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Dutch and English Word Order

Dutch and English word order are in general not very different, but there are a few important exceptions. Getting those right will greatly improve your Dutch.

Secondary Verbs at the End of the Line
Questions
Negative Imperatives
Other Negatives
After Statements of Time or Place or a Condition
... and when the Condition is a Sub-Sentence
Splitting Verbs in the Subordinate Clause
The Subsentence after Dat  ('That')
Secondary Verbs in Sub-Sentences

(de) zinsbouw click to hear 2 'word order'
(de) woordvolgorde click to hear 2 3 'word order'

General Word Order Pages:
Short Version - Smartphone
Long Version - Older Version

Secondary Verbs at the End of the Line

Dutch is notorious for putting some of the verbs at 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

't Had erger kunnen zijn. click to hear 2 It could have been worse. 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. Jan heeft Piet een boek gegeven. click to hear Jan has given Piet a book. Jan heeft een boek aan Piet gegeven. click to hear 2 Jan has given a book to Piet. Ik was 't helemaal vergeten. click to hear I had [completely] forgotten all about it Ik heb al m'n boeken verkocht. click to hear 2 I have sold all my books. Het brood is niet goed gerezen. click to hear 2 The bread didn't rise [well] properly. Ik heb een paar jaar pianoles gehad. click to hear I have had piano lessons for a [couple of] few years.

Je kunt nog even blijven liggen. click to hear slow You can [remain lying down] stay in bed for a little longer.
the use of infinitives
Ik had willen blijven liggen. click to hear 2 3 I would have liked to [remain lying down] stay in bed. Ik wil niks verloren laten gaan. click to hear 2 I [want nothing] don't want anything to go to waste. Ik heb moeten leren improviseren. click to hear 2 I've had to learn [to improvise] improvisation.

Questions

Turn the verb and subject around to make a statement sentence into a question.
Er is wat brood over. click to hear There is some bread left. Is er wat brood over? click to hear Is there [some] any bread left? In speaking, the sentence melody changes to a higher pitch at the end - exaggerated:
Is er wat brood over? click to hear

Talking with friends and acquaintances, you'll use the informal 'je' or 'jij.' Do note that the T is dropped from the verb in the present tense for this second person singular, informal when the verb comes before the personal pronoun:
jij bent click to hear 2 3 4 you are
ben jij? click to hear 2 are you?

Ben je boos? click to hear 2 Are you angry? Je bent boos click to hear 2 You are angry

Questions word order:

verb subject (object) (complement)

Ben je ziek? click to hear Are you sick? Ben je bang? click to hear Are you afraid? Is het te laat? click to hear Is it too late? Was je moe? click to hear Were you tired? Kun je er wat aan doen? click to hear 2 3 Can you do something about it? Mag ik U iets vragen? click to hear 2 3 [May I ...] Could I ask you something?

In English, turning around verb and subject for question mode only works for 'to be' and a few other verbs like 'can' and 'may' (other verbs add to do) - but in Dutch all verbs can be turned around the subject for question mode.

Je hebt genoeg geld click to hear 2 You have enough money Heb je genoeg geld? click to hear Do you have enough money?

Weet jij ...? click to hear 2 Do you know ...?
Weet jij hoe 't werkt? click to hear 2 3 Do you know how it 'works'? (what the process, procedure, mechanism is) Weet jij hoe je 't moet uitspreken? click to hear 2 3 Do you know how to pronounce it? (can you tell me?) ‑>> Regent 't? click to hear Is it raining? Schijnt de zon? click to hear Is the sun shining? Ga jij? click to hear 2 [Go you?] Are you going? (Like, to an event) Heb je een auto? click to hear Do you have a car? Heeft Jan een auto? click to hear 2 Does John have a car? Hadden jullie pech? click to hear [Did you have bad luck?] Usually, this means: Did your car break down? Verveel je je? click to hear Are you bored? (informal) >> reflexive verbs 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? Denk je ook niet dat ...? click to hear 2 3 [Don't] Do you also think that ...? Do you agree that ...? Begrijp je wat ik bedoel? click to hear 2 Do you understand what I mean? Vind je ook niet? click to hear 2 3 Don't you think so too? Don't you agree? Geloof jij erin? click to hear 2 Do you believe (in) it? Do you think it's true? Geloof je 't zelf? click to hear 2 Do you believe so yourself? (Are you kidding me or are you trying to fool me?) Zeg je echt wat je vindt? click to hear 2 3 4 5 Do you really say, are you really saying what you're thinking? Heb je honger? click to hear [Do you have hunger?] Are you hungry? Heb je hoofdpijn? click to hear 2 Do you have a headache?

