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Dutch: Grammar > Articles

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.

As in English, Dutch possesses both an indefinite article (a in English) and a definite article (the in English).

The indefinite article:
The indefinite article in Dutch is een (pron.: uhn). Be careful not to confuse this with the Dutch word "één", which means one. The indefinite article is placed in front of the noun as a separate word.

For example:

Dutch English Dutch English
Man. Man. Een man. A man.
Vrouw. Woman. Een vrouw A woman.
Tafel. Table. Een tafel. A table.
Oom. Uncle. Een oom. An uncle.
Hond. Dog. Een hond. A dog.
Land. Country. Een land. A country.

The definite article:
There two definite articles in Dutch, corresponding to the English word the:

de is used for masculine and feminine nouns, as well as for all nouns in plural. In most cases, however, it is not recognizable whether a noun is masculine or feminine. Such nouns are also referred to as de-words.

het is used for neuter nouns. Such words are also referred to as het-words.

Both definite articles are placed in front of the noun as a separate word. Furthermore, the classification of nouns (masculine, feminine, neuter) does not always have to correspond to the actual gender of the subject. The word meisje (=girl), for example, is a noun of the neuter category. Best is you learn every noun with the definite article when you come across it. For example:

Dutch English Dutch English
Man. Man. De man. The man.
Vrouw. Woman. De vrouw The woman.
Tafel. Table. De tafel. The table.
Meisje. Girl. Het meisje. The girl.
Gasten. Guests. De gasten. The guests.
Land. Country. Het land. The country.

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