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Word Order in Dutch Sentences (An Introduction)

This page is an introduction to word order in Dutch sentences, to help students with conversational Dutch. I am not a grammarian and do not have any aspirations in that order. For elaborate rules you'll have to look elsewhere.
(de) woordvolgorde click to hear 2 3 ('word order') - (de) zinsbouw click to hear 2 ('sentence structure')

Newer versions of some of the material on this page (but no complete overlap): Lesson 11 - Lesson 13 - Lesson 14 - Lesson 15

Simple, Basic Sentences

Very simple sentences can just be a subject - (het) onderwerp click to hear - and a verb - (het) werkwoord click to hear - in that order. Very much like in English.
(Het) gezegde click to hear is 'the predicate,' what is said in a sentence about the subject - hear Dutch grammar words

subject verb

Het concert begon. click to hear The concert started.
De trein vertrok. click to hear 2 The train left.
Het touw brak. click to hear 2 The rope broke.
Een hond blafte. click to hear A dog barked.
De bom ontplofte. click to hear 2 The bomb exploded.
De zon schijnt. click to hear The sun [shines] is shining.
't Regent. click to hear It [rains] is raining.
Het click to hear 2 and its abbreviated form 't click to hear can mean It - like in the last sentence, or it can be the article (the - next to de click to hear 2).
As you can see in the last examples, Dutch often just has a simple verb where English uses the continuous (is ...-ing.)
Dutch sometimes uses another construction - 2 to indicate ongoing human activity.

Adding A Complement

To make a statement more interesting and/or informative, add something like an adverb or a noun, or a noun with an adjective. I'm told grammarians call this part of the sentence a complement. In a straightforward sentence, place it after the verb, like in English.

subject verb complement

't Regende hard. click to hear It was raining hard.
't Was koud. click to hear It was cold.
't Werd koud. click to hear It [became] turned cold.
Hij is oud. click to hear He is old.
't Water is koud. click to hear The water is cold
Het water was bruin. click to hear The water was brown.
De appels zijn groen. click to hear The apples are green.
De winter was lang. click to hear 2 3 Winter [was] lasted long.
De koffie is klaar. click to hear Coffee is ready.
't Was regenachtig. click to hear It was rainy. (?)
Ik ben ziek. click to hear 2 I am sick.
Ik heb hoofdpijn. click to hear I have a headache.
Ik ben 1 meter 80. click to hear I am 1 meter 80 centimeters tall (5'11").
't Was een koude dag. click to hear [It was a cold day.] The day was cold.
't Was een regenachtige dag. click to hear It was a rainy day.
Hij speelt gitaar. click to hear He plays the guitar.
Zij speelt saxofoon. click to hear She plays the saxophone.

Adding An Object

In Dutch Grammar, the Object is (often fittingly) called Lijdend Voorwerp click to hear 2 which means 'suffering entity/object' (hear more Dutch grammar words). Its ususal position is right after the verb. If there is both a 'complement' and an object, the object ususally comes first.
(I have to admit that with nouns like musical instruments or illnesses it's not always clear to me if they're complements or objects; but I think it doesn't matter in simple sentences.)

subject verb object (complement)

Ik schopte een bal. click to hear 2 I kicked a ball.
Hij eet een appel. click to hear He [eats] is eating an apple.
Zij leest een boek. click to hear She [reads] is reading a book.
Ik zei: "Nee." click to hear I said: "No."
Ik hoor een vliegtuig. click to hear I hear a plane.
De raket trof een kleuterschool. click to hear The rocket hit a nursery school.
Hij drinkt een kopje thee. click to hear He [drinks] is having a cup of tea.
Ik verf het huis. click to hear I'm painting the house.
Ik verf het huis wit. click to hear I'm painting the house white.
Ik kende die mensen goed. click to hear 2 I knew those people well.

