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"Wanneer ik schrijf, schrijf jij."

Translation:When I write, you write.

July 20, 2014



Why isn't there a "t" after the second "schrijf"? Wanneer ik schrijf, schrijft jij.


This is the one weirdness of Dutch verb conjugation. In sentences with the default word order - subject before verb - the second person singular is marked by -t. But whenever the word order is reversed, the second person singular -t (but not the third person singular -t) disappears. Maybe you have seen this before in questions, but it also applies when the word order is reversed for other reasons.


when the order is reversed, the -t diseappears with jij or je, not with u: schrijf jij, schrijft u


But based on the number of instances of ben u and heb u, it appears that schrijf u is also about to become correct - though it isn't yet. (In a search for schrijf u there are too many false positives to test this directly.)


Just my personal experience, but I think dropping the -t in that situation is very uncommon for anyone except beginners. Also in speech you usually clearly hear the t in those cases. So I wouldn't consider this to be a candidate for becoming correct.


Can you give us examples of each situations? I'm very very confused


Default word order: Je schrijft. Je schrijft soms.

Inversed, without -t before je/jij: Schrijf je? Soms schrijf je.

I hope this helps.


In some cases it is not true :( #confused


Could you expand in that?


sorry, I don't remember what I meant :/


Can someone tell me know if I understand the structure of the sentence correctly please:

Ik schrijf = Sub. Clause (& therefore verb goes at the end) Schijf jij = Main Clause (& gets structured like a question because the Main clause comes after the Sub clause)

If this is correct, then is there any easy way to find out which clause is the main one, and which is (are) the subordinate clauses?

Thanks :)


Your analysis is correct.

As to your question: Wanneer is one of those words which function either as a question word or as the word introducing a subordinate clause. In this case the first clause doesn't have question word order (which would be "wanneer schrijf ik?"), so it can't be a question. Also, "schrijf jij" is clearly not normal main clause word order (which would be "jij schrijft"). It is also not in subordinate clause word order (which in this case would be identical), and it can't be a subordinate clause anyway because there is no word introducing it (as in "dat jij schrijft", "wanneer jij schrijft"). And finally it seems clear that the second clause is not a question that for some reason has been attached to another main clause (and the question mark suppressed).

Each of these indicators alone should tell you that this sentence starts with the subordinate clause. And on top of that, I think the major European languages mostly agree on the situations in which this reversal of clauses is frequent and those in which it isn't. So you should also have a good idea of when this is plausible, or even likely.

Finally, you should get the same result if you translate the two clauses separately, even without thinking things through beyond "the word order is weird, so I'll reorder the words in my translation so they sound right". Then you can analyse your translation to see which is the main clause.


I'll add another indicator: the clause that cannot be said on it's own to a group of people without adding the intonation pattern that is typical for questions and still be understood as a 'complete message' is a subordinate clause.

Imagine that you walk into a room and you tell the people who are there:

'When I write...'

They'll be expecting you to continue talking and 'complete your message'.

If you do the same and say:

'I write.'

They'll understand you message as 'complete' (they'll probably assume that you are a writer -and quite an odd one, on top of that!).


Ooops, my mind slipped:

Replace 'I write' with ' you write'.

The effect is pretty much the same: your message is complete. Although I'd perceive it as if you were ordering me to write.

Pay attention on the intonation that you use for each clause: for a subordinate clause that is placed before the main clause, you use a rising intonation (your voice goes 'up' -this conveys the idea that you're going to keep talking), while for the main clause (if it's placed after the subordinate clause) you'd mostly use a falling intonation (your voice goes 'down' -you're not going to keep talking).

No edit button on the app :(


I used whenever instead of when. is the meaning really different? it said it's wrong and I really don't think it really alters the meaning.


The important point here is that wanneer is a false friend in that it translates simply to when as opposed to its obvious cognate whenever. Apparently, whenever is wanneer ook in Dutch.

Of course, when can often be replaced by whenever without changing the meaning (much). Maybe whenever should be accepted, but I am glad it isn't - it helps me learn that the normal translation of wanneer is simple when.


