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 present perfect is constructed in Dutch by combining the present
tense of to be or to have with the past participle of a
The past participle:
If the stem ends in -k, -f, -s, -ch, or -p, the past participle is
formed by the formula ge + stem + t
If the stem ends in another consonant or a vowel, the past participle
is formed by the formula ge + stem + d.
If the stem ends in -t, then nothing is placed after the stem.
maken - gemaakt.
koken - gekookt.
gooien - gegooid.
When the verb, however, begins with ver-, then ge- is not
attached at the front of the verb. Furthermore, in case of a composed
verb, ge- is placed between the prefix and the stem. Such composed
verbs commonly start with in-, uit-, op-,
onder-, van-, vandaan-, heen-, aan-,
and others. For example:
The present perfect is constructed using the present time of
zijn or hebben + past participle. The verb
zijn is usually used when an action is expressed, which refers to
how an action has been completed or which focuses on the subject of
the sentence (i.e. I, you, he). In English this is best translated as
have + been + past participle. The verb hebben
is usually used when the focus is put on the action itself and/or its
result(s). In English this is best translated as have + past
participle. For example:
Ik heb gelopen.
I have walked.
Ik ben gelopen.
I have walked (taking a special route, in a
Ik heb kapot gemaakt.
I have broken (someone / something).
Ik ben kapotgemaakt.
I have been broken (by someone /
Ik heb opgepakt.
I have picked up.
Ik ben opgepakt.
I have been picked up (usually used to express
"have been arrested").
The past perfect:
The past perfect is constructed by the formula past tense of "zijn"
or "hebben" + past participle. The rules as to whether to use
zijn or hebben are explained in the section above. For
Ik had gelopen.
Ik had walked.
Ik was gelopen.
I had walked (taking a special route, in a
Ik had kapot gemaakt.
I had broken (someone / something).
Ik was kapotgemaakt.
I had been broken (by someone /
Ik had opgepakt.
Ik had picked up.
Ik was opgepakt.
Ik had been picked up (usually used to express
"have been arrested").