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[With] In Other Words - Square Brackets

Between the square brackets [ ] on my website you'll find 'literal' translations of Dutch words and phrases that show the meaning with more precision than the 'regular' English translation. It will help you better understand the Dutch so it will be easier to memorize and reproduce those words and phrases, to speak Dutch yourself.
The literal translation is often not 'good' English.

For instance, Dutch says 'Ik heb honger' where English says 'I'm hungry.' Ik heb honger click to hear [I have hunger] - I am hungry Ik heb dorst click to hear [I have thirst] - I am thirsty Heb je honger? click to hear ['Have you hunger?'] - 'Are you hungry?' Ik heb geen honger click to hear 2 3 [I have no hunger] - I am not hungry See also: Food and Drink, Eating and Drinking

The use of the article is sometimes different between Dutch and English: Ik heb hoofdpijn click to hear 2 I have a headache - I hope that's clear without square brackets. To give you '[I have headache]' seem a bit excessive.

Occasionally, Dutch and English are similar: 't Gaat te ver click to hear 2 It goes too far But usually translating word-for-word doesn't work. Speaking a foreign language is not just replacing words. Dutch and English are closely related - the differences with other languages must be much greater.

Words themselves are sometimes also not just 'translated.' For instance, the English 'lighthouse,' a beacon at the sea to guide ships is Dutch (de) vuurtoren click to hear 2 ['fire tower'] and the 'horseshoe' that's put on horses' feet is (het) hoefijzer click to hear 2 ['hoof iron'] 'Paardenschoen' and 'lichthuis' are not good Dutch words - though they will probably come up someday in the Dunglish click to hear 2 3 4 of people who spend too much time on the Internet. In a major magazine I saw: 'Turkije controleerde lange tijd een groot deel van de Balkan.'
[Turkey ruled a large part of the Balkans for a long time]
For many years, Turkey ruled large parts of the Balkans
- but Dutch 'controleren' click to hear 2 3 means 'to check, inspect, see if it's right' like tickets on a train; it doesn't mean 'to rule.'
Turkije hield honderden jaren een groot deel van de Balkan bezet
For stocks doing better on the market than expected, reporters used to say: de verwachtingen overtreffen click to hear 2 3
to [exceed] beat expectations
but unfortunately I've already seen this in a major Dutch newspaper as: 'de verwachtingen verslaan' It looks ugly to me.

Dutch and English often use words that have a somewhat different meaning. For instance, English 'priceless' describes a high value that cannot be expressed in money of something immaterial and precious like the smile of a child - but 'prijsloos' is not good Dutch. The right word is onbetaalbaar click to hear 2 3 ['unpayable' - cannot be paid for] - priceless

binnenkort click to hear 2 ['within short' - within a short time] - soon
(het) losgeld click to hear 2 ['release-money'] - ransom

een stuk zeep click to hear 2 a [piece] bar of soap
een mespuntje cayennepeper click to hear a ['knifetip'] pinch of ground red hot pepper
See the 'Units' page for more of these typical Dutch word combinations.

Dutch also has words from French, Latin and Greek (some examples) but not as many as English. For instance: geloofwaardig click to hear ['belief-worthy'] - credible
overhalen click to hear 2 ['to pull over (to your thinking)'] - to persuade

overhalen
to persuade
- ik haal over
I'm persuading
- ik haalde over
I persuaded
- ik heb overgehaald
I have persuaded
- click to hear
splitting verbs

The correct use of the prepositions is one of the most difficult parts of learning a foreign language. (My 'pictorial' page or its smartphone version will help for a basic understanding.)
For instance, the English phrase 'In other words ...' means something is 'said in another way.' It has the Dutch equivalent 'Met andere woorden ...' click to hear 2 3
[With] In other words ...
[With] is in square brackets to show that it is the literal translation of Dutch 'met,' which is usually translated as 'with'- but English uses 'in' for this phrase.
The Dutch phrase has a slightly stronger meaning, not just putting what you want to say in different words but 'using other words, in conclusion ...' (Not to bore you with my 55 years of learning English, but I have written some short stories in English) Met de ouderdom komen de gebreken click to hear 2
[Along with old age, infirmities come] = [With] In old age defects, infirmities appear'

