Verbs according to function 4
Verbs according to meaning 7
Verbs according to form 3
Verbs according to conjugation 6
For purposes of conjugation Dutch verbs can be divided into regular and irregular verbs. Regular verbs follow a certain pattern in the way they are conjugated, whereas irregular verbs do not follow a pattern at all. The group of regular verbs is the largest, and this group can be divided further into weak verbs and strong verbs. The conjugation of a new verb (e.g. a verb borrowed from English) normally follows the rules of weak verbs.
Revision exercises: verbs 1
One way of looking at verbs is to divide them into transitive verbs, which take an object, and intransitive verbs, which do not. A third group of verbs are reflexive verbs. They can be described as a very special kind of transitive verb in that they do take an object. However, the object and subject of a reflexive verb refer to the same person:
Esther wast zich.
Esther washes (i.e. herself).
In this example, Esther is the subject and zich is the object, and both refer to the same person (Esther).
Wassen can be used as a reflexive verb or as a transitive verb:
Esther wast haar gezicht. (transitive)
Esther washes her face.
Esther wast zich. (reflexive)
Esther washes herself.
With verbs like wassen, than can be either transitive or reflexive, it is possible to emphasise the reflexive pronoun with the addition of -zelf:
Esther was eerst haar kinderen en dan zichzelf.
Esther washes first her children first and then herself.
However, many other relexive verbs do not have a transitive counterpart. Such ‘true’ reflexive verbs do not have an emphatic reflexive pronoun with -zelf. Some common reflexive verbs like this are: zich vervelen (‘to be bored’), zich herinneren (‘to remember’), and zich zorgen maken (over) (‘to worry about’):
Luuk zal zich waarschijnlijk vervelen in het museum.
Luuk will probably be bored in the museum.
Herinneren jullie je die leuke vakantie in de Ardennen?
Do you remember that nice holiday in the Ardennes?
Ik heb me nooit zorgen gemaakt over mijn zoon.
I have never worried about my son.
Maak je daar maar geen zorgen over.
Don’t you worry about that.
The object of a reflexive verb is always expressed as a pronoun. The reflexive pronoun is equivalent to the unstressed object pronoun except in the third person and the second person formal:
|personal pronoun subject- stressed||personal pronoun object – stressed||personal pronoun object – unstressed||reflexive pronoun|
|u||u||u||u / zich|
|u||u||u||u / zich|
The examples below show how the reflexive pronouns behave when used with the reflexive verb zich voelen (to feel):
|Ik voel me geweldig.||I feel great.|
|Voel jij je ook ziek?||Do you feel ill too?|
|Voelt u zich al beter?||Are you (formal) feeling better yet?|
|Sara voelt zich het minst ziek.||Sara feels the least ill.|
|Wij voelen ons helemaal beter.||We all feel completely better.|
|Jullie voelen je ook niet lekker.||You (plural) don’t feel well either.|
|Zij voelen zich prima.||They feel fine.|
Word order of reflexive sentences
The following examples illustrate that a reflexive pronoun normally occurs in the same position as the object in a sentence with a transitive verb, as in:
Peter wast zijn auto elke zondag.
Peter washes his car every Sunday.
Peter wast zich twee keer per dag.
Peter washes himself twice a day.
If a reflexive verb takes an object in addition to the reflexive pronoun, the reflexive pronoun occurs immediately before or after the object. It will occur:
- before the object if the object is a noun, noun group or stressed pronoun;
- after the object if the object is an unstressed pronoun.
Ik kan me die film nog goed herinneren. (noun)
I can remember that film well.
Rik herinnert zich die leuke vakantie in de Ardennen. (noun group)
Rik remembers that nice holiday in the Ardennes.
Zijn zus herinnert zich dat niet. (stressed pronoun)
His sister does not remember that.
Zijn ouders herinneren het zich heel goed! (unstressed pronoun)
His parents remember it very well!