Dutch past simple (onvoltooid verleden tijd)
- 1.Definition and usage of the past simple
- 2.Regular conjugation of Dutch weak verbs in the past simple
- 3.Orthographic and pronunciation rules
- 3.1.'-te'/'-ten' or '-de'/'-den'
- 3.2.Verbs ending in '-t'
- 3.3.Verbs ending in '-d'
- 3.4.Verbs ending in '-v' or -'z'
- 4.Regular conjugation of Dutch strong verbs in the past simple
- 4.1. Dutch irregular verbs
- 5.1.Excercise to practice Dutch past simple (regular verbs)
- 5.2.Exercise to practice Dutch past simple (irregular verbs)
- 5.3.Practice the Dutch past simple
- 5.4.Exercise Dutch past simple
Definition and usage of the past simple
The Dutch past tense is mainly used to describe something that took place in the past. The table below shows you the situations in which the past simple is used.
|You want to describe an event or action that took place in the past.|
|You want to describe a past event / action that has nothing to do with the present time.|
|Using the word 'toen' (when) to announce a past event/action.|
Remember: you can recognize the use of the past simple when the sentence contains words as:
- gisteren (yesterday)
- vorig jaar (last year)
- vorige maand (last month)
or other words that indicate a time in the past.
1) Regular conjugation of Dutch weak verbs in the past simple
To form a past sentence, the stem of the verb has to be found to be able to conjugate it. Dutch verbs always end in '-en'. The stem is found when you leave out the '-en' part.
In the table below, you can find an example of the conjugation with the verb 'werken' (to work).
|Ik (I)||stem + te / de||werkte|
|Jij, u (you)||stem + te / de||werkte|
|Hij, zij, het (he, she, it)||stem + te / de||werkte|
|Wij (we)||stem + ten / den||werkten|
|Jullie (you)||stem + ten / den||werkten|
|Zij (they)||stem + ten / den||werkten|
Orthographic and pronunciation rules
1. '-te'/'-ten' or '-de'/'-den'
When is the ending '-te' or '-ten' and when '-de' or '-den'?
- when the stem ends in one of the following consonants: 't exKofschip, the ending is '-te' or '-ten'
- for the other consonants '-de' or '-den' is the ending in past tense.
2. Verbs ending in '-t'
If the stem of a verb ends in a '-t', the ending '-te' or '-ten' still has to be added. The table shows you the conjugation of the verb 'haten' (to hate).
|Hij, zij, het||haatte|
3. Verbs ending in '-d'
If the stem of a verb ends in a '-d', the ending '-de' or '-den' still has to be added. The table shows you the construction with the verb 'raden' (to guess).
|Hij, zij, het||raadde|
4. Verbs ending in '-v' or -'z'
When the '-en' of the verb is removed and '-v' or '-z' is the ending of the stem, the letters change in '-f' and '-s'. The conjugation of the verb is different from other verbs ending in '-f' or '-s', because you have to look at the consonant of the stem before the change. Therefore, the ending is always '-de(n)'.
The table below shows an example of a verb ending in -z: 'lozen' (to dump).
|Hij, zij, het||loosde|
Note the double 'o' in 'loosde' and 'loosden. Long vowel verbs have long vowel stems. Therefore the extra 'o' appears.
2) Regular conjugation of Dutch strong verbs in the past simple
Dutch has many different strong verbs, but there are ways the verbs can be put together in groups to make it easier to remember how to conjugate them. Take a look at the table below.
|1.||Strong verbs that have an 'e' in the infinitive, get 'ie' in the past form.||'helpen' |
(to help), .
|ik hielp |
|2.||Strong verbs that have an 'ij' in the infinitive, get 'ee' in the past form.||'krijgen'|
|ik kreeg |
|3.||Strong verbs that have an 'e' in the infinitive, get 'o' in the past form.||'zwemmen' (to swim)||ik zwom (I swam)|
|4.||Strong verbs that have an 'e' in the infinitive, get 'a' in the past form.||'nemen' (to take)||ik nam (I took)|
|5.||Strong verbs that have an 'i' in the infinitive, get 'a' in the past form.||'zitten' (to sit)||ik zat (I sit)|
|6.||Strong verbs that have an 'a' in the infinitive, get 'ie' in the past form.||'slapen' (to sleep)||ik sliep (I slept)|
|7.||Strong verbs that end in '-cht' in the past form.||'denken' (to think)||ik dacht (I thought)|
|8.||Strong verbs that have an 'ui' in the infinitive, get 'oo' in the past form.||'fluiten' (to whistle)||ik floot (I whistled)|
|9.||Strong verbs that have an 'a' in the infinitive, get 'oe' in the past form.||'graven' (to dig)||ik groef (I digged)|
|10.||Strong verbs that have an 'e' in the infinitive, get an 'a' in the past form.||'vergeten' (to forget)||ik vergat (I forgot)|
|11.||Strong verbs that have an 'a' in the infinitive, get an 'i' in the past form.||'vangen' (to catch)||ik ving (I catched)|
|12.||Strong verbs that have an 'o' in the infinitive, get 'ie' in the past form.||'lopen' (to walk)||ik liep (I walked)|
|13.||Strong verbs that have 'iez' in the infinitive, get 'oor' in the past form.||'verliezen' (to lose)||ik verloor (I lost)|
|14.||Strong verbs that have an 'i' in the infinitive, get an 'o' in the past form.||'stinken' (to stink)||ik stonk (I stank)|
3. Dutch irregular verbs
The table shows you the conjugation of the 6 Dutch irregular verbs in the past tense.
|Subject||hebben (to have)||kunnen (to be able to)||mogen (to be allowed to)||willen (to want)||zijn (to be)||zullen (to will)|
|Hij, zij, het||had||kon||mocht||wilde||was||zou|
Train your skills by doing the exercises below!
- Excercise to practice Dutch past simple (regular verbs)
- Exercise to practice Dutch past simple (irregular verbs)
- Practice the Dutch past simple
- Exercise Dutch past simple
Excercise to practice Dutch past simple (regular verbs)
Exercise to practice Dutch past simple (irregular verbs)
Practice the Dutch past simple
Exercise Dutch past simple
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