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  5. "Hij denkt dat hij iemand is,…

"Hij denkt dat hij iemand is, maar eigenlijk is hij niemand."

Translation:He thinks that he is somebody, but he is actually nobody.

July 22, 2014



True, but I've met that person.


Duolingo is going to make me the sassiest Dutch speaker


You have to be pretty sassy to claim that spot. A lot of Dutch people I know would say things like this (regularly)


That is my second favorite sentence in Dutch course after ”Een koe is geen nummer”.


Nah, my favorite has to be "Je baby is niet schattig genoeg".


My favourite is "De kinderen hebben een vraag over de verkoop van hun ouders"


"Iedereen houdt van mij vanwege mijn mooie lichaam"


This is kind depressing. Must be the most negative sentence I come across on a regular basis.


I don't understand the placement of the "is" in this sentence. The first half has it after "hij iemand", but the second half has it before "hij niemand". Why is that? Why is the "is" in two different places?


in first part, because of "dat" the verb goes to the end of the sentence. in the second part, "maar" does not change the verb order. however, having "eigenlijk" as the beginning of that sentence, "inversion" takes place. see the links below for further details:

conjunctions: https://www.duolingo.com/skill/dn/Conjunctions inversion: http://www.dutchgrammar.com/en/?n=WordOrder.04


Between all the easy sentences, I was kind of surprised to run into this one :o


Is the “n” in “eigenlijk” silent?


idk about the netherlands but in belgium(flanders) it is usually without the n like zeven and some verbs


Thanks, AbdelRahma!


I've read the comments and links here, and I'm still confused. I'm understanding the word order for the first part of this long sentence, and then I'm lost on the second part. The use of "maar" is a coordinating conjunction, so it joins two equal clauses, right? So... how does that rule apply here? I actually see three parts to this. First, "Hij denkt" (Simply a subject and a verb in nice V2 order), then the "dat" statement -- "dat hij iemand is" -- with the verb moved to the end because of it being a "dat" statement. Then "Maar"........ ???? If this final part of the sentence is "equal" to what went before, does that mean it's subject to the V2 order in the first part of the statement? Nope, obviously not. Is it subject to the rules of the "dat" statement with the verb at the end? Nope, obviously not. So, what am I missing here with this "coordinating" conjunction?


Hello Judith,

That’s a great question, and you’ve made some fantastic observations as well. Let me see if I can explain the word order a bit.

The sentence as a whole reads: “Hij denkt dat hij iemand is, maar eigenlijk is hij niemand.” The first part of the sentence, “Hij denkt” is indeed a main clause, just as you observed. Just a subject followed by a finite verb, with nothing fancy.

You’re right about the second part as well: “dat hij iemand is”. Here, “dat” is a subordinating conjunction that requires the verb “is” to move to the end of the clause. Thus, “dat hij iemand is”.

The last part of the sentence “maar eigenlijk is hij niemand,” is a bit different from the previous two parts of the sentence. “Maar” is indeed a subordinating conjunction. However, the reason why we don’t have main clause word order here is because of the word “eigenlijk”. Because of the addition of that word, “hij” and “is” have to change places so that the verb remains in the second position of the sentence. This is known as inversion. Without the word “eigenlijk”, the clause would follow main clause word order: “maar hij is niemand.”

I hope this helps! If you have more questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

Veel success met je Nederlands!


Thank you so much! I spent a lot of time looking at the sentence, and I finally guessed that "eigenlijk" was responsible for the change but it was all quite a blur in my mind. Your explanation is very helpful. I will try to remember this as I progress with my studies.


You’re welcome!


"Wees uzelf, sprak ik tot iemand, maar hij kon niet, hij was niemand." (De Genestet)


Hij heeft misschien geen idee En hij mag geen stijl hebben Maar alles wat hij ontbreekt Nou maakt hij zich in ontkenning


The English could go with/without but I’m surprised Duo doesn’t accept “a nobody” and “a somebody.” Possibly it’s just our vernacular, but one could easily call someone “a nobody” in this context.


I seem to recall that the part after "maar" doesn't need to be reordered. But of course "eigenlijk is hij niemand" is also a correct way to say the part itself. So does this sentence have to be in this way, or can I also say "Hij denkt dat hij iemand is, maar hij is eigenlijk niemand"?


This is either a sassy comment or an observation of identity crisis.


If a subject appears multiple times in the same sentence, is it common to use the stressed form every time?


This one has stumped me over and over. No idea what is going on with this word order. I even asked my Dutch teacher and she wasn't sure!

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