1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Dutch
  4. >
  5. "Zij proberen om te lopen."

"Zij proberen om te lopen."

Translation:They try to walk.

July 17, 2014



It's important to know the difference in meaning between Belgian Dutch (also known as Flemish) and Dutch from the Netherlands.

Netherlands: lopen = to walk rennen = to run

Belgium: wandelen/stappen = to walk lopen = to run


So. Does anyone agree that because they accept american/British english on this app. That they should also accept nederandse/Belgian dutch on this app? (Dont know correct term for nederlandse or belgian dutch but you get my meaning).

I oft get marked wrong on writing lopen. Because thats what my girlfriend taught me. She speaks flemish.


I think it's best to stick to one variation when you're still learning the language. It would cost a lot of effort to memorize which is which. Mixed up, you run the risk of neither Dutch nor Belgian folks quite getting what you mean.


It does seem like a contradiction in the course. I think Flemish should be accepted it, but the language probably has Vlaams/Flemish and Nederlands/Dutch for a reason. The moderators for this course could see what the moderators for the Norwegian course are doing. There are two different types of Norwegian, Bokmål and Nynorsk. I don't know if the differences are similar to Vlaams and Nederlands but it could be worth looking into.

There are differences between Canadian and standard French (along with Belgian and Swiss) too, perhaps moderators from French courses can be helpful. Also, many French teachers I've heard about (in the US) were very strict about using standard French for learning environments, Nederlands is likely the standard Dutch so it would make sense to not accept Vlaams. I wouldn't be worried to bet a dollar or two that other people would be okay with Flemish in this course, but the English inversions like "Have you" and "How goes it" (the latter inversion can be arguably considered more colloquial American though) aren't accepted on this course, despite the fact that a native speaker would very likely understand it.


"Have you" as in "Baa baa black sheep, have you any wool?" is definitely accepted. It's just not the variant used to start the process. Users have to propose it as correct, but then it's usually accepted.

The differences between Northern Dutch and Flemish are much less than those between the variants of Norwegian, though more than those between French and Canadian or Belgian French, or between British and American English. Still it would make sense to accept input in Flemish while never showing sentences in Flemish to users who didn't enter them. But it appears the creators of this course have taken a decision not to do this.


I'm an Italian student that is learning this course because I will go to Antwerp to finish my studies. It would be very nice (maybe at the end of the course) do add some modules in order to allow learning how to switch dutch to Flemish.


i'm flemish (so from dutch speaking belgium) i decided to do this test for fun and for me lopen is to run so i had it wrong


'om te' is supposed to mean 'in order to', so why is the om necessary here? 'They try in order to walk' clearly isn't what this means. Would 'zij proberen te lopen' be wrong?


Under the translate boxes it says that 'om' alone means 'in order to' but means 'to' when combined with 'te'.


When i must to use OM and when not? Thanks


I think a reasonable starting point is to use om before te when it's about causing something. That's more or less the rule for using um before zu in German. But om seems to be used in Dutch more often. With a lot of good will you could count trying to do something as (potentially) causing it, so Dutch uses om te - even though German uses plain zu to distinguish trying to do something from trying something in order to cause something else to happen.


I do not understand why the sentence is translated this way. 'omlopen' is to walk around something. As a dutch native I would translate "They try to walk" as "zij proberen te lopen".


The verb here is "lopen". The "om" is linked to the "te".

"om...te" is used for the goal of the action.

The words order is : "om" + complements + "te" + infintive verb

I think that you can remove the "om" only if there is no complement but i am not sure of that.

Edit: I was wrong : http://www.dutchgrammar.com/en/?n=Verbs.Au11


this sentence can be seen as walking around something in another context. er is een plas water op de weg...zij proberen om te lopen


What is wrong with "they try walking"?


Just to explain the English grammar here,

Try + to + infinite verb= attempt to do sth Try + V-ing= do sth as an experiment or test

Briefly, try to do sth is more serious than try doing. They are not the same.


Agreed - even though the idea is 'infinitive', occasionally in English the gerund and the infinitive have the same meaning, like I like skiing and I like to ski.


As I understand it, om te + verb is the infinitive, which would be "to walk" in this case.


Okay so "zij proberen te lopen" is entirely incorrect, yes? Because I don't really get what the "om" adds to the sentence but maybe i just have to get used to it? But if that's the case then a new question follows, being (when) is it ever fine to have a sentence somewhat like this where you do NOT need the om?


It seems that this is a potential point of difficulty also for native Dutch speakers. See this explanation in Dutch, which is my main basis for the following.

Apparently there used to be a prescriptive rule that om was to be used if and only if it could be replaced with teneinde (so that, in order to). This is basically how it works naturally and uncontroversially in standard German and I think also in most German dialects.

But spoken Dutch uses om a lot more. If you don't do this you risk sounding very formal. Onzetaal's advice to use om when in doubt seems intended for native Dutch speakers who only have doubts when both versions are common. For us non-native speakers who can't remember where that is, I guess it's probably safer to fall back to the prescriptive rule when in doubt, as this will at least not produce strictly ungrammatical sentences.

Regarding the concrete construction "proberen [om] te lopen": In first person plural this is too rare for statistics, but I got thousands of Google hits for "Ik probeer te lopen" and only 3 for "Ik probeer om te lopen" - one of which is from a discussion where it is explained that om is optional in this case.


I am always fascinated about how similar many things are in Dutch compared to my Western German dialect: Whilst Standard German requires: "Ich probiere, in die Stadt zu gehen" (ik probeer (om) in de stad te lopen), in my dialect, people say (of course, translated to Standard German sounds): "Ich probiere, für in die Stadt zu laufen." :-) So we also use an additional preposition ("für" instead of "om"), and furthermore, we also use "laufen" instead of "gehen". We say "laufen" for "lopen" and "rennen" for "rennen"


"Zij proberen te lopen" is correct. Om doesn't really add anything here. The link El2theK gave above sums up a number (but not all) verbs where you could use "om", but you don't have to. So, I guess it's an example of something you might come across, but imho not something you need to learn how to use actively.


What is the difference between "Zij proberen lopen" and "Zij proberen om te lopen"?


How does 'proberen' come into play here? I thought its only the auxiliary verbs carry this rule.


I don't understand what rule you are referring to, but my first guess is that you are wondering why the verb form is proberen, which looks like the infinitive. Proberen is also the plural form of the verb. Zij can be either singular (she) or plural (they). The verb must be changed accordingly:

  • Zij probeert = She tries
  • Zij proberen = They try.

If this wasn't your problem, you should probably explain it more clearly.


I guess I shouldn't be having that problem up until now in the learning course.

And to clarify, I am talking about the first line in the Tips and notes section of this unit where they talk about auxiliary verbs compelling the preposition te before the infinitive. Is proberen an auxiliary verb too , given the changes it brings to the above discussed sentence?


It's never clear whether "Zij" at the beginning of a sentence is "She" or " They". Is there a rule to help me identify which is which????


One is singular, the other plural. Unlike in English, in Dutch this means that they command different verb forms. So the verb form will tell you which it is. In this case: "zij proberen" vs. "zij probeert". You can't know before you have reached the verb, but this kind of ambiguity is normal and exists in English as well - though obviously in English it affects different words. For example, if a sentence starts with the word lying, you can't know whether it's about a liar or about a resting person before you have continued reading/hearing it.


Thank you! I had the same question.


Thank you. That helps clear it up.

Learn Dutch in just 5 minutes a day. For free.