mogen

I found out that the verb “mogen” has three possible forms of past participle:

infinitive: mogen
imperfect: mocht / mochten
past participle: gemogen / gemocht / gemoogd 

Most people prefer to use gemogen, but all the three forms are valid and in use.


Based on “Dutch: A Comprehensive Grammar” by Bruce Donaldson.

-icus/-ici plural form

I’ve noticed that some words, which seem to have Latin origin, form their plurals in an unusual way:

Singular: technicus
Plural: technici

Singular: historicus
Plural: historici

Singular: mathematicus
Plural: mathematici

Singular: informaticus
Plural: informatici

Singular: academicus
Plural: academici

Singular: diabeticus
Plural: diabetici

A note on superlatives

To form a superlative of an adjective we just add -st in the end:

groot → grootst
klein → kleinst
However, if an adjective ends in -isch or -st it’s better to use meest in front in order to form superlative:

fantastisch → meest fantastisch
juist → meest juist (correct → most correct)

And the irregular ones to make it look complete (together with the comparatives):
goed beter best — good
graag lieverliefst — gladly
veelmeermeest — much
weinigminderminst — few

Plural in English but singular in Dutch

I’ve collected some nouns which are always plural in English but are singular in Dutch.

de bril – glasses
de schaar – scissors
de broek – trousers
de spijkerbroek – jeans
het broekje – briefs, panties, knickers
het spijkerbroekje – 🙂

de buigtang – pliers
de politiek – politics
de pyjama – pyjamas
It’s probably a pure coincidence that they are ‘de’ nouns (except the diminutives of course).

Verbs as nouns: het drinken van alcohol

I’ve learnt that sometimes the infinitive of verbs can be used as a noun in Dutch. And in this case it behaves like a neuter one, so we use “het” as its article.

Examples (taken from here):

Het eten van varkensvlees is verboden. – Eating pork is not allowed.
Het drinken van alcohol is toegestaan. – Drinking alcohol is allowed.

The verbs can also behave like adjectives, but I am too sleepy already to write about it at the moment. The details can be found here: http://www.heardutchhere.net/duverbs.html#NounsAdjectives

Zo zat als een aap

The word “zat” is interesting.
First of all, it’s the past tense form of “zitten” (to sit). But that’s pretty obvious.


Using this word I can also express being fed up with something:
het zat zijn – to be fed up (with something):
Ik ben het zat! – I am fed up with it!
Ben m’n werk zo zat! – I am so fed up with my work.
Ik ben de middelmatigheid echt zat. – I am really fed up with mediocrity.
Ben jij het ook zat? – 🙂
Ik ben jullie praatjes zat! – I am fed up with your talking!

Ben jij het zat om steeds harder te werken maar niet meer geld over te houden? – Are you fed up with working harder and harder but not having more money left?


And another meaning of “zat” is “drunk”.
Zo zat als een aap – drunk as a monkey (from a wonderful song “Club Insomnia” by Spinvis).

Omdat vs. Want

I briefly touched the matter of omdat and want earlier, in the post about conjunctions, but it turned out to be a bit more complex than  I thought. I found the explanation which made it quite clear to me on the forum of dutchgrammar.com. Just in case, I’ve decided to copy part of the conversation here, but please visit the forum of dutchgrammar.com for the original posts and  more.


Omdat versus Want

by Bieneke » May 26th, 2008, 12:04 am 

The semantical difference between ‘omdat’ and ‘want’ is not easy to explain. They both give a reason for something else in the sentence and they are often interchangeable. Yet, there is a subtle difference. I will try to explain it here. Perhaps, other people can add more examples to clarify it further.

Omdat

After ‘omdat’ (in the subordinating clause), you give the reason for ‘A’ (an action or state of affairs) in the main clause.

(A) Hij leert Spaans, (B) omdat hij volgend jaar naar Venezuela verhuist.
(A) He learns Spanish (B) because he is moving to Venezuela next year.

(A) Haar huis is blauw, (B) omdat blauw haar lievelingskleur is.
(A) Her house is blue (B) because blue is her favourite colour.

Want

We use ‘want’ (in a co-ordinating clause) to explain why you said ‘A’ in the main clause.

(A) We moeten snel gaan pauzeren, (B) want ik begin echt moe te worden.
(A) We must take a break soon (B) because I am really getting tired.

(A) Het zal wel gaan regenen, (B) want de lucht is erg donker.
(A) It is probably going to rain (B) because the sky looks very dark.

