Site Map
Learning Dutch? 
Now is The Time
Program 3
Hear Names
Words   Phrases Grammar Facebook 
my site

Beginning Dutch Verbs 1

This page is a first introduction showing the rules, explainng the verious forms of Dutch verbs. It is a short, more compact version of longer, more complicated earlier pages.
I was hoping to call it 'Dutch Verbs without Exceptions!' but that's not possible, too many common verbs have irregularities. I don't think I could have made it shorter without leaving out important things.

This page is a first introduction — you don't need to click the links — follow the links when you want to know more about the subject of the paragraph. At the bottom of the page are links to further study material

 An Example 
 The Verb Stem and the Simple Present Tense 
 The Simple Past Tense 
  The Perfect Tenses 
 The Future Tense 
 Further Study 

An Example:  denken click to hear to think

denken to think
ik denk I think ik click to hear ('I')
jij denkt you think jij click to hear / je click to
  hear ('you' - singular informal)
hij denkt he thinks hij click to hear ('he') - zij click to hear / ze click to hear ('she') - het click to hear / 't click to hear ('it')
wij denken we think wij click to hear / we click to hear ('we')
jullie denken you think jullie click to hear ('you, you guys, y'all' - plural informal)
zij denken they think zij click to hear / ze click to hear ('they')
U denkt you think U click to hear ('you' - formal, polite)
click to hear more denken - more personal pronouns

Note that ze/zij  can mean both 'she' and 'they' but the verb forms are different

When the verb comes before the personal pronoun, like in question mode and a few other special sentences, jij/je  takes the verb stem, does not get a T‑ending:
Denk je ...? click to hear 2 3 Do you think ...? / Do you think so?

The various forms of the verb are based on the 'verb stem.'
'Denken'  is the 'infinitive,'  the form you'll find in dictionaries and word lists, 'denk'  is its 'verb stem' - more below

The verb forms for the simple present tense:

ik (I)   verb stem
jij (you singular)   verb stem + T
hij/zij/het (he/she/it)   verb stem + T
wij (we)   verb stem + EN = infinitive
jullie (you plural)   verb stem + EN = infinitive
zij (they)   verb stem + EN = infinitive
(singular & occasionally plural)
U (you polite)   verb stem + T

Verb stems already ending in T do not add an extra T for jij/je  and hij/zij/het

Moeten click to hear 2 ('must,' have to, should) - verb stem: moet click to hear 2 3
moeten to have to (etc.)
ik moet I have to
jij moet you have to (singular, informal you)
hij moet he has to
wij moeten we have to
jullie moeten you have to (plural, informal you)
zij moeten they have to
U moet you have to (polite you)
click to hear

Some of the most common verbs have irregularities - I'll explain a few below, most on a next page

gaan click to hear to go
staan click to hear to stand, to be standing
doen click to hear 2 3 to do
zien click to hear to see
zijn click to hear to be
hebben click to hear to have
zullen click to hear 'shall, will' - the future tense
mogen click to hear 2 'may,' 'to be allowed to'
kunnen click to hear 'can,' to be able to, to be possible, to be allowed to
komen click to
     hear to come
willen click to hear 2 to want, wish, desire, would like to

(het) werkwoord click to hear [work-word] - verb
(de) onbepaalde wijs click to hear infinitive
(de) basisvorm click to hear 2 3 verb stem

The Verb Stem and the Simple Present Tense

In principle, the verb stem is the verb infinitive (the form you find in dictionaries and word lists) without the ‑EN ending:
denken click to hear 'to think' - verb stem: denk click to hear 2 3
moeten click to hear 2 'must' - verb stem: moet click to hear 2 3

But for many verb stems you'll come up against the spelling/pronunciation rules for 'long' and 'short' vowels, written as double or single vowels with double or single consonants.
Removing the ‑EN ending from the verb infinitive doesn't change the pronunciation of the verb stem's vowel, the sound remains the same, but it may cause spelling changes.