Dutch often describes negatives differently from English, for instance: Ik heb er geen tijd voor click to hear 2 3
[I have no time for it] - I do not have time for it
English says 'don't have' time, the verb is negative, Dutch says 'have no' time, the amount of time is zero. Ik heb hem in geen jaren gezien click to hear 2
[I have seen him in no years] - I haven't seen him for years
We mochten geen foto's maken click to hear 2
[We were allowed no pictures] - We were not allowed to [make] take pictures
See also: - 'Niet,' 'Geen' and 'Wel'

Viewed from English some Dutch negatives may look illogical: Hij durfde niks te zeggen click to hear 2 3
[He dared say nothing] - He didn't dare to say anything, he didn't dare to speak up, protest
Waarom zegt niemand er iets van? click to hear 2 3
[Why does nobody say something about it?] Why doesn't anybody speak up about it?
Waarom zegt niemand dat? click to hear 2 3
Why is nobody saying that? Why doesn't anybody bring that up?

Sayings, standard expressions sometimes make some sense, like Ik zuig 't niet uit m'n duim click to hear 2 3
['I'm not sucking it from my thumb'] - 'I'm not making it up' (it's true, I'm telling you what I heard, what I've seen)
But sayings are not always easy to understand and translate. For instance, De pijp aan Maarten geven click to hear 2
['Give, hand the pipe to Maarten'] - to pass away, die
needs explanation. See and hear my Sayings page for more examples.
My favorite Star Trek: The Next Generation episode 'Darmok' is about an encounter with aliens who only speak in sayings that are meaningless to Captain Picard and his crew. 'Shaka, when the walls fell.' 'Temba, his arms wide.'

Pragmatic Markers, Modal Particles

But take a line like this: Heb je de laatste tijd nog een goed boek gelezen? click to hear
Have you [still] read a good book lately?
Why 'nog' click to hear (still)? It looks unnecessary, and there is no word for it in the English translation. Still, most Dutch people say it like that. Adding 'still' or something like it to the English sentence would imply there are so many bad books or there is no time for reading, but the Dutch line doesn't have that sense.
It's not really 'wrong' to leave 'nog' out and say: Heb je de laatste tijd een goed boek gelezen? But it sounds weird, bare, empty, missing something, incomplete. 'Nog' may have little or no meaning in this sentence but these words are like herbs and spices: they don't add much nutrition but make food taste better.

English has 'by any means' - you can say that somewhat similar in Dutch as met alle mogelijke middelen click to hear 2 with all possible means but you can also say: op welke manier dan ook click to hear [in which way then also] - in whatever way or: hoe dan ook click to hear 2 3 [how then also] - in whatever way, by any means

An extreme example is the title of a 1970s TV program making fun of the news: Zo is 't toevallig nou ook nog eens een keer click to hear 2 3
That's how it is [by accident now also still once more]

Years ago I saw a series of 'Great Courses' lectures by John McWhorter in which he mentioned words in common German speech that just indicate shades of the speaker's mood, attitude or opinion. He called those words 'Pragmatic Markers.' They're far less common in English but Dutch also has many of those words that look superfluous, unnecessary or illogical. Without them, Dutch would look 'bare,' empty, too basic. Wikipedia calls words like these 'modal particles.' I've lightly touched on the subject before - this page brings together many examples.

The examples and explanation will give you a better understanding of spoken and written Dutch, but I'm not sure how useful this material is for you, dear students. Can it be put into practice? Is there a practical use? Can you say it yourself?
There are no clear rules that I could give you. Study the examples, there may be a use sometime - people won't expect foreign students to use phrases like these and it will be a pleasant surprise. It also shows you're serious about learning Dutch.