We cannot say: “Het zal wel gaan regenen, omdat de lucht erg donker is”, because ‘omdat’ implies a reason for the state of affairs. The dark sky will not cause the rain. The speaker simply explains why he said it will probably rain soon.

In most cases, we can use both ‘want’ and ‘omdat’.

(A) Ik doe de verwarming aan, (B) omdat het koud is.
(A) Ik doe de verwarming aan, (B) want het is koud.
(A) I switch on the heater (B) because it is cold.

In the first example, you inform us that you (decide to) switch on the heater as a result of the fact that it is cold. In the second example, you explain why you said that you switch on the heater.

I must admit the difference between the two is all but clear.

Bieneke


Ally wrote:

– Ik ben laat omdat mijn auto kapot is.
– I am late because my car is broken.

– Ik denk dat ik ziek ben want ik heb koorts.
– I think I’m sick because I have a fever.

Meervouden / pluralis

I’ve known for quite a while that in plural form one these endings is used: -en, -eren, -s, -‘s.  However, I hadn’t seen any rules regarding which ending to choose before just recently.

I got some hints from “Grammaticawijzer” of Intertaal, “Nederlands in gang” and some other sources.

The article de should be used with all the plurals.

Most nouns form plural with -en: het huis → de huizen, appel→appelen


Words ending in -el, -em, -en, -er, -e and form plural with -s:

  • de tafel → de tafels (the tables)
  • de bodem → de bodems (the bottoms)
  • de champignon → de champignons (the mushroom)
  • de bakker → de bakkers (the bakers)
  • het meisje → de meisjes (the girls)
  • het café → de cafés (the bars)

Words ending in -a, -i, -o, -u, and -y form plural with -‘s:

  • de guerilla → de guerilla’s
  • de taxi → de taxi’s
  • de auto → de auto’s
  • het menu → de menu’s
  • de baby → de baby’s

Exceptions:

  • de stad → de steden
  • de schip → de schepen
  • het kind → de kinderen
  • het ei → de eieren

The words ending in -um, -um -a or -s:

  • het museum → de musea / de museums
  • het spectrum → de spectra / de spectrums
  • het datum → de data / de datums

In the words ending in -heid, -heid -heden:

  • de waarheid → de waarheden (truth)
  • de wijsheid → de wijsheden (wisdom)
  • de schoonheid → de schoonheden (beauty)

These words are used in singular when come with numbers: cent, jaar, uur, euro, kilo

  • vijf cent
  • dertig jaar
  • vier uur
  • negen euro
  • acht kilo

Using “Er”

Case 1. As an adverb: “there” (to refer to a place):

Hij heeft er vijf jaar gewoond. — He lived there for five years.

Er is used only when in an unstressed position. When it should be under stress, daar is used instead:

Daar heeft hij vijf jaar gewoond.


Case 2. As a pronoun: het, hem and ze, when used to refer to things, cannot be used after prepositions. The following construction is used instead: er + preposition:

De kinderen spelen vaak ermee. — The children often play with it.
Hij heeft een half uur erop gewacht. — He has waited for it for half an hour.

er and preposition may get separated by some other words. For example:

De kinderen spelen er vaak mee.
Ik heb er een half uur op gewacht.

In this case er can be replaced by hier and daar, meaning “this” and “that” respectively.
Er is replaced with waar when asking a question.

Here’s the summary by example:
De kinderen spelen vaak ermee. — The children often play with it.
De kinderen spelen er vaak mee. — The children often play with it.
De kinderen spelen hier vaak mee. — The children often play with this.
De kinderen spelen daar vaak mee. — The children often play with that.
Waar spelen de kinderen mee? — What are the children playing with?


Case 3. Talking about quantity or amount: in this case it means “of it” or “of them”.

— Hoeveel kaarten heb je?  — How many tickets do you have?
— Ik heb er drie. — I have three (of them)

Ik heb er genoeg gehad. — I’ve had enough (of it/them).

“Ik heb er drie” — is the only right way to say this. Er should always present in such an expression!

Ik heb er genoeg gehad. — I’ve had enough (of it/them).


Case 4. To express the “there is” / “there are” construction (a sentence with an indefinite subject):
Er staat een man op straat. — There’s a man standing in the street.
Vanmorgen was er geen melk in de koelkast. — There was no milk in the fridge in the morning.

Invert er and the verb to form a question:
Is er geen melk in de koelkast? — Is there no milk in the fridge?