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Dutch: Grammar > Present 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.

All Dutch verbs consist of a stem and an ending. All regular verbs usually end in -en, such as maken (=to make), reizen (=to travel), or praten (=to talk). In order to obtain the stem of the verb, two steps have to be undertaken:
First, the ending -en has to be removed. Second, the stem has to be modified in such a way, that the pronunciation remains the same as before the ending had been removed.
If there is a long vowel (a, e, o, u) at the end of the stem, it has to be doubled. For example:

  • maken (to make) - maak (make)
  • praten (to talk) - praat (talk)
  • koken (to cook) - kook (cook)
  • If the stem ends in a double consonant, then one has to be removed. For example:

  • knikken (to nodd) - knik (nodd)
  • liggen (to lie) - lig (lie)
  • zitten (to sit) - zit (sit)
  • In addition to the rules above, a v at the end of a stem is changed to f, and an z is changed to s. For example:

  • geven (to give) - geef (give)
  • blazen (to blow) - blaas (blow)
  • In the present tense, verbs are usually formed according to the following scheme:

    Person Construction
    ik (I) stem
    jij, u (you, singular) stem + t
    hij, zij, het (he, she, it) stem + t
    wij (we) infinitive
    jullie (you, plural) infinitive
    zij (they) infinitive

    Special attention should be paid to the following: when a stem ends in -t, then in the second and third person singular no t is attached to the stem. Finally, in the exercise below you can practice the conjunction by filling in the right form of each verb.

  • maken (to make): ik ..., jij ..., hij ..., wij ..., jullie maken, zij ...
  • slapen (to sleep): ik ..., jij ..., hij slaapt, wij ..., jullie ..., zij ...
  • eten (to eat): ik eet, jij ..., zij ..., wij ..., jullie ..., zij ...
  • drinken (to drink): ik ..., u ..., het ..., wij drinken, jullie ..., zij ...
  • zetten (to put): ik ..., u ..., zij ..., wij ..., jullie ..., zij zetten.
  • << To be & to have Past tense >>

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