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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The future tense

To talk about future a construction of auxiliary verb zullen + infinitive is used: Zij zullen lezen. — The will read. In Dutch zullen is used for both shall and will.

ik zal wij zullen
jij zal/zult jullie zullen
u zal/zult u zal/zult
hij zal zij zullen

In case of inversion: jij zultzul jij

Zullen behaves much like kunnen, moeten, mogen and willen: it agrees with the subject and occupies the second place in the sentence, while infinitive goes in the end of a sentence.

Ik zal het vandaag lezen. — I shall read this today.
Je zult dat boek nergens krijgen. — You will not get that book anywhere.

Zullen often implies an intention or a promise:
Ik zal morgen thuis blijven. — I will stay home tomorrow.


The future in Dutch can also be expressed using gaan.
Ik ga morgen een nieuwe boek kopen. — I am going to buy a new book tomorrow.
Gaat u in Rotterdam wonen? — Are you going to live in Rotterdam?


Another way of expressing the future is to use the present with words, pointing to the future:
Ik ben morgen op werk. — Tomorrow I am at work.

Adjectives as nouns

1. When referring to people: de + adjective + e
rijk (rich) → de rijke (the rich person/man/woman/etc)
dik (fat) → de dikke (the fat person/man/woman/etc)

2. When talking about abstract: het + adjective + e
leuk (nice) → het leuke (the nice thing)
goed (good) → het goede (the good thing, the good)
kwaad (bad) → het kwade (the evil)

Separable verbs

I mentioned the inseparable verbs earlier. For example, vertrekken. The prefix ver- is never separated from the rest of the word. But now it’s time for the opposite type — the separable verbs. The prefixes of these verbs separate and move around a sentence.

The infinitive form is always a single word. The added prefix change the meaning of the base verb:
gaan
— to go
meegaan
  — to go along (with)
uitgaan — to go out
weggaan — to go away

In the present tense the verb remains in the second position in a sentence, while prefix goes to the final position:

weggaan: Zij gaat vandaag weg. — She’s going away today.

To form a question the subject and the verb should be swapped:
meegaan: Ga je vanavond met on mee? — Are you coming with us tonight?

The past participle has -ge- inserted between the prefix and the verb:
meegegaan
uitgegaan
weggegaan

opbellen: Ik heb hem gisteren opgebeld — I called him yesterday.
aankomen: Zij zijn vanochtend op het station aangekomen. — They arrived at the station this morning.

The prefixes in the table below are always separable:

prefix infinitive past participle translation
 af- afmaken afgemaakt to finish
 in-  inbreken ingebroken to break in
 mee-  meenemen meegenomen to take along
 op-  opeten opgegeten to eat up
 tegen-  tegenkomen tegengekomen to meet, to run into
 toe-  toenemen toegenomen to increase, to grow
 uit-  uitsteken uitgestoken to hold out one’s hand

The following prefixes are separable when stressed but inseparable when unstressed: aan-, door-, om-, onder-, over-, voor-

Stressed and separable

prefix infinitive past participle translation
 aan- aankomen aangekomen to arrive
 om- ombrengen omgebracht to kill
 voor- voorstellen voorgesteld to represent, to propose, to suggest

Unstressed and inseparable

prefix infinitive past participle translation
 aan- aanvaarden aanvaard to accept
 om- omarmen omarmd to embrace
 voor- voorkomen voorkomen to prevent

Modal verbs

There are four of them:  kunnen (can), moeten (must), mogen (may), willen (want)
They all are irregular and I should learn all the forms by heart.

kunnen (can, be able to, be possible to. P.p: gekund)

ik kan wij kunnen
jij kan/kunt jullie kunnen
u kan/kunt u kan/kunt
hij kan zij kunnen

Both jij kan and jij kunt are used frequently.
When inverted: jij kunt → kun jij


moeten (must, have to. P.p: gemoeten)

ik moet wij moeten
jij moet jullie moeten
u moet u moet
hij moet zij moeten

The jij form does not change when inverted!

