Dutch/Lesson 17

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Advanced level: cycle 5

Lesson 17 ~ Lesson 17

Voorzetselbijwoorden ~ Prepositional adverbs |}

Formation of pronominal adverbs
Formation of separable verbs
Formation of inseparable verbs

Advanced level[edit | edit source]

Welcome to the first lesson of the advanced level of this course. You should have a pretty good understanding of Dutch grammar, a good basis in syntax and a considerable vocabulary by now. This means that you should be able to practice your Dutch on your own through books, websites, videos, TV programs etc. etc.

The advanced level will concentrate on a number of special topics that will deepen your command of the language. This part of the course is the least developed in terms of practice or cultural context and is more aimed at being a reference source for you to come back to when you run into things you do not quite understand when using your Dutch out there on your own.

Bijwoorden[edit | edit source]

Dutch word translation prep. prep.
pron. adv.
sep. verbs
insep. verbs
in in yes yes erin inrijden
binnen inside yes yes erbinnen binnenkomen
door through, by yes yes erdoor doorlopen doorlopen
bij near yes yes erbij bijkomen
op on, upon yes yes erop opkomen
open open no yes opendraaien openbaren
dicht closed no yes dichtnaaien
naast beside yes yes ernaast
over over yes yes erover overlopen overkomen
boven above yes yes erboven bovenblijven
tegen against yes yes ertegen tegenspreken
zonder on, upon yes yes erzonder[1]
tegenover opposite yes yes ertegenover tegenoverstellen
voor for, before yes yes ervoor vóórkomen voorkómen
achter behind yes yes erachter achterstellen achterhalen
achterop on the back of yes yes erachterop achteropraken
neer down no yes neerzien
beneden down, dowstairs yes yes erbeneden
uit out (of) yes yes eruit uitstellen
buiten outside (of) yes yes erbuiten buitensluiten
benevens next to yes no
via via yes no
sinds since yes no
vanwege bcause of yes no
onder under yes yes eronder onderlopen ondervragen
met with yes no
mee along, with no yes ermee meemaken
langs along yes yes erlangs langslopen
om around, in order to yes yes erom omlopen omarmen
aan on, at yes yes eraan aanlopen aanvaarden
af off no yes eraf aflopen
van of, from yes yes ervan
heen towards, away no yes erheen heengaan
weer again no yes weerkeren weerstaan
behalve except yes no
gezien in view of yes no

We have seen two major groups of words in the Dutch language: naamwoorden (nouns, adverbs, pronouns etc.) and werkwoorden (transitive verbs, intransitives, copula's, auxiliaries). The third group that comprises all the rest is known as bijwoorden (adverbs) and again they occur in a number of forms. Unfortunately it is not possible to classify them quite as thoroughly as the other two groups. In fact it is a bit of a miscellaneous rest group, a kind garbage can into which anything is flung that does not fit in the other two.

We have already seen a few groups of words that fall under the denominator bijwoord in the more extensive sense of the word and we will examine a few more

  1. prepositional adverbs, like in, voor, mee, toe, heen, af etc.
  2. prepositions like in, op, bij, over, met, tot
  3. conjunctions (including subjunctions)
  4. modal adverbs (particles) like wel, maar, eens, ...
  5. adverbs of place and time, like nu, toen, dan or daar, waar
  6. interjections, like oh, hoi, ach, dag, nou

Prepositions and prepositional adverbs[edit | edit source]

Prepositions are often hard to translate exactly because which one is used in which case often differs between the languages.

Historically, prepositions developed from adverbs that were put before an object to clarify the meaning of a case ending. Later they supplanted the use of the case endings completely.

In Dutch many prepositions have an—often identical—adverbial form, the prepositional adverb, that occurs either as part of a separable verb or as the prepositional part of the pronominal adverb or simply by itself. As we have seen both of those compounds play a considerable role in Dutch grammar. Thus the separation between prepositions and adverbs is not as sharp in Dutch as it is in some other languages. In a sense Dutch is a rather adverbial language: adverbs play a major role.

Another role that prepositional adverbs sometimes play is that of complement of a copula (predicate):

De licht is aan en blijft aan
De bal is uit.

