Dutch infinitive (verbs with and without 'te')
What is the infinitive in Dutch?
The infinitive in Dutch is the not conjugated verb in the present. Most Dutch infinitives end in '-en', such as 'lopen' (to walk), 'werken' (to work), 'eten' (to eat). There are some exceptions that end in '-n', for example:
- Slaan (to hit)
- Gaan (to go)
- Staan (to stand)
- Zijn (to be)
Infinitive verbs with ‘te’
The table below shows you the situations where 'te + infinitive' is used.
|1. The verbs 'lopen', 'staan', 'zitten','liggen' and 'hangen' are used to describe another action in combination with the 'te' + infinitive construction.||
|2. When the adjective indirectly says something about the infinitive 'te + infinitive' is used.||
|3. The construction 'te' + infinitive is used to say that something is possible.||
|4. 'Te' in combination with an infinitive is used in subclauses.||
|5. The infinitive with 'te' is used after prepositions.||
Infinitive verbs without ‘te’
The table below shows the situations in which infinitive verbs without 'te' are used.
|1. You want to describe how an action (infinitive) is carried out.||
|2. The infinitive without 'te' is used when there is a transitive verb in the sentence.||
|3. You want to describe a continuous action with 'zijn' + 'aan het' + infinitive.||
|4. The modal verb is used to describe the action (infinitive) that is being carried out. The action is in this case the infinitive.||
Other categories of infinitives without 'te'
1) Transitive verbs and the bare infinitive
The transitive verbs describe the recognition of someone else performing an action (infinitive).
- Zij hoort hem praten.
- Hij zag haar rennen.
2) 'Zijn' + 'aan het' + infinitive
This rule is used to describe a continuous action (infinitive). The verb 'zijn' has to be conjugated, followed by 'aan het'. The infinitive is normally at the end of the sentence.
- Jullie zijn de borden aan het afwassen.
- Ik ben aan het lezen.
Other uses of the Dutch infinitive
The Dutch infinitive is sometimes used as a noun. The articles 'de/het' (the) and 'een' (a) can be added to this noun.
- Het roken van sigaretten is niet goed voor je.
- Het eten van te veel eieren kan ongezond zijn.
Train your skills with the exercises about the infinitive below!
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