Dutch present simple (onvoltooid tegenwoordige tijd)
Definition and usage of the present simple
The present tense is mainly used to describe something that is happening now. The table shows you the situations in which the present tense is used in Dutch.
|You want to describe something that is happening now.||
|You want to describe a fact.||
You want to describe an action that takes place, never takes place or is repeated constantly.
|You want to describe an event that is happening in the future.||
|You want to speculate about what could happen. (conditionals)||
Remember: you can recognize the use of the present when the sentence contains words as:
- vandaag (today)
- nu (now)
- straks (later on)
- later (later)
- tijdens (during)
or other words that indicate a time in the present.
1) Regular conjugation of Dutch verbs in the present simple
To form a present sentence, you need to find the stem of the verb 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 an example of the conjugation with the verb 'werken' (to work) is given.
|Jij, u (you)||stem + t||werkt|
|Hij, zij, het (he, she, it)||stem + t||werkt|
|Wij (we)||stem + en||werken|
|Jullie (you)||stem + en||werken|
|Zij (they)||stem + en||werken|
Question sentence for the singular you-form:
The given rules apply to all sentences, but there is one exception: if you write a question with the second person singular, for example 'werk jij?', the '–t' disappears. This exception does not count for 'u' (formal you), for example 'werkt u?', the '-t' stays.
There are some extra rules to keep in mind when finding the stem:
1. Long vowel verbs have long vowel stems.
The verb lopen (to walk) is the verb, the I-form will be 'ik loop' instead of 'ik lop'.
2. The stem never ends with two identical consonants, therefore, the last one will just disappear.
The verb pakken (to grab), the I-form will be 'ik pak' instead of 'ik pakk'.
3. The stem cannot end in v or z.
The verb leven (to live), the I-form will be 'ik leef' instead of 'ik lev'. This is an example of the long vowel stem and a stem ending on a v.
4. Infinitives that end in '-iën' have a stem that ends in '-ie'.
The verb ruziën (to argue), the I-form will be 'ik ruzie' instead of 'ik ruzi'.
Once the stem has been found for these exceptions, the conjugation will follow as the table above shows.
Conjugation with stems that ends in –t or –d
If a stem ends in a '-t', the ending '–t' for the second and third person singular does not have to be added. The table shows you the construction with the verb 'onderschatten' (to underestimate).
|Hij, zij, het||onderschat|
If a stem ends in a '–d', you do have to add the extra '-t', even though you already hear the sound of a '–t'. In the table below an example of the verb 'worden' (to become) is given.
|Hij, zij, het||wordt|
2) Dutch irregular verbs in the present simple
The Dutch language has 6 completely irregular verbs.
|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||heeft||kan||mag||wil||is||zal|
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