"If you do not have it, then where is the bag?"
Translation:Als jij hem niet hebt, waar is de tas dan?
Standard Dutch does not use "haar" to refer to things, only to people. However, the Dutch spoken in northern Belgium (so-called 'Flemish') makes more use of masculine and feminine genders and does use "ze/haar" to refer to "feminine" things.
However, "haar" is used for the adjectival "haar" (as in "her book"), but only "ze" (not "haar") is used in Southern Dutch as an object pronoun to refer to a previous feminine non-person noun.
In other words, in Southern Dutch your sentence must be: "Als je ze niet hebt ..."
Helen, the V2 rule applies only to main clauses and/or to entire sentences, not to subordinate clauses. Here the main clause is "Waar is de tas dann". The conjugated verb "is" is in 2nd position in that clause ("waar dan is de tas" would be wrong).
Bear in mind that the V2 rule is not really about the order of individual words, but rather the order of sentence elements. Sometimes an "element" will be just a single word, but other times it may be an entire phrase or clause.
For example, consider "Als jij hem niet hebt, moet hij in de tas zitten". ("If you do not have it, it must be in the pocket"). In that sentence, the entire clause beginning with "als" up through the comma is the first element, and the conjugated verb "moet" is then second.
In the DL sentence here, note there is a slight complication. The first element is a clause beginning with "als". But then it seems that the second element is not a conjugated verb, as we might expect, but the question word "waar".
The answer is that the V2 rule, as fully detailed, allows question words to be slipped in ahead of the conjugated verb without being counted as an element separate from the conjugated verb.
Yes, it's a subclause despite being the first half of the sentence, because the sentence starts with "Als".
I have posted elsewhere in this email chain on this issue. I also found sentence order really confusing and even some Dutch people couldn't explain it clearly to me but two websites were really helpful at explaining the rules - learndutch.org and dutchgrammar.com Once you underestand the rules it's (quite) easy!
Hi VanHoof! It's so nice to find native Dutch speakers around here giving their first-hand opinion!
I was wondering if I could pick your brain a bit about another doubt with the placement of "dan" in a sentence. I've just finished the topic on prepositions/contrapositions, and there was a sentence that confused me just like this one. The sentence was: "Als jij daar blijft, dan komen wij naar je toe". Here, "dan" comes in the same position as the other sentence that you mentioned seemed strange to you. I remembered this sentence and put "dan" at the end, but Duolingo has it before "komen wij". Is this correct? How would you say this as a native Dutch speaker? Because I never know where to place "dan".
I can't explain it linguistically, but "Als jij daar blijft, dan komen wij naar je toe." is correct.
The "Als jij daar blijft dan komen we naar je toe." can be read as "Profided that you stay there, we come to you."
You can argue that "Als jij hem niet hebt, ..." also can be read as "Profided you don't have him, ... ". So maybe the '"Als jij hem niet hebt, dan waar is de tas?" is linguistically correct. But still I asume a lot more people will put the 'dan' at the end of that sentece.
Sometimes the reality differs from what is linguistically correct. Maybe this is such a situation.
Hi currni, hi Van Hoof. Consider the following sentences:
1. Als jij daar blijft, dan komen wij naar je toe.
2. Als jij hem niet hebt, dan waar is de tas?
3. Als jij hem niet hebt, waar is de tas dan?
4. Als jij hem niet hebt, waar is dan de tas?
Regarding word order, the critical difference between 1 and 2 is that the second clause in 2 is a question rather then a statement, and it begins with the question word "waar". As a result 2 tries to cram two words ("waar" and "dan") before the verb (here "is") in its clause. But Dutch grammar requires that the verb (the finite or conjugated verb) be in the second position in its clause -- the V2 rule. That, I believe, is why 2 is not correct.
But what about 4? With 4, the verb "is" is in second position in its clause. VanHoof, as a native speaker, would you accept 4?
[Note: 3 and 4 have been edited to add "hem", which had inadvertently been left out.]
Hi @ion 1122.
