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|'Pragmatic Markers' - 'Modal Particles'|
|List of Common Modal Particles||
For instance, Dutch says 'Ik heb honger' where English says 'I'm hungry.' Ik heb honger [I have hunger] - I am hungry Ik heb dorst [I have thirst] - I am thirsty Heb je honger? ['Have you hunger?'] - 'Are you hungry?' Ik heb geen honger 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 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 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
and the 'horseshoe' that's put on horses' feet is
'Paardenschoen' and 'lichthuis'
are not good Dutch words - though they will
probably come up someday in the
of people who spend too much time in English 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' 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 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.
Elsewhere I've seen:
Lee Harvey Oswald werd doodgeschoten in een politiestation in Dallas
but the Dutch word for 'police station' is (het) politiebureau - I guess politiestation will make most Dutchmen think of a bus station near the police station.
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 or something immaterial and precious like the smile of a child - but 'prijsloos' is not good Dutch. The right word is onbetaalbaar 2 3 ['unpayable' - cannot be paid for] - priceless
['within short' - within a short time] - soon
(het) losgeld 2 ['release-money'] - ransom
een stuk zeep
Dutch also has words from French, Latin and Greek
(some examples) but not as many as
English. For instance:
['belief-worthy'] - credible
overhalen 2 ['to pull over (to your thinking)'] - to persuade
|-||ik haal over |
|-||ik haalde over |
|-||ik heb overgehaald
I have persuaded
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 ...' 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 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
[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.
Hij heeft geen auto [He has no car] - He doesn't have (own) a car Ik hoor geen verschil [I hear no difference] - I don't hear a (the?) difference We mochten geen foto's maken 2 [We were allowed no pictures] - We were not allowed to [make] take pictures Ik heb hem in geen jaren gezien 2 [I have seen him in no years] - I haven't seen him for years Hij nam geen enkel risico 2 3 [He took not any, absolutely zero risk] - He didn't take any risks See also: - 'Niet,' 'Geen' and 'Wel'
't Voegt niks toe
[It adds nothing] - It doesn't add anything
Ik kan niks weggooien
[I can throw nothing away] - I can't throw
Raak niks aan!
[Touch nothing] - Do not touch anything!
Ik geloof er niks van
[I believe nothing of it] - I don't believe a word
(#2) Ik geloof er niks van
[I believe nothing of it] - I don't believe a word
't Maakt toch allemaal niks uit
[All of it makes no difference]
- It doesn't make any difference (it's hopeless)
Er is geen reden waarom hij niet zou kunnen winnen
[There is no reason ...] I don't see any reason
why he couldn't win
Doe geen domme dingen!
[Do no stupid things!]
- Don't do anything stupid!
See also 'anything' as wat dan ook
and 'any' as enig ‑>>
Viewed from English some Dutch negatives may look illogical:
Hij durfde niks te zeggen 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? 2 3 [Why does nobody say something about it?] -Why doesn't anybody speak up about it? Waarom zegt niemand dat? 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 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 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.'
English has 'by any means' - you can say that somewhat similar in
met alle mogelijke middelen 2 with all possible means but you can also say:
op welke manier dan ook [in which way then also] - in whatever way or:
hoe dan ook 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 2 3 That's how it is [by accident now also still once more]
Other nice examples:
Zó erg is 't toch ook weer niet?
[Thàt bad is it yet also again not?]
It's not really thàt bad, is it? also: Zó erg is 't nou toch ook weer niet? 2 3 4 5 6 7
Kom daar nou nog eens om!
[Come for that again nowadays!]
