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  5. "Drinkt zij water of melk?"

"Drinkt zij water of melk?"

Translation:Does she drink water or milk?

July 16, 2014



Found it interesting that "Drinkt ze water of melk?" responds with "Oops! It doesn't seem to be in Dutch", but switching ze to zij works fine


I used "Zij" originally and I had left off the "t" in "Drinkt" and it gave me the same thing until I added it.


Well i put that aswell ane it was fine it just said that i had a few typos in my answer


Is it at all safe to assume that the subject and verb are typically reversed in a question, like with "boit-elle"?


Yes, when it comes to questions, Dutch always uses inversion.
You can find information on the Dutch word order in this thread. :)


Yes, typically that is the case. I'm sure there are some exceptions, but I can't think of any from the top of my head.


I've got a doubt concerning intonation.

First let me quote the Intonation (linguistics) article of the english Wikipedia that gives a very similar example. In the example, words are followed by a number in parentheses which indicates the relative pitch of the word it follows; a higher number indicating a higher pitch. The example refers to American English :

"Questions with 'or' can be ambiguous in English writing with regard to whether they are either-or questions or yes–no questions. But intonation in speech eliminates the ambiguity. For example, Would (2) you (2) like (2) juice (3) or (2) soda (3, 1)? emphasizes juice and soda separately and equally, and ends with a decline in pitch, thus indicating that this is not a yes–no question but rather a choice question equivalent to Which would you like: juice or soda? In contrast, Would (2) you (2) like (2) juice (3) or (3) soda (3, 3)? has yes–no intonation and thus is equivalent to Would you like something to drink (such as juice or soda)?"

The intonation of the recording of "Drinkt zij water of melk?" sounds like the second case: a yes-no question. Is this the case? If so, does the Dutch intonation for and either-or question match the English intonation of the example above?


"She drinks water or milk?" is a question if you use a certain intonation. It asks which she drinks, water or milk? In casual, conversational English, a lot of meaning is gained from intonation and context.


There is no word for does in the question


Language translation is not necessarily word-for-word. Translate a whole thought at a time and work out how to express that thought in the target language (English in this case). English speakers often use 'to do' as a helping verb. I can say, "Do you have any pennies" or "Have you any pennies", and the meaning is the same, even though one of the expressions uses the redundant "do" and the other one uses it not.


There are two correct answers, but they seem to be very different questions - Is there not a distinction between asking what someone is doing (is she...), and if someone would do something (does she...)?


This sentence is ambiguous in that sense. Dutch doesn't have such a distinct simple present and present continuous. Using the simple present (which is this), can mean either, but the present continuous exists and it would be: "Is zij water of melk aan het drinken?"


I shall point out that the dutch word "is" would define if it's English counter-part "is" exists in the sentence... Therefore, the question mark at the end of the Dutch phrase "Drinkt zij water of melk?" is indicates that word "does" applies to the beginning of the English translation... "is" happens to actually be found in the Dutch language, so if "is" is not there it may be safe to assume the word "does" leads the question...


How would "She drinks water or milk" not be right I am confused how to know if there is a "does" or "is".


It's a question, that's why it's not right.


but how do you know to use "does" or "is"


Both 'Does she drink water or milk?' and 'Is she drinking water or milk?' are correct.


The question mark at the end of the Dutch phrase "Drinkt zij water of melk?" is indicates that word "does" applies to the beginning of the English translation... "is" happens to actually be found in the Dutch language, so if "is" is not there it may be safe to assume the word "does" leads the question...


She drinks water or milk is also correct. I am a dutch speaking Belgian


That isn't a question though.


"She drinks water or milk?". Is a proper question in English. I don't understand why "Does" is so important.


I said that and it said I was wrong


Would "She drinks the water or the milk" be acceptable? In my opinion it still gets the meaning of the translation across...just maybe not the same structure.


At this point it is important that you get used to the Dutch word order. Thus, correct translations will have to be written in the form of a question. :)


Okay, it might be I'm just still a little used to speaking Russian ) The question forms there are the same as statement forms. I.e. if it's a question you know it is so by listening to the speaker's tone of voice, not the word order ))


Is there any difference in pronunciation between "ze" and "zij"?


Yes, in Dutch, the "-e" at the end of a word is pronounced as a short "-uh". "Zij" is pronounced with an actual "y" sound, although the English "y" is pretty off. I cannot think of an English example to explain it.

"Zij" is the official pronoun, but "ze" is used in less formal situations (Note: This doesn't have anything to do with formal addressing versus casual addressing like many languages have).


It seems (to me as an English-speaker listening to the Dutch voice on this program) that the closest arrangement of vowel sounds in English to Dutch "ij" would be the "ey" in "grey".


"Grey", maybe with a little bit of Australian accent?


I still don't understand question structure... it seemed like English till now. Can someone help me please?


I'm assuming what you don't understand is why there is only one verb, and not two like there is in questions in English? This is because the majority of other languages only use one verb when forming questions. While English uses a conjugated form of "do" and then the infinitive form, other languages simply use the conjugated form of whatever main verb is being used. As a result, you simply stick whatever verb is being used at the front, with the pronoun after. Here are some examples:

  • Drinkt zij sap? = Does she drink juice? or Is she drinking juice?
  • Heeft hij een appel? = Does he have an apple?
  • Eten wij appels? = Do we eat apples? or Are we eating apples?

This is simply how questions are formed in other languages - including German, which I see you are also studying.

  • Trinkt sie Saft?
  • Hat er einen Apfel?
  • Essen wir Äpfel?

It's the same way in most other languages. Hope this helps at least a little! :)


Someone asked this in connection with intonation, but let me ask it more generally. Does this question have both meanings, "is it the case the she drinks either water or milk or both?", and "which one does she drink, exactly, water, or milk?"


Yes, both meanings apply. :)


I wrote: Do they drink milk? And it said: Oops! Does she drink water or milk? I think that it should accept.


Pretty sure not. The Dutch words "water of" should not be lost in the translation, at the very least.


sorry. My comment is written wrong. I only forgot to write water here. What then?


So I don't get the difference beetwen zij and ze? Would some be so nice to explain it to me? :)


whats the difference with or without the "t" in drinkt

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