me anymore
Dat was nergens voor nodig
["That was necessary for nothing"]
- there was no need for that
(criticism or regret for an action)
The somewhat old-fashioned
2 similarly to
'erg' means both 'very' and 'hurt, pain.'
[very] much honored, "obliged"?
'old hurt,' historical wrongs, long-lasting grievances
Doet 't zeer?
Does it hurt?
Tegen 't zere been
['Against the sore leg']
- figuratively hitting someone in a
sensitive, already sore spot, like pointing out an already
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