Nou
Wel
Er
Weer
Al
Toch
Maar
Gewoon
and Hoor
Eigenlijk and Echt

Nou

'Nou' click to hear 2 3 and 'nu' click to hear 2 can mean 'now' Nou begrijp ik 't click to hear 2
Now I understand (it) - more
But often it just expresses exasperation, unpleasant surprise, sometimes anger, sometimes compassion or commiseration
Wat jammer! click to hear Such a pity!
Wat jammer nou! click to hear 2 3 Such a pity! (I feel your pain)
Hoe kan dat? click to hear 2 How can that be? (I wonder)
Hoe kan dat nou? click to hear 2 3 4 How can that be? (frustrated, exasperated, angry)
Zie je wel? click to hear 2 You see? I was right - more 'wel' below
Zie je nou wel? click to hear 2 3 You see? I was right (told you so)
Nou en? click to hear 2 [Now and?] So what? (I don't care what you think)
Wat doe je nou? click to hear 2 What in heaven's name are you doing? (it looks stupid or questionable)
Wat is dat nou voor iets doms? click to hear 2 3 [What a stupid thing that is now] - Such stupidity!
Wat is dat nou voor iets stoms? click to hear [What a stupid thing that is now] - Such stupidity!
Zou je dat nou wel doen? click to hear 2 3 Should you do that? Are you sure it's a good idea to do that?
Zo is 't nou eenmaal click to hear 2 3 That's how it is (it's not going to change and you'll have to accept it)
Maak 't nou een beetje click to hear 2 3 4 ["Now make it a little"] - Behave yourself! You're going too far

Wel

'Wel' click to hear is usually an 'amplifier,' often translated in English with 'to do,' 'very much' or an exclamation mark
Ik heb 't gedaan click to hear 2 I have done it, I did it
Ik heb 't niet gedaan click to hear I did not do it
Ik heb 't wel gedaan click to hear I did do it (there are some doubts)
also note: Jij hebt het goed gedaan click to hear You've done (it) well
Dank je wel click to hear / Dank U wel click to hear Thank you! Thank you very much
Het is niet waar click to hear It is not true
Het is wel waar click to hear It is true! But it is true

Er zijn geen bananen click to hear
There are no bananas
Er zijn wel sinaasappels click to hear
(But) we do have oranges

Ik spreek niet goed Nederlands ... click to hear 2
I don't speak Dutch well
... maar ik kan het wel verstaan click to hear 2 3
But I do understand it

Misschien valt 't mee click to hear 2 3 4
Maybe it will not be so bad
Misschien valt 't wel mee click to hear 2 3
Maybe it will not be so bad
The first line is 'neutral,' the second line is offering a little hope or sympathy

Hebben jullie wel plezier? click to hear
Are you guys really having fun, really enjoying yourself?

Misschien kunnen we wel buiten zitten click to hear 2
Maybe we can sit outside (if we're lucky with the weather - it would be nice)

Er lijkt wel genoeg geld te zijn click to hear
It looks like there is enough money (after all)

We zullen wel zien click to hear 2 We'll see (when the time comes)
Ziet U wel? click to hear You see? (I was right)
Ik wist 't wel click to hear 2 I knew it!

Morgen zal 't wel beter zijn click to hear 2 3
Tomorrow (it) will be better

Er is altijd wel iets click to hear
There's always something (so annoying!)

Ik doe 't wel click to hear 2 3 4
I'll do it (volunteering for a task)

We zullen dat varkentje wel even wassen click to hear 2 3
['Believe me, we'll get that piglet washed'] - 'We'll take care of it, we'll fix it, we'll sure get that job done' (it's an unpleasant job but we'll take care of it)

Dat weet ik wel click to hear 2 3
I know (annoyed, don't assume I didn't know)

Gaat 't wel? click to hear 2
[Is it going OK?] Are you OK? (You look troubled/tired/sick)

Wat denk je wel niet? click to hear 2 3
[What are you thinking?] Who do you think you are? (You think too much of yourself)

Als je 't nu niet doet, wanneer dan wel? click to hear 2
[If you don't do it now, when are you?] - If not now, when?

