Dutch Grammar

The grammar of Dutch is slightly different from English. The order in which words are put in sentences are different in complex sentences. The most simple sentence-structure is “Subject – Verb”. The Dutch language has few grammatical tenses. The most used are:

  • onvoltooide tegenwoordige tijd (present simple)
  • onvoltooide verleden tijd (past simple)
  • voltooide tegenwoordige tijd (present perfect)
  • voltooide verleden tijd (past perfect)


Onvoltooid tegenwoordige tijd
The simplest verb-time is the onvoltooide yegenwoordige tijd (ott; present simple). The ott is used when something is occurring now, or regularly (like: Hij eet regelmatig (He eats regularly)). Most verbs are conjugated (changed) in a regular form (these verbs are called regelmatige werkwoorden (regular verbs)). The word stem of the verb is still there in all of the conjugations (changes).

Onvoltooid verleden tijd
The past form of the ott is the onvoltooid verleden tijd (ovt; past simple). The way how verbs are conjugated (changed) in the ovt is not easy to understand, and is mistaken often. This is because some verbs are conjugated by adding a D, while others are conjugated while adding a T. A way of solving this problem is the socalled ‘t kofschip.

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