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Dutch Verbs: Reflexive Verbs - Smartphones Page

Introduction
The Reflexive Pronouns
Reflexive Verbs?
'Zelf' as 'Yourself, Oneself'
'Eigen' = 'Own'
Reciprocal Verbs

Wikipedia says that (loosely defined) with reflexive verbs the subject -- (het) onderwerp click to hear -- is the same as the object -- (het) lijdend voorwerp click to hear 2 -- for example: 'I wash myself.'
wederkerende werkwoorden click to hear 2 3 'reflexive verbs' - 'wederkeren' is an old-fashioned word meaning 'to return' and here it is in the sense of 'doubling back.' The modern word for 'to return' is 'terugkeren' click to hear 2 - (de) terugkeer click to hear '(the) return'
In the infinitve of reflexive verbs Dutch uses the reflexive pronoun zich click to hear 'yourself, oneself' - or occasionally zichzelf click to hear 2 The Reflexive Pronouns

zich wassen to wash yourself, oneself
ik was me I wash myself
ik waste me I washed myself
ik heb me gewassen I have washed myself
click to hear

We hadden ons goed gewassen click to hear 2 We had washed ourselves well

zich verdedigen click to hear 2 3 to defend oneself

zich verdedigen to defend oneself
ik verdedig me I defend myself
jij verdedigt je you defend yourself
(singular, informal you)
hij verdedigt zich he defends himself
zij verdedigt zich she defends herself
wij verdedigen ons we defend ourselves
jullie verdedigen je you defend yourselves
(plural, informal you)
zij verdedigen zich they defend themselves
U verdedigt zich you defend yourself
(polite you)
click to hear

Hij heeft zich goed verdedigd click to hear He [has] defended himself well See also verdedigen (without 'zich') below

The Reflexive Pronouns

wederkerende voornaamwoorden click to hear 2 3
'reflexive pronouns'
Nominative
English / Dutch
Reflexive
I ik click to hear me click to hear
mezelf click to hear
singular you jij click to hear / je click to hear je click to hear
jezelf click to hear
he hij click to hear zich click to hear
zichzelf click to hear
she zij click to hear / ze click to hear zich click to hear
zichzelf click to hear
we wij click to hear / we click to hear ons click to hear
onszelf click to hear
plural you jullie click to hear je click to hear
jezelf click to hear
they zij click to hear / ze click to hear zich click to hear
zichzelf click to hear
polite you U click to hear zich click to hear
zichzelf click to hear
Uzelf click to hear 2

Ik heb geen moment voor mezelf click to hear 2 I [have no moment] don't have a moment to myself Hoe weinig tijd er is voor mezelf click to hear 2 How little time there is to myself Heb Uw naaste lief als Uzelf click to hear 2 Love your neighbor like yourself

zichzelf zien click to hear 2 3 'to see oneself'

zichzelf zien to see oneself
ik zie mezelf I see myself
jij ziet jezelf you see yourself
hij ziet zichzelf he sees himself
zij ziet zichzelf she sees herself
wij zien onszelf we see ourselves
jullie zien jezelf y'all see yourselves
zij zien zichzelf they see themselves
U ziet Uzelf
U ziet zichzelf
you see youself
click to hear

Ik heb mezelf gezien click to hear 2 I have seen myself Ik heb mezelf op TV gezien click to hear 2 3 I have seen myself on television Zie je jezelf dat doen? click to hear 2 [Do you see yourself doing that?] Can you imagine doing that?

The verbs in the examples above have the same subject and object, but it's not necessarily so, they can have other objects and still have the same meaning, like in the sentences below:

Ik was de hond click to hear 2 I'm washing the dog - theoretically the Dutch line could also mean 'I was the dog' (in a play or a dream) Ik was de ramen click to hear 2 I'm washing the windows

Ik zag de sterren click to hear
I saw the stars Heb je haar gezicht gezien? click to hear 2 Have you seen her face? Ik heb hem in geen jaren gezien click to hear 2 [I have seen him in no years] - I haven't seen him in years

verdedigen click to hear to defend
Ze verdedigde haar proefschrift click to hear She defended her thesis Ik verdedig mijn standpunt click to hear 2 I'm defending my viewpoint Hij verdedigde zijn land click to hear He was defending his country Wij verdedigen ons land click to hear 2 We're defending our country See also zich verdedigen above

another reflexive verb:
Hij hoefde zich niet te bewijzen. click to hear He didn't have to prove himself. Ze konden 't niet bewijzen click to hear 2 They couldn't prove it

Reflexive Verbs?