Verbs at The End of The Sentence

Dutch is notorious for putting some of the verbs at the end of the sentence. It makes live translation difficult, because the interpreter has to wait for the speaker to get to the end of the sentence.
Simple sentences have just one verb. It is called the 'working verb.' The 'working verb' changes with the subject: I am, you are, he is. In Dutch, the verbs that are not the 'working verb,' like the past participle of the perfect tense, or other verb forms like infinitives are usually put at the end of the sentence.

subject working verb (object) (complement) other verbs

Hij gaat het proberen. click to hear He's going to try [it.]
Ik had teveel gegeten. click to hear I had eaten too much. (I had had too much to eat.)
We hebben de oorlog gewonnen. click to hear We have won the war.
Ik heb het raam opengedaan. click to hear I [have] opened the window.
Ik heb een nieuwe fiets gekocht. click to hear I've bought a new bicycle.
Hij heeft veel prijzen gekregen. click to hear He has received many awards.
Je hebt gelijk gekregen. click to hear (It turned out) you were right.
ik was 't helemaal vergeten. click to hear I had forgotten all about it
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 have given away all my tools.
Ik heb een paar jaar pianoles gehad. click to hear I have had piano lessons for a [couple of] few years.
Maar ik had beter gitaar kunnen leren spelen. click to hear But it would have been better to have learned [how] to play the guitar.
Ik had geschiedenis moeten gaan studeren. click to hear I should have studied history (in college, at the university.)

Specifying Time and Place

Time and place are usually put right after the working verb, time usually before place. Occasionally, place is put after the secondary verbs: I'll give some examples of that but the regular sequence is just as good, don't see it as an extra rule.

subject working verb (time) (place) (object) (complement) (other verbs)

Het regende gisteren. click to hear Yesterday it rained.
Ik heb thuis gegeten. click to hear I [have eaten] had dinner at home.
Ik was gisteren ziek. click to hear I was sick yesterday.
Ik ga morgen bij m'n moeder eten click to hear I'll have dinner at my mother's tomorrow.
Ik was gisteren bij de tandarts. click to hear I was at the dentist yesterday.
Ik ga morgen naar de kapper. click to hear I'm going to [the barber] get a haircut tomorrow.
We gaan morgen voetballen. click to hear We'll play soccer tomorrow.
We gaan overmorgen op reis. click to hear We will [go on a journey] travel the day after tomorrow.
Ik had je gisteren willen waarschuwen. click to hear 2 I had wanted to warn you yesterday
Ik ga morgen in Ede een huis verven. click to hear Tomorrow I'm going to paint a house in Ede.
Ik ga overmorgen in Barneveld een schuur bouwen. click to hear The day after tomorrow I'm going to build a shed in Barneveld.
Ik ga overmorgen een schuur bouwen in Barneveld. click to hear The day after tomorrow I'm going to build a shed in Barneveld.
Het heeft gisteren in Nederland geregend. click to hear Yesterday it rained in Holland.
Het heeft gisteren geregend in Nederland. click to hear 2 Yesterday it rained in Holland.
Het heeft gisteren in Nederland hard geregend. click to hear Yesterday it rained hard in Holland.
Hij heeft gisteren in Almelo een fiets gekocht. click to hear He's bought a bike in Almelo yesterday.
Ze heeft gisteren een auto gekocht in Hoenderloo. click to hear 2 3 She's bought a car in Hoenderloo yesterday.
Jan heeft gisteren op het voetbalveld z'n been gebroken. click to hear John has broken [his] a leg on the soccer field yesterday.

Negative Statements

It looks like the negative statements 'niet' click to hear 2 ('not') and 'geen' click to hear ('no') (also: 'nee' click to hear) behave just like adverbs and adjectives; actually more straightforward than English 'no' and 'not'. But do note that Dutch doesn't use the auxiliary verb 'to do,' and also note that you can't translate not and no as niet and geen every time, sometimes Dutch takes the other word, turns it around.
De zon schijnt niet. click to hear The sun is not shining.
't Regent niet. click to hear It is not raining.
Ik ben niet ziek. click to hear 2 3 I am not sick.
't Is niet waar! click to hear It's not true! (Usually ironic, like You don't say!)
Er zijn geen bergen in Nederland. click to hear There are no mountains in Holland.
Ik heb geen hoofdpijn. click to hear I [have no headache] do not have a headache.
Ik heb geen ontbijt gehad. click to hear 2 I [had no breakfast] did not have breakfast.
Er zijn geen tomaten. click to hear 2 There are no tomatoes.
Er zijn groene tomaten. click to hear There are green tomatoes.
Ik heb niet geslapen click to hear 2 I did not sleep.
Ik heb goed geslapen click to hear 2 I did sleep well (thank you!)
Je kon niet ver zien. click to hear [You couldn't see far] Visibility was low.
Je kon heel ver zien. click to hear You could see [very far] for miles.
Ik heb het niet gedaan. click to hear I did not do it.
Je hebt het goed gedaan. click to hear You did it [well] right.
Hij heeft het verkeerd gedaan. click to hear He did it wrong.
We hebben 't niet gedaan. click to hear We did not do it.
Wij hebben 't niet gedaan. click to hear We did not do it.
Jullie hebben 't goed gedaan. click to hear You did it well/right.
Zij hebben 't verkeerd gedaan. click to hear They did it wrong.
Ik heb niet gegeten. click to hear
Ik heb nog niet gegeten. click to hear
I haven't eaten.
I haven't eaten yet.
Ik heb die film niet gezien. click to hear I have not seen that movie.
We hebben de oorlog nog niet gewonnen. click to hear We have not yet won the war.
Probeer niet te hoesten. click to hear 2 Try not to cough.
Probeer wakker te blijven. click to hear Try to stay awake.
English often uses 'to do' in negative statements, but in Dutch all verbs can take the negative, use 'not' straight.
Ik weet 't niet. click to hear I don't know [it].
Hij wilde niet naar de radio luisteren. click to hear He did not want to listen to the radio.
Ik heb nog niet gestemd. click to hear I didn't vote yet.
Ik hoorde 't signaal niet. click to hear 2 I didn't hear the signal.
Ik heb geen alcohol gedronken. click to hear I [have drank no alcohol] did not drink (any) alcohol.
Het heeft gisteren in Den Haag niet geregend. click to hear Yesterday it did not rain in The Hague.
Het heeft gisteren niet geregend in Den Haag. click to hear Yesterday it did not rain in The Hague.

