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Errata Sheet to Henry R. Stern, 'Essential Dutch Grammar' (Dover Publications, New York, 1984)

(Originally an Amazon.com book review) - expanded

3 Stars - many mistakes and typos - the book is probably still 98 or 99% correct, but proofreading by an average Dutchman, native speaker of Dutch, would have greatly improved it. Maybe Dover could publish a corrected Kindle edition?
(Later) The Kindle edition does not correct the mistakes and is actually worse, because in the scanning from inkprint i's came through as l's and vice versa.

The most glaring examples:

p.60: Als het oven heet was zou het koek gebakken worden.
In the first place, it's DE oven and DE koek, but even then it's an awkward sentence:
Als de oven heet was zou de koek gebakken worden.
It's much better in the perfect tense:
Als de oven heet geweest was zou de koek gebakken zijn.
I can't think of a good sentence in the pattern that the book prescribes.
Als het winter was zou je koud worden?
Als het winter was geweest zou je koud zijn geworden?

Other strange sentences:
p.27: De vrouw is zo oud als de man.
should be: De vrouw is net zo oud als de man.
p.30: Waarheen gaat hij?
should be: Waar gaat hij heen?
p.58: Als ik jij was ...
should be: Als ik jou was ...
p.62: Ik mag (mocht) koffie niet drinken.
should be: Ik mag (mocht) geen koffie drinken.

The jacket blurb promises 'no archaic material' but p.19 has 'been/beenderen' for 'bone/bones' - a good example of a very irregular plural, but very few (if any) Dutchmen use the word 'been' for 'bone' anymore (except in a few compound words that are almost never used in the plural.) The common word for 'bone' is 'bot' - plural: 'botten.' 'Been' (plural: 'benen') is the common word for 'leg.'

p.19 missing irregular plural: kalf/kalveren - It would have made more sense to leave out 'been/beenderen'

p.20 Stern says: 'Dutch nouns that indicate measure or quantity do not take a plural ending.' Missing is mention of common exceptions in 'time:' twee dagen, drie weken, vier maanden;
and when the statement is about the units of measurement themselves (and it's about more than one) they are used in the plural form:
drie kilometer lang ('3 kilometers long')
- drie lange kilometers ('3 long kilometers')
drie jaar geleden ('three years ago')
drie jaar lang ('for three years')
- drie lange jaren ('three long years')
drie dagen geleden ('three days ago')
drie dagen lang ('for three days')
- drie lange dagen ('three long days')

p. 21 'Adjectives as Nouns'
'een rijke / de rijke' (a/the wealthy person)
'een arme' (a poor person)
Several of the examples given look weird to me and I wouldn't use them. This 'adjectives as nouns' is of much more limited use than indicated. I would only use phrases or words like
'het mooie' (the beauty (of it)) - een/de blinde (a/the blind person) - een/de dove (a/the deaf person) or some plurals like 'de armen' (the poor)

p.22 de verste boter, het verste vlees
It looks awkward because Dutch 'verste' may be the logical superlative degree you'd expect of 'vers' (fresh) - but it is more commonly the superlative degree of 'ver' (far.) It would be better to say 'de meest verse boter' or 'het meest verse vlees.' (Wat je ver haalt is lekker?)

p.23: een beroemd kunstenaar, een verstandig leraar
p.26: een eenvoudiger oplossing, een gemakkelijker stoel
- poetic license allowing limited dropping the adjectives' E is elevated to a grammar rule. There's nothing wrong with NOT dropping that E:
een beroemde kunstenaar, een verstandige leraar
een eenvoudigere oplossing, een gemakkelijkere stoel.
Why bother beginning students with this optional exception to a rule? It only makes sense with 'groot' because that can mean both 'great' and 'big, large, tall' - hence 'een groot man' (a great man) and 'een grote man' (a big man) - but that's not the example given. And for women you can't leave out those E's: 'Koningin Wilhelmina was een groot vrouw' is not correct Dutch.

