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  5. "Somebody needs something."

"Somebody needs something."

Translation:Iemand heeft iets nodig.

July 21, 2014



Is "Iemand moet iets?" incorrect?


I think that would most likely translate as "someone must something", which is not exactly the same as "need"


Yes, that zeroes in on my question. What's the difference between "moeten" and "nodig hebben"?

If I said "I must have apples now!", I believe it would be "Ik moet nu appels!" The difference between that and "I have need of apples", or "Ik heb appels nodig", seems mostly a difference in tone, rather than in meaning.

I've run across enough close-but-not-quite parallels between English and Dutch, though, that I'm really not sure.


The translation of "I must have apples now is not Ik moet nu appels, it is Ik moet nu appels hebben.

The only difference is the word order:

  1. now/nu comes earlier in Dutch.
  2. Dutch puts the main verb (moet) in the position expected from English, but moves the rest of the predicate (hebben) to the end of the sentence.


I am going to try to answer your question, but I'm not sure I'll be of much help. I'll leave you to be the judge of that.

First of, notice that you wrote "I must have apples now", but you omitted the verb "hebben" in Dutch. Though you may use "moeten" alone in Dutch ("ik moet naar school"), I'm not sure it works here. So maybe "ik moet nu appels hebben" works better.

Second, "I have need of apples" may not be wrong in English, but it sure is not the natural, most frequent translation to "ik heb appels nodig". This is a common form in Dutch, so it'd most likely be translated as "i need apples".

Third point is a question: you have a parallel that seems to work at least in this context: I must do something = ik moet iets doen vs. I need something = ik heb iets nodig. What makes you suspect that it doesn't work? Did you have another sentence or context in mind?

A question to the native speakers based on your question: with "moeten" can we drop the verb all together: "ik moet iets" or just in certain contexts (like: ik moet naar school)? If it is only in some contexts, what are they?


It does not mean need in the meaning of "I have to do/have" To have to do something: moeten To require something: nodig haben


I don't know, if I can explain that properly, but I'll try my best.

First of all, I think for a native English speaker, the difference is more difficult to get, as you use these words rather similar since you can say for example: "I have to do that.", "I must do that." or "I need to do that." They all mean the same.

But in German and therefore probably in Dutch as well, there is a difference. "Moeten" or "to have to" is stronger than "nodig hebben" or "to need". "Moeten" normally has a consequence. "I have to have apples OR I won't be able to bake the cake." "Nodig hebben" is rather like: "I need apples TO be able to bake the cake."

I don't know if that helps you, but I hope so ;)


There's a similar difference in English--at least I think it's similar, if I understand you properly. "Must" implies obligation (perhaps because of consequences), but "need" implies a lack of something required. There's often an overlap, where both are satisfactory, but sometimes one is more appropriate than the other.


Is "iemand heeft een nodig" a correct alternative?


Unsurprisingly, that means "Somebody needs one" (and should probably be spelled "iemand heeft één nodig"). So it implies that there is only a single thing that is needed, and that the general category of that thing has just been mentioned or implied. As the difference is even more significant than the one between a definite and an indefinite article, it shouldn't be accepted.


Interesting! How about "iemand heeft nodig"? Does that mean anything?


Can nodighebben be used in this?


Well of course - that's what the official translation at the top of this page does!

It's actually spelled in two words (nodig hebben), so technically it's not a separable verb but a phrasal verb. (Although this doesn't make a difference for your question.) The third person singular form is heeft ... nodig (not nodig heeft) because when a verb is declined (marked for person and number), everything else from the predicate except the one word that is the resulting finite verb form is moved to the end of the sentence. This is why the official translation is Iemand heeft iets nodig, not the ungrammatical Iemand nodig heeft iets.


What is the difference between wat and iets? Both are translated as "something" in the app, but when I tried using wat in this example it wasn't correct, so I'm sure there must be a difference in when to use which one. Any thoughts?


Must and need are not synonymous in English. Must = to be required, obliged or forced to do or have something. Need = to desire, to have need of. The difficulty in English is that there are really four verbs involved, with subtly different meanings

I need food (have need of) I need to go (must, have to) I must eat (have to) I must have food (require, need).

You can say "I need a book" or "I must go" but you can't say "I must a book" or "I need go".

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