See also: Query Words

Negative Imperatives

In negative imperatives (commands and suggestions) English uses 'to do' with most verbs, like in questions: "Do not!"
Dutch just uses niet click to hear 2 ('not') with the verb

Niet storen click to hear 2 Do not disturb Verroer je niet! click to hear Don't move! Freeze! Vergeet je telefoonnummer niet click to hear Don't forget (to write down) your telephone number Vergeet niet de hond uit te laten click to hear 2 Don't forget to walk the dog Vergeet niet je telefoon op te laden click to hear 2 Don't forget to charge your telephone Doe dat niet meer! click to hear [Do that not again] Don't do that again! Stop doing that! Doe niet zo raar! click to hear 2 [Do not act weirdly] Don't be weird Waag 't niet! click to hear 2 3 4 5 6 7 Don't you dare [it]!

Other Negatives

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 'do not,' uses a negative for the verb, while Dutch has a 'positive' verb but then geen click to hear - 'no,' zero quantity, in the example above the amount of time is zero.

Ik heb geen honger click to hear 2 3 4 [I have no hunger] I'm not hungry Ik heb geen hoofdpijn click to hear [I have no headache] I don't have a headache 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 Hij nam geen enkel risico click to hear 2 3 [He took absolutely zero risk] - He didn't take any risks 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?

After Statements of Time, Place or a Condition

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.
After a statement that indicates time, place or a condition, the working verb is placed before the subject:

In Nederland is het vaak bewolkt click to hear In Holland it's often overcast Het is vaak bewolkt in Nederland click to hear It's often overcast in Holland

In 1568 begon De Tachtigjarige Oorlog click to hear 1568: vijftienachtenzestig
In 1568 the 80-Years War started
De Tachtigjarige Oorlog begon in 1568 click to hear The 80-Years War (The Dutch Revolt) started in 1568

Vandaag eten we vis. click to hear 2 Today we're [eating] having fish. Ik eet vis. click to hear 2 I'm [eating] having fish.

Vannacht regende het. click to hear Last night it rained. 't Regende gisteren click to hear It was raining yesterday.

En toen werd het donker. click to hear And then it got dark. Het werd donker. click to hear It [became] turned dark.

In Kentucky is het gras blauw. click to hear In Kentucky the grass is blue. Vroeger was alles beter. click to hear In the past, everything was better.

Als de zon schijnt ben ik blij click to hear When the sun shines I'm happy Ik ben blij click to hear I'm happy

The 'condition' sub-sentences usually start with words like

als click to hear
if, when >>
omdat click to hear
because >>
daar click to hear
because >>
waar click to hear
where >>
hoe click to hear
how ‑>>
wat click to hear
what >>
alsof click to hear
as if ->>
wie click to hear 2
(he/she) who ‑>>
voordat click to hear 2 3
before ‑>>
nadat click to hear 2 3
after ‑>>

Word Order in the Condition Subsentence

The 'condition' at the start of a sentence can be just a preposition with a noun, possibly with an adjective - but as already shown above, it can also be a 'sub-sentence' with a verb and subject.
'Sub-sentence' - (de) bijzin click to hear 2 - I think the English word for these sub-sentences is 'subordinate clause.'

M'n vader was tweeëndertig toen de oorlog begon click to hear My Dad was 32 when the war started Toen de oorlog begon was m'n vader tweeëndertig click to hear When the war started, my Dad was 32

Simple 'condition' sub-sentences with just a subject and a verb follow the regular word order.
Als de muziek begint moet je stil zijn. click to hear When the music starts you'll have to be quiet De muziek begint. click to hear The music is starting. Je moet stil zijn click to hear You have to be quiet.

But when an object and/or a complement are added to the 'conditional sub-sentence,' those are placed between the subject and the verb and not after the verb like in a regular sentence. To Dutch people this is entirely logical because isn't that the most important information?

Ik eet vis click to hear 2 I'm [eating] having fish Je moet wat drinken click to hear 2 You should drink something Als je vis eet moet je ook wat drinken click to hear 2 When you're having fish, you should also have something to drink
The word order in a conditional sub-sentence:

condition word subject (complement) (object) working verb

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. We gingen naar huis toen het donker werd click to hear 2 We went home when it got dark

Het is donker click to hear 2 It is dark Is het donker? click to hear 2 Is it dark? 's Nachts is het donker click to hear 2 At night it is dark Als het donker is ... click to hear When it is dark ...

Als ik jou was ... click to hear 2 If I were you ... Als ik jou was zou ik niet gaan. click to hear If I were you I wouldn't go.