But Dutch also has a group of verbs that either come with the (simple) reflexive pronoun zich click to hear or have a very different meaning without it, like for example:

overgeven click to hear 2 to throw up, to vomit
zich overgeven click to hear 2 to surrender
Ik moest overgeven click to hear I had to throw up Ik moest me overgeven click to hear 2 3 I had to surrender

zich herinneren to remember
ik herinner me I remember
jij herinnert je you remember
hij herinnert zich he remembers
zij herinnert zich she remembers
wij herinneren ons we remember
jullie herinneren je y'all remember
zij herinneren zich they remember
U herinnert zich you remember
click to hear

As mentioned above, the verbs in this group either come with a reflexive pronoun or have a different meaning without the reflexive pronoun. These verbs can have another object than the reflexive pronoun - to me, the reflexive pronoun doesn't look like an object for these verbs (but I'm not a grammarian.)

Ik herinnerde me hem goed click to hear 2 I rememberered him well (I had a clear picture of him in my mind) But: Ik herinnerde hem aan z'n belofte click to hear 2 I reminded him [of? about? his promise] that he'd made a promise Ik herinnerde hem aan de afspraak click to hear I reminded him of the agreement, that there was an agreement

Ik herinner me 't niet. click to hear 2 I don't remember [it.] Ik kan me 't niet herinneren. click to hear 2
(Ik kan 't me niet herinneren. click to hear) I [can't] don't remember [it.] Nou herinner ik 't me weer. click to hear 2 Now I remember [it] [again.] But: Herinner me eraan click to hear 2 3 Remind me about it, remind me to ...

zich vergissen click to hear 2 3 to be mistaken

zich vergissen to be mistaken
ik vergis me I am mistaken
jij vergist je you are mistaken
hij vergist zich he is mistaken
zij vergist zich she is mistaken
wij vergissen ons we are mistaken
jullie vergissen je y'all are mistaken
U vergist zich you are mistaken
click to hear
(When recording 'zij vergissen zich' (they are mistaken) slipped from my mind)

Ik kan me vergissen click to hear 2 3 4 'I [can] may be mistaken' We hebben ons vergist click to hear 2 'We were mistaken' Jullie hebben je in hem vergist click to hear 2 'You guys were mistaken about him' (de) vergissing click to hear 'honest mistake'

zich vervelen to be bored
ik verveel me I'm bored
jij verveelt je you're bored
hij verveelt zich he's bored
zij verveelt zich she' bored
wij vervelen ons we're bored
jullie vervelen je youse are bored
zij vervelen zich they're bored
U verveelt zich you're bored
click to hear

Verveel je je? click to hear Are you bored? (singular informal) But: Verveel ik je? click to hear 2 3 Am I boring you? Do I bore you?

Verveelt U zich? click to hear Are you bored? (polite) Ik verveel me nooit click to hear 2 'I'm never bored' Ik verveel me te pletter click to hear 2 3 'I'm bored stiff' ['crushed by boredom'] Heb je je erg verveeld? click to hear 2 'Were you very bored?' Ik heb me niet verveeld click to hear 2 3 'I was not bored'

'Boring' is saai click to hear (saai / saaie click to hear 2 ->>)

saaie Piet click to hear 'Boring Peter' - a bore, a boring person Wat een saai verhaal! click to hear 2 3 4 Such a boring story! Saaie boel is het hier click to hear 2 3 It's boring here. What a boring place this is. There's nothing going on eentonig click to hear 2 3 monotonous, unvarying

But the adjective and adverb vervelend click to hear (vervelend / vervelende click to hear 2) is a little stronger than 'bored' - it's more like 'unpleasant, irritating'

't Blijft vervelend click to hear 2 [It remains unpleasant] It's still annoying Wat vervelend! click to hear How unpleasant! Wat vervelend nou! click to hear 2 3 How unpleasant! [now] een vervelende man click to hear 2 an unpleasant (male) person een vervelende situatie click to hear 2 an unpleasant situation

English 'to feel' can (among other things) refer both to feelings 'inside' a person and to sensations felt on the skin. For the 'internal feelings' Dutch uses the reflexive verb zich voelen click to hear and for what's felt on the skin Dutch uses the 'regular' verb voelen click to hear 2

voelen to feel
ik voel I feel
ik voelde I felt
ik heb gevoeld I have felt
click to hear 2

zich voelen to feel ('inside')
ik voel me I feel
ik voelde me I felt
ik heb me gevoeld I have felt
click to hear 2

Hoe voel je je? click to hear 2 How are you feeling? - more Ik voel me zo vol. click to hear 2 [I feel so full] I've eaten too much. Ik voel me niet lekker click to hear I don't feel well - Medical Voel je je beter? click to hear 2 Are you feeling better? Ik had me nog nooit zo ziek gevoeld click to hear 2 3 I had never before felt that sick