Sentence 3 and 4 are centainly not correct. 'Als jij niet hebt' is not correct. There always need to be a refference to the thing you don't have. (Als jij de tas niet hebt. Als jij het geld niet hebt.)
I am not 100% certain if the second part of sentence 4 (waar is dan de tas?) linguistically is correct, but I would never use it and it sounds strange.
Don't give up! I had the same reaction as you when I got to this sentence and it annoyed me that THIS particular example wasn't included in the tips section, especially since it's the only example we're provided using hem as a replacement for -de words in this lesson/level. So I searched and pulled this excerpt from the grammar explanation of personal pronouns:
When it comes to referring to things, ideas or inanimate objects, we use het and hem. Again, when the word concerned is a het word, we use het. When it is a de word, we use hem.<pre>
“Heb je [het] lied gehoord?” “Nee, ik heb [het] niet gehoord.” = “Have you heard the song?” “No, I have not heard it.” “Heb je [[de]] deur gesloten?” “Ja, ik heb [[hem]] gesloten.” = “Have you closed the door?” “Yes, I have closed it.”</pre>
I hope this helps!
All my years of using Duolingo and you're the first person to ever respond to me, so thank YOU!
I'll also leave you this that hopefully helps with wrapping your head around word order: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/25001504. Dutch word order is a big bull to tackle, and I'm far from getting it down, but it's possible. You got this!
I almost feel special lol! thank you again for taking time out to respond and to help me understand the impossible Dutch grammar better . I will keep on trying until I begin making comprehensive sentences because thusfar i just know a number of words and rules with zero ability to construct anything useful . patience and practice need to be on my side . thank you again :)
Hahah! I was 100% convinced that the comments here were just the abandoned skeletons of ones made in the past or made by bots. xD
Anyway, I think you should have a looksee at this page. I always look before I start anything new to see if a post coincides with the topic I'm about to start. https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/25020107
It's not as complete or thorough as a legit grammar book, but I feel like it still gives a good overview to what Duo intends to teach in the Dutch tree. I make sure to copy each one before starting the level and search for additional grammar rules separately on sites like dutchgrammar.com, and it's been great for my learning process having the grammar rules to refer to right in front of me!
Following are some thoughts regarding the correct word order in the DL Dutch sentence here, especially concerning the correct placement of "dan". Corrections welcome!
The sentence here begins with a subordinate clause. When that is the case, we generally expect to see the pattern X v Y, where X is the entire subordinate clause ending in a verb, v is the conjugated verb of the following main clause, and Y is the rest of the main declarative clause, beginning with the subject. In other words, the verb in the main clause is the second element of the entire sentence. This is the V2 rule. For example:
Als het zonnig is, gaan wij naar het strand.
If it is sunny, we go to the beach.
But note that instead of a declarative clause, the second clause can be a question that begins with a question word (interrogative pronoun). Then the word order is slightly different:
Als het zonnig is, wat zullen we dan doen?
If it is sunny, what will we do?
Now the second element is the question word "what" rather than the conjugated verb "zullen". (So we need to say either that the V2 rule does not apply to sentences the second clause of which is a question, or we need to say that the V2 rule, when "fully detailed", allows the insertion of interrogatives ahead of the conjugated verb. I have heard both explanations and I am happy to accept either.)
A similar displacement of the conjugated verb occurs when we insert the word "dan" into our sentence as a correlative of "als". Compare:
Als het zonnig is, gaan wij naar het strand.
If it is sunny, we go to the beach.
Als het zonnig is, dan gaan wij naar het strand.
If it is sunny, then we go to the beach.
Now it is "dan" that is the second element of the complete sentence, followed by an inverted declarative clause (that is, followed by first the conjugated verb, then the subject, then the rest of the sentence).
Used in this fashion, "dan" is what is known as an "adverbial conjunction". It has some of the characteristics of an adverb, and some of a conjunction. It is one of the three types of conjunction possible in Dutch. (For more on that, see my other long post elsewhere on this page.)
