"They do not have menus"

Translation:Zij hebben geen menu's

July 19, 2014


Sorted by top post


Why do the Dutch use an apostrophe on menu's??

July 24, 2014


You place an apostrophoe+s ('s) on words that end in a single vowel (that are becoming plural), unless the vowel is an "e" (which then you would use just an "s")

August 4, 2014


Why doesn't "Zij hebben niet menu's" work?

July 19, 2014


Just as German uses 'nicht' and 'kein', Dutch uses 'niet' en 'geen' to negate sentences.

You use 'geen' if you want to negate a noun. In English you can rephrase the sentence to use 'no' in these cases:

  • They do not have menus. -> They have no menus.

So the Dutch sentence uses 'geen':

  • Zij hebben geen menu's.

On the other hand, say you want to negate a verb:

  • They do not swim.

English can't rephrase this sentence using 'no' so the Dutch sentence uses 'niet':

  • Zij zwemmen niet.
July 19, 2014


Well I understand that you can use "geen" but I was asking if it is possible to use "niet" too. Because I would think that "hebben" is a verb that can be negated if "niet" is used the same way "zwemmen" can be. I would think that there is probably some correct way to phrase this with "hebben" and "niet" or is there not? Is it correct if I switched "Zij hebben niet menu's" to "Zij hebben menu's niet"?

July 19, 2014


'Zij hebben de menu's niet.' is possible, but then you mustn't forget the definite article :)

July 19, 2014


Why do you need the article? Does Dutch use articles more liberally than English?

July 19, 2014


No, it's because the meaning changes:

  • Zij hebben geen menu's - They don't have (any) menus
  • Zij hebben de menu's niet - They don't have the menus

You can't rephrase the second English sentence using 'no' so you have to use 'niet'. It's just how Dutch works.

The use of 'geen' and 'niet' is explained in more detail here: http://www.dutchgrammar.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=406

July 19, 2014


"geen" negates a noun that would normally have the indefinite article "een" by replacing it.

August 9, 2014


stefott, thanks for your valuable explanations so far but ikamjh's third question is still unanswered: Since you can say 'Zij hebben de menu's niet', why does it have to include the definite article? Is it absolutely wrong to say 'Zij hebben menu's niet'? as translation for English article-less 'they don't have menus'?

March 11, 2017


why zij and not ze?

January 4, 2017


Both are accepted.

January 4, 2017
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