'Long' and 'short' vowels are traditional names - the difference is actually more in tone than of length.

'Short' Vowels
- a click to hear - e click to hear - i click to hear - o click to hear - u click to hear

'Long' vowels:
- aa/a click to hear - ee/e click to hear - ie ( ii ) / i click to hear - oo/o click to hear - uu/u click to hear

'Long' I is never written as 'ii'  — if necessary it's written as 'ie.'

klinkers click to hear vowels
medeklinkers click to hear consonants: ‑>>
b - c - d - f - g - h - j - k - l - m - n - p - q - r - s - t - v - w - x - z

(de) maan click to hear 2 / manen click to hear - moon / moons
(de) man click to hear 2 / mannen click to hear 2 - a man, a male / men, males
(de) mand click to hear / manden click to hear 2 / mand/manden click to hear 2 - basket / baskets
(de) maand click to hear / maanden click to hear / maand/maanden click to hear - month / months

A single vowel followed by a single consonant before the infinitive's ‑EN ending is 'long' ‑ stripping the ‑EN would leave a single vowel followed by a consonant that is the end of word, meaning the single vowel is 'short.' But except for the ‑EN ending the stem and the infinitive should sound the same, so the vowel needs to be doubled to keep it 'long.'

meaning infinitive remove 
~to get halen
click to hear 2
click to hear 2
click to hear
to measure meten
click to hear
click to hear
click to hear 2
to hope hopen
click to hear 2
click to hear 2
click to hear 2
to rent
to lease
click to hear
hur huur
click to hear 2

hopen click to hear 2 'to hope' - verb stem:  hoop click to hear 2

hopen to hope
ik hoop I hope
jij hoopt you hope (singular, informal you)
hij hoopt he hopes
wij hopen we hope
jullie hopen you hope (plural, informal you)
zij hopen they hope
U hoopt you hope (polite you)
click to hear 2

Double consonants in the middle of Dutch words indicate that a single vowel before them is 'short' — removing the infinitive's ‑EN ending would leave a double consonant at the end of the word, which is not necessary because a single consonant as the end of a word already means a single vowel before it is 'short' — and I can't think of a Dutch word that ends in a double consonant.

meaning infinitive remove 
to bake bakken
click to hear
bakk bak
click to hear 2
~to put zetten
click to hear
zett zet
click to hear
to pray bidden
click to hear
bidd bid
click to hear
to stop stoppen
click to hear
stopp stop
click to hear 2
to kiss kussen
click to hear 2
kuss kus
click to hear

kennen click to hear 'to know' - verb stem: ken click to hear 2 3

kennen to know (people)
ik ken I know
jij kent you know (singular, informal you)
hij kent he knows
wij kennen we know
jullie kennen you know (plural, informal you)
zij kennen they know
U kent you know (polite you)
click to hear

Verbs with two or more different consonants before the ‑EN ending don't have a spelling change of its vowels, that's why I used uncomplicated denken  'to think' as the first example of the page.

The Dutch diphthongs (tweeklanken click to hear)
AU = OU click to hear     EI = IJ click to hear
EU click to hear     OE click to hear     UI click to
(There are no sounds in English like Dutch EI/IJ, EU and UI.
more EI/IJ - more EU - more UI)
There are no 'long' or 'short' diphthongs, the tone is always the same; they can go with single consonants

More Verb Stem Examples:

meaning infinitive remove -EN
= correct stem
to skate   schaatsen click to hear   schaats click to hear 2 3
to crack, burst barsten click to hear barst click to hear
to ride a bicyle fietsen click to hear 2 fiets click to hear 2 ‑>>
to search, look for zoeken click to hear 2 zoek click to hear 2
to ride / to drive rijden click to hear 2 rijd click to hear

fietsen to ride a bike
ik fiets I ride a bike
jij fietst you ride a bike (singular, informal you)
hij fietst he rides a bike
wij fietsen we ride bikes
jullie fietsen you ride bikes (plural, informal you)
zij fietsen they ride bikes
U fietst you ride a bike (polite you)
click to hear 2 ‑>>