Question Mode

Turn the verb and subject of a statement sentence around to make it into a question.
In speaking, the sentence melody changes to a higher pitch at the end.

working verb subject (time) (place) (object) (complement) (other verbs)

Ga jij? click to hear 2 [Go you?] Are you going? (Like, to an event)
Ben je ziek? click to hear Are you sick?
Ben je boos? click to hear 2 Are you angry?
Is het te laat? click to hear Is it too late?
In English, turning around verb and object only works for to be (other verbs add to do for question mode)
- but in Dutch all verbs can be put into question mode this way.
Regent 't? click to hear Is it raining?
Schijnt de zon? click to hear Is the sun shining?
Heb je hoofdpijn? click to hear 2 Do you have a headache?
Heb je een auto? click to hear Do you have a car?
Verveel je je? click to hear Are you bored? (informal) - reflexive verbs
Verveelt U zich? click to hear Are you bored? (polite)
Zijn de appels groen? click to hear 2 Are the apples green?
Zijn de bananen nog groen? click to hear Are the bananas still green?
Zijn de bananen al geel? click to hear 2 Are the bananas already yellow?
Heb je genoeg geld? click to hear Do you have enough money?
Gaat 't regenen? click to hear 2 Is it going to rain?
Gaat 't hard regenen? click to hear Is it going to rain hard?
Gaat 't morgen regenen? click to hear 2 Is it going to rain tomorrow?
Gaat 't morgen hard regenen? click to hear Is it going to rain hard tomorrow?
Heeft 't gisteren geregend? click to hear Did it rain yesterday?
Heeft 't gisteren hard geregend? click to hear Did it rain hard yesterday?
Regende 't gisteren? click to hear Did it rain yesterday?
Regende 't gisteren hard? click to hear Did it rain hard yesterday?
Schijnt de zon of regent het? click to hear Does the sun shine or is it raining?
"Heeft U bananen?" - "Nee." click to hear "Do you have bananas?" - "No."
Er zijn geen bananen. click to hear There are no bananas.
"Heeft U sinaasappels?" - "Ja." click to hear "Do you have oranges?" - "Yes."
Er zijn wel sinaasappels. click to hear [But] we do have oranges.