However, there are also prepositions that are just that: prepositions and not adverbs. They are historically from a later date and have often resulted from nouns or participles that got used as prepositions. They cannot be used to form pronominal adverbs, separable verbs or predicates.

Conversely, there are adverbs that never became prepositions, but they do get used to form compound verbs, pronominal adverbs and predicates, e.g. af:

pronominal adverb: eraf - er niet af
separable verb: afschieten - hij schoot af
predicate: het is nog niet af

Below is a list of the most common prepositions and prepositional adverbs to give an idea how they are used. The table gives an overview of the various roles that prepositions and their adverbs can play.

There is a number of forms that were formed by prefixing be- and often end in -(e)n, cf.

in - binnen
uit - buiten
over - boven
ne(d)er - beneden

English has a few comparable forms like before, between, beside, below and behind

IN, BINNEN[edit | edit source]


In translates mostly as its cognate in

hij woont in dat huis - he lives in that house
hij gelooft in spoken - he believes in ghosts

Its identical adverb in often occurs pronominal replacement: erin, daarin (in it, in there) etc. as well as in separable verbs as will be shown below.

Notice that Dutch does not have an equivalent of into but uses in as prepositional adverb to express the concept of movement 'into' something.

An alternative is to use binnen which often translates into inside

hij is binnen - he is inside
e.g. Hij liep het huis binnen. ‘’He entered the house.’’
binnen twee minuten - within two minutes

To emphasize movement naar can be added:

hij liep naar binnen - he walked in
hij liep er naar binnen - he entered it

Notice that Dutch grammar has no hangups about ending sentences in 'prepositions'. A word like binnen is not considered a preposition unless it actually precedes a noun. Otherwise it is an adverb and there is no law against ending a sentence in an adverb...

Pronominal adverbs
  • erin, hierin, daarin, waarin, ergens in, nergens in, overal in, ergens anders in, nergens anders in
  • erbinnen, hierbinnen, daarbinnen, waarbinnen
Separable verbs
e.g. Ik adem in. I breathe in.
e.g. Hij loopt het huis in. He walks into the house.

Notice that Dutch uses the preposition in to denote a state of rest, but the prepositional adverb to denote movement:

in het huis - in the house
het huis in - into the house

The prepositional adverb is usually part of a separable verb:

hij liep het huis in <- het huis inlopen.
Inseparable verbs

UIT, BUITEN[edit | edit source]


uit is represented by out of or from

uit dit erts wordt goud gewonnen - out of this ore gold is produced
hij komt uit Utrecht - he is from Utrecht

buiten usually means outside

buiten de stad - outside the city
hij is buiten - he is outside
hij ging naar buiten - he went ouside'
Pronominal adverbs
  • eruit, hieruit, daaruit, waaruit
  • erbuiten, hierbuiten, daarbuiten, waarbuiten
Separable verbs

Both uit and buiten have separable verbs. Uit often means off in these.

e.g. uitdraaien:
Hij draaide de radio uit. He turned the radio off.
e.g. uitdoen:
Zij deed het licht uit. She switched off the light.
Zij deed haar jas uit. She took her coat off.

Buiten often means out in verbs:

e.g. buitensluiten - to lock out
Inseparable verbs

DOOR[edit | edit source]


door is a cognate of through and often corresponds to it:

Het licht valt door het raam. The light shines through the window.

In many cases the correct translation is by particularly when it is used with the passive voice:

Hij is door de wol geverfd. lit. He has been dyed by the wool. (He is a veteran, old hand.)

Together with heen the meaning is through and through or passage through:

Hij stak de naald door het vel heen. He stuck the needle (all the way) through the skin.
Pronominal adverbs
  • erdoor, hierdoor, daardoor, waardoor, ergens door, nergens door, overal door, ergens anders door, nergens anders door
Dat is nergens anders door te vervangen
That cannot be replaced by anything else.
Separable verbs
e.g. dóórhakken:
Hij hakte de knoop door. He cut the knot through.
Inseparable verbs
e.g. Hij doorzag de list. He saw through the ruse.

Notice that the separable version has stress, the inseparable one does not.

BIJ[edit | edit source]


Although the word is cognate of by it often is used rather differently. It indicates a location slightly to the side of something.

