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In English you can be polite by, for example, using please and thank you, or by being indirect . Here are three different ways of asking someone to open a door in Dutch, at increasing levels of politeness:

Doe de deur open!
Open the door!
Kan je de deur even open doen?
Can you just open the door, please?
Het spijt me, maar zou u de deur misschien even open kunnen doen?I’m really sorry, but could you possibly open the door for me, please?

How (levels of) politeness are expressed differs from language to language. Knowing the different ways in which politeness can be expressed in Dutch will help you understand a text better, especially if it contains a subtext, or hidden message. It will also enable you to create the right tone in your own Dutch texts, written and spoken.

There are many ways of expressing politeness in Dutch, but here we look at five:

  1. forms of address (esp. the use of u or je)
  2. indirectness
  3. use of zou (as in the third example above)
  4. modal particles (words like even and misschien in the examples above)
  5. voice quality

Course Features

  • Lectures 14
  • Quizzes 0
  • Duration 50 hours
  • Skill level All levels
  • Language English
  • Students 0
  • Certificate No
  • Assessments Yes
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