• Dutch grammar
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  • 1 Dutch alphabet [0/2]
  • 2 Dutch pronunciation [0/2]
  • 3 Dutch sentence structure [0/12]
  • 4 Dutch articles (de, het, een) [0/2]
  • 5 Dutch nouns [0/8]
  • 6 Dutch pronouns [0/12]
  • 7 Dutch prepositions [0/9]
  • 8 Dutch adjectives [0/6]
  • 9 Dutch adverbs [0/16]
  • 10 Dutch verbs [0/27]
  • 10.1 Dutch infinitive (verbs with and without 'te') [0/2]
  • 10.2 Dutch regular verbs (weak verbs) [0/2]
  • 10.3 Dutch irregular verbs (strong verbs) [0/2]
  • 10.4 Dutch imperative (gebiedende wijs) [0/2]
  • 10.5 Dutch modal verbs [0/2]
  • 10.6 Dutch reflexive verbs [0/2]
  • 10.7 Dutch auxiliary verbs [0/2]
  • 10.8 Active and passive voice in Dutch [0/2]
  • 10.9 Separable and inseparable verbs in Dutch [0/2]
  • 10.10 Present participle in Dutch [0/2]
  • 10.11 Past participle in Dutch [0/3]
  • 10.12 Dutch subjunctive (aanvoegende wijs) [0/2]
  • 10.13 Dutch gerund [0/2]
  • 10.14 Dutch verb list
  • 11 Dutch verb conjugation and tenses [0/34]
  • Exercise to practice Dutch verb conjugation and tenses 1 (Score -/-)Free
  • Exercise to practice Dutch verb conjugation and tenses 2 (Score -/-)Free
  • 11.1 Dutch present simple (onvoltooid tegenwoordige tijd) [0/4]
  • 11.2 Dutch past simple (onvoltooid verleden tijd) [0/4]
  • 11.3 Dutch present perfect (voltooid tegenwoordige tijd) [0/4]
  • 11.4 Dutch past perfect (voltooid verleden tijd) [0/4]
  • 11.5 Dutch future simple [0/4]
  • 11.6 Dutch future perfect [0/4]
  • 11.7 Dutch conditional tense [0/4]
  • 11.8 Dutch conditional perfect [0/4]
  • Definition  and  usage  of the Dutch modal verbs 

    Dutch modal verbs are used to give a certain attitude towards another verb.  

    For example: 

    • Necessity: 'moeten' (to must) 
    • Probability: 'zullen' (to shall/will) 
    • Possibility: 'kunnen' (to able to) 
    • Desirability: 'willen' (to want) 
    • Lack of obligation: 'hoeven' (to need) 
    • To have permission: 'mogen' (to be allowed to) 

    The modal verbs are always in the beginning of the sentence and the infinitive to which it belongs at the end of the sentence. 

    Situation Example Translation
    Necessity
    • Ik moet hem helpen. 
    • Hij moet zijn huiswerk maken.
    • I must help him.
    • He must do his homework. 
    Probability
    • Hij zal wel te laat zijn.  
    • U zult op tijd komen. 
    • He shall/will probably be late. 
    • You shall/will be on time.
    Possibility
    • Wij kunnen jullie niet horen. 
    • Zij kan goed zwemmen.  
    • We are not able to hear you.
    • She is able to swim very well. 
    Desirability
    • Zij willen volgende week op vakantie.  
    • Zij wil leren lezen.  
    • They want to go on holiday next week.
    • She wants to learn how to read. 
    Lack of obligation
    • Je hoeft het niet te doen. 
    • U hoeft niet te bellen. 
    • You do not need to do that.
    • You do not need to call. 
    To have permission
    • Jij mag wel met ons mee. 
    • Jullie mogen daar niet naar toe.  
    • You are allowed to join us.
    • You are not allowed to go there. 

    Use of 'moeten' and 'hoeven' (duty)

    Moeten' and 'hoeven' both can be both translated as 'have to' but are used differently. 'Moeten' is the only one that can be used in an affirmative sentence. With regard to interrogative and negative sentences, 'moeten' indicates an obligation (or absence of obligation) while 'hoeven' indicates a necessity (or absence of necessity). 

    • Jij hoeft niet dat boek te lezen. = You do not need to this book. (it is not necessary)
    • Moet je niet morgen naar school gaan?=  Don't you have to go to school tomorrow? (are you not obliged to?)

    enlightened'Hoeven' is the only modal verb that requires the use of the infinitive with 'te' rather than the infinitive alone.

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    Conjugation of the Dutch modal verbs 

    In the table below you will find the conjugation of the Dutch modal verbs in the present tense. 

    Subject moeten zullen kunnen willen hoeven mogen
    Ik (I) moet zal kan wil hoef mag
    Jij, u (You) moet zult kunt wilt hoeft mag
    Hij, zij, het (He, she, it) moet zal kan wil hoeft mag
    Wij (We) moeten zullen kunnen willen hoeven mogen
    Jullie (You) moeten zullen kunnen willen hoeven mogen
    Zij (They) moeten zullen kunnen willen hoeven mogen

    Train your skills by doing the exercises below!  

    Next lessons

    1 Conjugation of moeten Learn all the conjugations of the verb moeten.
    2 Conjugation of hoeven Learn all the conjugations of the verb hoeven.