Dat zien we dan wel weer click to hear 2 3
We'll see about that then [again] - We'll see about that when the time comes

Geld maakt niet gelukkig ... click to hear 2
Money doesn't make you happy, money does not create happiness ...
... maar 't is wel (ge)makkelijk click to hear 2 3
... but it sure is convenient, it makes life [easy] easier

English 'well' is goed click to hear 2 3 in Dutch ->> Het brood is niet goed gerezen click to hear 2
The bread has not risen well, didn't rise well

Er

'Er' click to hear can be a 'less specific' 'there' or 'here,' 'in this/that place' We zijn er bijna click to hear 2
We're almost there
Er is ... click to hear 2 'there is' and Er zijn ... click to hear 2 'there are ...' are used to introduce statements Er is een koude wind click to hear 2
There's a cold wind
Er zijn geen bergen in Nederland click to hear
There are no mountains in Holland
'Er' can also be the translation of placeholder 'it' (indicating something implied or mentioned before) when there's a preposition involved: Ik denk er vaak aan click to hear 2 3 I often think of it More examples on the 'Er' Disambiguation page

But sometimes 'er' looks meaningless and is not translated in English.
In the first four examples 'er' could be left out and it's still good Dutch:

Wie heeft hier de leiding? click to hear Who's in charge here?
Wie heeft er hier de leiding? click to hear Who's in charge here?
(De Vries is de baas. click to hear DeVries is the boss.)
Wie heeft gewonnen? click to hear Who won?
Wie heeft er gewonnen? click to hear Who won?
(Wie heeft de wedstrijd gewonnen? click to hear Who won the match?)
Er was eens ... click to hear 2 3 Once upon a time there was ... fairy tales
Er was er eens ... click to hear Once upon a time there was ...
In 't begin was 't woord click to hear 'In the beginning was the word' (John 1:1)
In 't begin was er 't woord click to hear 2 3 'In the beginning there was the word'

But for most examples in the next group leaving out 'er' would not sound or look 'right' to Dutch people

De winter komt eraan click to hear 2 Winter is coming
"De winter komt" is not good Dutch
't Ziet er vies uit click to hear 2 It looks dirty - usually: unappetizing
" 't Ziet vies uit" is bad Dutch; it looks German
Wat is er aan de hand? click to hear What's going on?
"Wat is aan de hand?" is bad Dutch
Wat is er gaande? click to hear 2 What's going on? (old-fashioned)
"Wat is gaande?" is not good Dutch
Wat is er gebeurd? click to hear 2 3 What happened?
"Wat is gebeurd?" - not good Dutch
Wat zou er gebeuren? click to hear 2 What would happen?
"Wat zou gebeuren?" - not good Dutch (etc.)
Wie weet er nog een mop? click to hear [Who knows another joke?] - Anybody has a joke to tell?
't Ziet er slecht uit click to hear 2 It looks bad - usually: it's not going to get better
Ik wil weten wat er gebeurd is click to hear 2 3 I want to know what happened
Hij vertelde mij wat er gebeurd was click to hear He told me what had happened
Hij vertelde hun wat er gebeurd was click to hear 2 He told them what had happened
Wat is er van hem geworden? click to hear 2 What (Whatever) became of him?
Wat is er? click to hear 2 3 [What is it?] - usually asked when there seems to be a problem: What's wrong?
Wat is er met Jan? click to hear 2 What is with Jan? What's wrong with Jan?
Ik ben benieuwd wie er gaat winnen click to hear 2 3 4
I'm curious who's going to win

In the next three lines you could leave out the 'er'

Wie is er aan de beurt? click to hear [Who's on turn] - Whose turn is it?
Wat is er veranderd? click to hear 2 What has changed?
Wat is er anders? click to hear 2 3 What's different? /or:/ What else is there? No alternative
But the second meaning of the last line, "What else is there?" is only with the 'er'

Weer

The noun (het) weer click to hear 2 is 'the weather:'

Hoe is 't weer? click to hear How is the weather?
Ik hoop dat jullie beter weer hebben dan wij click to hear 2
I hope you guys are having better weather than we
Weather Words - 2 - Weather Talk

'Weer' meaning 'fighting' or 'defense' (German 'Wehr') is only found in compound words like


