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  5. "Geen rode kleren, alsjeblief…

"Geen rode kleren, alsjeblieft."

Translation:No red clothes, please.

July 26, 2014



what is the difference between alsjeblieft and alstublieft?

  • 'Alsjeblieft' can be broken down to "als je blieft".
  • 'Alstublieft' can be broken down to "als 't u blieft" (="als het u blieft").

Both mean "if it pleases you" (it uses the quite archaic verb 'blieven' ). The difference therefore is in the je or u. 'Alsjeblieft' is more colloquial, 'alstublieft', because of 'u', is more polite/formal.


I've seen this break down of alsjeblieft and alstublieft described elsewhere.

The thing that doesn't make sense is the extra "het" as an explanation of the "t" in the formal version. I'm not clear why the "het" would be present in the formal version and not in the informal version. Considering the direct translation of "if it pleases you", the "het" actually makes sense in the sentence, as does the abbreviation to 't in the compound word. But it makes me wonder, what happened to the "het" in the informal version of the compound word. Maybe it was just removed, because obviously a "t" would be very unnatural sounding. Maybe it started out there and was eventually swallowed in favor of the common "sha" sound of the "sje" combination.

But the inconsistency makes me wonder about the real etymology of this compound word. Anyone have any ideas?


As vam1980 said both alsjeblieft and alstublieft come from 'als 't je/u belieft' (which is no longer used), wich is related to the French s'il vous/te plaît

Since people are lazy in everyday use the 't in als 't je blieft was often dropped, so als je blieft, je is informal so it is less frowned upon if something isn't said if it should be and je following an s has a better "flow" to it.

Both these word combinations morphed into a single word, namely alstublieft (with still the 't in it) and alsjeblieft (in the 1800's also assieblieft was used colloquially)


Contractions are never premeditated. It is not like there has been a committee discussing which letters to leave out.

Something like that happens naturally. And

is easier to pronounce than

People actually often leave out the "blieft" obviously not in actual formal situations.

Also the l can be eroded. So you might come across asje and astu in colloquial speech.

Astu works nice with danku :)

And the real etymology is the one you (I assume) keep coming across.
Als het u belieft
If it (so) pleases you

Modeled after the French
s'il vous plaît and s'il te plaît
if I'm not mistaken.


What is the difference between 'kleren' and 'kleding'?


Would it be correct to distinguish them as 'clothes' (collection of individual pieces of garment) and 'clothing' (generic name for clothes in general) ? Or is there no such distinction at all?


Yes, that's correct! ;)


Thank you. Now please explain "kleden"?


"Kleden" can be

  • Verb: to clothe (somebody)
  • Noun: rugs


@saartje that is incorrect.

Kleren zijn kledingstukken

Clothes are articles of clothing.


One thing. Why is it "No red clothes" instead of "Not red clothes"? My (native) English teacher says it's not correct to use "no" instead of "not" in all this informal English people use sometimes. Why isn't accepted the (grammatically) correct one, also?


What is your first language? I think it'd be easier to explain it in your language if I could.

English explanation:
"No red clothes, please." = You have offered to bring me clothes, and I am telling you what I do not want: zero red clothes, please.
"Not red clothes, please." = For some reason, I expect that you will bring me red clothes, but I want some other color.

In context:
A: "Would you like some clothes?"
B: "Sure, but no red clothes please."

A: "Would you like some clothes?"
B: [Sees red clothes sitting hanging nearby.] "Not red clothes, please."

But in both of these situations, you could substitute "no" for "not" and it would still sound okay (not perfect, but okay). If the sentence is alone and out of context, I think that "No" sounds better.

Let's look at a better context, where the difference is very important:

"I would like water, no ice." = Please bring me water without ice in it.
"I would like water, not ice." = Please bring me water instead of ice. (Ice is usual.)

A: "Would you like a glass of ice water?"
B: "I would like water, no ice, please."

A: "Would you like a block of ice?"
B: "I would like water, not ice."

In general, "No" is used to negate a noun and "Not" is used to negate a verb or in a pair with "but/rather". If you say "Not red clothes," you are negating the unspoken verb (for example "Do not wear red clothes"). It is more grammatically correct to use "No" in this situation, because you are negating the clothes themselves.

I teach German, so on the off chance that you speak German, I will provide this fast explanation:
"No red clothes" = Keine roten Kleider
"Not red clothes" = Nicht rote Kleider


"No red clothes, please" is grammatically correct. Think of this as a reply to a question such as "Would you like to see some of our selection of clothing?" or "Would you like some of these clothes?". Remember that "geen" does not necessarily mean "not". It also can mean "no" or "none" depending on the context. Such as "Ik heb geen idee" which translates to "I have no idea". It's easy to get caught up in direct/literal translations, when that's not always possible. Hope this helps a little. :)


Do all Dutch people pronounce "r" without much emphasis, or is it just the woman on Duolingo? I heard "oude" and put "geen oude kleren alsjeblieft" which I thought meant "no old clothes please".


no this woman is talking posh. use google translate if you want to hear how it sounds.


So how can we tell if we are supposed tonuse alstublieft lr alsjeblieft?


very tricksy to mix kleren and kleuren


don't show this to one of my friends please, nearly everything she owns is red

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