Query Words

wie
click to hear
who
wat
click to hear
what
waar
click to hear
where
wanneer
click to hear
when
hoe
click to hear
how
waarom
click to hear
why
wie
wat
waar
click to hear 2
who
what
where
wanneer
hoe
waarom
click to hear 2
when
how
why
In questions with query words, the query word comes first, before the working verb - like in English. It is a question, so in Dutch you would expect the verb before the subject, but you could say the query words are very important subjects.
query word working verb subject (object) (complement) (other verbs)
Wie is de mooiste in het land? click to hear
Sneeuwwitje is de mooiste in het land. click to hear
Who is the prettiest in the land?
Snow White is the prettiest in the land.
Wie heeft de wedstrijd gewonnen? click to hear Who has won the match?
Wie heeft de verkiezingen gewonnen? click to hear Who has won the elections?
You'll notice that Dutchmen often insert the almost meaningless er click to hear ('a less specific there'), for instance in short sentences with 'wie' click to hear 2 ('who?'); but it's not wrong to leave it out, my dear students.
Wie heeft gewonnen? click to hear
Wie heeft er gewonnen? click to hear
Who has won?
Who has won?
Wie heeft hier de leiding? click to hear
Wie heeft er hier de leiding? click to hear
De Vries is de baas. click to hear
Who's in charge here?
Who's in charge here?
DeVries is the boss.
Wat is dat? click to hear What's that?
Het is een bidsprinkhaan. click to hear It's a praying [grasshopper] mantis.
Wat zegt U? click to hear 2 What [do] did you say? (polite)
Wat wil je weten? click to hear What would you like to know? (What information do you need?)
Wat wil je horen? click to hear What would you like to hear? (Choose music)
Wat is er aan de hand? click to hear What's [~on hand] going on?
Wat is dat voor een auto? click to hear
Wat is dat voor 'n auto? click to hear
Het is een Daf. click to hear
Het is een Spijker. click to hear
What [kind of] car is that?
What [kind of] car is that?
It's a 'Daf.'
It's a 'Spijker.'
The 'Daf' click to hear 2 was a Dutch car brand of the 1950s and 60s, later bought by Volvo (the Volvo 343 would have been the Daf 77) - van Doorne's AutomobielFabriek click to hear 2.
The DAF had a unique automatic gears system, called 't Pientere Pookje click to hear ('the clever stick-shift') in advertising.
The 'Spijker' click to hear (also written as 'Spyker') was a Dutch car of the early days of the automobile - (de) spijker is a carpentry nail.
Waar is de uitgang? click to hear
Hier is de ingang. click to hear
De uitgang is daar. click to hear
Where is the exit?
The entry is here.
The exit is (over) there.
Waar gaat 't regenen? click to hear Where is it going to rain?
Wanneer kom je thuis? click to hear When are you coming home?
Wanneer is hij jarig? click to hear When is his birthday? [Where is his birthday suit?]
Hoe lang ben je? click to hear How tall are you?
Hoe is het weer? click to hear 2 How is the weather?
Hoe heb je dat gedaan? click to hear How did you do that?
Hoe is 't afgelopen? click to hear
Hoe zal 't aflopen? click to hear
How did it end?
How will it end?
Waarom ben je boos? click to hear Why are you angry?

Commands, Orders and Suggestions (The Imperative)

(De) gebiedende wijs click to hear 2 3 ('imperative')
In commands, orders and suggestions (the imperative mode), very much like in English, there is no subject, and these sentences usually start with the verb.
The verb stem is the imperative - it is only very rarely used in the plural.

working verb (time) (place) (object) (complement) (other verbs)

Zwijg! click to hear 2 Be silent! (Don't speak!)
Kom terug! click to hear 2 Come back!
Neem de tweede weg rechts. click to hear Take the second road to the right.
Zorg dat je op tijd bent. click to hear Take care [that you are] to be in time
Schrijf je naam op een papiertje. click to hear Write down your name on a piece of paper.
Vergeet je telefoonnummer niet. click to hear Don't forget (to write down) your phone number.
Kook de aardappels zeventien minuten. click to hear Boil the potatoes for 17 minutes.
Ga meteen je huiswerk maken. click to hear Do your homework right away.
Let maar niet op mij. click to hear 2 Now don't pay attention to me.

Sentences Starting with Place, Time, Condition

After a word or partial sentence that indicates time, place, or a condition, the working verb is placed before the subject.
(Note that a partial sentence indicating time etc. itself has the regular word order.)

statement of time, place or condition working verb subject (time) (place) (object) (complement) (other verbs)