Like "if ... then" in English, "als ... dan" is a frequent correlative pair in Dutch. So in the DL exercise we are given here, it is tempting to write "dan waar is de tas" after "Als jij hem niet hebt", just as we wrote "dan gaan wij naar het strand" after "Als het zonnig is".
But that would be a mistake because there is an important difference between the second clauses in the two sentences. The clause about the strand is a declarative clause (albeit in inverted order), whereas the clause about the tas is a question headed by an interrogative pronoun.
In the tas sentence, the interrogative pronoun and the adverbial conjunction are competing, so to speak, for the same slot in front of the conjugated verb and it is the interrogative pronoun that wins. In the tas sentence, the word "dan" is "demoted" from adverbial conjunction to ordinary adverb. As an ordinary adverb, it now belongs elsewhere in the sentence -- namely, in one of the following positions:
waar is dan de tas
waar is de tas dan
According to Van Hoof (a native speaker who has comments on this page), only the second of the above two phrases is used in practice.
Are you asking why the Dutch here does not use "haar" instead of "hem" or "het"?
The answer is that in standard Dutch, all common-gender nouns (the "de" nouns) are referred to by hij/hem when they are things; "haar" is reserved for people.
However, my understanding is that Belgian Dutch (so-called "Flemish") does use ze/zij/haar to refer to "female" things -- when they remember which those are!
But note that as an object pronoun referring to things, Belgian (Southern) Dutch uses only "ze", not "haar". The latter is reserved for people.
That's exactly right, I'm living in Belgium and standard Dutch (in the Netherlands) just says "hem/zijn" for de it words but Flemish gives things genders and uses "zij/haar" as well. I just say I'm learning Dutch and keep everything to hem/zijn because it's impossible to know what things are female unless I learnt them all "uit de hoofd" and there are enough Dutch language rules in my head right now!
What I don't understand is that in Duolingo's tips and notes here: https://www.duolingo.com/skill/dn/Conjunctions-2/tips-and-notes It says that the main clause will be inverted if the subordinate clause comes first:
If the subordinate clause is placed before the main clause (for emphasis), then the main clause will be inverted; that is, the subject and the verb will switch places.
However, in this practice, the main clause is not inverted, i.e., waar is de tas dan, rather than is waar de tas dan. Why?
The DL tips and notes are talking about word order in a declarative sentence as opposed to a question. So, for example, the following is correct word order in a declarative sentence:
Als jij hem niet hebt, is de tas verloren = If you do not have it, the bag is lost.
First comes the subordinate clause, then the conjugated verb in second position.
But the main clause in the exercise here is a question rather than a declarative statement. In that case, question words (interrogatives) such as "when", "what", etc. can come after the first element but before the verb.
I admit that the explanations in DL (and other sources) are not often clear about this.
You say that the Dutch sentence here is "not inverted". But actually it is, in the sense that the verb "is" comes before the subject "de tas". Inversion is typical of yes-no questions in Dutch, but also of declarative sentences that begin with an element other than the subject.
To translate English "it", you sometimes need the pronoun "het" and sometimes the pronoun "hem". If the pronoun refers to a neuter noun, then you use "het". But if the pronoun refers to a common-gender noun (that is, a "de" noun), then you use "hem".
In the DL sentence here, the noun is "de tas", so the pronoun used to refer to it is "hem".
In this sentence, hem = it.
How else would you translate "it" in this sentence? Remember, Dutch nouns are either common gender or neuter. When referring to a neuter noun, you use "het" to mean "it". But when referring to a common gender noun, then, in standard Dutch, you use "hij"as subject or "hem" as object.
This is what Duo says about word order when a subordinate clause starts a sentence : If the subordinate clause is placed before the main clause (for emphasis), then the main clause will be inverted; that is, the subject and the verb will switch places. I don't see this happening here. I would think this should be " ..dan de tas is waar" I'm very frustrated trying to get this right and about to give up.
