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Dutch irregular verbs (strong verbs)

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Definition of irregular verbs

Irregular verbs, also known as strong verbs, differ from the conjugation of the regular verbs (weak verbs). These verbs usually differ in the past simple tense and the past participle, and are conjugated differently. However, also in this are exceptions as you will see below. 

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Conjugation of irregular verbs

The Dutch irregular verbs are conjugated the same way as the regular verbs in the present tense. Therefore, it is only necessary to remember: 

  • the past simple singular 
  • past simple plural  
  • past participle 

Dutch has many different strong verbs, but they can be grouped together to make it easier to remember how to conjugate them. Take a look at the groupings in the past simple of the irregular verbs.  

For the explanation of the different tenses: present simple, past simple, present perfect, past perfect, visit these pages. 

Conjugation of completely irregular verbs

The table below shows a list of Dutch irregular verbs. These are 6 completely irregular verbs.  

VerbTranslationPresent simple (I-form)Past simple (I-form)Present perfect (I-form)Pastperfect(I-form)
zijnto beik benik wasik ben geweestik was geweest
hebbento haveik hebik hadik heb gehadik had gehad
kunnento be able toik kanik konik heb gekundik had gekund
mogento be allowed toik magik mochtik heb gemogenik had gemogen
willento wantik wilik wildeik heb gewildik had gewild
zullento willik zalik zouik heb gezuld*ik had gezuld*

*'gezuld' is rarely used

enlightenedGo to the present simple and past simple if you want the complete overview of the 6 completely irregular verbs. 

Other exceptions of irregular verbs

There are 5 other exceptions: 

  • 'Gaan' (to go) 
  • 'slaan' (to hit) 
  • 'staan' (to stand) 
  • 'zien' (to see) 
  • 'doen' (to do) 

These are actually not completely irregular, but strong verbs. These Dutch verbs do not end in '-en', that is why they are mentioned them here.  

1) Conjugation of 'gaan' (to go) 

SubjectPresent simplePast simplePresent perfectPast perfect
Ik (I)gagingben gegaanwas gegaan
Jij, u (You)gaatgingbent gegaanwas gegaan
Hij, zij, het (He, she, it)gaatgingis gegaanwas gegaan
Wij (We)gaangingenzijn gegaanwaren gegaan
Jullie (You)gaangingenzijn gegaanwaren gegaan
Zij (They)gaangingenzijn gegaanwaren gegaan

2) Conjugation of 'slaan' (to hit)

SubjectPresent simplePast simplePresent perfectPast perfect
Ikslasloegheb geslagenhad geslagen
Jij, uslaatsloeghebt geslagenhad geslagen
Hij, zij, hetslaatsloegheeft geslagenhad geslagen
Wijslaansloegenhebben geslagenhadden geslagen
Jullieslaansloegenhebben geslagenhadden geslagen
Zijslaan sloegenhebben geslagenhadden geslagen

3) Conjugation of 'staan' (to stand)

SubjectPresent simplePast simplePresent perfectPast perfect
Ikstastondheb gestaanhad gestaan
Jij, ustaatstondhebt gestaanhad gestaan
Hij, zij, hetstaatstondheeft gestaanhad gestaan
Wijstaanstondenhebben gestaanhadden gestaan
Julliestaanstondenhebben gestaanhadden gestaan
Zijstaanstondenhebben gestaanhadden gestaan

4) Conjugation of 'zien' (to see)

SubjectPresent simplePast simplePresent perfectPast perfect
Ikziezagheb gezienhad gezien
Jij, uzietzaghebt gezienhad gezien
Hij, zij, hetzietzagheeft gezienhad gezien
Wijzienzagenhebben gezienhadden gezien
Julliezienzagenhebben gezienhadden gezien
Zijzienzagenhebben gezienhadden gezien

5) Conjugation of 'doen' (to do)

SubjectPresent simplePast simplePresent perfectPast perfect
Ikdoedeedheb gedaanhad gedaan
Jij, udoetdeedhebt gedaanhad gedaan
Hij, zij, hetdoet deedhebt gedaanhad gedaan
Wijdoendedenhebben gedaanhadden gedaan
Julliedoendedenhebben gedaanhadden gedaan
Zijdoendedenhebben gedaanhadden gedaan

Irregularity in the stem of the verb komen

The verb 'komen' (to come) has a regular conjugation. Only the stem is different than normally. 

SubjectPresent simplePast simple
Jij, ukomtkwam
Hij, zij, hetkomtkwam

enlightenedAccording to the rule 'Long vowel verbs have long vowel stems', the stem of 'komen' should be 'koom', but in this case it has a short vowel stem 'kom'. 

Train your skills by doing the exercises below! 


  1. Exercise to practice Dutch irregular verbs 1
  2. Exercise to practice Dutch irregular verbs 2

Exercise to practice Dutch irregular verbs 1

Exercise to practice Dutch irregular verbs 2

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