But: Ik voelde de regen op m'n gezicht click to hear 2 I felt the rain on my face Voel hoe zacht de stof is! click to hear 2 3 Feel how soft the fabric is!

zich aanstellen click to hear 2 to behave in an exaggerated manner, usually childish, out of touch with reality Stel je niet aan! click to hear 2 Don't exaggerate, don't be childish (patronizing) Hij stelt zich aan click to hear 2 He's exaggerating, behaving like a child

zich voorstellen click to hear 2 1. to introduce oneself
2. to imagine
Mag ik me even voorstellen? click to hear 2 Allow me to introduce myself Ik stelde me voor click to hear 2 1. I introduced myself
2. I imagined ...

Stel je voor ... click to hear 2 Imagine ... (with another intonation it could also mean: "Introduce yourself!") Stel je voor dat er geen auto's zouden zijn! click to hear 2 Imagine that there would be no cars! Stel je voor dat er geen auto's waren! click to hear 2 Imagine that there were no cars! Ik kan me voorstellen dat ... click to hear 2 3 4 I can imagine that ..., it's possible that ...

zich zorgen maken click to hear 2 to worry
Maak je geen zorgen over mij. click to hear Don't worry about me. Ik begon me zorgen te maken click to hear 2 3 I was starting to worry

zich afvragen click to hear to wonder
Ik vraag me wel eens af ... click to hear 2 'Sometimes I wonder ...' Ik vraag me af of ... click to hear 2 'I wonder if ...' Ik vraag me af hoe 't komt click to hear 2 I wonder [how it comes] why it is, what causes it

zich haasten click to hear to hurry
Haast je als je de tijd hebt,
dan heb je de tijd als je haast hebt. click to hear 'Hurry when you have time,
then you'll have time when you're in a
hurry.' ‑>>

zich ontspannen click to hear 2 3 to relax
Ontspan je! click to hear 2 'Relax!'
Je moet je ontspannen click to hear 2 3 'You should relax!'

zich verbazen click to hear 2 to be surprised, amazed
't Verbaast me niks. click to hear 2 I am [zero] not surprised.
Het zou me niet verbazen. click to hear 2 'I would not be surprised.'

zich ergeren click to hear 2 to be annoyed
Ik erger me dood click to hear 2 3 I'm deeply annoyed ['to death']

zich vermaken click to hear 2 to be entertained, to enjoy yourself
We hebben ons prima vermaakt click to hear 2 3 We [very well] really enjoyed ourselves

zich omkleden click to hear to change (clothes)
Ga je je omkleden? click to hear 2 Are you going to change? (clothes)

zich bemoeien met click to hear to meddle with, getting involved with something where you're not wanted Je moet je d'r niet mee bemoeien click to hear 2 You shouldn't meddle, stay away from it Bemoei je d'r niet mee click to hear Don't get involved with it, go away!

zich verslapen click to hear to oversleep (not get up in time) Ik had me verslapen click to hear I had overslept

zich beheersen click to hear 2 3 'to control yourself, have a grip on your emotions' Beheers je! click to hear 2 Get a grip on yourself, behave!
- Flemish has the to Dutchmen funny phrase:
'Herpak U!' click to hear 2

zich bewegen click to hear 2 to move (your body)
Beweeg je niet! click to hear Don't move! Freeze!

zich branden click to hear 2 3 'to burn oneself,' to get burned Ik heb me gebrand click to hear 2 3 'I burned myself,' I got burned Brand je niet! click to hear 2 3 Dont get burned! (Be careful)

Van zich laten horen click to hear 2 3 ['to let hear of yourself'] - to communicate, to be in touch - usually in the negative with:
'niet' click to hear 2 (not) or
'niks' click to hear / 'niets' click to hear ('nothing')
Hij laat niks van zich horen click to hear 2 He is not in touch ('We are not hearing from him') Hij heeft niks van zich laten horen click to hear 2 He has not been in touch ('We have not heard from him') Ze laten niet van zich horen click to hear 2 They are not in touch ('We are not hearing from them') We hadden iets van ons moeten laten horen click to hear 2 3 We should have been in touch, we should have contacted

Maak 't jezelf gemakkelijk click to hear 2 3 [Make it easy for yourself] - Do it in an easy way, don't make it too complicated Maak 't je gemakkelijk click to hear 2 3 Make yourself comfortable (relax etc.)

in zichzelf gekeerd click to hear 2 introvert op zichzelf click to hear 'by itself, in itself' - of a person this means 'by yourself,' alone, without company or help, but for words it means without context, and otherwise it means without accompanying circumstances, without 'baggage'