Whenever and when are partly synonymous in standard British English. (see below). Whenever = at any time when, every time that, as often as, no matter when, in any or every case in which, as soon as. When* = On the occasion, on every occasion at the time, at every time, on what occasion, in what case or circumstances, in every circumstance.

"When" can often mean "whenever", but "whenever" cannot mean "when" in the sense of on the single occasion that.

"When I see you we shall fight" = On the occasion that I see you we shall fight OR On every occasion that I see you we shall fight. "Whenever I see you we shall fight" = On each occasion (on every occasion) that I see you we shall fight.

"Whenever we met, we argued" = On every occasion that we met, we argued. "When we met, we argued" = On the (single) occasion that we met, we argued OR On every occasion that we met, we argued*

  • In Northern Ireland whenever can indicate a single occasion, so "Whenever I see you" = "When I see you". But in the question form, it would still be "When shall I see you?"


Just to be clear. The t is always removed after the main clause? I.e When it takes verb 1st position?


When the subject is second person singular, jij/je, the verb doesn't get a t. Verbs that already have a t don't receive an extra t and they also don't lose it. jij eet/eet jij.


yes but in which instance does this occur. I understand how it happens but #when# is what's important to me.

I know it occurs in questions but where else.


Ah sorry. You can find a good explanation here: Grammar: Dutch Word Order.


I had the same question, I found this Wikipedia page and it is pretty clear: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-rules


Is this a command? As in " When I write, you (should also) write"? Or a statement; "When I write, you copy me and write as well"?


It's just a statement of fact: It is the case that whenever I write, you write as well.

I believe it's much less common in Dutch than in English to include a second person pronoun with an imperative. I think the other meaning would be: "Wanneer ik schrijf, schrijf!" Though for that sentence it would certainly be more natural to put it the other way round: "Schrijf wanneer ik schrijf!"


Why there is no inversion in the first subclause?


The first clause is not a question but an ordinary subordinate clause introduced by wanneer. Subordinate clauses have neither ordinary main clause word order (V2) nor question word order. They still have essentially the original Proto-Germanic word order, in which the entire verb phrase comes at the very end.


Why not schrijf je


It's correct either way, but in this sentence jij is likely to be stressed (as it's contrasted to ik), so it's less likely to be shortened to je.


If I write, you write...Is it good too?


No. English makes a difference between if and when. Dutch makes the same difference between indien and wanneer. Wanneer is the obvious cognate of whenever: apparently, in Dutch the earlier word for when (wann, which is no longer in use) was replaced by wanneer to make the purely temporal sense more obvious. (Wenn in German has both meanings.)


Correct if I am wrong, but isn't 'Wanneer' a question word? So shouldn't it be: 'When I write, do you write?'
I'm very confused in Wanneer being a question word. Wanneer should be replaced with als


als would be if, not when. wanneer is both a question word and a conjunction, like when in English.


What's the difference between Je and Jij?


None, really. Jij is just the stressed form (used for emphasis).

Their pronunciation differs, though.

Jij sounds like 'yay' (imagine reading that in English, as when kids exclaim 'yay!')

Je is pronounced with a schwa - the sound of the '-e' in 'differ'. You can imagine it as if you were saying 'juh'.

Pay attention to these sounds when doing a listening/dictation exercise.

[deactivated user]

    Can someone explain to me in a simple way why you don't use the usual conjugation of 'you write' (je schrijft)? Very confused


    The second person -t at the end of a verb always disappears when the order of noun and verb is inverted. (This happens most often in questions, but also in sentences such as the present one, where a subordinate clause precedes the main clause.)

    1. Ik schrijf. Schrijf ik?
    2. Jij schrift. Schrijf jij?
    3. Hij schrijft. Schrift hij?

    In first person there is never a -t. In third person there is always a -t. In second person it depends on word order.


    can we basically say that whenever the word order is reversed in the second person, the t is always dropped? so it will ALWAYS be jij schrijft and it will ALWAYS be schrijf jij.


    Can you also say, "Wanneer ik schrijf, schrijf jullie"?


    No, it should be schrijven jullie, in any case.


    what is the logic behind this sentence structure


    Wanneer ik schrijf, schrijf jij! Gewoon zo?


    If i have to say "when I write, do you write?" Will they use the same sentence in Dutch?

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