Schiphol ligt bij Amsterdam - Schiphol is near Amsterdam
bij de les blijven - stay with the lesson
bij slecht weer - in the case of bad weather
het is bij vijven - it is around five o'clock
hij bleef erbij - he stuck to it
Pronominal adverbs
  • erbij, hierbij, daarbij, waarbij, ergens bij, nergens bij, overal bij, ergens anders bij, nergens anders bij
Separable verbs
e.g. bijkomen:
Hij kwam eindelijk bij. He finally regained consciousness.
Ik heb het bijgewerkt. I have updated it.
Inseparable verbs

OP[edit | edit source]


Although cognate of up it usually translates as on or upon

hij is op vakantie - he is on vacation
het boek ligt op de tafel - the book lies on the table.
op je gezondheid - a toast to you health (not : up your .. etc.)
Pronominal adverbs
  • erop, hierop, daarop, waarop, ergens op, nergens op, overal op, ergens anders op, nergens anders op
  • Dat past nergens anders op. That doesn't fit on anything else.
Separable verbs
e.g. opnemen:
Hij nam op. He picked up, answered (the phone); he recorded; he absorbed.
Ach , hoepel toch op! Ow, get lost!, lit. to hoop up; to get lost
Inseparable verbs

NAAST[edit | edit source]


naast translates mostly into next to, beside

Jan en Elly wonen naast John en Heleen. Jan and Elly are the neighbors of John and Heleen.
Zij wonen ernaast.
Pronominal adverbs
  • ernaast, hiernaast, daarnaast, waarnaast, ergens naast, nergens naast, overal naast
Separable verbs
Inseparable verbs

OVER[edit | edit source]


over translates mostly as it identical cognate:

hij vloog over het koekoeksnest - he flew over the cuckoo's nest

It can also translate as about

hij praat veel over auto's. He talks a lot about cars.
Pronominal adverbs
  • erover, hierover, daarover, waarover, ergens over, nergens over, overal over, ergens anders over, nergens anders over
Hij praat nergens anders over. He talks about nothing else.
Separable verbs
e.g. overlopen:
Het bad liep over. The bathtub overflowed.
Inseparable verbs
e.g. overzien
Ik overzag het slagveld. I oversaw the battlefield.

BOVEN[edit | edit source]


boven translates as its cognate above

hij zette er een punt boven: he put a dot above it.

Its identical adverb usually means up, upstairs

hij is boven : he is upstairs

To indicate movement Dutch uses naar

hij liep naar boven - he went upstairs, he went up the hill etc.
Pronominal adverbs
  • erboven, hierboven, daarboven, waarboven, ergens boven, nergens boven, overal over
Hij woont hierboven. He lives above here.
Separable verbs
Inseparable verbs

TEGEN[edit | edit source]

tegen usually translates as against

hij was tegen dit wetsvoorstel - he opposed this proposition
de fiets stond tegen de muur - the bike stood against the wall


hij zei tegen haar - he said to her
Pronominal adverbs
ertegen, hiertegen, daartegen, waartegen, ergens tegen, nergens tegen, overal tegen, ergens anders tegen, nergens anders tegen
Separable verbs
e.g. tegenwerken: to thwart, to work against
Hij werkte me altijd tegen. He always blocked me.
tegenkomen - to encounter, to run into
Inseparable verbs

ZONDER[edit | edit source]


zonder means without

hij drinkt koffie zonder suiker
Pronominal adverbs
It did not have an adverbial form but increasingly pronominal adverbs like waarzonder are used.[1]
Separable verbs
Inseparable verbs

TEGENOVER[edit | edit source]

tegenover means on the opposite side of.