'Zelf' as 'Yourself, Oneself'

When there is no reflexive verb, English 'yourself, oneself' is translated in Dutch as 'zelf' click to hear 2

Doe het zelf click to hear Do-it-yourself Hij doet alles zelf click to hear 2 3 He does everything himself, by himself Je moet het zelf doen click to hear 2 3 You have to do it yourself Ik kan het niet voor je doen click to hear 2 3 4 5 I can't do it for you

Je hebt 't zelf in de hand click to hear 2 3 [You have it in your hand yourself] - It's in your own hands (You are in control of it) Ik heb 't zelf bedacht click to hear 2 3 I thought of it myself, I thought it up myself (original thinking) Al zeg ik 't zelf click to hear 2 3
[Even if I say so myself] - If I may say so Geloof je het zelf? click to hear 2 Do you believe [it] so yourself? (What the person is saying is unbelievable, can't be true) "Je moet het zelf weten" click to hear 2 3 literally: 'you must know it yourself' - said when you tell someone about possible outcomes, give options: "But is is your choice, your decision." It indicates that the speaker expects the advice will be ignored Ik kan er helaas niet zelf bij zijn click to hear Unfortunately, I cannot be there myself

The phrases 'zelf niet' and 'zelf geen' state that the person referred to is an exception in the group
Ik speel zelf geen piano click to hear 2 I don't play the piano myself (but all my friends and/or family do) Heb je zelf geen kinderen? click to hear 2 3 Don't you have children yourself? Ik ben zelf niet van adel click to hear 2 I am not of the nobility myself

vanzelf click to hear 2 by itself, 'automatically'
vanzelfsprekend click to hear [speaking by itself] - self-evident, obvious, 'of course' Het wijst zich vanzelf click to hear 2 It will be obvious, you'll quickly see how (No need for instructions or a manual) Als 't niet vanzelf overgaat, ga ik ermee naar de dokter click to hear If it doesn't go away by itself, I'll go see a doctor about it

zelfstandig click to hear 2 ['self-standing'] - independent also: onafhankelijk click to hear independent (de) onafhankelijkheid click to hear independence (de) zelfbeschikking click to hear 'self-determination,' autonomy (de) zelfbeheersing click to hear 2 [self-control] grip on yourself zelfverzekerd click to hear [sure of yourself] - self-confident (het) zelfvertrouwen click to hear 2 [self-trust] - self-confidence (de) zelfbediening click to hear 2 self-service (at the supermarket) zelfklevend click to hear 2 3 self-adhesive

(het) zelfstandig naamwoord click to hear 2 3 noun ‑>>

(de) zelfstandige zonder personeel click to hear 2 [independent without staff] - self-employed person, often a consultant ‑>>

'zelfs' click to hear is English 'even,' referring to extreme or unexpected situations ‑>>
Zelfs in de schaduw was het warm click to hear Even in the shade it was hot

hetzelfde click to hear and dezelfde click to hear are 'the same' ‑>>
't Is toch overal hetzelfde click to hear 2 It's the same everywhere (anyway) - there's no escaping kaarten van dezelfde kleur click to hear [cards of the same color] - playing cards of the same suit

'Eigen' = 'Own'

'Eigen' click to hear is 'belonging' or referring to the person mentioned: 'own, personal,' sometimes 'private'

Ik heb 't met eigen ogen gezien click to hear 2 3 I've seen it with (my) own eyes Zeg 't in je eigen woorden click to hear 2 Say it in your own words, use your own words (use simple words, don't quote others or official sources) Ga je met je eigen auto? click to hear Will you be driving your own car? Het is hun eigen geld click to hear It's their own money een eigen huis click to hear 2 a house of your own, a house that you own Baas in eigen buik click to hear 2 3 [Boss in] Master over (our) own belly - women's reproductive rights slogan (het) schot in eigen doel click to hear [shot, score in] own goal Elke dag heeft genoeg aan z'n eigen leed click to hear Each day has enough suffering of its own 't Is voor je eigen bestwil click to hear 2 3 It's for your own benefit, it's in your own best interest (You'll thank me later)

Ga je eigen weg click to hear 2 [Go your own way] - Choose yourself what you want to do, make your own choices Een koekje van eigen deeg click to hear 2 (saying) ['a cookie of (your) own dough'] 'a taste of your own medicine' - you yourself getting the bad treatment you thought up for (or already meted out to) others Een sigaar uit eigen doos click to hear 2 3 (saying) ['A cigar from your own box'] - Something is presented as a gift, but it turns out you have to pay for it

eigen weg click to hear private road (a sign) (de) eigen bijdrage click to hear 2 ['own contribution'] co-payment (het) eigen risico click to hear 2 'own risk,' deductible

