In this chapter you will learn about the Dutch prepositions. It gives you an overview of the different prepositions and how to use them. The Dutch language has three categories of prepositions. In the subchapters you can study these different categories of prepositions.
Definition and usage of Dutch prepositions
Prepositions are used to indicate a connection between words in the sentence. A preposition is never an independent part of the sentence, it belongs (almost) always to a noun.
Tip: you can remember prepositions as so called 'kast-woordjes' (closet-words). This is a way to test if a word is a preposition. The Dutch prepositions can (almost) always be combined with the word 'kast' (closet).
- Het boek ligt in de kast. - The book is in the closet.
- Het boek ligt op de kast.- The book is on the closet.
The Dutch language has four categories of prepositions:
1) Prepositions of place
Prepositions of place indicate a relationship related to space or location.
- Zij is nog thuis. = She is still at home.
- We studeren aan de universiteit. = We study at the university.
2) Prepositions of movement
Prepositions of movement are used to indicate direction.
- Zij fietsen naar de supermarkt. = They cycle to the supermarket.
- Ik wandel langs een rivier. = I walk along a river.
3) Prepositions of time
Prepositions of time refer to a time relationship.
- Jullie moeten hier om 8.00 zijn. = You must be here at 8.00 a.m.
- Je bent een arts sinds 2010. = You have been a doctor since 2010.
There are Dutch verbs that have a fixed preposition. The verb is always combined with the same preposition. In this case, the preposition is irreplaceable. The preposition is important for the meaning of the verb.
- Ik wacht op mijn hamburger (wachten op) – I am waiting for my hamburger.
- Hij is bang voor spinnen. (bang zijn voor) - He is afraid of spiders.
- Kim is dol op ijs. (dol zijn op) - Kim loves ice-cream.
Dutch has a couple prepositional expressions. This means that multiple prepositions are used to express something. These have a 'fixed' structure:
preposition + noun+ preposition
- Er hebben belangrijke ontwikkelingen plaatsgevonden met betrekking tot het klimaat. (Important developments have taken place with regard to/concerning the climate.)
- Ik ging naar school in plaats van naar huis. (I went to school instead of to my home.)
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Sometimes words look like prepositions in a sentence, but they actually are a part of a separable verb.
- Hij bakt de kip aan. (aanbakken) - He is baking the chicken.
- Wij geven ons op voor de quiz. (opgeven) - We are sigining up for the quiz.
- Ze stellen vaak voor om naar het strand te gaan. (voorstellen) - They often propose to go to the beach.
Take a look at the preposition list to study all the prepositions. Also take a look at the other chapters to learn more about the different categories of prepositions.
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