You won't find that anymore (nowadays) - something you really liked is not made or done anymore
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 - but 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. You'll hear Dutch people speak this way, or
maybe you'll see things like this written, but I'm not sure if there is a
practical use of this
material for you, dear students. Can it be put into practice by
foreign students? 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.
||Hè and Hoor||
||Eigenlijk and Echt|
|Wat jammer!||Such a pity!|
|Wat jammer nou! 2 3||Such a pity! (I feel your pain)|
|Wat jammer nou van die ijskast||What a pity of that fridge! (annoyed at the background noise)|
|Hoe kan dat? 2||How can that be? (I wonder)|
|Hoe kan dat nou? 2 3 4||How can that be? (frustrated, exasperated, angry)|
|Zie je wel? 2||You see? I was right - more 'wel' below|
|Zie je nou wel? 2 3||You see? I was right (told you so)|
|Nou en? 2||[Now and?] So what? (I don't care what you think)|
|Toe nou!||Come on!|
|Wat doe je nou? 2||What in heaven's name are you doing? (it looks stupid or questionable)|
|Wat is dat nou voor iets doms? 2 3||[What a stupid thing that is now] - Such stupidity!|
|Wat is dat nou voor iets stoms?||[What a stupid thing that is now] - Such stupidity!|
|Zou je dat nou wel doen? 2 3||Should you do that? Are you sure it's a good idea to do that?|
|Zo is 't nou eenmaal 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 2 3 4||["Now make it a little"] - Behave yourself! You're going too far|
|Ik heb 't gedaan 2||I have done it, I did it|
|Ik heb 't niet gedaan||I did not do it|
|Ik heb 't wel gedaan||I did do it (there are some doubts)|
|also note: Jij hebt het goed gedaan||You've done (it) well|
|Dank je wel / Dank U wel||Thank you! Thank you very much|
|Het is niet waar||It is not true|
|Het is wel waar||It is true! But it is true|
|weliswaar||although ['but it is true that ...']|
Er zijn geen bananen There are no bananas Er zijn wel sinaasappels (But) we do have oranges
Ik spreek niet goed Nederlands ... 2 I don't speak Dutch well ... maar ik kan het wel verstaan 2 3 But I do understand it
Misschien valt 't mee 2 3 4 Maybe it will not be so bad Misschien valt 't wel mee 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? Are you guys really having fun, really enjoying yourself?
Misschien kunnen we wel buiten zitten 2 Maybe we can sit outside (if we're lucky with the weather - it would be nice)
Er lijkt wel genoeg geld te zijn It looks like there is enough money (after all)
|We zullen wel zien 2||We'll see (when the time comes)|
|Zie je wel? 2||[Do you see?] See? (I am/was right) - 'Told you so'|
|Ziet U wel?||You see? (I was right)- 'I told you so'|
|Ik wist 't wel 2||I knew it!|
Morgen zal 't wel beter zijn 2 3 Tomorrow (it) will be better
Er is altijd wel iets There's always something (so annoying!)
Ik doe 't wel 2 3 4 I'll do it (volunteering for a task)
"Houd jij van opera? - Ik niet." "Do you like opera? - I don't." (second person:) "Maar ik wel!" 2 But I do!
Dat weet ik wel 2 3 I know (annoyed, don't assume that I didn't know)
Gaat 't wel? 2 [Is it going OK?] Are you OK? (You look troubled/tired/sick)
Wat denk je wel niet? 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? 2 [If you don't do it now, when are you?] - If not now, when?