(het) eigendom click to hear property, ownership, possession 'Eigendom is diefstal' click to hear 2 3 Property is theft (Proudhon) also: (het) bezit click to hear property, ownership, possession (het) bezittelijk voornaamwoord click to hear 2 possessive pronoun ‑>> Het bezit van de zaak is het eind van het vermaak click to hear 2 3 'Ownership is the end of pleasure' - probably meaning that working towards goals is the interesting part; having reached goals boredom may set in

(de) eigenaar click to hear owner, proprietor
De vorige eigenaar had het huis roze laten verven click to hear The previous owner had had the house painted pink Like English 'to have' Dutch commonly uses hebben click to hear for 'to own, being the owner of' ‑>>
Heb je een auto? click to hear do you [own] have a car? Heeft Jan een auto? click to hear 2 3 does John have a car? Hij heeft geen auto click to hear he doesn't have a car Heeft U een fiets? click to hear Do you have a bicycle? (polite 'you')

eigenwijs click to hear 2 self-willed, ~contrary
also: koppig click to hear 2 stubborn
eigenzinnig click to hear ['following your own sense'] - self-willed, idiosyncratic eigengereid click to hear self-willed, obstinate, headstrong

eigenschappen click to hear 2 properties, characteristics ‑>>

Gevoel van eigenwaarde click to hear ['feeling of own-worth'] 'self-esteem'

In the first part of the Middle Ages, some people in Europe were lijfeigenen click to hear 2 - slightly better off than slaven click to hear 2 'slaves.' Originally they were probably captives and vanquished enemies from the wars between tribes. ‑>> (I don't know if the word is related to the 'eigen' of this paragraph.)

'Eigenlijk' click to hear 2 is usually translated as 'actually.' Ideally it means 'real, true' or 'in essence' but it's often abused and given a vague 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 Ik heb eigenlijk geen tijd click to hear 2 3 4 5 I really have no time - I shouldn't but I'll give you a minute Waarom is dat eigenlijk? click to hear 2 3 4 Why is that (actually)?

There is a math term 'eigen value'   but its 'eigen'   is from German:   click to hear 2 3

Reciprocal Verbs

(For completeness' sake) There is another class of verbs with a confusingly similar name: wederkerige werkwoorden click to hear 2 ('reciprocal verbs' - 'mutual'?) with the 'reciprocal pronoun' elkaar click to hear ('each other') - slang: mekaar click to hear - for instance: elkaar ontmoeten click to hear 2 3 ('to meet [each other]' - a person)

Ze ontmoetten elkaar op een feestje click to hear 2 3 They met [each other] at a party
(The past tense plural 'ontmoetten' sounds exactly the same as the present tense plural 'ontmoeten' - when you hear the line, it may also mean 'they meet ...' like in describing a book or a movie)
Dan kunnen we elkaar eindelijk echt ontmoeten click to hear 2 Then we'll finally really meet [each other] (face to face, 'in the flesh')
"We benne op de wereld om mekaar te hellepe niewaar?" click to hear 2 We're in this world to help each other out isn't it?
Elkaar voor rotte vis uitmaken click to hear 2 3 4 (expression) 'Calling each other spoiled (rotten) fish' - mutual insulting

onder elkaar click to hear 'among each other' - in trusted, exclusive company mannen onder elkaar click to hear 2 3 'men among each other' - men without women, occasionally misbehaving

dicht op elkaar click to hear 2 3 close together (high density)

Ze praten langs elkaar heen click to hear 2 3 4 ['They talk along each other'] - they dont't listen to each other, they don't understand each other, they're not communicating - 'they talk at cross-purposes'

Alles grijpt in elkaar click to hear 2 ['All things grip (into) each other'] - Everything is connected

uit elkaar click to hear 2 3 ['out of each other'] - no longer together Zijn Jan en Klazien uit elkaar? click to hear 2 3 Are Jan en Klazien not together anymore? (is it over between them, is the relationship over?)

samen click to hear together
(de) samenwerking click to hear cooperation, collaboration
(de) samenleving click to hear 2 (human) society
(de) samentrekking click to hear 2 contraction (words)
(de) wee click to hear
plural: weeën click to hear
contraction (birth)
(de) samenzwering click to hear 2 3 conspiracy

(de) samenloop van omstandigheden click to hear [running together of circumstances] - coincidence
Toch konden ze goed samenwerken click to hear Still, they were able to work together well
Samen uit, samen thuis click to hear [Leaving together, going home together] - 'We're in this together'

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