Dutch Courses Ľ Advanced Course Ľ Parts of Speech Ľ Adverbs


Adverbs do not say something about nouns (for example, book and table are nouns), but about other elements of the sentence.

In this example, the adverb morgen (tomorrow) says something about the verb komen (to come).
Ik kom morgen - I will come tomorrow.

In this example, the adverb heel (very) says something about the adjective lang (tall).
Het heel lange gras. - The very tall grass.

In this example, the adverb heel (very) says something about the adverb vaak (often).
Ik reis heel vaak naar BelgiŽ. - I travel to Belgium very often.

The next examples show more adverbs. They are always spelled the same. So never add letters to a word that is used as an adverb.

Time Adverbs
Ik ga morgen naar huis. - I go home tomorrow.
Ik zag jou gisteren. - I saw you yesterday.
Ik kook vandaag. - Iíll do the cooking today.
Ik kook soms. - Iím used to do the cooking sometimes.
Ik kook vaak. - I often do the cooking.
Ik kook altijd. - I always do the cooking.
Ik nies steeds. - Iím sneezing continually.
Dan ben ik jarig. - Then itís my birthday.
Hij is net aangekomen. - He just arrived.
Ik heb het pas gehoord. - Iíve heard it recently.
Location Adverbs
Ik ben hier. - I am here.
Ik ga ergens heen. - I will go somewhere.
Other Adverbs
Ik kom niet. - I will not come.
Ik kom misschien. - Maybe, Iíll come.
Het is helaas te koud vandaag. - Unfortunately it is too cold today.
Ik wil graag een ticket van u. - I would like to receive a ticket from you.
Het ging bijna mis. - It almost went wrong.
Eigenlijk is deze tas te zwaar. - Properly speaking, this bag is too heavy.
Er zijn nog twee koffers. - There are two more suitcases.
Wat een verrassing. Hij is wel gekomen. - What a surprise. He did come.
Wat een verrassing. Hij is toch gekomen. - What a surprise. He came anyway.
Dat is mooi opgelost, toch? - That (problem) is solved nicely, isnít it?
Dat is toch fijn? - That is nice. Do you want to admit that?
Dat is goed, ? - Thatís good, huh?
Ik hoor dat je de auto neemt. Dat is goed, hoor. - I hear youíll take the car. Thatís fine. I assure you.
Dat heb je goed gedaan, zeg. - You did well, (I) say.
Gisteren heb ik zelfs gekookt. - Even yesterday I did the cooking.
Gisteren heb ik zelf gekookt. - Yesterday I did the cooking myself.
Gisteren heb ik zelf maar gekookt. - Yesterday I just did the cooking myself.
Wat is er? - Whatís the matter?

Because er is an important adverb, it has a paragraph of its own.

The adverb er

The Dutch word er is used in many ways. It is often translated by there. It appears in sentences where it seems to have no meaning at all, and often, that is true.

When we talk about a location, er means there.
Er zijn drie schoenwinkels in deze straat. - There are three shoe stores in this street.

If you donít know the subject of the sentence, er helps to construct the sentence. You can also use er, when you donít want to mention the subject.
Er wordt aangebeld. - Somebody is calling at the door.
Er wordt niets aan gedaan. - Nothing is done about it.
Er is een kraan gerepareerd. - A tap was repaired.

Use er to introduce a person or thing.
Er is iemand binnengekomen. - Somebody entered.
Er kwam iemand langs met een kinderwagen. - Somebody came by with a perambulator.
Er is een klant. - A customer has arrived. (literally: There is a customer.)
Er is thee. - Thereís tea available.

The word er can be used as a part of a preposition.
Nu giet ik de olie erin. - Now Iím pouring the oil into it.
Ik weet er alles van. - I know all about it.
Ik ben ervan geschrokken. - I was startled by it.
Ik heb er veel aan. - I can benefit from this (thing).
Jullie mogen ermee rijden. - You are allowed to drive it.

When you mention number and leave out the object, er is needed.
Ik heb vier winterbanden gekocht. - I bought four winter tyres.
Ik heb er vier gekocht. - I bought four of them.
Ik heb een jas gekocht. - I bought a coat.
Ik heb er ťťn gekocht. - I bought one.

This example shows that er does not always mean there.
Er is iets gebeurd. - Something happened.
Wat is er gebeurd? - What happened?
Wie gaat er mee? - Who will come along?
Er zijn honderd exemplaren verkocht. - One hundred copies are sold.

But when you need the word there, use daar.
Daar is het gebeurd. - It happened over there.
Wat is daar gebeurd? - What happened there?

When you need the word here, use hier.
De schuurmachine staat hier. - The sander is here.

The next expression is very common. If you move een muis to the front and leave er out, it sounds uncommon.
Er zit een muis in de kast. - Thereís a mouse in the cupboard.
But if you know the mouse, it is different. Donít use er and de muis in one expression.
De muis zit in de kast. - The mouse is in the cupboard.

Two Kinds of Adverbs

Some words can only be used as an adverb. Examples are: vaak (often) and gisteren (yesterday).
Ik reis vaak naar BelgiŽ. - I often travel to Belgium.

But many words are used as adverbs and adjectives, like groen (green) and snel (fast). It is an adjective when you say:
Een snel schip. - A fast ship.

It is an adverb when you say:
Het schip roest snel. - The ship rusts quickly.
You do not mean that the ship is quick, but you mean this:
Dat is een snel roestend schip. - That is a quickly rusting ship.

Itís the rusting that is quickly. Quickly says something about the verb to rust. When snel is used this way, it is an adverb.

More examples of adverbs:
The colors are not good, the matching is good:
De kleuren passen goed bij elkaar. - The colors match well.
The train might be slow, but that isnít said. The acceleration is slow.
De trein versnelt langzaam. - The train accelerates slowly.
The boy might be fast if he wants to. The walking is slow here.
De jongen loopt langzaam. - The boy walks slowly.

In English adverbs often end in ly, for example quickly. Dutch adverbs doesnít have a suffix that helps you to recognize them.

Important: A Dutch adverb is always spelled the same. Dutch adjectives are not always spelled the same. Therefore adjectives are more difficult to learn than adverbs.

Adverbs in English

In English, adverbs often end with ly:
Kom snel. - Come quickly.
een snel paard - a quick horse

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