Emphasizers, and filler words?

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Can someone help me with emphasizers and fillers?

Like Toch, Maar (like in Maar eens or maar wat), even, gewoon, hoor and such.

Can someone explain it like in English -up usually means fully/completely, for example:

I ate it up=I ate it fully

He tied me up=He tied me completely, like my hands and feet too

Made up=completely made (by someone)

2 years ago


First you should note your examples of "up" in English emphasizing are somewhat misleading, but I get your point. The verb phrases "tie up" and "make up" will carry a completely different meaning without the "up" and do NOT mean completely. I think "eat up" is just a coincidence. English likes to attach prepositions to many verbs and many people struggle. Many of these would be separable prefix verbs in Dutch. In Dutch, tie is "binden" but tie down / tie up is "vastbinden" which is separable and carries a completely different meaning.

The emphasizers and fillers are comparable with words in English like even, just, really, so, etc... There's MANY ways to translate them, and some just "don't translate" but when I translate sentences with fillers, I find it important to translate them so that they carry the same connotation / the same feeling.

  • Gewoon most often means "just" in English and can be translated directly that way
  • Maar can often be translated as "but" in English (ik heb maar één over = I have but one left) but that sounds a bit weird in English, and an English speakers would usually say only in that case... It can also mean "just" in some cases, like (zoek het zelf maar uit = just find out yourself)
  • Eens can mean even, like (ik had niet eens de kans = I didn't even have the chance)
  • Even is really tricky but it can mean just, it can imply quickly (ik ga even naar mijn kamer, ik ben zo terug = I'm gonna go to my room real quick, brb) and you'll often see it written colloquially online as ff
  • Hoor is tricky for me but I think of it as "you hear?" like they say in the southern states in the USA... It DOES NOT mean that and probably shouldn't be translated as that, but to me it carries the same meaning... I don't know how to translate it, so someone can add to this! I find it adds a bit of friendliness
  • Toch is like something you say when you wanna say it's the contrary... It's not a filler, it's more emphasis... (Ik ben toch gezond = I AM healthy!) and you kinda say it in reply to something someone said that is untrue. You can also use it like "right?" in English like (Dit is niet waar, toch? = this isn't true, right?)

Here's some others you didn't mention...

  • Best = pretty... (dat is best knap! = that's pretty neat/good/whatever!)
  • Best wel = pretty... (Ik ben best wel lelijk dus heb ik geen vriendje = I'm pretty ugly so I don't have a boyfriend)
  • Wel = emphasis or emphasis toward a contrariety belief... (Dat weet je wel! = You know that !!!!) or (hij is wel aantrekkend maar ik wil met hem geen seks hebben = he IS attractive but I dont wanna ❤❤❤❤ him) AND wel can also mean "very" or "pretty" or something along those lines, for example (Ik ben wel bezig, hou je mond en ga ff weg hoor = I'm very busy, shut your mouth and just go away ok?/alright?)

There's others but I honestly think it's best to learn them by experience. I didn't understand them at all at first because most don't translate well, but the more you hear them, you'll understand them more. Listen to Dutch and you'll hear them very often and after a while you'll start putting them into your sentences without recognizing it. Then you'll realize "OMG I KNEW HOW TO USE THAT WORK KINDA WOW" and you'll feel good.


2 years ago
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Most translations are fine. But since you asked...

hij is wel aantrekkend maar ik wil met hem geen seks hebben.
This sentence should be: hij is wel aantrekkelijk maar ik wil geen seks met hem hebben = he IS attractive but I don't want to have sex with him.

Your sentence Ik ben wel bezig, hou je mond en ga ff weg hoor does not really work. Hoor is really difficult to translate.
Pas op, hoor! = Watch it!
En ja hoor, daar is het resultaat. = And sure enough, there's the result. Hoe gaat het met je? Ja hoor, prima. = How are you? Yeah, I am fine.

