Common verbs as auxiliary verbs

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.

blijven
doen
gaan
helpen
horen
komen
laten
leren
vinden
voelen
zien
Examples:
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.

beginnen begin
durven dare
hoeven is used as negative of moeten, for example: Dat hoef je niet te doen. You don’t have to do that.
hopen hope
liggen when used as auxiliary, often has a meaning of the English verb “to be”, for example: Zij ligt te slapen. — She is sleeping.
proberen try
staan often means “to be”, for example: Zij staan in de keuken te praten. — They are talking in the kitchen.
vergeten forget
weten know. Sometimes is translated as “to manage to”
zitten often is translated as “to be”

Perfect tense
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.

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