In Kentucky is het gras blauw. click to hear In Kentucky the grass is blue.
En dan gaan we eten. click to hear 2 And then we'll eat.
En toen kwam Jan. click to hear [And then John came.] And at that moment John arrived.
En toen werd het donker. click to hear And then it got dark.
Om elf uur viel ik in slaap. click to hear 2 At eleven I fell asleep.
Daar is de Engelse schroevedraaier gebruikt. click to hear "There the English screwdriver was used." (using a hammer on a screw)
In het Nederlands zeggen we 'Gezondheid!' als iemand niest. click to hear In Dutch we say 'Gezondheid!' when someone sneezes.
In 1813 werd Nederland een koninkrijk. click to hear In 1813 Holland became a kingdom.
compare: Nederland werd een koninkrijk in 1813. click to hear Holland became a kingdom in 1813.
In 1568 begon De Tachtigjarige Oorlog. click to hear In 1568 the 80-Years War (The Dutch Revoution) started.
compare: De Tachtigjarige Oorlog begon in 1568. click to hear The 80-Years War (The Dutch Revoution) started in 1568.
In Nederland is het vaak bewolkt. click to hear In Holland, it's often overcast.
compare: Het is vaak bewolkt in Nederland. click to hear It's often overcast in Holland.
Toen de oorlog begon was m'n vader tweeëndertig. click to hear When the war started, my Dad was 32.
compare: M'n vader was tweeëndertig toen de oorlog begon. click to hear My Dad was 32 when the war started.
Aan het eind van de straat gaan we rechtsaf. click to hear At the end of the street we'll [go right] make a right turn.
Toen de zon onderging begon de muziek. click to hear When the sun went down the music started.
compare: De muziek begon. click to hear The music started.
compare: De zon ging onder. click to hear The sun went down.
Toen de zon onderging werd het donker. click to hear When the sun went down it got dark.
compare: Het werd donker. click to hear It [became] turned dark.
Toen het donker werd gingen we naar huis. click to hear When it got dark we went home.
compare: We gingen naar huis. click to hear 2 We went home.
En toen werd het donker. click to hear And then it got dark.
Toen het donker werd ging het licht aan. click to hear When it got dark the light came on.
compare: Het licht ging aan. click to hear The light came on.
Als de muziek begint moet je stil zijn. click to hear When the music starts you'll have to be quiet
compare: De muziek begint. click to hear The music is starting.
compare: Je moet stil zijn. click to hear You have to be quiet.
Als het concert begint moet je stil zijn. click to hear When the concert starts you'll have to be quiet.
Toen we naar huis gingen was het donker. click to hear 2 When we went home it was dark.
compare: We gingen naar huis. click to hear 2 We went home.
compare: 't Was donker. click to hear It was dark.
Als de zon schijnt ben ik blij. click to hear When the sun shines I'm happy.
compare: Ik ben blij. click to hear I'm happy.
Als het regent word ik droevig. click to hear When it rains I get sad.
compare: Ik word droevig. click to hear I'm getting sad.
Met Kerstmis gingen we naar de nachtmis. click to hear At Christmas we went to the midnight mass.
compare: We gingen naar de nachtmis met Kerstmis. click to hear We went to midnight mass at Christmas.
compare: We gingen met Kerstmis naar de nachtmis. click to hear 2 We went to midnight mass at Christmas.
Vannacht regende het. click to hear Last night it rained.
Vannacht heeft 't geregend. click to hear Last night it rained.

Dat (That)

Dutch 'Dat' click to hear like English 'That' can mean three (four) 'things.' Three are found in the (correct, but not very pretty) sentence below:
Dat boek zegt dat hij dat gedaan heeft. click to hear 2 3 That book says that he did that.
Dat1 boek zegt dat2 hij dat3 gedaan heeft.
Dat1: pointing at, indicating which book
Dat2: what is said
Dat3: short for, referring to, replacing something mentioned before
Later ... There is actually a fourth 'dat' - in sub-sentences that describe or provide details about the preceding word or phrase. This 'dat' is sometimes rendered in English as 'who' or 'which.'
Het enige boek dat dit goed beschrijft click to hear 2 3 The only book that/which describes this well
For more about 'dat' please see and hear: Disambiguation

This paragraph will be about sentences with dat2, which (if I'm informed right) is called a conjunction by grammarians. Occasionally, other words work like this dat, for instance

omdat click to hear ('because,')
waar click to hear ('where,')
hoe click to hear ('how,')
als click to hear ('if, when,')
wanneer click to hear ('when,')
wie click to hear 2 ('who')
wat click to hear ('what.')
In sentences of this kind (Grammarians undoubtedly have an exciting word for it) the working verb is usually the last word of the sentence.
See below for exceptions in sentences that have infinitives.