(de) brandweer click to hear 2 fire brigade, fire department

(de) brandweerman click to hear 2 [fire-fighting man] firefighter, fireman

(de) weerstand click to hear 2 (personal) opposition; (electrical) resistance

But most commonly 'weer' is an adverb meaning 'again.' Ik was kwaad omdat ik weer voor m'n rijexamen gezakt was click to hear 2
I was angry because I had failed the driving test again
Gisteren heb ik 'Apocalypse Now' weer eens gezien click to hear
Yesterday I've seen 'Apocalypse Now' [once] again
't Is weer slecht weer click to hear 2
It's bad weather again, the bad weather returned (with a sense of disappointment, 'like so often')

'Weer' can also be used in the sense of 'back' (returning)


Ik ben weer de oude click to hear 2 ['I'm the old me again'] - I'm back to normal (after a bad time)

De motor loopt weer! click to hear 2 The engine is running again!

Ik ben er weer click to hear 2 3 ['I'm ~here again'] - I'm back

You might think that instead of the last line 'Ik ben er weer' you could say 'Ik ben terug' - I'm back (terug click to hear = 'back, returning') (Interestingly, the body part 'back' is (de) rug click to hear)
but I wouldn't say that. 'Ik ben terug' is not really wrong, but people usually say: Ik ben weer terug click to hear 2 I'm back (again) In English, the 'again' is left out, but in Dutch it sounds better with 'weer.'
Also: Terug van weggeweest click to hear 2 3 4
Back [from having been away]

On a day of many showers you can say 't Regent weer click to hear 2 It's raining again and when the rain stops for a moment you could say, 't lijkt wel weer droog click to hear 2
[It looks like it's dry again] - It looks like the rain has stopped
But what's the point of the 'weer' in the last line?

Or take a sentence like this: Daar de verwachte groei uitbleef, werd de fabriek weer gesloten click to hear 2
Because the expected growth didn't happen the factory was closed (again)
The factory may as well be new, there's no reason to assume that it was shut down for the second or third time, but still most Dutchmen will add the 'weer' because it sounds better.

Nou herinner ik 't me weer. click to hear 2
Now I remember [it] [again.]
(English also leaves out 'it.')
Something was not forgotten - but in English you can also say 'the memory came up again' or 'resurfaced' and also note that English 'remember' has 're-' like Dutch zich herinneren click to hear has 'her-'
- see also: Reflexive Verbs

Sometimes 'weer' doesn't make much sense but it's still common for Dutch people to insert it because it feels better that way 't Bezoek is weer weg click to hear 2
The visitors left [again]
It doesn't mean that these visitors come to your house often; it may well have been their first time.

Earlier on the page we've seen Wat is er? click to hear 2 3
[What is it?] - usually asked when there seems to be a problem: What's wrong?
You can also say: Wat is er nou weer? click to hear
What is it now [again]? (annoyed, irritated or angry at continued nagging or trouble)

De zon kwam weer op click to hear
The sun came up again (something we can rely on every day)

Is 't weer zo laat? click to hear
[Is it that time again?] Trouble or people bothering you - again and again

Er is elke dag weer te weinig tijd click to hear
Every day [again] there is too little time (despairing)

In a 'Zuyder Zee' story suggested by musiscian friend Billy Eric I quite often used 'weer' - sometimes making sense for a repeating event, but in other sentences without clear meaning De Zuiderzee gaat weer tekeer click to hear
The Zuyder Zee is raging again (like it so often does)

Wat was dat weer een akelige overstroming! click to
 hear
What a bad flood that was! (like so many before?)
Hoe lang nog voor we wéér een overstroming krijgen? click to
 hear
How long till [we get a flooding again] the next flooding? - the speaker is afraid it's going to happen again

Hoe krijgen we al dat water weer weg? click to
 hear
How are we [again] ever going to get rid of all that water?
('weer' translated as 'ever' - it's going to take some time: 'ever' looks the best English version, but where is the again in that?
'Again' looks pointless, it doesn't have to be the second or third time, it may be the first flooding in a long time.
Hoe krijgen we al dat water in hemelsnaam weer weg? click to
 hear
How in heaven's name can we ever get rid of all that water?