2 years ago

ty ooops i think i guessed bc anziehend u no ? :)

2 years ago
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Here are some great explanations in "Some Dutch words Dutch learners need to understand: part I and II"

2 years ago
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Both links don't work

2 years ago
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Maybe it depends on the operating system or browser you are using. I do not have any problems on Firefox for Android 7.
Copy the text of the link, open a new window in your browser and paste the text.

2 years ago
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Both links work for me in Firefox but I get an Error 404 page in IE. Copying the link does not help.

2 years ago
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I'm getting an error as well, and I'm on Google Chrome...

2 years ago
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Same, on Mac OSX Safari

2 years ago

It doesn't work for me. Error 404 I am using Firefox on Linux. I see a lot of things going on in the background involving Google APIs and Amazon web services. It might be caused by some browser setting (E.G. I disabled third party cookies).

2 years ago
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Could be browser settings but I have third party cookies disabled in FF and partially disabled in IE.

2 years ago
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In case of Duolingo gives an error 404 in your browser, here are the texts written by moderator Charlotte ( )

"Some Dutch words Dutch learners need to understand: part I and II"

Part I:
Hi guys! Hope you're all having a great learning experience here on Duolingo!

I thought I'd give you guys some insight on some fairly strange but very commonly used words. Words that are very hard to translate, but you will definitely encounter once you start reading or speaking Dutch. The Dutch language is filled with words that, while they may have a different meaning on its own, can completely alter the meaning or implication of a sentence.

Here are some examples:


Many of you will know this word as the Dutch translation of the word "but". However, this word can mean several other things.

To make a sentence sound like less of a command:

"Geef de appels aan mij." Sounds like an order, right?

"Geef de appels maar aan mij" By adding the word 'maar' you are now saying: just give the apples to me. In a friendly way.

Meaning 'only' or 'just':

"Hij heeft vier appels." No problem here. He's got four apples.

"Hij heeft maar vier appels." He only has four apples. What a loser.

"Doe normaal!" Be normal! Behave normally!

"Doe maar normaal." Just be normal, be yourself.

Meaning 'for lack of a better alternative':

"De appels waren op, dus nam ik maar bananen." There were no more apples, so because of this I opted for bananas.

This sentence can also be flipped around, to illustrate the cause and effect better: "Ik nam maar bananen, want de appels waren op." (I opted for bananas because they were out of apples)


Ah, a typical Dutch word with that nice gutteral GGGGG sound. There is no literal translation for this word, since it changes meaning all the time.


"Jij gaat morgen naar school, toch?" At the end of a sentence, it almost always implies that the person saying said sentence wants conformation of the statement made.

It can also be added in the middle, having the same meaning as the sentence above: "Jij gaat morgen toch naar school?"


This meaning only occurs in statements. It can be quite tricky, especially when written, because you have to look for the question mark see the implied meaning:

"Jij gaat morgen toch naar school?" You're going to school tomorrow, right?

"Jij gaat morgen toch naar school." You're going to school tomorrow anyway.

Same sentence, but in this case the question mark makes the difference.

"Hij is toch niet thuis?" He isn't home, right?

"Hij is toch niet thuis." He isn't going to be home anyway, so no use ringing the door bell.

Even though you said you wouldn't...

Imagine someone told you they weren't ever going bungee jumping (me). Now imagine that person telling you they did go bungee jumping last weekend. In English you would probably say: "I thought you said you would never go bungee jumping?" Or: "You did go bungee jumping?!" You would put emphasis on the word did because you're surprised that they have gone against their own statement. In Dutch we use the word toch.

"Ben je toch gaan bungee jumpen?!"

"Heb je toch chips gegeten?" (even though you're on a diet)

"Zij zijn toch weer bij elkaar." They did get back together, even though it was a bad breakup/they said they hated each other/there was a lot of drama etc.


Literally translated, this means 'normal'. But, as I think you might have gathered by now...we like to stick words into our sentences and have them magically change meaning! POOF!

As an explanation/'just'

"Ik wil niet." I don't wanna!