Het hotel staat tegenover het conferentiecentrum. The hotel is opposite the conference center.
Pronominal adverbs
  • ertegenover, hiertegenover, daartegenover, waartegenover
Separable verbs
e.g.: tegenoverstellen - put against, balance, add an objection
Inseparable verbs

VOOR[edit | edit source]


This preposition has two meanings, one corresponds to English for

Dat is voor jóú. That is for you

But with a different stress pattern is means before either in place or time or in favor of

Hij is vóór jou. He is before you (in line e.g.)
Hij stemde vóór de motie. He voted in favor of the motion

Used as an adverb, it often gets an ending -en:

Hij liep naar voren. He walked to the front.
Pronominal adverbs
  • ervoor, hiervoor, daarvoor, waarvoor, ergens voor, nerges voor, overal voor, ergens anders voor, nergens anders voor
Hij wilde overal voor stoppen. He wanted to stop for everything.
Separable verbs
voorlichten - to inform, to apprise
vóórkomen - to occur
Inseparable verbs
voorkómen - to prevent

ACHTER[edit | edit source]


Achter is mostly translated as behind. Some dialects, e.g. in Zeeland and West Flanders have a form bachten in the meaning of behind but it is not considered part of standard Dutch.

Hij stond achter de tafel. He stood behind the table.

As adverb it can also translate into back:

Hij keek naar achter. He looked back

In that meaning it often gets an ending -en:

Hij liep naar achteren. He walked to the back.
Pronominal adverbs
  • erachter, hierachter, daarachter, waarachter, ergens achter, nergens achter, overal achter, ergens anders achter, nergens anders achter
Het kan overal achter zitten. It could be hidden behind anything.
Separable verbs
e.g. achterstellen - to discriminate, to marginalize
Deze groep is eeuwen lang achtergesteld. This group has been marginalized for centuries.
Inseparable verbs
e.g. achterhalen
Ik achterhaalde de waarheid. I retraced the truth.

ACHTERIN[edit | edit source]

achterin translate mostly into in the back of

Achterin de auto liggen nog wat boodschappen - In the trunk of the car there a still a few groceries

It is often used as an adverb together with in:

Het lag achterin in de auto
Pronominal adverbs
Separable verbs
Inseparable verbs

ACHTEROP[edit | edit source]

achterop is mostly used to indicate the passenger seat of a bike and is used as an adverb. As a preposition it falls apart. (See lesson 23.)

achter op de fiets - on de back of the bike
met z'n meisie achterop - with his girl on the back
Pronominal adverbs
Separable verbs
e.g. achteropraken: to run behind, to lose advantage
Inseparable verbs

NE(D)ER, BENEDEN[edit | edit source]


The form beneden can be used as preposition in the meaning of below, under underneath, south of

beneden de rivieren - south of the rivers (i.e. Rhine, Meuse etc.)
beneden de Iridiumlaag vind je dinosaurusbotten - below the Iridium layer you find dinosaur bones

With naar it indicates downward movement:

hij viel naar beneden - he fell down

The form neer (<neder) is not used as a preposition but occurs as an adverb with the meaning of down in separable verbs.

Pronominal adverbs
  • neer: none
  • beneden: hierbeneden, daarbeneden
Separable verbs
  • beneden: none
  • neer:
e.g. neerzien op:
Hij zag neer op die mensen. He looked down upon these people.
neerzitten bij:
Hij zat bij de pakken neer. He surrendered to resignation. (He gave up.)
Inseparable verbs

BEZIJDEN[edit | edit source]

bezijden is comparable to besides but occurs mostly in the expression.

bezijden de waarheid - aside of the truth (i.e. not true)
Pronominal adverbs
Separable verbs
Inseparable verbs

BENEVENS[edit | edit source]

benevens is a rather formal alternative to naast (besides, next to).

benevens de aandelen is er het huizenbezit - besides the stocks is there the real estate
Pronominal adverbs
Separable verbs
Inseparable verbs

ONDER[edit | edit source]


onder is the cognate of under and has similar applications:

de hond ligt onder de tafel - het dog lies under the table

It can also be used in the meaning of among:

onder professoren - in the circle of professors

Used as adverb it can get an ending -en

Het is van onderen wit. It is white on the bottom side.
Pronominal adverbs
eronder, hieronder, daaronder, waaronder, ergens onder, nergens onder, overal onder, ergens anders onder, nergens anders onder
Ligt het nergens anders onder? Isn't is hidden underneath anything else?
Separable verbs
e.g. óndergaan:
De zon gaat onder. The sun sets.
Inseparable verbs
e.g. ondergáán:
Hij ondergaat een operatie. He undergoes surgery.