Ooit zullen we de Zuiderzee bedwingen en het land weer droogleggen. click to hear
Someday we will [force] subdue the Zuyder Zee and reclaim the land
Na elke overstroming malen de molens 't water weer weg - maar ooit zullen we de Zuiderzee bedwingen en al het verdronken land weer droogleggen. click to hear
After each flooding the windmills pump the water away [again] - but someday we'll subdue the Zuyder Zee and reclaim all the drowned land.

Dutch has droogleggen click to hear [to lay dry] for 'to reclaim (land)' - take back (note English re-claim.) Now of course the sea level has been rising, the land has been 'dry' in the past; much of the North Sea was land 10,000 years ago, and much of the Zuyder Zee / Lake IJssel only drowned 1500 years ago, but can we really say 'make dry again' or 're-claim'?
- Holland and the Sea over the Years
- 'Polders' (Reclaimed Land)
- From 'South Sea' to 'Lake IJssel'


There's also a verb weergeven click to hear 2 ['to give again'] i.e. to represent, to depict, to picture - for a nice line with 'weer' in a double meaning: Je geeft het slechte weer zo mooi weer click to hear
You picture the bad weather beautifully
Je geeft 't goede weer zo goed weer click to hear 2
You picture the [good] beautiful weather [so] well

Al

As shown on the Disambiguation: 'Al' page, Dutch 'al' click to hear 2 is a word of many meanings: it can mean 'already,' 'all, every' (adverb and adjective) / 'all, everything' (noun) or 'even if'
1. already:
Heb je al kaartjes? click to hear 2 3 Did you already get the tickets? (travel, events)
Heb je al gestemd? click to hear 2 Did you vote already? - asked during elections
2a. all, every:
Ik heb al m'n gereedschap weggegeven click to hear I've given away all my tools
2b. all, everything:
Eind goed, al goed click to hear 2 3 [End good, all good] - All's well that ends well
3. even if:
Al kost 't me jaren click to hear 2 3 Even if it's going to take (me) years

The 'already' meaning can turn a bit vague and may look unnecessary:

Heb je het nieuws gehoord? click to hear 2 3
Have you heard the news? (Just a question, 'Shall I tell you?')
Heb je het nieuws al gehoord? click to hear 2 3
Have you (already) heard the news? (Something happened)

Zoals ik zei click to hear As I said
Zoals ik al zei click to hear 2 3 As I already said, as I said before (Irritated: Didn't you hear? Slipped your mind? Something you don't want to hear?)
Is de post al geweest? click to hear 2 Has the mail come in already? Has the mailman come by already?
Zijn de perziken al rijp? click to hear 2 Are the peaches ripe already?
Ze werken al twintig jaar samen click to hear
[They already work together ...] - They've been working together for 20 years

Toch

Sometimes toch click to hear is translated as 'still, yet' - 'nevertheless' - 'despite something' - announcing something unexpected: Hoewel het regende, ging hij toch zonder jas naar buiten click to hear 2
Although it was raining, he still went out without a coat
more 'regular' 'toch'

But toch click to hear can also be used as an amplifier like 'wel' or to express an exasperation, irritation or annoyance, or a resignation to a less-than-ideal world - translated in various ways in English, sometimes by 'anyway,' 'after all' or 'what in the world?'

't Is toch overal hetzelfde click to hear 2
It's the same everywhere (anyway) - there's no escaping, moving doesn't help

t Maakt toch allemaal niks uit click to hear 2
[All of it doesn't make a difference] - Whatever you do, it doesn't help

Waar komt die rotzooi toch vandaan? click to hear 2 3
Where in the world does all that garbage come from?

Ik ben wel oud, maar toch niet zo oud click to hear 2
It is true that I'm old, I may be old, but I'm not thàt old

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

Dat hou(d) je toch click to hear 2 3
[That's going to remain, whatever you do - you'll always keep that] - You can't change that, that's not going to change (a small problem that can't be solved, something unpleasant, a nuisance that's not going away)

Dat kan toch niet? click to hear 2 3
[That cannot be - that shouldn't be possible] - How in the world can that be?