'dat' subject (time) (place) (object) (complement) (other verbs) working verb

Het is te laat click to hear It is too late.
Ik denk dat het te laat is. click to hear I think it's too late.
Er is niet genoeg tijd. click to hear There is not enough time.
Ze zeggen dat er niet genoeg tijd is. click to hear They say there's not enough time.
Het is mooi weer. click to hear The weather is beautiful.
Ik ben blij dat het mooi weer is. click to hear I'm glad the weather is nice.
Het heeft vannacht geregend. click to hear 2 It rained last night.
Ik ben blij dat het vannacht geregend heeft. click to hear 2 I am glad that it rained last night.
Ik ben blij dat de zon schijnt. click to hear I am glad that the sun is shining.
Ik ben blij als de zon schijnt. click to hear I am happy when the sun is shining.
Ik ben bang dat de avocado's nog niet rijp zijn. click to hear 2 I'm afraid [that] the avocados are not ripe yet.
Ik ben bang dat het nog niet klaar is. click to hear I'm afraid it is not ready yet.
Weet jij wie hij is? click to hear Do you know who he is?
Ik weet niet wie hij is. click to hear I don't know who he is.
Ik weet niet wat de oorzaak is. click to hear I don't know [what the cause is] what's causing it.
Ik weet niet wat de reden is. click to hear I don't know what the reason is.
Ik begrijp niet wat ze in hem ziet. click to hear 2 I don't understand what she sees in him.
Ik kan niet zien waar het lekt. click to hear I can't see where [it's leaking] the leak is.
Weet jij waar de sleutel is?
Weet je waar de sleutel is?
click to hear 2
click to hear
Do you know where the key is?
Do you know where the key is?
Ik begrijp niet hoe het werkt. click to hear 2 I don't understand how it works.
Men zegt dat in Kentucky het gras blauw is. click to hear 2 It is said that the grass is blue in Kentucky.
Men zegt dat het gras blauw is in Kentucky. click to hear It is said that the grass is blue in Kentucky.
Ik heb wel eens gehoord dat het in het zuiden van Californië nooit regent. click to hear I've heard that it never rains in Southern California
Ik heb wel eens gehoord dat het nooit regent in het zuiden van Californië. click to hear 2 I've heard that it never rains in Southern California

Conditions and Secondary Verbs

If a sentence of this kind is in the perfect tense, the working verb can be placed either before of after the past participle. To put the working verb after the past participle is certainly not wrong, so don't worry about having an extra rule.
Ik was kwaad omdat ik weer voor m'n rijexamen gezakt was. click to hear 2 I was angry because I failed the driving test again.
Ik ben blij dat je gekomen bent. click to hear 2 3 I'm glad that you have come.
Hij denkt dat ik het gedroomd heb. click to hear 2 He thinks (that) I [dreamed it] saw it in a dream.

But if the other verbs are infinitives, like in the future or conditional tense, the working verb is placed before them.

'dat' subject (time) (place) (object) (complement) working verb infinitive(s)

Zij denkt dat het nog gaat gebeuren. click to hear She thinks (that) it's still going to happen.
Wie zegt dat 't gaat regenen? click to hear Who says it's going to rain?
Het weerbericht zegt dat het morgen gaat regenen. click to hear The weather report says it's going to rain tomorrow.
Denk je dat 't gaat regenen? click to hear Do you think it's going to rain?
Ik denk dat het gaat regenen. click to hear I think it's going to rain.
Denk je dat 't hard gaat regenen? click to hear Do you think it's going to rain hard?
Denk je dat 't morgen gaat regenen? click to hear Do you think it's going to rain tomorrow?
Denk je dat 't morgen hard gaat regenen? click to hear Do you think it's going to rain hard tomorrow?
ik denk dat het morgen hard gaat regenen. click to hear I think it's going to rain hard tomorrow.
Weet jij hoe je het moet zeggen? click to hear Do you know how to say it?
Ik denk niet dat hij naar ons had willen luisteren. click to hear 2 I don't think he would have [wanted to listen] listened to us.
Het was niet wat hij wilde horen. click to hear It was not what he wanted to hear.
Er is geen reden waarom hij niet zou kunnen winnen. click to hear There's no reason why he [shouldn't be able to] couldn't win.

The Passive

The object of the regular sentence becomes the subject of the passive sentence; something is 'done' to this new subject by the old subject, of the regular sentence; and (if present) this 'acting agent,' the 'perpetrator' (so to speak) is indicated by 'door click to hear ('by') ...' See also in verbs.

subject working verb: 'worden' (time) (place) ('door (by)) ...' (complement) past participle

Ik verf het huis. click to hear I'm painting the house.
passive: Het huis wordt geverfd. click to hear The house is being painted.
passive: Het huis wordt door mij geverfd. click to hear The house is being painted by me.
Ik verf het huis wit. click to hear I'm painting the house white.
passive: Het huis wordt door mij wit geverfd. click to hear The house is being painted white by me.
passive: Ik denk dat het huis wit geverfd wordt. click to hear I think the house is being painted white.
Ik denk dat ik het huis wit ga verven. click to hear I think I'll paint the house white.
Het huis is wit click to hear The house is white.
passive: Het huis wordt wit geverfd. click to hear The house is being painted white.
passive: Het huis is wit geverfd. click to hear The house has been painted white. Dutch leaves out the past participle 'been' (geworden click to hear 2.)
Ik werd afgeleid. click to hear 2 I was distracted.