The V/F and Z/S shift
Most verbs with a long vowel or diphthong with V or Z before the infinitive's ‑EN ending change to an F or S ending of the verb stem. There are no Dutch words ending in ‑V or ‑Z — in Dutch, V or Z are almost always followed by a vowel or diphthong.

meaning infinitive remove 
to write schrijven
click to hear 2 3
schrijv schrijf
click to hear
to read lezen
click to hear 2 3
click to hear

lezen to read
ik lees I read, I am reading
jij leest you read (singular, informal you)
hij leest he reads
wij lezen we read
jullie lezen you read (plural, informal you)
zij lezen they read
U leest you read (polite you)
click to hear

schrijven to write
ik schrijf I write
jij schrijft you write (singular, informal you)
hij schrijft he writes
wij schrijven we write
jullie schrijven you write (plural, informal you)
zij schrijven they write
U schrijft you write (polite you)
click to hear

voiceless, unstressed E
A few verb infinitives of three or more syllables have a 'voiceless, unstressed E' click to hear (the 'schwa') with a single consonant before the ‑EN ending. That voiceless, unstressed E is not going to change, there is no 'long' or 'short' voiceless, unstressed E, so there's always just one consonant
winkelen click to hear 2 'to shop' - verb stem: winkel click to hear 2
another example:

aarzelen click to hear 2 to hesitate

aarzelen to hesitate
ik aarzel I hesitate
jij aarzelt you hesitate (singular, informal you)
hij aarzelt he hesitates
wij aarzelen we hesitate
jullie aarzelen you hesitate (plural, informal you)
zij aarzelen they hesitate
U aarzelt you hesitate (polite you)
click to hear 2 3

The Simple Past Tense

Like English, Dutch has 'strong' and weak' verbs.
'Strong' verbs have a vowel change for the simple past tense (and often also for the 'past participle' for the perfect tenses.)
'Weak' verbs have special endings to the verb stem.

You'll just have to memorize the three forms of the strong verbs. There is no logic, not really a system, though you'll notice some similarity with English verbs.

Strong verbs are usually listed like this:
to ask
- vroeg
- gevraagd
click to hear
infinitive - simple
- past
to take
- nam
- genomen
click to hear

In the simple past tense the verb has two forms: singular and plural. For 'strong' verbs you could say there is a 'simple past verb stem' for the singular, and the plural adds ‑EN to that 'simple past stem'

So the simple past tense of vragen click to hear 2 'to ask' is:

vragen to ask
ik vroeg I asked
jij vroeg you asked
hij vroeg he asked
wij vroegen we asked
jullie vroegen y'all asked
zij vroegen they asked
U vroeg you asked
click to hear

The simple past tense of nemen click to hear 'to take' is:

(nemen) to take
ik nam I took
jij nam you took
hij nam he took
wij namen we took
jullie namen y'all took
zij namen they took
U nam you took
click to hear
Note that the A is 'short' in the singualr, but 'long' in the plural - that goes for almost all strong verbs with A in the simple past tense.

There are some patterns in the forms of strong verbs, but I'm not sure that's really helpful for learning
Strong Verbs Patterns
Alphabetic List of Strong Verbs
A List of Strong Verbs with Related Words

Dutch has two types of 'weak' verbs.
Verb stems ending in T, K, F, S, CH and P (Dutch people remember this as the consonants of the word 't kofschip click to hear - an old ship type) - and a few recently adopted English verbs ending in X have endings with T
Verbs with stems ending in other letters have endings with D
To be more precise, weak verbs of the 't kofschip-type have ‑TE endings to the verb stem in the singular, and ‑TEN endings in the plural.
Weak verbs of the non‑'t kofschip-type have ‑DE endings to the verb stem in the singular, and ‑DEN endings in the plural.

