https://www.duolingo.com/Lavinae

Grammar: The Dutch Prepositions

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Content

  1. Prepositions: introduction
  2. Short overview of the most important prepositions
  3. Prepositions of place
  4. Prepositions of movement
  5. Prepositions of time

1. Prepositions: introduction

Prepositions are short words which indicate a relation between different words in a sentence. This can be a relation of place (Where?), of direction (Where to?) and of time (When?)

Examples of prepositions:

  1. Where? – Het glas staat op de tafel). = The glass is on the table.
  2. Where to? – Zij fietsten van Parijs naar Lyon. = They cycled from Paris to Lyon.
  3. When? – De school opent om 9 uur ‘s morgens. = The school opens at 9 am.

Unfortunately, learning prepositions is never an easy task. However, learning prepositions by means of an example sentence usually helps.


2. Short overview of the most important prepositions

Source: Grammaticawijzer ‘Dutch Grammar at a Glance’, IntertaaL.


3. Prepositions of place

On this image you can see a part of the Duolingo world. You can say something about the places of certain things, building, Duo and even the mountains. For example:

  • The Eiffeltower is in the valley – De Eiffeltoren staat in de vallei.
  • The Eiffeltower is next to the river – De Eiffeltoren staat naast de rivier.
  • The Atomium is between the bench and the mountain – Het Atomium staat tussen het bankje en de berg (in).
  • Duo the owl is opposite the Antomium – Duo de uil staat tegenover het Antomium.
  • The Brandenburger Tor is at the foot of the mountain – De Brandenburger Tor staat aan de voet van de berg.
  • Duo de owl is on the top of the mountain – Duo de uil staat bovenop de berg.
  • The bench is in front of the Atomium – Het bankje staat voor het Atomium.
  • The mountain is behind the Atomium – De berg is achter het Atomium.
  • There is nobody on the grass – Er staat niemand op het gras.
  • Duo the owl is near the flying lingots – Duo de uil is dichtbij/vlakbij de vliegende lingots.
  • The lingots are flying above the mountain – De lingots vliegen boven de berg
  • The lanscape is below the sky – Het landschap ligt onder de lucht.

The most important prepositions of place are:


4. Prepositions of movement

The table below includes an overview of the prepositions of movement:


5. Prepositions of time

There are two types of prepositions for denoting a relation in time. There are the prepositions which indicate an established time (think of hours, days, months, years or parts thereof) and prepositions which indicate a period instead.


At an established time


During a period of time


Extra

Flashcards
Prepositions visualized by means of images


Return to grammar overview!

7/20/2014, 10:04:12 AM

8 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Lull0000

Greetings.

So I just finished the preposition lesson for this tree and wanted to leave some constructive feedback. I found that lesson quite a bit less polished than the others up to that point and wanted to offer some suggestions. Let me know if I should post this somewhere else.

So the thing about prepositions is that they tend to be pretty arbitrary and basically depend on the verb you're using, so that makes this lesson a pain because you basically had to guess which preposition to use. A tips and hints section seems like it would be pretty helpful here.

First of, a lot of phrases in Dutch use "staan", "liggen" and "sitten" where the English phrases use "is", which is pretty confusing. I think it's worthwhile to explain the situations where these verbs should be uses in Dutch, instead of expecting people to just figure it out.

Secondly, this section is full of separable verbs, which were never explained and also seem to confuse a lot of people. Honestly I wouldn't even count those as prepositions. For example, "Voorlesen" is basically a different verb than "lesen", so I think it would be better just to identify the entire verb as a new word instead of expecting people to attempt to guess how the "preposition" modifies the meaning of the verb.

Also, there are a few phrases that are basically idioms, which aren't really fair to expect people to translate. For example, "Met mij gaat het goed" means "I am fine.". The hints won't really help you get from point A to point B IMO. It wouldn't hurt to just have the hint translate the entire phrase "gaat het goed" to "is fine" or something.

I hope this feedback is useful in some way. I found this section to be a chore to grind though compared to the others since it's pretty much just guesswork based on the information provided. These are all pretty much the same sorts of things that I suggested for the German course and I think they apply here as well. Hopefully it can be improved in some way.

Cheers!

8/4/2014, 7:19:37 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/JaredBH
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See the sticky'd post about all the stuff they have added but haven't made their way to us yet. They have added proper translations to lots of separable verbs that we can't see yet. Apparently it's Duolingo's problem.

9/6/2014, 4:11:30 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/springbett
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Is there any difference between dichtbij and vlakbij?

7/20/2014, 10:55:37 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/xMerrie
Mod
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Not really. 'Dichtbij' is a bit farther away than 'vlakbij'. The translation could be 'closeby' and 'nearby'.

8/7/2014, 9:52:48 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/oppikoppi
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vlakbij stresses something being really near, more so than dichtbij For example in a different sense, you could use vlak to say things like: 'dat is er vlak op' (that is absolutely correct, literally: straight on), or 'het ligt vlak vóór u', it's right in front of you... etc :)

8/7/2014, 9:20:25 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/talideon
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It might be worth pointing out the 'beneden' and 'beneath' are both etymologically related, which might help with remembering the meaning of 'beneden' without giving you a false friend.

7/21/2014, 4:05:35 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/MorgenKatje

The example for 'achter' should use 'ligt', correct?

1/4/2018, 12:20:44 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/ISABEL959165

Super behulpzaam, heel erg bedankt!

1/27/2018, 4:52:40 PM
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