The DL tips and notes are talking about word order in a declarative sentence as opposed to a question. So, for example, the following is correct word order in a declarative sentence: Als jij hem niet hebt, is de tas verloren = If you do not have it, the bag is lost. First comes the subordinate clause, then the conjugated verb in second position, then the subject "de tas".
But the main clause in the exercise here is a question rather than a declarative statement. In that case, question words (interrogative pronouns) such as "when", "what", etc. can come after the first element but before the verb.
I admit that the explanations in DL (and other sources) are not often clear about this.
One other point. You seem to think that the subject of the clause "Waar is de tas" is "waar", and so you have put "waar" after "is" in the sentence you propose. But that is a mistake. The subject in the clause "Waar is de tas" is "de tas", and it already comes after the verb "is". The word "waar" is an interrogative pronoun, not the subject of the clause.
Finally, I suggest you read through the comments on this page, including my earlier comments. They will help you get a better understanding of the word order required here.
Two questions. First, why is "it" here hem and not het? I assume that it's because tas is a masculine noun, but I don't see how even native Dutch-speakers would have that memorized for all nouns since both masculine and feminine take de.
Secondly, why exactly is the first clause here not V2 and thr second one is? Is als just a word which should clue you in that the clause it begins will not be V2, similar to hoeveel?
The pronoun used is "hem" not because "tas" is a masculine noun, but because "tas" is a common gender or de noun. Common gender nouns are referred to using "hij/hem".
There are exceptions -- for example, as in English, you can refer to a boat as "she/her", and so on. And in southern Dutch (Belgium), there is more of an attempt to match up feminine pronouns to nouns perceived (by southern speakers) as feminine. Furthermore, even in the north some native speakers prefer to use feminine pronouns to refer to nouns they instinctively recognize as of feminine grammatical gender.
But in contemporary northern Dutch the tendency is to use "hij/hem" for de words, regardless of their gender in the older Dutch language.
The first clause here does not use V2 word order because V2 is not used in a Dutch subordinate clause. In a subordinate clause, verbs move to the end of the clause. The V2 rule is for main clauses, not for subordinate clauses, questions, or commands.
You are right that the word "als" does indeed have some bearing on word order. Subordinate clauses are clauses that begin with what are called subordinating conjunctions. The conjunction "als" is one of those. In fact, most Dutch conjunctions are subordinating.
There are two other kinds of conjunction. The coordinating conjunctions join two main clauses and do not trigger subordinate clause word order or inverted word order. Dutch coordinating conjunctions include only "en", "of", "want", "maar", and a few others.
The third kind of Dutch conjunction is the adverbial conjunction. This kind triggers inverted word order in the following clause instead of subordinate clause word order. Examples are "daarom", "toch", and "anders".
So three different word orders are possible in a clause, depending on what type of conjunction is used to introduce it. Here are examples of each:
Mijn leerlingen zijn lui, maar ze zijn niet stom.
My pupils are lazy but they are not stupid.
Mijn lerrlingen zijn lui, hoewel ze niet stom zijn.
My pupils are lazy, although they are not stupid.
Mijn leerlingen zijn lui, toch zijn ze niet stom.
My pupils are lazy, yet they are not stupid.
As for "hoeveel", it is, strictly speaking, an interrogative adverb rather than a subordinating conjunction. But interrogative adverbs do indeed trigger subordinate clause word order in indirect questions introduced by those adverbs. For example:
Wat heeft hij in zijn hand.
What does he have in his hand? [direct question]
Ik weet niet wat hij in zijn hand heeft.
I do not know what he has in his hand. [indirect question]
In any case, do not confuse "hoeveel" with "hoewel". The latter is a subordinating conjunction that means "although".
Aart, bear in mind that the discussion above has to do with "het/het" vs. "hij/hem" when these pronouns are used to refer to nouns. But "het" is also used in Dutch as a definite article ("the") and as a pronoun when there is no reference to a noun -- that is, as a "dummy" pronoun.