Not Yet Classified

Schijnt de zon of regent het? click to hear Is the sun shining or is it raining?
Hij was te klein om over de schutting te kijken. click to hear 2 He was too small to look over the fence.
Ik was van plan om het huis wit te verven. click to hear I had in mind to paint the house white.
Hij dacht er niet lang over na. click to hear 2 3 He didn't think [long] twice about it.
Hij heeft er niet lang over nagedacht. click to hear 2 He did not think, has not thought [long] twice about it.
Ik zaagde de plank te kort af. click to hear I cut [off] the board too short.
Ik heb de plank te kort afgezaagd. click to hear 2 I [have] cut [off] the board too short.
De soep kookte over. click to hear The soup boiled over. (out of the pot)
Maak eerst je huiswerk af! click to hear First finish your homework!
Ik schopte gisteren op het voetbalveld de bal met m'n linkervoet tegen de paal. click to hear Yesterday on the soccer field I kicked the ball against the goal post with my left foot.
M'n vrouw zegt dat de bal niet in het doel wordt geschopt maar geschoten.
(Ik ben niet echt een voetballer.)
click to hear
click to hear 2 3
My wife says the ball is not 'kikcked' into the goal but 'shot.'
([I am not really a soccer player.] I do not really play soccer.)
Dat was te verwachten. click to hear 2 That was to be expected.
Hij zorgt goed voor je. click to hear 2 He's taking good care of you.
[a brown and a dotted soccer ball]
't Is weer bruin of gespikkeld click to hear 2 3
[It's brown or dotted again] Soccer time! names - fields

Recap

Very Simple Sentences
subject verb
Ik schopte. click to hear I kicked.

Slightly Less Basic

subject verb complement
Ik schopte hard genoeg. click to hear I kicked hard enough

Still Pretty Basic

subject verb object (complement)
Ik schopte de bal. click to hear I kicked the ball.
Ik schopte de bal hard genoeg. click to hear I kicked the ball hard enough.

More than One Verb: All To The End of The Line except for The Working Verb

subject working verb (object) (complement) other verbs
Ik heb de bal geschopt. click to hear I have kicked the ball.
Ik heb de bal hard genoeg geschopt. click to hear 2 I have kicked the ball hard enough.
Ik had harder willen schoppen. click to hear I had wanted to kick harder.
Ik had de bal harder willen schoppen. click to hear I had wanted to kick the ball harder.

Time, Place

subject working verb (time) (place) (object) (complement) (other verbs)
Ik schopte gisteren op het voetbalveld de bal hard genoeg. click to hear Yesterday on the soccer field I kicked the ball hard enough.

Question Mode

working verb subject (time) (place) (object) (complement) (other verbs)
Schopte ik? click to hear Did I kick?
Schopte ik de bal? click to hear Did I kick the ball?
Schopte ik de bal hard genoeg? click to hear Did I kick the ball?
Schopte ik gisteren op het voetbalveld de bal hard genoeg? click to hear Did I kick the ball hard enough on the soccer field yesterday?
Heb ik hard genoeg geschopt? click to hear Did I kick hard enough?

Commands, Suggestions (The Imperative)

working verb (time) (place) (object) (complement) (other verbs)
Schop de bal! click to hear 2 Kick the ball!
Stop die bal! click to hear Stop that ball!
Schop de bal in het doel! click to hear Kick the ball into the goal!

Sentences Starting with A Statement of Time, Place or A Condition

statement of time, place or condition working verb subject (time) (place) (object) (complement) (other verbs)
Gisteren schopte ik niet hard genoeg. click to hear Yesterday I didn't kick hard enough.
Eergisteren schopte ik in Waddinxveen veel te hard. click to hear The day before yesterday in Waddinxveen I kicked [much] way too hard.
In Broek op Langedijk heb ik ook niet hard geschopt. click to hear In Broek op Langedijk I didn't kick hard either.

Dat ('That') and Words like It

'dat' subject (time) (place) (object) (complement) (other verbs) working verb
Ik denk dat ik de bal hard genoeg geschopt heb. click to hear 2 I think [that] I kicked the ball hard enough.

