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Dutch: Grammar > Past tense

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.

The past tense of verbs is constructed by adding one of the four endings -te, -ten, -de, or -den to the stem of the verb. Take a look at the following rules:

  • -te is added in singular to all stems ending in t, k, f, s, c, h, or p.
  • -ten is added in plural to all stems ending in t, k, f, s, c, h, or p.
  • -de is added in singular in all other cases.
  • -den is added in plural in all other cases.
  • For example:

  • maken (to make): ik maakte, wij maakten.
  • zetten (to put): jij zette, jullie zetten.
  • openen (to open): zij opende, wij openden.
  • sluiten (to close): hij sluitte, zij sluitten.
  • << Present tense Present & past perfect >>

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