Dat zal toch wel niet? click to hear 2 [That will not be!] - I hope it isn't like that

Dat is toch niet normaal! click to hear 2 3 [That cannot be normal! not the ususal thing, not business as usual] It's outrageous, out-of-range

Wat is er toch? click to hear
What's going on? What is it? (Not getting answers, not understanding what's going on)

Wat is er toch aan de hand? click to hear
What's going on? What is it? (Not getting answers, not understanding what's going on)

Nee toch! click to hear 2
Oh no! (Said when something horrible happened or you just received bad news) Say it ain't so! I hope that it's not true!

Ik ben toch in Nederland? click to hear 2 3 4 5
I'm in Holland, am I not? (When people keep speaking English to you) ->>
We zijn toch in Nederland? click to hear
We're in Holland, aren't we?

Ik moet toch weten wat er gebeurt in de wereld click to hear 2 3
I [have to] want to know what's going on in the world (addicted to the news)

Maar

'Maar' click to hear can be 'but' - connecting two seemingly contradictory words or phrases, or it can be 'just, only,' but the meaning can also become vague
Raar maar waar click to hear 2 3 Strange but true
't Is maar een schrammetje click to hear 2 It's only a scratch
't Water blijft stijgen click to hear The water keeps rising
't Water blijft maar stijgen click to
 hear The water just keeps on rising (It's frightening - in the disastrous flooding of 1953 the water kept rising after the tide should have turned)
Hij is nog maar een baby click to hear 2 He's [still just] only a baby

See Disambiguation: 'Maar' for more examples

But the meaning of 'maar' can also become vague, hard to describe and translate, and sometimes a polite or friendly encouragement, like 'feel free' or 'you may'

Zo zie je maar click to hear 2 So, this way you see ..., this shows ...
Zo zie je maar wie echt je vrienden zijn click to hear This shows who your real friends are
Hij doet ook maar click to hear 2 3 He just does as he pleases
Die mensen doen ook maar click to hear 2 Those people just do as they please
Laat maar click to hear Let it be, never mind, don't bother (no need for action)
Laat maar zitten click to hear 2 3 ['No need to 'move,' just leave it be'] - Keep the change (offering the change as tip)
Zeg 't maar click to hear 2 3 You can say it, Feel free to speak up
Doe 't maar click to hear 2 Go ahead, do it
Geef maar hier click to hear 2 You may hand it to me (I'll take care of it)
Let maar niet op mij click to hear 2 Now don't pay attention to me
Rustig maar click to hear 2 [Quiet, quiet] - There, there (comforting an upset person)
Gelukkig maar! click to hear 2 3 Lucky indeed! We're lucky
Je bent er maar druk mee click to hear 2 3 [You're quite busy with it.] It's taking a lot of your time.
't Zal je kind maar wezen click to hear Just imagine that it would be your child
Ho maar! click to hear 2 Stop it! That's enough.
Nederlands ho maar! click to hear Dutch [just stop] - not so much! (said when an outrageous statement is made in bad Dutch)
Zeg maar wat je zou willen hebben van Sinterklaas click to hear
Just say what you'd like to have from Santa (from 'Miracle on 34th Street')

Gewoon

'Gewoon' click to hear (gewoon / gewone click to hear 2) means 'common, usual, regular'
doodgewoon click to hear 2 3 [dead-] very common
buitengewoon click to hear 2 3 [outside of the ordinary] - extraordinary, special, exceptional
(de) gewoonte click to hear habit, custom
(de) gewoontemens click to hear 2 3 'creature of habit'
De macht der gewoonte click to hear 2 3 ['the power of habit'] - it's hard to break a routine
('der' click to hear is an old-fashioned form of 'van de' (of the))

Vroeger was geluk heel gewoon click to hear
In the past, happiness was quite common

Somewhat jocularly, people say:
'Ik ga liever gewoon dood' click to hear 2 3 4
'I'd rather die in the regular way' - when mock-protesting or trying to refuse something slightly risky, but more commonly commenting on an unpleasant task or given food you really don't like

But 'gewoon' can also mean 'just' with a sense of resignation, that's how it is, it can't be helped, nothing more can be done about it

't Is gewoon zo click to hear 2 3
That's just how it is (end of discussion, further talk about it is useless, a waste of time)

Misschien gaat 't gewoon niet click to hear
Maybe it's just not possible

and Hoor

'Hé!' click to hear is 'hey!' - sometimes an expression of surprise, or a call for attention, like in "Hé jij daar!" click to hear 2 3
Hey, you [there]! (not polite and not recommended)

'Hè' click to hear by itself is an expression of small disappointment, like if you can't get some little thing right - also as heg click to hear - maybe somewhat like English "Bummer!"