MET/ME(D)E[edit | edit source]


met usually means with.

hij gaat met zijn vrouw naar Canada - he goes to Canada with his wife

Its adverbial form is mee (or originally: mede).

Pronominal adverbs
met: none
mee: ermee, hiermee, daarmee, waarmee, ergens mee, overal mee, nergens mee, ergens ander mee, nergens anders mee
mede: hiermede, daarmede, waarmede
Separable verbs
met: none
e.g. meegaan:
Hij ging mee. He joined.
Hij ging mee met haar. He accompanied her.

The older adverb mede still occurs in verbs or a rather formal register, e.g.:

mededelen - to communicate, to announce
Er werd medegedeeld dat zij onslagen werden. It was announced that they were fired
Inseparable verbs

NAAR, TOT, TOE, HEEN, WEER[edit | edit source]


naar translates mostly as to or at:

hij kijkt naar het schilderij - he looks at the painting
hij kijkt ernaar - he looks at it.
hij gaat naar Kaapstad - he is going to Cape Town

In the sense of to rather than at naar is often reinforced by adding the adverb toe:

hij gaat naar Kaapstad toe

In pronominal replacement the addition is mandatory:

hij gaat ernaartoe

Alternatively, however, one can say:

hij gaat erheen - he is going there

heen is an adverb that indicates movement. It does not occur as preposition but there are separable verbs:

heengaan - to leave (usually permanently)
hij ging heen - he left

Its opposite is weer (from: we(d)er- that means back or again)

heen en weer - back and forth

It occurs in separables like:

hij keerde weer - he came back
de wederkomst - the second coming

It is related to with as in withstand and forms inseparable verbs as in English:

weerstaan - withstand

toe is the adverbial form of the preposition tot that mostly means until or to:

dit is geldig tot het eind van de maand - this is valid until the end of the month
dit dient tot versterking van de dijk - this serves to reinforce the dyke
dit is waartoe het dient - this is the purpose it serves

Another meaning of toe is closing, narrowing. Somewhat archaic is:

doe dat eens toe - please would you close that

It also occurs in expressions like:

af en toe - occasionally, now and then

and it occurs in a separable verb like:

zich toespitsen - become more acute - coming to climax
e.g. Het geweld spitst zich toe. The violence is exacerbating.

A leftover of the old case system are expressions like

tot bloedens toe -- until blood was flowing
tot vervelens toe -- ad nauseam

Notice that the verb appears as a genitive case: bloedens, vervelens. Although uncommon this genitive is still somewhat productive.

Pronominal adverbs
  • naar: ernaar, hiernaar, daarnaar, waarnaar, ergens naar, nergens naar, overal naar, ergens anders naar, nergens anders naar
  • naartoe: ernaartoe, hiernaartoe, daarnaartoe, waarnaartoe, ergens naartoe, nergens naartoe, overal naartoe, ergens anders naartoe, nergens anders naartoe
  • heen: erheen, hierheen, daarheen, waarheen, ergens heen, nergens heen, overal heen, ergens anders heen, nergens anders heen
  • weer: none
  • tot: none
  • toe: ertoe, hiertoe, daartoe, waartoe
Separable verbs
  • naar: none
  • naartoe: none
  • heen: e.g. heenbrengen - to take away
  • weer: e.g. weerkeren - to return
  • tot: none
  • toe: e.g. toedoen - to close; to contribute to its cause, to be complicit
Inseparable verbs
  • weer: e.g. weerstaan - to withstand

TUSSEN[edit | edit source]


tussen means mostly between

tussen Maryland en Noord-Carolina ligt Virginia. Between Maryland and North Carolina lies Virginia
Pronominal adverbs
  • ertussen, hiertussen, daartussen, waartussen, ergens tussen, nergens tussen, overal tussen
Separable verbs
e.g. tussenvoegen - to insert.
Er was een spatie tussengevoegd. A space had been inserted
Inseparable verbs

VAN, AF[edit | edit source]

van translates mostly into of and from:

van verse tomaten is een heerlijke soep te bereiden - a delicious soup can be made of fresh tomatoes
het westen van het land - the west of the country
hij komt van ver - he comes from far
hij viel van zijn stoel - he fell off his chair