So the simple past tense of hopen click to hear 2 'to hope' is:

(hopen) to hope
ik hoopte I hoped
jij hoopte you hoped
hij hoopte he hoped
wij hoopten we hoped
jullie hoopten y'all hoped
zij hoopten they hoped
U hoopte you hoped
click to hear

The simple past tense of halen click to hear 2 'to get' - collect, obtain, acquire, fetch

(halen) to get
ik haalde I got
jij haalde you got
hij haalde he got
wij haalden we got
jullie haalden y'all got
zij haalden they got
U haalde you got
click to hear

The V/F and Z/S Shift in the Simple Past Tense
Verbs that have a V/F or Z/S shift in the simple present tense also have it in the simple past tense:

'Schrijven' click to hear 2 3 'to write'

(schrijven) (to write)
ik schreef I wrote
jij schreef you wrote
hij schreef he wrote
wij schreven we wrote
jullie schreven y'all wrote
zij schreven they wrote
U schreef you wrote
click to hear

'Lezen' click to hear 2 3 'to read'

(lezen) to read
ik las I read, I was reading
jij las you read
hij las he read
wij lazen we read
jullie lazen y'all read
zij lazen they read
U las you read
click to hear

The V/F and Z/S Shifts and 't Kofschip
Weak verbs of the V/F and Z/S shifts have 't kofschip  verb stems ending in F and S but have D‑endings in the simple past tense

meaning infinitive stempast tense
to blush blozen
click to hear
bloos bloosde click to hear
to fear vrezen
click to hear 2
click to hear
vreesde click to hear 2
to tremble beven
click to hear 2
click to hear 2
beefde click to hear 2
to believe geloven
click to hear 2
click to hear 2 3
geloofde click to hear 2
to shuffle, walk
without energy
click to hear 2
slof slofte click to hear 2
[Marco Everyday I'm Shufflin']

(de) onvoltooid verleden tijd click to hear 2
['unfinished past time'] 'simple (imperfect) past tense'

The Perfect Tenses

The perfect tenses use (like in English) an auxiliary verb and a past participle.

Dutch uses the auxiliary verb hebben click to hear 'to have' though a few verbs use zijn click to hear - otherwise usually translated as 'to be.'
For later study: Verbs taking Zijn - It's Complicated

simple present tense
hebben to have
ik heb I have
jij hebt you have
hij heeft he has
wij hebben we have
jullie hebben y'all have
zij hebben they have
U heeft you have
click to hear
simple past tense
(hebben) to have
ik had I had
jij had you had
hij had he had
wij hadden we had
jullie hadden y'all had
zij hadden they had
U had you had
click to hear
simple present tense
zijn to be
ik ben I am
jij bent you are
hij is he is
wij zijn we are
jullie zijn y'all are
zij zijn they are
U bent you are
click to hear
simple past tense
(zijn) to be
ik was I was
jij was you were
hij was he was
wij waren we were
jullie waren y'all were
zij waren they were
U was you were
click to hear

The past participle in Dutch usually has a GE- click to
hear prefix and for 't kofschip-verbs a ‑T and for non-'t kofschip-verbs a ‑D ending.
Strong verbs often an ‑EN ending, but a small number have a ‑D or ‑T ending.
About 30% of the strong verbs have the same vowel or diphthong in the simple present tense as in the past participle; about 45% of the strong verbs have the same vowel or diphthong in the simple past tense as in the past participle, and about 25% have a third vowel or diphthong in the past participle.
A small number of strong verbs have a past participle ending in ‑D or ‑T.
A few weak verbs have a past participle ending in ‑EN
There are unfortunately many irregularities and exceptions.

ik heb gedronken click to hear I have drunk
ik heb gegeten click to hear I have eaten
ik heb gestemd click to hear 2 I have voted
Ik ben gegaan click to hear I have gone
ik heb gelachen click to hear I have laughed
ik heb brood gebakken click to hear 2 3 I have baked bread
ik heb gehad click to hear I have had
ik ben geweest click to hear I have been
ik had gehad click to hear 2 I had had
ik was geweest click to hear 2 I had been

Past participles are usually put at the end of the sentence:
Jan heeft Piet een boek gegeven. click to hear Jan has given Piet a book.