p.24 zijn gedrukte werken should be: zijn werk in druk

p.28. 'hij loopt sneller' - he runs faster? I think 'lopen' is rather 'to walk,' maybe 'to hike'

p.29 'zij zong het mooist(e)' is translated as 'she sang most beautifully' which gives me the impression that her singing was perfect and very enjoyable, while the Dutch 'zij zong het mooist(e)' means she was the best of a group and probably won the competition. For 'she sang most beautifully' I would say: 'Zij zong heel mooi.'

p. 29 na/nader/naast (near/nearer/nearest) - old-fashioned. The common word is 'dichtbij' - dichter bij - dichtst bij - and 'naast' is rather 'next to'

p. 33. 'Zijn werk is beter dan het mijne.'
'Welke fiets is de onze?'
'Welk kind is het jouwe?'
Very old-fashioned. I'd rather say:
'Zijn werk is beter dan mijn werk.'
'Welke fiets is van ons?'
'Welk kind is van jou?'

p. 38 'We hebben hem ervoor gedankt'
should be: 'We hebben hem ervoor bedankt' (unless you're thanking God)

p. 44 'Hij zegt altijd wat hij bedoelt.'
He always says what he means
A better translation of the English would be:
'Hij meent wat hij zegt'
'Bedoelen' can be translated as 'to mean' but it means 'have in mind' rather than the 'be serious or honest about' that's obviously meant

p. 47. Stern says that 'U heeft' 'you (polite) have' is much less common than 'U hebt' - I think it's the other way 'round: I greatly prefer 'U heeft.' I never say 'U hebt'

p. 48 The Imperative. Stern doesn't mention the 'plural' form with T-ending. It is unusual but not extinct, for instance: 'Gaat heen en vermenigvuldigt U' (go forth and multiply) but Stern mentions a 'polite' form with T-ending, for instance: 'Blijft U met ons!' (Stay with us!) - now 'met' should be 'bij' and I'd rather see this with a question mark, as a polite question and not as an imperative: 'Bijft U bij ons?' (are you going to stay with us?)

p. 63 'Ik moet al morgen weg'
unusual, only in a very specific context; far more common is:
Ik moet morgen al weg

'We zullen de tentoonstelling willen bezoeken'
Not entirely impossible, but more likely:
Dan willen we de tentoonstelling bezoeken

p.64 'gemoogd' as the past participle of 'mogen'? I would think 'gemogen' (and that is also rarely used)
'Ik heb hem nooit gemogen'

p. 66 'Ik heb hem al gisteren opgebeld'
should be: 'Ik heb hem gisteren al opgebeld'

p.73 'Daar heb ik gisteren van gelezen'
should be: 'Daar heb ik gisteren over gelezen
'Daar zijn we allemaal mee tevreden'
should rather be: 'Daar zijn we allemaal tevreden mee'

p. 73 continued 'Waar bent U mee tevreden?'
Stern translates: What are you satisfied with?
I think it means: 'What compensation do you want? What would suffice to compensate you'

'Waar bent U tevreden mee?' could also mean that or 'what are you happy with?'

p. 73 continued 'Waaraan denkt hij?'
should rather be: 'Waar denkt hij aan?'

p.76 'Alles is voor elkaar' is translated as 'everything is OK.' I think it rather means something like 'all outstanding tasks are finished.'
'Het geeft niet' is translated as 'It's not important.' I'd rather say 'never mind.'

p. 77 'Ik ben er aan de beurt' should be: 'Ik ben aan de beurt.' The use of 'er' is correct in the phrase above it 'Wie is er aan de beurt?' (Whose turn is it?)

p. 78 'zitten gaan' should be: 'gaan zitten'

p. 81 'op het punt zijn'
should rather be: 'op het punt staan'

p. 83 and 89 The Dutch verb 'rijden' means both 'to ride' and 'to drive' - but that second meaning is never mentioned. A serious omission.

p. 88 'drijven' does not only mean 'to drive, propel' but also 'to float'


p.12 opbellt should be: opbelt

p.23 linker hand should be: linkerhand
rechter oog should be: rechteroog

p.30 s' avonds should be: 's avonds

p. 73 betald should be: betaald

p. 77 Niet te danken should be: Niets te danken

p. 78 doen als of should be: doen alsof

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