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Grammar professor
The present tense Present tense of verbs
The stem of a verb
Irregular verbs

The perfect tense
The past tense
Irregular verbs of the perfect tense

The present tense  

Present tense of verbs All dutch verbs take the following endings in the present tense:
 
ik werk I work wij werken we work
jij/u werkt you work jullie werken you work
hij/zij/het werkt he/she/it works zij werken they work
The stem of a verb

Verbs in a dictionary lists are infinitive, which in Dutch always ends in -en.
Infinitive        Infinitive
werken         to work
By removing the -en from the infinitive you get the basic word of the verb, which is called stem.
infinitive        stem
werken         werk

How to construct the present tense?

1. If the stem of the verb contains a long a, e, o, u, this vowel is doubled, e.g.
Praten 'to talk' ik praat 'I talk', jij praat 'you talk', etc; Similarly sprken 'to speak', ik spreek 'I speak', jij spreekt, etc; wonen 'to live', ik woon 'I live', jij woont 'you live', etc; huren 'to rent', ik huur 'I rent', jij huurt 'you rent', etc.
2. If the vowel of the stem is short, as shown by a double consonant after it in the infinitive, the stem will be one consonant, e.g.
bakken 'to bake', ik bak 'I bake', jij bakt 'you bake', etc; rennen 'to run', ik ren 'I run', jin rent 'you run', etc.
3.Verbs  whose stem would seem to end in v or z, after remove the -en ending, chang v or z into f or s respectively, e.g.
schrijven 'to write', ik schrijf 'I write', jij schrijft 'you write', etc; reizen 'to travel', ik reis 'I travel', jij reist 'you travel', etc; verven 'to paint', ik verf 'I paint', jij verft 'you paint', etc.
4. Combination of rules 1 and 3.
lezen 'to read', ik lees 'I read', jij leest 'you read', etc; leven 'to live', ik leef 'I live', jij leeft 'you live', etc; blozen 'to blush', ik bloos 'I blush', jij bloost 'you blush', etc.

Note: A verb with the stem ends in t does not add another t,  with the stem d, do add t although the -dt is pronounced the same as t, e.g.
zitten 'to sit', ik zit 'I sit', jij zit 'you sit', etc; vinden 'to find', ik vind 'I find', jij vindt 'you find', etc.


Back to Grammar menu       Back to the stem of a verb
Irregular verbs  
  The present tense of the irregular verb zijn 'to be' is as follows:
 
ik ben I am wij zijn we are
jij/u bent you are jullie zijn you are
hij/zij/het is he/she/it is zij zijn they are
  Others:
 
  hebben komen doen gaan slaan staan zien
ik heb kom doe ga sla sta zie
jij  hebt komt doet gaat slaat staat ziet
hij heeft komt doet gaat slaat staat ziet
wij  heben komen doen gaan slaan staan zien
jullie  hebben komen doen gaan slaan staan zien
zij  hebben komen doen gaan slaan staan zien
  Stems containing the diphthongs ij or ou followed by a d often drop the d of the stem in the first perosn singular, e.g. Just three words:

Ik snij het brood.  I'm cutting the bread. (infinitive snijden)
Ik rij nu naar huis. I'm driving home now.(infinitive rijden)
Ik hou van jou.     I love you. (infinitive houden)

 
 

Note: Unlike English, Dutch does not distinguish between the present tense and the present progressive tense.
Ik woon.  I live/I am living.


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The Perfect tense

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Dutch, People like to use perfect tense rather than past tense.

I heard from Tom today.
Ik heb vandaag van Tom gehoord.

I talked for an hour.
We hebben een uur gepraat.

'Gehoord' and 'gepraat' are called past participle, just like in English:
I havn't seen him for a long time. 'Seen' is a past participle.
In Dutch and English both have a verb 'hebben' , 'to have' , followed by the past participle.

But how to form a past participle from a verb?
 
Infinitive Stem Past participle
horen(hear) hoor gehoord(heard)
bellen(ring) bel gebeld(rung)
praten(talk) praat gepraat(talked)
zeggen(say) zeg gezegd(said)
koken(cook) kook gekookt(cooked)
  Rules: 1.  Remember the made-up word 't kofschip, if a stem ends with any of the consonants in this word, the past participle will be added with -t, otherwise the past participle will be added with -d.

2. But be careful, if a verb that has a v or z in the infinitive, but a stem ends with f or z, for this kind of words, the past participle still will be added with -d.

 
Infinnitive Stem Past participle
reizen(travel) reis gereisd
leven(live) leef geleefd

3. Verbs that start with unstressed be-, her-, ont- and ver-, don't add ge-.
4. Verbs end with -t, don't add -t: gepraat, ontmoet.

Infinnitive Stem Past participle
beloven(promise) beloof beloofd(promised)
gebaren(gesture) gebaar gebaard(gestured)
herhalen(repeat) herhaal herhaald(repeated)
ontmoeten(meet) ontmoet ontmoet(met)
vertalen(translate) vertaal vertaald(translated)
  Back to Grammar menu       Back to the  perfect tense
The past tense The past tense : He worked in Amsterdam.
This tense is also called the imperfect tense. It is formed by adding -te or   -de to the stem of the verb in the singular and -ten or -den in the plural. The choice of -te(n)/de(n) is also determined by the rule
't kofschip.

 
koken 'to cook' horen 'to hear'
ik kookte ik hoorde
jij kookte jij hoorde
hij kookte hij hoorde
wij kookten wij hoorden
jullie kookten jullie hoorden
zij kookten zij hoorden
  Note:1. Verbs like praten 'to talk'  and verbranden 'to burn' that already end in -t and -d:

ik praatte            ik verbrandde
wij praatten        wij verbrandden

2. In English, because of some time words, like yesterday, last year, for some time, and so on, it determines whether it used the perfect tense or the past tense, but in Dutch, no difference, you can use both, no limit to time words.
Ik heb gisteren gekookt. I cooked yesterday.
A perfect tense in Englis is always a perfect tense in Dutch, and a past tense in English can be either an past tense or a perfect tense in Dutch.
Ze kocht het vorig jaar/ Ze heeft het vorig jaar gekocht.
She bought it last year.
Back to Grammar menu       Back to the past tense
Irregular verbs of the perfect tense
Just like in English, for past participle there are some irregular verbs, in Dutch too. For Irregular verbs, need to recite it.
Click here:   Irregular verbs

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