'Hèhè click to hear can be said when you're annoyed that someone says something that you think is stupid or obvious

'Hè' click to hear after another word can mean something like 'don't you agree?' or 'isn't it?' stom hè click to hear stupid, isn't it?
gek hè click to hear strange, weird (unexpected) isn't it?
'Gek' click to hear usually means 'crazy, insane' but not here
For 'isn't it?' you could also say 'nietwaar?' click to hear 2 3 ('isn't it [true] so?') but it's a little old-fashioned

"We benne op de wereld om mekaar te hellepe niewaar?" click to hear 2
We are in this world to help each other out, isn't it? (slang)

Hoor! click to hear can mean 'hear!' ('hark!') - though (like in English) luister! click to hear 2 'listen!' is more common. It can also be put after another word or at the end of a line as an amplification, like 'sure' or 'really' Ja hoor! click to hear Yes, sure! /or/ absolutely! or in the long 'goodbye' dag - da-ag - dag hoor - nou, dag hoor click to hear 2

Ik wil 't best wel vertellen hoor click to hear 2 3 4
I really don't mind telling (you)

Eigenlijk and Echt

Some people say that in some meanings the word echt click to hear 2 3 (echt / echte click to hear 2) 'real' and especially the word eigenlijk click to hear 2 'actually' are not just superfluous and unnecessary but actually bad, because they do not really add meaning but they devalue, weaken, take away meaning from the original word, add an unnecessary extra description that cheapens the basic words. Maybe in the same vein as when Jesus says "But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes' and your 'No,' 'No'" Maar Uw woord ja zij ja, neen, neen click to hear 2 3
(Let what you say be simply 'Yes' or 'No;')
Though it's said He is actually discouraging the swearing of oaths: wat daar bijkomt is uit den boze click to hear 2
anything more than this comes from evil
(Matthew 5:37, also in James 5:12)
The world may be fuzzy and many things are ambiguous, but let our statements be simple and honest. (I'm afraid I'm not yet ready to do without echt 'real' and eigenlijk 'actually.')

Real Meaning:
in 't echt click to hear 2 3 ['in the real,'] ~ the real thing ->>
't Is net echt click to hear 2 [It's like real] - It's almost real, it looks very real
Fuzzy Meaning:
Het is eigenlijk al te laat click to hear It is actually already too late
Ik denk eigenlijk van niet - foutje click to hear I actually think it's not - (I made) a [little] mistake
Ik weet 't eigenlijk niet click to hear 2 3 4 I actually don't know, I'm not sure
Zo is 't echt click to hear 2 3 It's really like that
Begrijp je echt wat er staat? click to hear 2 Do you really understand what it says? (written text)
Dat is 't niet echt click to hear 2 3 That's not really it, that is not really the issue
echt waar? click to hear 2 realy true?
Ik weet niet of dat echt zo is click to hear I'm no sure if that's really like it
't is echt zo click to hear 2 It's really like that
Is het echt hun land? click to hear Is it really their land?

Dan kunnen we elkaar eindelijk echt ontmoeten click to hear 2
Then we can finally 'really' meet ('in the flesh')

Zo zie je maar wie echt je vrienden zijn click to hear
That way you'll see who really are your friends, who your real friends are

Ik ben niet echt een voetballer click to hear 2 3
I'm not really a soccer player, I'm not a real soccer player

overigens click to hear 2 by the way ..., ... anyway
Er is overigens nooit bewijs gevonden click to hear 2
'Proof has never been found, by the way'

trouwens click to hear 2 3 by the way ..., as a matter of fact
Hij is trouwens familie van me click to hear 2 3
He is a relative, by the way / He happens to be a relative

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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