Turning sentences around (Or: Dutch class 17 by ROC Mondriaan)z

One of the grammatical things that we covered in last night’s class was the placement of the verb in main clauses (I did not go to school) and subordinate clauses (because I was sick). In Dutch they are called the hoofdzin and the bijzin, respectively.

In Dutch (and German) the verb in the bijzin goes to the end of the clause in most cases. You have some special conjugations that do not affect the placement of the verb, but there are only a few. They are en (and), of (or), want (because), maar (but), and dus (thus). The rest of the conjunctions affect the placement of the verb.

Ik ga niet naar school want ik was ziek. I did not go to school because I was sick. (“want” does not require the verb “was” to go to the end of the sentence.)

Ik ga niet naar school omdat ik ziek wasI did not go to school because I was sick. (“omdat”, another way to say because, forces the verb “was” to the end of the clause.)

Zij gaat direct werken nadat ze voor de opleiding geslaagd is. She will work after she has passed her education (course).

If you use one of the special connectors that affect the placement of the verb, you can also begin with the subordinate clause and end with the main clause. You then need to have inversion of the subject and the verb in the main clause. This has the awesome effect (if you like grammar like I do) of placing the two conjugated verbs next to each other with only a comma in the middle.

Omdat ik ziek was, ga ik niet naar school. Move the subordinate clause in front, and invert ‘ik’ and ‘ga’ (subject and verb). Then you have the two conjugated verbs (‘was’, ‘ga’) next to each other with only a comma in between.

Nadat ze voor de opleiding geslaagd is, gaat zij direct werken. 

The normal connectors — en (and), of (or), want (because), maar (but), and dus (thus) — cannot be put at the front of the sentence.

While it is annoying in the beginning to change verbs around like this, it does get easier with a lot of practice. I definitely have Marco to thank for that as he has helped correct a lot of my mistakes! But practice, practice, practice.

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