"Ik wil gewoon niet." I just don't wanna! Plain and simple. My mind is made up and I don't have to give you a reason, I just don't want to!

"Ik ben gewoon moe." I'm just tired. Forgive me for being cranky. Don't mind me, I'm just tired.

As per usual

"Moooom I feel sick! Nee, je gaat gewoon naar school." Meaning, I don't care if you feel sick little Timmy, you are going to school as you always do. Or as my mother used to say: Is your head hanging off? Nee? Dan ga je gewoon naar school!

"❤❤❤ ben je gekomen? Gewoon, met de trein." How did you get here? With the train, as usual. I always take the train, so why ask?

I hope this helped you in some way. We have many more, but these are the few I encounter the most. We Dutch are a weird people. Intonation, sarcasm, and just plain collocation is firmly embedded in our way of speaking and dealing with one another.

If anyone is interested, I will gladly give you some more examples. Happy learning!

Part II:

Let's continue diving into the mysterious world of Dutch sentence-altering words.


If you were to look up the word "nou" in the dictionary, it will probably tell you that it's a colloquial term for "nu", which means "now", which is pronounced the same way as "nou".

Wait, what? Don't worry, I'll walk you through it!

While "nou" is indeed an informal way of saying "nu", it is used mainly to emphasize impatience or exasperation. It's like saying "nu" but with a sigh and an occasional eyeroll. Here are some examples:

<pre>"Gaan we nu?" - Are we going now? "Gaan we nou?" - Jesus are we going or what? </pre>


<pre>"Wat doe je?" - What are you doing? "Wat doe je nou?" - What on earth are you doing? </pre>


<pre>"Wat wil je?" - What do you want? "Wat wil je nou?" - Make up your mind dude, what do you want? </pre>


<pre>"Oké dan!" - Okay then! Awesome! "Nou, oké dan..." - Well alright then...I'd rather not...but fine... </pre>

It is also used in several expressions:

"Nou en?" - So what? And? What's your point?

"Nou ja zeg!" - What the hell? RUDE!

"Nou moe!" - Huh? Well I'll be...

"Nou goed??" - Are you happy now??

"Nou" is a tricky word to master, so pay close attention to Dutch natives if you want to know when and where to use it. If you're not sure, just stick to the word "nu" to avoid accidentally sounding rude or impatient.


"Lekker" means "tasty" (delicious/yummy etc.), and it's not just a word that can change the meaning of a sentence, it also has it's own unique hand gesture.

Behold, the weirdest thing you will see all week:

I have absolutely no idea why we do this. I read somewhere that it allows you to convey pleasure while having your mouth full, but I see people do it just to emphasize how tasty something is without having food in their mouth.

Now besides "tasty" it can mean the following:

When talking about attractiveness

"Hij/zij is écht lekker!" - He/she is really hot!

"Hé lekker ding!" - Hey hot stuff! (friendly, can be used between friends. I call my son a "lekker ding" too)

"Hij/zij heeft een lekker kontje!" - He/she has a nice butt!

Combine the word "lekker" with any body part to imply hotness. The only exception would be when talking about children. I can say:

"Wat een lekker joch!" - What a great little boy!

"Wat een lekker meissie!" - What a great little girl!

"Hij/zij is een lekker joch/meissie!" - He/she is a great little boy/girl.

"Lekker" goes back to tasty here, meaning they are so great, you could eat them up. It can also be replaced with the word "heerlijk", which also means delicious.


To imply coziness/relaxation/fun

When you combine the word "lekker" with a verb, this means it is something you enjoy doing.

"Als ik thuis kom, ga ik even lekker lang douchen." - When I get home, I'm going to take a nice long shower.

"Ga lekker zitten!" - Make yourself comfortable!

"Slaap lekker!" - Sleep well!

"Ik ga vanavond lekker niks doen." - Tonight, I'm going to do nothing and I'm going to thoroughly enjoy it.

"Zullen we lekker gaan winkelen?" - Shall we go and indulge ourselves and go shopping?

