Nederlandse Grammatica

These are a collection of my notes for grammar exam at University College Utrecht. I am posting them because I believe sharing knowledge fundamentally is a good thing, and of course because I hope this can serve as a useful resource for others. I have done my best to make sure that the information on this page is correct. If, however, you find this not to be the case, please email me, and then I will update the page. The full edit history is available on Github.

Personal Pronouns

The thing that performs the action described by the verb. "Ik ga met har" -> "ik" is the one acting.

person singular plural
1de ik wij/we
2de jij/je, u (formal) jullie
3de hij (m), zij/ze (f), het (obj), hen (nonbinary) zij/ze

wij/we en zij/ze representeert "light" en "heavy" varianten.

Object Pronouns

When things are acted upon -> Ik ga met haar -> "haar" is acted upon.

person singular plural
1de mij/me ons
2de jou/je, u (formal) jullie
3de hem (m), haar (f) hen/ze

Regular Verbs - Regelmatige werkwoorden

Infinitiv -> stem + "en"

regular singular plural
1de stem infinitive
2de stem + t !EXC1 infinitive
3de stem + t infinitive

!EXC1.: verb -> subj. + informal = kun stem

Irregular Verbs - Onregelmatige wekwoorden

zijn singular plural
1de ben zijn
2de bent, !EXC1 zijn
3de is zijn
hebben singular plural
1de heb hebben
2de hebt, !EXC1 hebben
3de heeft hebben

!EXC1.: verb -> subj. + informal = kun stem

Schematized Syllables

Dutch syllables have one of the following patterns:

Boundaries for syllables occurs:

Open syllables (i.e. CV), the vocals are pronounced as their long variants. E.g. "lezen" -> CV + CVC, the first "long e" is pronounced as "ee" because CV is open. The last e however, is pronounced as "short e" because the syllable ("zen" = CVC) is closed.

Similarly, when finding the stem of a word, we have to adjust the vowel to get the correct pronunciation. "Lezen"'s stem is "Lees", not "Les". In the latter case we would've had to pronounce a short e. However, we want a long e. To achieve that within the one syllable, we have to use "ee", not "e".

Spelling - Spellen

v and z never occur at the end of a word. If they do after conjugating (e.g. finding a verb stem), v is substituted by an f and z by an s. In other words, "lezen"'s stem is "lees", not "leez", and "gefen"'s stem is "geef" and not "geev". (also notice the addition of a vocal to preserve the long pronounciation)

Plural - Meervoud

Det er fire forskjellige suffixser som brukes for aa markere flertall.

suffix regel
-s 2+ syllables and suffix -er, -el, -em, -en
-'s ends in a, i, o, u, y,
-en otherwise

Indefinite Article - Onbepaald Lidwoord

The indefinite article is "een", for all singular nouns. Confusingly, it is spelled the same as the word for 1 - een. To differ between the two, one might spell 1 as één. Eks. "Heeft jij een rugzak, maar alleen één boek?".

Furthermore, the indefinite article is only used in singular-, and not in plural form.

onbepaalde lidwoord common nouns neuter nouns
singular een een
plural nothing nothing

Wether a noun is a common- or a neuter noun often has to learned by heart. However, there are a few rules:

  1. Plural? -> always de
  2. Diminutive (ends in -je) -> het
  3. Language name, e.g. het Frans -> het
  4. other -> learn by heart..
  5. if you have to guess -> de

Definite Article - Bepaald Lidwoord

There are two definite articles in Dutch: "de" and "het". Het is only used in singular, for neuter nouns.

definite artlce common nouns neuter nouns
singular de het
plural de de

Possessive pronouns - Bezittelijke Voornaamwoorden

Possessive pronouns indicates whos possession someone or something is.

Person singular plural
1de mijn onze (de), ons (sing + het)
2de jouw/je, uw jullie
3de zijn (m), haar (f), hun(n), zijn(c) hun

"jouw" and "uw" must not be confused with "jou" and "u". The latter are personal pronouns, not possessive pronouns.

kunnen singular plural
1 ik kan wij kunnen
2 jij kunt/kan / kan jij jullie kunnen
3 hij/zij kan zij kunnen
willen singular plural
1 ik wil wij willen
2 jij wilt / wilt jij jullie willen
3 hij/zij wil zij willen
mogen singular plural
1 ik mag wij mogen
2 jij mag / mag jij jullie mogen
3 hij/zij mag zij mogen
moeten singular plural
1 ik moet wij moeten
2 jij moet / moet jij jullie moeten
3 hij/zij moet zij moeten
zullen singular plural
1 ik zal wij zullen
2 jij zult/zal / zul/zal jij jullie zullen
3 hij/zij zal zij zullen
gaan singular plural
1 ik ga wij gaan
2 jij gaat / ga jij jullie gaan
3 hij/zij gaat zij gaan

Word Order - Woord Volgorde

type order
reg. sentence, 1 verb S - V - O - rest
reg. sentence, 2 verbs S - MV - O - rest - V (infinitive)
y/n question, 1 verb V - S - O - rest
y/n question, 2 verbs MV - S - O - rest - V (infinitive)
open question, 1 verb Q - V - O - rest
open question, 2 verbs Q - MV- S - O - rest - V (infinitive)
term explanation
S Subject
V Verb
O Object
MV Modal Verb
rest the rest. of the sentence


Negation (saying that something is not the case) is done with niet and geen. Use the following rule order to figure out which one to use:

  1. Preposition? use niet in front of it
  2. Indefinite noun? Use geen in front of it
  3. Adjective or Adverb? Use niet in front of the noun
  4. None of the above -> use niet at the end !EXC2

!EXC2: If the sentence ends with a verb, put niet as the second to last word, and change the verb to infinitive.


Adjectives are words that describe nouns. E.g. "moi", "leuk" en "saai". Adjectives may appear as predicatively or as a modifier

form example rule
predicative Ik ben vroilijk at end of sentence
modifier de fijne dag before noun, and add e !EXC3

!EXC3: Do not add e iff the noun is singular AND het-word (neuter) AND indefinite (i.e. "een ")

Past Tense - Perfectum

Past tense in the perfectum form is done by restructuring the sentence such that 1) it includes an oxilary (the conjugated form of either zijn or hebben) and a participum form, which is the verb stemp, prefixes with ge and suffixed with either t or d.

Which oxilary?

oxilary condition
zijn participum is either gekomen, gegaan of geweest
zijn with a change of state
zijn movement in a direction (i.e. preposition)
hebben All others

Which Participum Form?

particip form condition
ge- + -d last letter does not occur in "soft ketchup"
ge- + -t last letter does occur in "soft ketchup"

There are lots of exceptions to the participum form-rules. Some of the irregular verbs are listed below - there are many more.

infinitiv participum
ontmoeten ontmoet
vertellen verteld
beloven beloofd
geloven geloofd
herhalen herhaald
erkennen erkend
zijn geweest
hebben gehad
gaan gegaan
komen gekomen
doen gedaan
lopen gelopen
kopen gekocht
zien gezien
beginnen begonnen
spreken gesproken
kijken gekeken
krijgen gekregen
worden geworden
This page was last updated on Wed Dec 14 2022
Change message: More Dutch Grammar Updated the post on Dutch grammar with information from the second half of the course.
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