Dutch Courses » Advanced Course

Dutch for English Speakers

Advanced Course

This course includes every subject of the beginner’s course. When Dutch is new to you, you can start here anyway. Then you will come upon many additional subjects that are not at beginner’s level.

The Dutch language is mainly spoken in the Netherlands, northern Belgium and Surinam. Dutch is comparable to German, and in lesser degree, to English.

In this course Dutch words and sentences are in blue font, except when placed in a table.

Dutch uses the Latin alphabet. The pronunciation differences between Dutch and English are in the vowels mainly.
You can define vowels like this: When you pronounce a vowel in any language, your lips do not touch each other, and your tongue does not touch the palate. The sound is therefore unobstructed and relatively clear.

Parts of Speech

Every word belongs to one category. These categories are called parts of speech. If a Dutch word is a noun, the literal English translation is more than likely fits in the same category. This also true for other parts of speech, like verbs and numbers.

Nouns are names of things, persons, and abstract concepts.
boom - tree
auto - car

Dutch has three articles. Are you talking about a specific thing? Use de or het. Are you talking about an unknown and undefined thing? Use een. An article precedes the noun in a sentence, and belongs to it.
de - the
het - the
een - a (or an)
de boom - the tree

A verb often describes an action of someone. A verb can also describe a situation. This chapter is about when to use a certain verb tense. The details of verb conjugation (which is more complicated) is found elsewhere.
zijn - to be
lopen - to walk
ze lopen - they walk

Adjectives are words preceding a noun, giving more information about a thing or person that is mentioned in the sentence.
groen - green
rood - red
groene boom - green tree

If you want to talk about persons or things without mentioning them, you can use pronouns. English personal pronouns are for example I and you. Other English pronouns are, for example, this and that.
ik - I
je - you
dat - that

Adverbs provide additional information about a noun or, more often, about a verb (an action or a situation). Words like tomorrow are adverbs.
morgen - tomorrow
soms - sometimes
Ik fiets soms. - I cycle sometimes.

Prepositions can tell you something about the location of a person or thing. English has prepositions like: on, under, in front of, over, and behind. A preposition can also have an abstract meaning.
op - on
naar - to
naar de auto - to the car

Conjunctions join two sentences together.
want - because
maar - but
Ze lopen naar de auto, maar ik blijf hier. - They walk to the car, but I stay here.

Numbers are used to count. Ordinal numbers show rank or position. Calculations, addresses, dates and time are also part of this chapter.
twintig - twenty
honderd - one hundred
vijfde - fifth

Some words are not part of any of the previous categories. Most of them, like yes and no, are interjections. Interjections do not contribute to the structure of a sentence. All other parts of speech do.
ja - yes
nee - no

Other Subjects

Questions in Dutch are basically made by moving the first verb of the sentence to the front. A verb like to do is not used to make questions.
Lopen ze naar de auto? - Do they walk to the car?

To give a sentence the opposite meaning, add words like geen (no) or niet (not). A verb like to do is not used to make negations.
Ze lopen niet naar de auto. - They do not walk to the car.

The word order of Dutch sentences is not the same as in English. When a sentence includes more than one verb, the difference is significant. This is one of the most important subjects. In this chapter you learn to make Dutch sentences yourself.
Daarom lopen ze door. - Therefore they walk on.

Every word has at least one syllable. If a syllable ends with a vowel, it is an open syllable. Single letter vowels are a, e, i, o, and u. These vowels are often pronounced like aa, ee, ie, oo, and uu when they are part of an open syllable.

This chapter includes information about using capitals, brackets, dots and commas.
Ze vroeg: ‘Ideeën?’ - She asked: ‘Ideas?’

This chapter is about the spelling of verbs. It is the sequel to Verb Tenses. Learn about vowel changes, strong verbs, weak verbs, and the past participle.
Ze hebben gewacht. - They have waited.
Ze hebben gezongen. - They have sung.

This list of Dutch verbs shows one table per verb. Normally every table has eight verb tenses.

Every sentence in this list shows a frequently used word in context.
Ik ga met je mee. - I’ll go with you.
Alle ramen staan open. - All windows are open.

Cases are rare and unimportant in Dutch. Some frequently used words remember us of cases that were used in the past.
’s morgens - in the morning
’s middags - in the afternoon
’s avonds - in the evening

This is a glossary of Dutch grammatical terms.

back to top