Dat zien we dan wel weer 2 3 We'll see about that then [again] - We'll see about that when the time comes
Geld maakt niet gelukkig ... 2 Money doesn't make you happy, money does not create happiness ... ... maar 't is wel (ge)makkelijk 2 3 ... but it sure is convenient, it makes life [easy] easier
We zullen 't wel overleven 2 3 "Somehow, we will survive [it]" (ironic, a very small problem)
Tegen die tijd is er wel een oplossing 2 3 By that time there will be a solution (I'm sure)
Ik zou wel eens willen weten ... 2 ('Sometime') I would like to know, find out ... Dat zou ik ook wel eens willen weten 2 That's something I too would like to know ('sometime') Ik zou ook wel eens willen weten wat dat is 2 3 4 I also would like to know what that is ('sometime')
Zeg dat wel! 2 3 You can [surely] say that! (That statement is absolutely correct - and obvious)
Toevallig wel! 2 "Just by accident" 'I happen to be right'
See also: Niet, Geen and Wel
English 'well' is goed 2 3 in Dutch ->>
Het brood is niet goed gerezen 2 The bread has not risen well, didn't rise well
Laat ik dat eerst even doen 2 Let me [take a moment to] 'quickly' do that first
Mag ik even? 2 [May I] Allow me [a moment?] Mag ik me even voorstellen? 2 Allow me [a moment?] to introduce myself
We zullen dat varkentje wel even wassen 2 3 ['Believe me, we'll take a moment to 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)
But sometimes 'er' looks meaningless and is not translated in
In the first four examples 'er' could be left out and it's still good Dutch:
|Wie heeft hier de leiding?||Who's in charge here?|
|Wie heeft er hier de leiding?||Who's in charge here?|
|(De Vries is de baas.||DeVries is the boss.)|
|Wie heeft gewonnen?||Who won?|
|Wie heeft er gewonnen?||Who won?|
|(Wie heeft de wedstrijd gewonnen?||Who won the match?)|
|Er was eens ... 2 3||Once upon a time there was ... fairy tales|
|Er was er eens ...||Once upon a time there was ...|
|In 't begin was 't woord||'In the beginning was the word' (John 1:1)|
|In 't begin was er 't woord 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 2||Winter is coming|
|"De winter komt"||is not good Dutch|
|'t Ziet er vies uit 2||It looks dirty - usually: unappetizing|
|" 't Ziet vies uit"||is bad Dutch; it looks German|
|Wat is er aan de hand?||What's going on?|
|"Wat is aan de hand?"||is bad Dutch|
|Wat is er gaande? 2||What's going on? (old-fashioned)|
|"Wat is gaande?"||is not good Dutch|
|Wat is er gebeurd? 2 3||What happened?|
|"Wat is gebeurd?"||- not good Dutch|
|Wat zou er gebeuren? 2||What would happen?|
|"Wat zou gebeuren?"||- not good Dutch (etc.)|
|Wie weet er nog een mop?||[Who knows another joke?] - Anybody has a joke to tell?|
|'t Ziet er slecht uit 2||It looks bad - usually: it's not going to get better|
|Ik wil weten wat er gebeurd is 2 3||I want to know what happened|
|Hij vertelde mij wat er gebeurd was||He told me what had happened|
|Hij vertelde hun wat er gebeurd was 2||He told them what had happened|
|Wat is er van hem geworden? 2||What (Whatever) became of him?|
|Wat is er? 2 3||[What is it?] - usually asked when there seems to be a problem: What's wrong?|
|Wat is er met Jan? 2||What is with Jan? What's wrong with Jan?|
In the next three lines you could leave out the 'er'
|Wie is er aan de beurt?||[Who's on turn] - Whose turn is it?|
|Wat is er veranderd? 2||What has changed?|
|Wat is er anders? 2 3||What's different? /or:/ What else is there? No alternative|
||Hoe is 't weer?||How is the weather?|
'Weer' 2 meaning 'fighting' or 'defense' (German 'Wehr') is only found in compound words like
|(de) brandweer 2||fire brigade, fire department|
|(de) brandweerman 2||[fire-fighting man] firefighter, fireman|
|weerstaan 2 3||to resist, withstand (usually figuratively, like temptation)|
|onweerstaanbaar||irresistable (usually figuratively)|
|(de) weerstand 2||(personal) opposition, resistance; (electrical) resistance|
|Ze boden weerstand 2||They [offered resistance] resisted, fought|
|De weg van de minste weerstand kiezen 2 3||Choosing the [way] line of the least resistance, the easiest option|
|weerloos||[without resistance] defenseless, helpless|
|krachtig verweer 2||strong resistance, powerful defending|
But most commonly 'weer' is an adverb meaning 'again.'