Very nice

Now the normal translation of "nice" would be "aardig", but in Dutch "aardig" is usually more like " was alright...", unless you add 'very' or 'incredibly' or any other adverb. So we use the word "lekker", meaning more than just nice.

"Het is lekker weer buiten!" - The weather is very nice outside!

"Ik heb een nieuwe baan! Lekker man!" - I have a new job! Nice man/dude!

"We hebben een lekkere vakantie gehad." - We had a very nice, comfortable holiday.

"We zaten in een lekker hotel." - We were in a very nice hotel.


"Dus" means "so", which is a pretty straightforward word. In Dutch however, it can convey a plethora of emotions depending on how you pronounce it. Let's go over some of them!

The short 'Dus' (Direct)

The short 'dus' communicates anger. It is often used to punctuate the end of an argument and declare oneself the winner. It is supposed to be the final word that crushes the opponent and signal that it is either time to storm out of the room or slam down the phone.

<pre>Meaning: This argument is over! I win! The end. Example: I'm right! You're wrong! Plus you're a prick. Dus! </pre>

The short 'Dus' (Indirect)

This version of the short 'dus' is similar to the previous but it is used when re-telling the argument to a friend who did not witness the original fight. It still communicates anger, but it is not directed at the listener (although it may sometimes feel like it).

<pre>Meaning: I won that argument! Possible additional meaning: And you better agree! Example: I was right. He was wrong. Plus he's a prick. Dus. </pre>

The giggle 'Dus'

This 'dus' is friendly and often accompanied by a small chuckle. It is used when delivering the punchline of a joke or a funny story that the user finds amusing. Sometimes it even replaces the punchline altogether to leave the outcome to the listeners imagination.

<pre>Meaning: You can imagine what happens next... Example: He left his computer logged into Facebook...dus...chuckle...(I changed his profile picture to one of two mating rhinos) </pre>

The drawn out 'Dussssss' (confused)

If the Dutch are confused about something they will often use the drawn out 'dus' to communicate this. It signals that more information is needed and is often used in a moment of silence when something hasn't been fully explained yet. Comparable to the English 'annnnd??'

<pre>Meaning: So? And? What happened next? Example: So I came home and found my husband wearing my underwear! -silence- Dusssss?? </pre>

The drawn out 'Dussssss' (sarcastic)

The sarcastic version of the drawn out 'dus' is used when the idiot you are trying to explain something to is too stupid to understand. If you are tired of repeating yourself simply replace the instructions you would normally give with the drawn out 'dus' instead.

<pre>Meaning: Wow, you're a real moron. Example: You just have to turn your modem off and then back on again. Well there's a button. Yes, the on/off button. Just press it once. Yes. Press the button. What do you mean how? You've pressed buttons before in your life right? Dussssss.... </pre>

The contemplative 'Dus':

When the outcome or result of an action is unknown, the contemplative 'dus' is often used. It is a slightly submissive 'dus' that suggests no further action will be taken by the person using it, either because there are no options left or they simply cannot be bothered. It is often accompanied by either a shrug or a 'nothing-more-I-can-do'-raise of the eyebrows.

<pre>Meaning: We'll have to see what happens next. Example: I've done everything I can...dus. 'shrug' </pre>

The reactionary 'dus':

When something surprising or unexpected happens, the reactive 'dus' is often used. It can either convey genuine surprise or can be used in a sarcastic manner when something is just too weird for a normal answer. In English, you would probably say: 'well...that happened...'

<pre>Meaning: Well, that is/was weird. Example: Guy passes you and your friend in the street riding a unicycle, wearing nothing but a pink thong and a green wig, while playing 'baby' by Justin Bieber on a tuba. You and your friend wait until this wonder of the world has passed. You and your friend look at each other. "Dus." </pre>

Hope you enjoyed the second part of this small weird-dutch-words course. Stay tuned for part III.

The tekst above is written bij moderator Charlotte!
Please contact her for questions etc. ( )

2 years ago
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