Ik moet gaan
 — I must go.
Moet ik naar school gaan? — Do I have to go to school?


mogen (mayb, be allowed to. P.p.: gemogen)

ik mag wij mogen
jij mag jullie mogen
u mag u mag
hij mag zij mogen

willen (want. P.p: gewild)

ik wil wij willen
jij wilt jullie willen
u wilt u wilt
hij wil zij willen

The jij form drops the ending -t when inverted: wil jij?


Hij kan het goed. — “do” is implied — He can do it well
Ik moet wel. — I must, I have got to.
Wij willen het wel. — We want to (do it).


Kunnen, moeten and mogen have the following impersonal construction: het/dat + verb:

Dat kan. — That is possible, that can be done.
Het moet. — It must be done.
Dat mag. — It’s allowed. Or it can also be translated as “you may”.


Past participle of a modal verb

Here’s an excerpt from dutchgrammar.com (click the link for more useful information on auxiliary and modal verbs):  “A verb that is not an auxiliary verb, is called an independent verb.  In general, a phrase has exactly one independent verb. This verb is used to specify the action of the sentence.  If there are any other verbs, those are auxiliary verbs. These verbs are used to indicate when or how the specified action takes place (presently, in the future, voluntarily, compulsory, possibly, etc.).”

The past participle of a modal verb occurs only if a verb is used independently:
Hij heeft het niet gekund. — He couldn’t.
Ik heb het niet gemoeten. — I didn’t have to.
Wij hebben het gemogen. — We were allowed to.
Zij heeft het niet gewild. — She didn’t want to.

Gemoeten and gemogen aren’t used very often.


When a modal verb is used together with another verb, the modal verb agrees with the subject, while another verb is always an infinitive:
Zij kunnen morgen niet komen.
Zij moet vanavond vroeg naar huis gaan.
U mag hier niet roken.
Ik wil met de auto gaan.

The modal verb is always second item in a sentence, and the infinitive is always the last one.

To ask a question the subject and the modal verb should be swapped. The infinitive should be left where it was:
Moet zij vanavond vroeg naar huis gaan?
Kunnen jullie morgen naar mijn huis komen?


If the perfect tense of a modal verb is needed, while used together with another verb, the past participle of the modal verb is replaced by the infinitive. Now the perfect tense auxiliary verb hebben takes the second position and agrees with the subject:

Ik heb gisteren kunnen komen. — I was able to come yesterday.
Dat heeft zij altijd willen doen. — She has always wanted to do that.

The modal verb (the infinitive) now occupies the position right before the infinitive, which goes last.

To make a question hebben and the subject should be swapped, but the two infinitives in the end remain intact:
Heeft zij dat altijd willen doen? — Has she always wanted to do that?

Di3m Week 8 vocabulary

vroeg – early
als het ware – as it were
het avondeten – evening meal
beginnen (is begonnen) – to begin (has begun)
beslist – definitely
bovendien – moreover (what is more)
de coupe – compartment
de dame – lady
het diner – dinner
de eenpersoonskamer – single room
enig – only (single)
het hotel – hotel
lukken (is gelukt) – succeed (has succeeded)
het lukt mij – I succeed
met z’n tweeen – the two of us (you, them)
niemand – no-one
niemand anders – no-one else
onder de twee jaar – under two (years of age)
onredelijk – unreasonable
de receptionist – receptionist
serveren – to serve
de sleutel – key
het spijt mij – I am sorry
de streek – region, district
de tweepersoonskamer – double room
waar – true


achterin – at(in) the back
afhalen – to collect, to meet
de baan – job
dichtdoen (transitive) – to shut
dichtgaan (intransitive) – to shut
gastvrij – hospitable
de jaren negentig – the nineties
de kennis – friend, acquaintance
het huwelijk – marriage
instappen – to get in
meerijden – to have a lift
nergens – nowhere
opendoen (transitive) – to open
opengaan (intransitive) – to open
het portier – door of a car
de studie – studies
de studievriend – college friend
terugkomen – come back, return
zich terugtrekken – to withdraw, to retire
terugzien – to see again
de vakantie – holidays
het vliegtuig – plane
het vliegveld – airport
het voorstel – proposal
elkaar – each other, one another
het vuil – rubbish
meedoen – join (in), take part (in)
aanvaren – to run into
toevallig – accidental
ontmoeting – encounter
namelijk – namely
steeds – constantly (always)