Eens maar nooit weer 2 3 4 Once, but never again (not to be repeated) Ik was kwaad omdat ik weer voor m'n rijexamen gezakt was 2 I was angry because I had failed the driving test again Gisteren heb ik 'Apocalypse Now' weer eens gezien Yesterday I've seen 'Apocalypse Now' [once] again 't Is weer slecht weer 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 2||['I'm the old me again'] - I'm back to normal (after a bad time)|
| ||De motor loopt weer! 2||The engine is running again!|
| ||Ik ben er weer 2 3||['I'm ~here again'] - I'm back|
| ||Mooi dat je er weer bent 2 3 4||[Beautiful] Good that you're [~here again] back|
You might think that instead of the last line
'Ik ben er weer' you could
'Ik ben terug' - I'm back (terug
= 'back, returning')
(Interestingly, the body part 'back' is
but I wouldn't say that. 'Ik ben terug' is not really wrong, but people usually say: Ik ben weer terug 2 I'm back (again) In English, the 'again' is left out, but in Dutch it sounds better with 'weer.'
Terug van weggeweest 2 3 4 squarebrackets.htmlBack [from having been away]
On a day of many showers you can say:
't Regent weer 2 It's raining again and when the rain stops for a moment you could say,
't Lijkt wel weer droog 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 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.
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 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 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? 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? What is it now [again]? (annoyed, irritated or angry at continuing nagging or trouble)
Is de ijskast weer aan? Is the fridge on again? (annoyed)
De zon kwam weer op The sun came up again (something we can rely on every day)
Is 't weer zo laat? [Is it that time again?] Trouble or people bothering you - again and again
Er is elke dag weer te weinig tijd Every day [again] there is too little time (despairing)
Hoe heet-ie ook-al-weer? 2 3 4 What's his name [also already] again? (I forgot)
Weer wat geleerd!
[Learned something again] - I learned
'New' is also not really necessary
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 The Zuyder Zee is raging again (like it so often does)
Wat was dat weer een akelige overstroming! What a bad flood that was! (like so many before?) Hoe lang nog voor we wéér een overstroming krijgen? 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?
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? 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. 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. 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
[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 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 You picture the bad weather beautifully Je geeft 't goede weer zo goed weer 2 You picture the [good] beautiful weather [so] well
|Heb je al kaartjes? 2 3||Did you already get the tickets? (travel, events)|
|Heb je al gestemd? 2||Did you vote already? - asked during elections|
|2a. all, every:|
|Ik heb al m'n gereedschap weggegeven||I've given away all my tools|
|2b. all, everything:|
|Eind goed, al goed 2 3||[End good, all good] - All's well that ends well|
|3. even if:|
|Al kost 't me jaren 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? 2 3 Have you heard the news? (Just a question, 'Shall I tell you?') Heb je het nieuws al gehoord? 2 3 Have you (already) heard the news? (Something happened)
|Zoals ik zei||As I said|
|Zoals ik al zei 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? 2||Has the mail come in already? Has the mailman come by already?|
|Zijn de perziken al rijp? 2||Are the peaches ripe already?|
But toch 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 2 It's the same everywhere (anyway) - there's no escaping, moving doesn't help
't Maakt toch allemaal niks uit 2 [All of it doesn't make a difference] - Whatever you do, it doesn't help
Waar komt die rotzooi toch vandaan? 2 3 Where in the world does all that garbage come from?
Ik ben wel oud, maar toch niet zo oud 2 It is true that I'm old, I may be old, but I'm not thàt old
Dat wordt toch niks 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 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 zei ik toch! 2 3 4 5 That's what I said (but you weren't listening) - told you so
Dat kan toch niet? 2 3 [That cannot be - that shouldn't be possible] - How in the world can that be?