Hij deed het werk snel click to hear 2 3 He [did] finished the work (the job) quickly Als je het werk snel doet krijg je meer geld click to hear 2 3 When you do the work quickly you'll get more money

Toen het licht groen werd reden we weg click to hear 2 When the light turned green we drove off Sometimes you can simplify the sentence to avoid the problematic word order:
Het licht werd groen en we reden weg click to hear 2 The light turned green and we drove off

Splitting Verbs in the Subordinate Clause

Splitting verbs are a grammar subject, but as a curiosity I'd like to mention one of their weird features here. It's unusual, so don't worry too much about it. - more about Splitting verbs
Splitting verbs usually split up in the simple tense, but not in conditional sub-sentences:

De zon komt door click to hear 2 The sun is coming [through] out (clouds are disappearing) Als de zon doorkomt na een regenbui click to hear 2 3 When the sun comes [through] out after a shower

De bliksem sloeg in click to hear 2 Lightning hit Toen de bliksem insloeg ging het licht uit click to hear 2 When lightning hit, the light went out Toen het licht uitging zag ik de sterren click to hear 2 When the light went out I saw the stars Toen ik de sterren zag begreep ik ... click to hear 2 3 Seeing the stars I understood ...

Ik tilde z'n fiets op. click to hear 2 3 I lifted up his bike. Hij kan erg hard fietsen. click to hear 2 He can ride a bicycle very fast, he [can be] is very fast on a bike. Ik begrijp er niks van click to hear 2 3 [I understand nothing of it] - I don't understand any of it, it's a complete mystery to me Toen ik z'n fiets optilde begreep ik hoe hij zo hard kon rijden. click to hear 2 3 4 When I lifted up his bike I understood how he could ride that fast.

After Dat

English 'that' and its Dutch close-equivalent dat click to hear have many meanings, like in the following (correct but not very literary) sentence:
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 a usually remote item ‑>>
Dat2
'what is said/thought etc.' - connecting two sub-sentences: a conjunction
Dat3
short for, referring to, replacing something mentioned before, 'that thing' - a 'placeholder' ‑>>

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' The next paragraphs are about 'conjunction' Dat2 which is used after verbs like for instance zeggen click to hear 2 3 ('to say') ‑>> - denken click to hear 2 ('to think') ‑>> - vinden click to hear 2 ('to find, think, opine') ‑>> - weten click to hear ('to know') ‑>> and hopen click to hear 2 3 ('to hope') ‑>> in sub-sentences that give an opinion, make a statement or express a feeling. In English this 'that' is sometimes left out.
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.
The 'working verb' is put at the end of the line in the dat-sentences of the type mentioned above - but when there are secondary verbs in the line it gets complicated - see below.

Ze zeggen dat er niet genoeg tijd is click to hear They say there's not enough time Men zegt dat in Kentucky het gras blauw is click to hear 2 It is said that the grass is blue in Kentucky Kan 't zijn dat ik U ken? click to hear Could it be that I know you? (Have we met before?) Zeg dat 't niet zo is! click to hear Say it ain't so! Denk eraan dat de zomertijd dit weekend ingaat click to hear Keep in mind that the Daylight Saving Time starts this weekend

Secondary Verbs in Sub-Sentences

Secondary verbs make lines of this kind even more problematic. You'll probably not need this or come across it very often.
If the secondary verb in lines like this is a past participle, Dutchmen often place the working verb after it - but it is not wrong to follow the general rule and place the working verb before the past participle, both are correct.
If the secondary verb is an infinitive, or if there is a series of infinitives, the active verb is always placed before them, following the general rule.

condition word subject (complement) (object) past participle / working verb

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 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. Zoals ik je misschien wel eens verteld heb ... click to hear 2 3 As I may have told you sometime ... Ik wil precies weten wat er gebeurd is click to hear 2 3 I want to know exactly what (has) happened Ik ben blij dat je voor het examen geslaagd bent click to hear 2 I'm glad you passed the test 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 zag op het nieuws dat er geen oplossing gevonden is click to hear I saw in the news that no solution has been found

Ik ben blij dat het goed is afgelopen click to hear I'm glad it ended well - endings

If the secondary verb is an infinitive, or if there is a series of infinitives, the active verb is always placed before them, following the general rule.

condition word subject (complement) (object) working verb infinitive or infinitives

Het was niet wat hij wilde horen. click to hear It was not what he wanted to hear. Zij denkt dat het nog gaat gebeuren. click to hear She thinks (that) it's still going to happen. Het weerbericht zegt dat het morgen gaat regenen. click to hear The weather report says it's going to rain tomorrow. Hij zei dat ik het aan Jan moest geven click to hear 2 3 He said I should give it to Jan. 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.

See also: 
Dutch Sounds not Found in English
Dutch Sounds Represented by Different Letters in English

General Word Order:
Short Version - Smartphone
New Version - Older Version

Dutch:
Pronunciation - Vocabulary - Grammar
Prepositions - Verbs - Sitemap
An Interesting Collection of Words
Square Brackets: In other Words

Frederick Roberts, thank you for the question that suggested the page

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Gij zult niet stelen click to hear 'Thou shalt not steal'