Many common verbs in Dutch can serve as auxiliary verbs. In such a case they are used together with an infinitive form of some other verb. The auxiliary verb takes the second place in a sentence and agrees with the subject. The infinitive is always in the last place and may or may not be preceded by te:
Hij probeert te werken. — He is trying to work.
1. When the verbs from the list below are used as auxiliaries, no te is required before the infinitive.
Hij blijft staan. — He is standing still.
Het doet me lachen. — It makes me laugh.
Like modals, to form the perfect tense the verbs of this type use infinitives instead of the past participles.
Ik heb mijn schoenen laten repareren. — I have had my shoes repared.
Zij is komen helpen. — She came to help.
2. The list below contains the most important auxiliary verbs which requre te before the infinitives.
|hoeven||is used as negative of moeten, for example: Dat hoef je niet te doen. You don’t have to do that.|
|liggen||when used as auxiliary, often has a meaning of the English verb “to be”, for example: Zij ligt te slapen. — She is sleeping.|
|staan||often means “to be”, for example: Zij staan in de keuken te praten. — They are talking in the kitchen.|
|weten||know. Sometimes is translated as “to manage to”|
|zitten||often is translated as “to be”|
The regular formula for the perfect tense is :
hebben/zijn + past participle + te + infinitive
Ik ben vergetten te schrijven. — I forgot to write.
Hij heeft geprobeerd me op te bellen. — He tried to call me.
op te bellen — the infinitive of a separable word becomes separated with te.
In case of perfect tense the following verbs have exceptional behaviour:
durven, hoeven, liggen, staan and zitten.
They form the perfect tense the same way as modals — the past participle is replaced by the infinitive and te is dropped:
Wij hebben naar de radio zitten luisteren. — We were (sitting) listening to the radio.