Dat zal toch wel niet? 2 [That will not be!] - I hope it isn't like that
Dat is toch niet normaal! 2 3 [That cannot be normal! not the ususal thing, not business as usual] It's outrageous, out-of-range
Wat is er toch? What's going on? What is it? (Not getting answers, not understanding what's going on)
Wat is er toch aan de hand? What's going on? What is it? (Not getting answers, not understanding what's going on)
Wat ruik ik toch? 2 3 [What do I smell?] - What is that smell? (I wonder, I can't identify it)
(Ik) denk dat de ijskast toch weer aanstaat I think the fridge is on (again) after all, I'm afraid the fridge is on
Nee toch! 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? 2 3 4 5 I'm in Holland, am I not? (When people keep speaking English to you) ->> We zijn toch in Nederland? We're in Holland, aren't we?
Ik moet toch weten wat er gebeurt in de wereld 2 3 I [have to] want to know what's going on in the world (addicted to the news)
Hou op! 2 3 4 5 Stop it! Stop what you're doing! Hou toch op! 2 Now stop that nonsense! Shut up! I'm sick and tired or your talking
|Raar maar waar 2 3||Strange but true|
|'t Is maar een schrammetje 2||It's only a scratch|
|'t Water blijft stijgen||The water keeps rising|
|'t Water blijft maar stijgen||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)|
|'t Houdt maar niet op 2||It just never stops, it goes on and on|
|Hij is nog maar een baby 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'
|Zeg 't niet tegen Piet 2||Don't tell Piet|
|Zeg 't maar niet tegen Piet 2||Better not tell Piet|
|Zeg maar niks tegen Piet 2 3 4||Better [tell Piet nothing] not tell Piet anything (about it)|
|Zeg er maar niks van 2 3||Don't mention it, better [say nothing] don't say anything about it|
|Maar wij zitten met de gebakken peren 2 3||(saying) ['But we are left with the baked pears'] But we are the ones that have to pick up the pieces, or more precisely: we are left with an unwanted responsibility|
|Wij zitten ermee 2 3||We are left holding the bag ‑>>|
|Wij zitten er maar mee 2 3||We are left holding the bag (and we're not happy with it and we deserve sympathy)|
|Zo zie je maar 2||So, this way you see ..., this shows ...|
|Zo zie je maar wie echt je vrienden zijn||This shows who your real friends are|
|Hij doet ook maar 2 3||He just does as he pleases|
|Die mensen doen ook maar 2||Those people just do as they please|
|Laat maar||Let it be, never mind, don't bother (no need for action)|
|Laat maar zitten 2 3||['No need to 'move,' just leave it be'] - Keep the change (offering the change as tip)|
|Zeg 't maar 2 3||You can say it, Feel free to speak up|
|Doe 't maar 2||Go ahead, do it|
|Geef maar hier 2||You may hand it to me (I'll take care of it)|
|Let maar niet op mij 2||Now don't pay attention to me|
|Rustig maar 2||[Quiet, quiet] - There, there (comforting an upset person)|
|Gelukkig maar! 2 3||Lucky indeed! We're lucky|
|Nee maar! 2 3||No kidding! I'm amazed|
|Je bent er maar druk mee 2 3||[You're quite busy with it.] It's taking a lot of your time.|
|'t Zal je kind maar wezen||Just imagine that it would be your child|
|Ho maar! 2||Stop it! That's enough.|
|Nederlands ho maar!||Dutch [just stop] - not so much! (said when an outrageous statement is made in bad Dutch)|
Dat ontbrak er nog maar aan! That was still missing from it! - Another unpleasant complication, adding to the misery
Was er maar iets leuks op TV! 2 3 4 If only there was something nice on TV! (I wish there was something nice but there isn't)
|een gewone dag 2||a day like all others, just another day|
|een gewone jongen||a regular guy, just another guy|
|doodgewoon 2 3||[dead-] very common|
|buitengewoon 2 3||[outside of the ordinary] - extraordinary, special, exceptional|
|(de) gewoonte||habit, custom|
|een slechte gewoonte 2||a bad habit|
|'t Is alleen een gewoonte 2||It's just a habit|
|(de) gewoontemens 2 3||'creature of habit'|
|De macht der gewoonte 2 3||['the power of habit'] - it's hard to break a routine|
|('der'||is an old-fashioned form of 'van de' (of the))|
|Je zit in een sleur 2 3||You're stuck in a rut|
Vroeger was geluk heel gewoon In the past, happiness was quite common
Somewhat jocularly, people say:
'Ik ga liever gewoon dood' 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
normal, general, common, standard
/ Doe een beetje normaal! 2 Act normally! Behave! Doe maar normaal, dan doe je al gek genoeg 2 Just do like you always do, that's crazy enough already
Dutch has the French word ordinair 2 for 'vulgar,' "common," 'coarse, crude' or even "slutty"
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 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 Maybe it's just not possible
'Hè' by itself is an expression of small disappointment with yourself, like if you can't get some little thing right - also as heg - maybe somewhat like English "Bummer!"
