Separable and inseparable verbs in Dutch
Definition and usage of separable verbs in Dutch
Separable verbs are a combination of a verb and a prefix, for example: 'aantrekken' (to put on). The verb and the prefix can sometimes be separated in a sentence.
In the present and past tenses, the first part of the separable verb is situated at the end of the sentence and the second part, the verb, takes its usual place.
The past participle of the separable verbs is formed by putting '-ge-' between the suffix and the verb. For example, the past participle of 'opgeven' (to give up) is 'opgegeven' (given up)
|Aantrekken||To put on||Ik trek mijn schoenen niet aan vandaag.||I will not put my shoes on today.|
|Volstoppen||To stuff||Ze stopt de tas vol met snoep.||She stuffs the bag with candy.|
|Binnenkomen||To enter||Kim komt de kamer binnen.||Kim enters the room.|
Definition and usage of inseparable verbs in Dutch
An inseparable verb has the same present simple and present past as every other regular verb. The past participle is different, because the prefix replaces the prefix 'ge-', which you usually get when forming the past participle.
prefix + stem + d/t
E.g. The verb 'bedreigen' (to threaten), will be 'ik heb bedreigd' (I have threatened)
|Doorstaan||To endure||Wij doorstaan de tocht door de woestijn.||We endure the trip through the desert.|
|Omhelzen||To hug||De meisjes omhelzen elkaar.||The girls hug each other.|
|Ondertekenen||To sign||Wij ondertekenen het contract morgen.||We will sign the contract tomorrow.|
How do you know whether a verb is separable or inseparable?
You have to listen to the verb. Separable verbs have stressed prefixes and inseparable verbs have stressed verbs. Besides that, inseparable verbs can only appear with certain prefixes:
- 'mis-' (miss)
- 'vol-' (full)
- 'onder-' (under)
- 'weer' (again)
- 'aan-' (on)
- 'acher-' (behind)
- 'over-' (over)
- 'door-' (through)
- 'voor' (for)
- 'om-' (around)
Separable verbs can also begin with the previous listed prefixes. Verbs that start with the prefixes:
- 'bij-' (at)
- 'in-' (in)
- 'na-' (after)
- 'uit-' (out)
- 'op-' (on)
- 'af-' (off)
- 'mee-' (with)
- 'tegen-' (against)
- 'tussen-' (between)
- 'terug-' (back)
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