Sentence inversion (and related rules)
I was wondering if there are any hard and fast rules about when and how to invert sentence structure in Dutch and/or any resources to refer to when I have questions?
I've read the section in Conjunctions about coordinating vs subordinating conjuctions, but it also seems that there's a difference between dependent and independent clauses? Also, questions are often inverted depending on what context you want for it? Also, is there are set way to determine what comes where?
Also, this isn't really inversion, but are there rules for when niet and geen come after the verb vs after the object in a sentence? I feel like I read something in the lesson sections about it, but I also feel like it was confusing to read (especially since I learn better by dialogue).
Please feel free to berate me if this has been covered before (as long as you include a link to the previous discussion/resource =D).
"Niet" comes after the direct object if there is one: "Ik zie hen niet lopen" - I do not see them walking. In more complicated sentences, the "niet" can also be in other places. For instance, "ik zie hen hier niet lopen" (I do not see them walking here) sounds more natural than "ik zie hen niet hier lopen", although the latter sentence is also correct. Note that the meaning differs a bit: the second sentence quite specifically refers to them not walking here (but possibly somewhere else). *"Ik zie niet hen hier lopen" is wrong. In sentences without a direct object, "niet" comes after the verb: "ik loop niet naar huis" - I do not walk home.
"Geen" is a numeral and comes in front of nouns. You can place it in front of the subject, direct object, indirect object or whatever you like, as long as it is a noun. For instance: "Geen mens woont hier" - no one lives here (although this sounds quite colloquial, one would normally use "niemand" in this case). "Ik heb geen idee" - I have no idea. In sentences with "zijn" (to be), "geen" is normally used instead of "niet" when the predicate is a noun: "Ik ben geen chauffeur" - I am not a driver, instead of "ik ben niet een chauffeur", which is also OK but sounds quite unnatural.