'Hèhè' can be said after finishing some tiring or boring work, but also when you're annoyed that someone says something that you think is stupid or obvious
after another word can mean something like 'don't you agree?' or
stupid, isn't it?
dat was mooi hè 2 3 that was beautiful/nice/pleasant, isn't it?
gek hè strange, weird (unexpected) isn't it?
'Gek' usually means 'crazy, insane' but not here For 'isn't it?' you could also say 'nietwaar?' 2 3 ('isn't it [true] so?') but it's a little old-fashioned
"We benne op de wereld om mekaar
te hellepe niewaar?"
We are in this world to help each other out, isn't it? (slang)
Hoor! can mean 'hear!' ('hark!') - though (like in English) luister! 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! Yes, sure! /or/ absolutely! or in the long 'goodbye' dag - da-ag - dag hoor - nou, dag hoor 2
Ik wil 't best wel vertellen hoor
I really don't mind telling (you)
|in 't echt 2 3||['in the real,'] ~ the real thing ->>|
|'t Is net echt 2||[It's like real] - It's almost real, it looks very real|
|Er is niet echt een reden voor 2||There is 'not really' a reason for it|
|Het is eigenlijk al te laat||It is actually already too late|
|Ik denk eigenlijk van niet - foutje||I actually think it's not - (I made) a [little] mistake|
|Ik weet 't eigenlijk niet 2 3 4||I actually don't know, I'm not sure|
|Waarom is dat eigenlijk? 2 3 4||Why is that (actually)? What's the reason for it?|
|Wat is er eigenlijk aan de hand? 2 3||(So) what is really going on?|
|Zo is 't echt 2 3||It's really like that|
|Begrijp je echt wat er staat? 2||Do you really understand what it says? (written text)|
|Is het echt zo erg? 2 3 4 5||Is it really that bad?|
|Dat is 't niet echt 2 3||That's not really it, that is not really the issue|
|echt waar? 2||realy true? really?|
|Ik weet niet of dat echt zo is||I'm not sure if [that's really like it] it's really like that|
|Zeg je echt wat je vindt? 2 3 4 5||Do you really say what you're thinking? Do you say what you're really thinking?|
|'t is echt zo 2||It's really like that|
|Is het echt hun land?||Is it really their land?|
Dan kunnen we elkaar eindelijk echt ontmoeten 2 Then we can finally 'really' meet ('in the flesh')
Zo zie je maar wie echt je vrienden zijn That way you'll see who really are your friends, who your real friends are
Ik ben niet echt een voetballer 2 3 I'm not really a soccer player, I'm not a real soccer player
Ik heb geen tijd 2 3 [I have no time] I don't have time (for it, for you) Ik heb echt geen tijd 2 3 4 I really don't have time (I'm sorry) Ik heb eigenlijk geen tijd 2 3 4 5 I really have no time - I shouldn't but I'll give you a minute
is probably a more real 'real.'
(De) werkelijkheid 2 'reality'
In werkelijkheid 2 3 'in reality'
by the way ..., ... anyway
Er is overigens nooit bewijs gevonden 2
'Proof has never been found, by the way'
by the way ..., as a matter of fact
Hij is trouwens familie van me 2 3
He is a relative, by the way / He happens to be a relative
Copyright © Marco Schuffelen 2017.
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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