Beginnen  to begin, start

beginnen click to hear to begin, start
beginnen to begin, start
ik begin I'm beginning
wij beginnen we're beginning
ik begon I began
wij begonnen we began
ik ben begonnen I have begun
click to hear 2 3 more beginnings

The Future Tense

'Zullen' click to  hear 'shall/will' is the auxiliary verb for the future tense in Dutch. Next to it a verb infinitive is used.

(zullen) shall/will
ik zal I will/shall
jij zult you will (singular, informal you)
hij zal he will
wij zullen we will/shall
jullie zullen you will (plural, informal you)
zij zullen they will
U zult you will (polite you)
click to hear
Zul je voorzichtig zijn? click to hear 2 Will you be careful? Jij zal click to hear 2 ('you will') is also said and zal jij? click to hear ('will you?') is an acceptable variation too
Note that there is no T in jij zal and hij zal click to hear 2 3

Ik zal schrijven click to hear 2 I will write (letters, 'stay in touch')
Ik zal opschieten click to hear 2 I'll hurry
Ik zal 't uitleggen click to hear I'll explain [it]
Hoe zal 't aflopen? click to hear How will it end?
Wie zal dat betalen? click to hear 2 Who will pay for that?

Verbs of motion, especially gaan click to hear 'to go' can (like in English) also be used as an informal future tense:
ik ga naar huis click to hear I'm going home
hij gaat naar Rotterdam click to hear 2 he's going to Rotterdam
morgen gaat hij naar Den Haag click to hear 2 tomorrow he'll go to The Hague
morgen gaan we lijnen click to hear tomorrow we'll start dieting
hij vertrekt morgen naar Afrika click to hear he'll leave for Africa tomorrow
Als de dagen lengen, gaan de nachten strengen click to hear As the days get longer, the nights will get more severe (i.e. colder)

de toekomende tijd click to hear 2 'the future tense'
(de) toekomst click to hear '(the) future'

to be continued ...

The next page (in preparation)

Further Study

Beginning Dutch Verbs page 2

28 Verbs Teaching the Conjugation Rules
Get to Know the Common Verbs

Short Overview of 95 Common Verbs

'Mobile' (narrow pages)
Verbs Introduction
The Verb Stem
The Simple Present Tense
The Simple Past Tense
The Perfect Tenses
Strong Verbs in Dutch
- Alphabetic List
The Changes of Strong Verbs
- Patterns
The Future Tense

Complete Conjugation and Many Sample Sentences of 60 Common verbs:














Houden van






































to Ask

to Be

to Be (passive voice)

to Bring

to Buy


to Come

to Crack, Break

to Cut

to Do

to Drink

to Drive

to Eat

to Fall

to Find

to Get, Be Given, Receive

to Get, Collect, Receive

to Give

to Go

to Have

to Hear

to Hold, to Keep

to Hope

to Know

to Lead

to Learn

to Let, Allow

to Lie (down)

to Look

to Love, to Like

to Make


'Must, Should, Have to'

to Put, Set, Place

to Read

to Ride

to Say

to Search, Look For

to See


to Sit

to Speak

to Stand

to Stay, Remain

to Suffer

to Take

to Talk, Chat

to Teach

to Think

to Walk

to Want, Wish, Desire

to Write

See also:
Fietsen - to Ride a Bicycle
Bidden - to Pray
Optillen - to Lift, Lift up
Duwen en trekken - to Push and to Pull
Slapen - to Sleep
Helpen - to Help
Lachen en wachten
  - to Laugh and to Wait

email - Copyright © Marco Schuffelen 2023. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, redistributed, or hotlinked to.
Gij zult niet stelen click to hear 'Thou shalt not steal'