Dat ('That') and Words like It Infinitives Exception

'dat' subject (time) (place) (object) (complement) working verb infinitive(s)
Ik zou willen dat ik harder kon schoppen. click to hear 2 [I would like to be able to kick harder.] I wish I could kick harder.
Ik wilde dat ik harder kon schoppen click to hear I wished I could kick harder.
Ik hoop dat ik morgen hard genoeg kan schoppen. click to hear I hope I'll be able to kick hard enough tomorrow.
M'n vrouw zegt dat ik niet goed kan schoppen. click to hear My wife says I do not kick well.

The Passive

subject working verb: 'worden' (time) (place) ('door (by)) ...' (complement) past participle
De bal wordt geschopt. click to hear The ball is kicked.
De bal werd geschopt. click to hear The ball was kicked.
De bal werd door Jan in het doel geschopt. click to hear 2 The ball was kicked into the goal by John.

Variations

All these lines are good, correct Dutch:

Ik gaf Piet gisteren in Assen een cadeau. click to hear 2
Ik gaf gisteren in Assen een cadeau aan Piet. click to hear 2
Ik heb gisteren in Assen Piet een cadeau gegeven. click to hear 2
Ik heb Piet gisteren in Assen een cadeau gegeven. click to hear 2
Ik heb gisteren in Assen een cadeau aan Piet gegeven. click to hear 2
Ik heb gisteren in Assen een cadeau gegeven aan Piet. click to hear 2
Gisteren heb ik Piet in Assen een cadeau gegeven. click to hear 2
Gisteren in Assen heb ik Piet een cadeau gegeven. click to hear
(Yesterday in Assen I gave Piet a present)

Hij wil mij morgen in Gouda een boek geven click to hear 2 Tomorrow in Gouda he wants to give me a book
Ik zal Jan morgen in Amsterdam geld geven click to hear Tomorrow in Amsterdam I'll give money to Jan
Volgende week ga ik Elly in Edam bloemen geven click to hear 2 Next week in Edam I'll give Elly flowers
De verpleegster gaf hem gisteren thuis een injectie click to hear Yesterday the nurse gave him a shot at home

More Examples

Het regent. click to hear
Het gaat regenen. click to hear
Het gaat morgen regenen. click to hear
Ik denk dat het morgen gaat regenen. click to hear
Volgens het weerbericht gaat het morgen regenen. click to hear
Het weerbericht zegt dat het morgen gaat regenen. click to hear
- hear in full (6 lines)
It [rains] is raining.
It's going to rain.
It's going to rain tomorrow.
I think [that] it's going to rain tomorrow.
According to the weather report it's going to rain tomorrow.
The weather report says it's going to rain tomorrow.
Gaat 't regenen? click to hear Is it going to rain?
't Regende gisteren hard. click to hear It was raining hard yesterday.
't Heeft gisteren hard geregend. click to hear It was raining hard yesterday.
Het is klaar. click to hear
Het is morgen klaar. click to hear
Ik denk dat het morgen klaar is. click to hear
Hij zegt dat het morgen klaar is. click to hear
- hear in full (4 lines)
It is ready.
It [is] will be ready tomorrow.
I think [that] it [is] will be ready tomorrow.
He says [that] it [is] will be ready tomorrow.
"Adam en Eva spraken Nederlands in het Paradijs." click to hear "Adam and Eve spoke Dutch in Paradise."
"In het Paradijs spraken Adam en Eva Nederlands" click to hear 2 "In Paradise, Adam and Eve spoke Dutch."
Volgens Goropius spraken Adam en Eva Nederlands. click to hear 2 According to Goropius, Adam and Eve spoke Dutch.
Goropius zegt dat Adam en Eva Nederlands spraken. click to hear 2 Goropius says that Adam and Eve spoke Dutch.
Als de lente komt, dan stuur ik jou tulpen uit Amsterdam. click to hear When Spring comes, [then] I'll send you tulips from Amsterdam.

It's often said that languages like Latin and Greek are 'difficult' because of the many forms that nouns and verbs take. But in 'modern' languages, the word order can be pretty complicated, isn't it?

Welcome Learning Dutch? Lesson 1 Site Map Pronunciation Grammar Words and Phrases Hear Dutch Names

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Don't be a dief (thief) - dievegge (female thief) - diefstal (theft) - stelen (to steal) - heler (dealer in stolen goods) - hear Dutch - 2