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Dutch: Grammar > Adjectives

Knowing some of the Dutch grammar will help you understand how the language is build up, and it will also help you to understand the basic phrases better. The Dutch grammar guide presented at LanguageTrav.com should in no way be considered as complete, and if you would like to acquire an in-depth understanding we recomment you to purchase books or DVDs for further learning.

The good news is that especially when you are traveling to The Netherlands, virtually everyone will speak English as a second language. However, it is a polite gesture to ask first.

Adjectives are used to describe a noun, as in for example "the white hat" or "the small country". You will find some commonly used adjectives in the table below:

Dutch English Dutch English
goed = good, right slecht = bad
mooi = pretty lelijk = ugly
groot = big klein = small
hoog = high laag = low
lang = long, tall kort = short

If an adjective is used together with a noun, the actual form of the adjective might change. In the case of a definite article, the adjective is placed between the article and the noun. Furthermore, the suffix -e is added to the adjective. Again, the original sound of the word should be preserved, meaning that double vowels might have to be made single, and single consonant might have to be doubled. For example:

Dutch English Dutch English
goed = good, right De goede richting. = The right direction.
mooi = pretty Het mooie meisje. = The pretty girl.
groot = big De grote stad. = The big city.
hoog = high De hoge berg. = The high mountain.
lang = long, tall De lange reis. = The long trip.

In the case of an indefinite article een, all adjectives in combination of de-words get the suffix -e. However, all adjectives in combination with het-words remain unchanged. For example:

Dutch English Dutch English
goed = good Een goede richting. = A right direction.
mooi = pretty Een mooi meisje. = A pretty girl.
groot = big Een grote stad. = A big city.
hoog = high Een hoge berg. = A high mountain.
lang = long, tall Een lange reis. = A long trip.

This rule is also applied when the noun is used without an article. For example:

Dutch English
Lekkere koffie! = Tasty coffee!
Goede reis! = (Have a) good trip!
In Groningen zijn er prachtige dorpen. = There are beautiful villages in Groningen.

When an adjective is placed at the end of the scentence, such as in "the hat is white" or "the villages are beautiful", the adjective used remains unchanged. Furthermore, the adjective is placed after the verb. For example:

Dit is lekkere koffie (This is tasty coffee) but Deze koffie is lekker (This coffe is tasty)
De goede reis (The good trip) but De reis was goed (The trip was good)
In Groningen zijn er prachtige dorpen (There are beautiful villages in Groningen) but De dorpen in Groningen zijn prachtig (The villages in Groningen are beautiful)

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