1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Dutch
  4. >
  5. "When I write, you write."

"When I write, you write."

Translation:Wanneer ik schrijf, schrijf jij.

July 31, 2014



Why does the verb move to the front of the subordinating clause here?


Because the first part describes a condition. Zodra ik honger heb, eet ik (/ga ik eten). Als ik moe ben, slaap ik (/ga ik slapen).


So, let me see if I have this right; If the sentence starts with 'if'/'when' or a location/time then the structure is VSO,
If the sentence is a subordinate clause, then it's SOV?


That is indeed one of the cases in which you switch the words order. I can give you other examples.

Met mijn jas aan, loop ik naar buiten (with my coat on, I walk outside) In het donker, kan ik niet zien (in the dark, I can't see) Tijdens de winter, is het erg koud (during the winter, it is very cold)

You don't need the comma's in these sentences but I put them there for clarification, so you can see they're clearly 2 seperate parts of a sentence. In each of these cases, the word order for the second part is switched.


I think the same happens in German... doesn't it? Sorry for involving a third language here, but I'm studying both languages among others and i find it useful to associate similar patterns of sentence formation


That's right, when it comes to word order there are very few differences between Dutch and German.


Word order changes in this kind of subordinate clauses in the same way also in the Scandinavian languages (Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic). It is apparent that this has been the case in the Proto-Germanic language.


I'm sorry: word order changes in main clauses that follow a subordinate clause (in the same way in the Scandinavian languages as in Dutch and German).


Okay, I'm a bit confused and not sure if it's a cultural thing or what. The subordinating clause, by what I see, has the verb where it belongs. The subordinating clause is Waneer ik schrijf... and, discounting the subordinator (Waneer), the verb is exactly where it belongs: (ik schrijf)... Am I correct in assuming that what you are speaking about is the independent clause? Because that would have been the question I asked about the independent clause which is "schrijf jij". and I was going to ask why the inversion of the SV order in the independent clause. I'm not playing semantics here, I just want clarification because at least by everything I was taught the second clause is the independent one. I hope someone can clear that up.


Hi Uncle D,

Yes, schrijf jij is the independent clause here.

When an independent clause begins with something other than the subject, subject- occurs.

Wanneer ik schrijf is the subordinate clause, so it follows the word order that corresponds to subordinate clauses (verb at the end of the clause).

To sum up,

Wanneer ik schrijf= subordinate cl.

schrijf jij.= main clause.

Hope this helps!


Edit: 'When an independent clauae begins with something other than the subject, subject-verb inversion occurs.'

Sorry, sometimes my mind goes too fast and my fingers can't cope with its speed.


Why is the second 'schrijf' not conjugated for 'you'? I thought that only applies to questions?


That applies to inversions, (which include questions yes).


Could it also be ". . . schrijf je" or does it have to be the stressed form "jij"?


Yeap, unless it's a listening exercise. In that case you have to type exactly what the voice said.


I used '... schrijf je', and it was marked wrong -- not a listening exercise. I'm thinking that perhaps it has to be the stressed form because of the 'ik' in the subordinate clause. Because you have two different pronouns, you have to stress the 'you'. Maybe someone can confirm this...


Hi Tracey,

As far as I got it, you're right, it's because there's some sort of contrast (which in English you'd show with your voice, or, if writing, by using italics/bold type.


Why is 'Toen ik schrijf, schrijf jij,' not acceptable?


I'm not a Dutch speaker myself, so it will be good if someone can confirm this, but it seems to me "toen" can only be used for the past.


That's right.

  • Toen ik schreef, schreef jij = When I wrote, you wrote
  • Toen de mannen nog van staal waren en de schepen van hout = When the men were still made of steel and the ships of wood


why 'je' is not correct, what is the difference between je and jij?


So apparently this is because the nature of this sentence is such that YOU are being stressed inherently. If you said wanneer ik schrijf, loop je" that would be fine, but it would sound very awkward if you didn't stress you in this example.


Could you also say "Als ik schrijf, schrijf jij." ?


Yes, in this context you can, but keep in mind that als and wanneer are not interchangeable in all contexts:

  • als = if
  • wanneer = when


That's how I understood them, but when it marked me wrong, I second guessed myself. Will have to report it next time.


I guess you must have made a typo or another mistake, since Als ik schrijf, schrijf jij is an accepted answer.


Oh interesting. In that case, I must have.


Why is it "schrijf jij" and "schrijft u" ?


Because when there is S-V inversion and the subject is jij/je the verb doesn't get a -t added at the end.


I had translated the sentence as, "Wanneer Ik schrijf, jullie schrijven." The correction displayed the singular stressed you.

Now that I have a better understanding of the word order for this sentance, would it be acceptable to write, "Wanneer Ik schrijf, schrijven jullie."?

Does this type of comparison only require the singular you and cannot be written with jullie, the plural you?

Learn Dutch in just 5 minutes a day. For free.