The latter is similar to the "it" in English sentences like "it is raining" or "it is time to get up". When used in this way, the Dutch pronoun is always "het", regardless of whether the noun that follows is neuter or common gender. Moreover, "het" is used regardless of whether the noun that follows is singular or plural. (In other words, this "het" is sometimes better translated as "they" rather than "it".) Examples:
Het is een hond = It is a dog
Het zijn Duitsers = They are Germans
Sometimes it is hard to say whether an opening pronoun is "dummy" or "real". Dutch makes the following distinction: If there is a noun in the predicate of the sentence, then the opening is regarded as dummy, but if there is an adjective rather than a noun, then the opening is regarded as real. So you get the following contrasting examples:
Ik heb twee glazen gebroken. Het waren antieke glazen.
Ik heb twee glazen gebroken. Ze waren antiek.
Het zijn Duitsers = They are Germans
Ze zijn Duits = They are German
This thread has some very helpful contributions! Thanks! In English you might also ask, "If you don't have it, where, then, is the bag?", so I am wondering whether Dutch also has a rhetorical construction like this using "dan". In spoken English the full meaning of a sentence such as this example might also depend on which words are stressed, if any. Is that also true in Dutch?
Can extra layers of meaning be conveyed in spoken Dutch by the word stress? This sentence is full of possible meanings in English! If "it" and "bag" are stressed then suddenly "it" is some other object, not the bag. Is there a parallel in Dutch, and if so could it use "het" instead of "hem"?
In standard contemporary northern Dutch, all common-gender nouns (the "de" nouns) are referred to by hij/hem/zijn when they are things; "zij/ze/haar/haar/haar" is reserved for people.
Belgian Dutch (so-called "Flemish") does use ze/zij/haar/haar to refer to "female" things -- when they remember which those are!
And note that even in Belgian (Southern) Dutch, the object pronoun used to refer to "de tas" (feminine) would be "ze", not "haar". The latter is reserved for people. See my longer comment elsewhere on this page.
Revilo_N, even if we accept the idea that "tas" is (or was, in the older language) a feminine noun, it does NOT automatically follow that "feminine" pronouns must be used to refer to it in contemporary Dutch. You also have to look at the system being used and/or the common practice of most native speakers.
For example, the Dutch word for "girl" is "het meisje", which is grammatically neuter. But Dutch does not, for that reason, refer to girls using the pronouns "het/hem/zijn". It uses the more natural "zij/ze/haar".
My point is, it may be true that words like "tas" are still listed as feminine in Dutch reference books. But that does not mean that contemporary Dutch speakers assign those nouns "feminine" pronouns.
Note that in German the situation is different. In German there are still three distinct genders, and there is a strong tendency to use distinct pronouns corresponding to the gender of the nouns to which they refer.
But even in German it is common practice to refer to "das Mädchen" as "sie" rather than "es".
In the system that DL uses, Dutch does not differentiate masculine, feminine, and neuter. Instead, it distinguishes common gender nouns (de nouns) on the one hand, and neuter nouns (het nouns) on the other. Because "tas" is a de noun, the object pronoun used to refer to it is "hem".
For better or worse, that is the system that Duo uses, and it is also the system taught as "standard Dutch", as spoken in the Northern part of the Netherlands. However there are native speakers who do not use that system. For example, in Belgian Dutch, many people still treat feminine nouns separately, and I daresay that is also true among some Northern speakers.
CatherineD631971 says that my statements are not correct. But she does not say who she is (native speaker?) or why she feels I am in error. Until she takes the time to explain her point of view, it is impossible to assess her remarks.
With regard to Revilo_N's specific suggestion "Als jij haar niet hebt...", here is what one recognized authority says (Bruce Donaldson, Dutch, Routledge 2017):
"Those speakers for whom certain non-personal nouns are still regarded as feminine may use ze as an object pronoun instead of hem, but never haar, which can only be used with reference to people ..." For example, in Southern Dutch:
Wat heb je met je oude taafel gedaan? Ik heb ze verkocht.
What have you done with your old table? I've sold it.