• Dutch grammar
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  • 1 Dutch alphabet [0/2]
  • 2 Dutch pronunciation [0/2]
  • 3 Dutch sentence structure
  • 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 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.  

    Situation Example Translation
    You want to describe an event or action that took place in the past.
    • Gisteren fietste ik naar school.
    • Vorige week vierde ik mijn verjaardag. 
    • I cycled to school yesterday.
    • I celebrated my birthday last week. 
    You want to describe a past event / action that has nothing to do with the present time.
    • Prinses Beatrix regeerde lange tijd over Nederland. 
    • De Egyptenaren bouwden piramides. 
    • Princess Beatrix reigned over the Netherlands for a long time.
    • The Egyptians built pyramids.  
    Using the word 'toen' (when) to announce a past event/action.  
    • Toen we naar huis liepen, regende het.
    • Toen ik wilde eten, was de pasta op. 
    • When we walked home, it rained. 
    • When I wanted to eat, all the pasta was gone.

    enlightenedRemember: 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). 

    Subject Form Example 
    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

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    Orthographic and pronunciation rules

    1. '-te'/'-ten' or '-de'/'-den'

    When is the ending '-te' or '-ten' and when '-de' or '-den'?

    1. when the stem ends in one of the following consonants: 't exKofschip, the ending is '-te' or '-ten'
    2. 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). 

    Subject Example
    Ik haatte
    Jij, u haatte
    Hij, zij, het haatte
    Wij haatten
    Jullie haatten
    Zij haatten 

    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). 

    Subject Example 
    Ik  raadde 
    Jij, u raadde
    Hij, zij, het raadde
    Wij raadden
    Jullie raadden
    Zij raadden

    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). 

    Subject Form
    Ik loosde
    Jij, u loosde
    Hij, zij, het loosde
    Wij loosden
    Jullie loosden
    Zij loosden

    enlightenedNote 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. 

      Rule Verb Example
    1. Strong verbs that have an 'e' in the infinitive, get 'ie' in the past form. 'helpen' 
    (to help), . 
    ik hielp 
    (I helped)
    2. Strong verbs that have an 'ij' in the infinitive, get 'ee' in the past form.  'krijgen'
    (to receive)
    ik kreeg 
    (I received)
    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) 
    Ik had kon mocht wilde was zou
    Jij, u  had kon mocht wilde was zou
    Hij, zij, het had kon mocht wilde  was zou
    Wij hadden konden mochten wilden waren zouden
    Jullie hadden konden mochten wilden waren zouden
    Zij hadden konden mochten wilden waren zouden

    Train your skills by doing the exercises below!