When a downwards motion or fall is implied as in the latter case, the adverb af (cognate of off) can be added:

hij viel van de trap - he fell off the stairs
hij viel eraf - he fell off
het water komt van die berg af - the water comes from that mountain
het komt ervanaf - it comes off of it

af does not occur as proposition, but is part of separable verbs:

Pronominal adverbs
  • van: ervan, hiervan, daarvan, waarvan, ergens van, nergens van, overal van, ergens anders van, nergens anders van
  • af: eraf, hieraf, daaraf, waaraf
Separable verbs
van: none.
af : e.g. afvallen - lose weight, fall off (sailing)
Inseparable verbs

AAN[edit | edit source]


aan has various translations such as to, at, on or is implied in an English verb. It typically implies a touching or reaching until contact is made.

Zij plakten een affiche aan de muur - They stuck a poster on the wall
Hier komt deze laag aan de oppervlakte - Here this layer reaches the surface
Aan deze feiten valt niet te twijfelen - These facts can not be doubted
Er valt weinig aan te doen - There is little we can do about it
Wat is er aan de hand? - What is at hand? What is happening?
Hij zit aan het schilderij - He is touching the painting
Hij zit eraan - He is touching it
Nergens aan zitten! - Hands off!

A prepositional object with aan replaces an indirect object:

Hij gaf hem een book - He gave him the book
Hij gaf een boek aan hem - He gave a book to him

af is the opposite of aan in:

af en aan - off and on

But uit can also be the opposite:

Is het licht aan of uit? - Is the light on or off?
Pronominal adverbs
  • eraan, hieraan, daaraan, waaraan, ergens aan, nergens aan, overal aan, ergens anders aan, nergens anders aan
Separable verbs
e.g. aankomen - to arrive, gain weight
Hij is gisteren aangekomen. He arrived yesterday.
Hij is tien kilo aangekomen. He gained 10 kilos.
Inseparable verbs
e.g. aanbidden - to worship
In het Oude Egypte werd de god Horus aanbeden. In Ancient Egypt the god Horus was worshipped.

OM[edit | edit source]

om can mean around:

hij deed een nieuwe band om de velg - he put a new tire around the rim
om de burcht ligt een gracht - there is a moat around the castle

In this meaning it is often reinforced with heen:

er ligt een gracht om de stad heen
er ligt een gracht omheen

It can also have less literal meaning of about, because of, for:

dit werd om onduidelijke redenen afgelast - this was cancelled for unclear reasons

There are separable verbs:

omdoen - wrap around
e.g. Zij deed een sjaal om. She put a shawl around her neck.

Under German influence om can also imply change, inversion.

hij liet zich ompraten - he allowed himself to be persuaded to change his mind
wegomlegging - detour
Pronominal adverbs
  • erom, hierom, daarom, waarom, ergens om, nergens om, overal om, ergens anders om, nergens anders om
Hij gaf nergens om. He did not care about anything
Separable verbs
e.g. ómwentelen - to roll over, roll away
e.g. ómdoen -wrap around
Zij deed een sjaal om. She put on a shawl
Inseparable verbs
e.g. omhélzen - to embrace
Zij omhelsden elkaar. They embraced each other.

LANGS[edit | edit source]


langs evokes a parallel position or motion and is mostly translated by along.

langs de rivier loopt een weg - there is a road along the river
hij liep erlangs - he passed by it
Pronominal adverbs
  • erlangs, hierlangs, daarlangs, waarlangs, ergens langs, nergens langs, overal langs, ergens anders langs, nergens anders langs
Separable verbs
e.g. langskomen - drop by
Hij kwam gisteren langs - He dropped by yesterday
Inseparable verbs

MIS[edit | edit source]


As in English this adverb conveys the meaning of 'wrong', 'flawed'. It is not used as a preposition. Its antonym is raak.

Pronominal adverbs
Separable verbs
e.g. mísschieten - to shoot and miss
Hij schoot mis. He missed the target
Inseparable verbs
e.g. misléíden - to mislead
e.g. misvórmen - to warp, to disfigure

Appendix[edit | edit source]

  1. a b mostly limited to the South