Category Archives: Dutch language lessons

Dutch aan het + Infinitive

aan het + Infinitive Dutch

This post looks at the Dutch structure ‘aan het+ Infinitive.

It explains:

  • What it means
  • How the structure works
  • When to use it
  • It also gives you some examples of usage

What does the ‘aan het’ structure mean?

The ‘aan het’ structure is typically used to say that someone is doing something at that moment. In English it is more or less equivalent to us saying things with the following structures:

  • Am….ing (e.g. I am reading = Ik ben aan het lezen)
  • Are….ing (e.g. We are listening = Wij zijn aan het luisteren)
  • Is…ing (e.g. He is studying = Hij is aan het studeren)

How does the structure work?

Firstly, you pick the appropriate part from the Dutch verb ‘zijn’ (to be) to say who is doing the action:

  • Ik ben = I am
  • Jij bent = You are(singular & informal)
  • Hij/Zij is = He/She is
  • U bent = You are (formal)
  • Wij zijn = We are
  • Jullie zijn = You are (plural & informal)
  • Zij zijn = They are

Secondly, you add the words aan het (or aan ’t).

Finally, you add the infinitive (i.e. the dictionary form of the verb) to your sentence. This is the verb that ends in ‘en’, for example:

  • studeren = To study
  • eten = To eat.

Examples using ‘aan het’ + Infinitive

  • Ik ben aan het studeren. = I am studying.
  • Ben je aan het werken? = Are you working? (asking a friend)
  • Hij is aan het slapen. = He is sleeping.
  • Wij zijn aan het eten. = We are eating.
  • Jullie zijn aan het koken. = You are cooking (speaking to 2(+) friends)
  • Zij zijn aan het leren. = They are learning.

Note that if you wish to add more information into your sentence you normally put this information before ‘aan het + infinitive’, for example:

  • Ik ben thuis aan het studeren. = I am at home studying.
  • Hij is boodschappen aan het doen. = He is doing the shopping.

Can you use this structure in other tenses?

Yes, you can. Just like in English, the main other tense you could use this structure with is in the past, for example:

  • Ik was aan het slapen = I was sleeping
  • Was je aan het slapen? = Were you sleeping?

Concluding words

I hope that the above has helped you to work out how to say that someone is doing something in Dutch. If you have any questions feel free to contact me.

To book Dutch lessons / tuition, feel free to contact me. For more details of my language tuition services please click here.

Also see my Facebook page and my Twitter page.

aan het + Infinitive Dutch




You should learn Dutch – Blog post


I love Dutch. It is an amazing language I really love. This post talks about why you should learn Dutch even if it is just the basics for a holiday.

What I have found so far….

I have been advertising Dutch language tuition for quite a while. I am surprised that I have had extremely few enquiries about it. This is very different from the other languages I offer. People seem to think that it is either not important or not needed. I however think Dutch is a very useful language. Anyone visiting the Netherlands or the Dutch speaking part of Belgium can benefit from learning Dutch.

How many people speak Dutch?

People often think Dutch is not a commonly spoken language. In fact around 24 million speakers speak Dutch.

Although it is a Germanic language, it is very different from German. It is an interesting language and sometimes strange looking. I absolutely love it.

Learning Dutch is also useful for a large part of Belgium. It is also spoken in some places outside of Netherlands and Belgium.

But I could get by without Dutch….

You can get by in English in big Dutch cities like Amsterdam. This is especially so if on holiday. In smaller towns and villages I have found people who are not very confident speaking English.

In any event the Dutch love it when you speak Dutch. It feels like they become instant best friends.

As find as working in the Netherlands, you could possibly get by in English. It depends on which company you work for. You could possibly get by in English if working for, say, an international company. However, if you would like to work for another company, Dutch is often required.

But Dutch people speak English….

Possibly you could get by without learning the language. However, to integrate into the country and truly understand the culture, knowing the Dutch language should not be underestimated.

Dutch people naturally talk Dutch amongst themselves. Most will accomodate foreigners for a while by speaking English. However it is understandable that after a while if the foreigner does not put a real effort into speaking Dutch.

Not wanting or trying to learn Dutch is a little strange. Afterall, the Netherlands has got its own language, culture and way of thinking. Trying to learn the language is an important way in which to understand their way of expressing themselves.

Learning Dutch feels good

Some people may say I am overgeneralising and probably I am. Regardless of the above, the joy you can get from speaking Dutch is amazing. Even if they recognise a foreign accent, they instantly smile when someone is making the effort.

Speaking Dutch allows you to make friends

If you wish for evidence of why to learn Dutch, just search online. Many people write that they find it difficult to make friends in the Netherlands. One of the main reasons is not trying to speak Dutch. Afterall, the Dutch are sadly used to many foreigners not making any effort at all. Creating friendships and bonds with new people is always easier when you can speak their language.

You could see the world from another country’s perspective

Other than meeting new people, you can also read news articles, online clips, etc. which give you another’s country’s perspective of the world.

Conclusion: You should learn Dutch!

To conclude, I hope the post has helped you to see why you should learn Dutch. Give Dutch a try even if you just go there on holidays. The locals will really appreciate you making the effort. There is literally nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Feel free to contact me with any comments or questions. I will reply to everyone.

For information about my foreign language tuition services click here.

Alternatively you may wish to look at my Facebook page or Twitter page.

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Dutch Future and Conditional Tenses


Today we are going to be looking at the Dutch future and conditional tenses. The future is used when you want to say ‘will’ in English and the conditional when you say ‘would’.

Future Tense

First let’s look at the future tense….

ik zal + infinitive = I will….

jij zult/zal* (zul/zal je?) + infinitive = You will…. (informal & singular you)

hij/zij zal + infinitive = He/She will….

u zult + infinitive = You will…. (formal you)

wij zullen + infinitive = We will….

jullie zullen + infinitive = You will…. (informal & plural you)

zij zullen + infinitive = They will….

* zal is more informal than zult

****The ‘infinitive’ is the dictionary form of the verb ending in ‘en’ e.g. maken = to make, lezen = to read, etc. *****

Examples:-

ik zal maken = I will make

jij zult/zal lezen = You will read (informal & singular you)

hij/zij zal gaan = He/She will go

u zult slapen = You will sleep (formal you)

wij zullen reizen = We will travel

jullie zullen zien = You will see (informal & plural you)

zij zullen eten = They will eat

Conditional Tense

Now let’s look at the conditional tense….

ik zou + infinitive = I would….

jij zou (zou je?) + infinitive = You would…. (informal & singular you)

hij/zij zou + infinitive = He/She would….

u zou(dt*) + infinitive = You would…. (formal you)

wij zouden + infinitive = We would….

jullie zouden + infinitive = You would…. (informal & plural you)

zij zouden + infinitive = They would….

* zoudt is very formal, therefore zou is more common

Examples:-

ik zou maken = I would make

jij zou lezen = You would read (informal & singular you)

hij/zij zou gaan = He/She would go

u zou(dt) reisen = You would travel (formal you)

wij zouden zien = We would see

jullie zouden slapen = You would sleep (informal & plural you)

zij zouden eten = They would eat

Note: The conditional tense is also used to say a statement without knowing whether it is true or not, for example:

  • Het eten in dat restaurant zou lekker zijn. = The food in that restaurant is (meant to be) tasty.

I hope that the above has helped you to work out how to say ‘will’ and ‘would’ in Dutch. If you have any questions feel free to contact me.

To book Dutch lessons / tuition, feel free to contact me. For more details of my language tuition services please click here.

Also see my Facebook page and my Twitter page.

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