Dutch modal verbs
Definition and usage of the Dutch modal verbs
Dutch modal verbs are used to give a certain attitude towards another verb.
- 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.
|Lack of obligation||
|To have permission||
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?)
'Hoeven' is the only modal verb that requires the use of the infinitive with 'te' rather than the infinitive alone.
Conjugation of the Dutch modal verbs
In the table below you will find the conjugation of the Dutch modal verbs in the present tense.
|Jij, u (You)||moet||zult||kunt||wilt||hoeft||mag|
|Hij, zij, het (He, she, it)||moet||zal||kan||wil||hoeft||mag|
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