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  5. "I am a vegetarian, so I do n…

"I am a vegetarian, so I do not eat meat."

Translation:Ik ben vegetariër, dus ik eet geen vlees.

August 1, 2014



why there is no inversion in the second phrase this time? am afraid I do not get the general rule..


The conjunctions "dus" (thus/so), "maar" (but) and "want" (because) do not cause inversion. In a way, this is because they do not start subordinate clauses, but related main clauses.

There are others like that, such as "en" (and), "of" (or) and possibly others that I can't think of at the moment.


What's the difference between saying "Ik ben vegetariër" and "Ik ben een vegetariër"? Both are accepted, so I'm just curious.


Until a native speaker responds, let me sketch how it works in German. In Dutch it likely doesn't work exactly the same way, but also not too differently. The nuances are so subtle (think of the difference between job and profession) that it's probably best explained with examples:

  • Ich bin Berliner. - I happen to be living there.
  • Ich bin ein Berliner. - I self-identify as a Berliner, e.g. because I was born there and lived there all my life; or because I am John F. Kennedy on a solidarity visit.
  • Ich bin Vegetarier. - I don't eat meat. [... which is why I am not going to eat this, sorry.]
  • Ich bin ein Vegetarier. - Being a vegetarian is an important aspect of my personality.

Obviously there is an enormous overlap between the two meanings, and often the choice is essentially just random. A lot of people don't make such a distinction at all or may distinguish according to different criteria.

For Dutch, "Ik ben vegetariër" seems to be about four times as common as "Ik ben een vegetariër" (at least on Google). If you add momenteel or sinds kort, there are dramatically less Google hits without the indefinite article (probably because people prefer saying "Ik ben [...] vegetarisch" in that case), and none at all with it. This is why I think Dutch probably has similar criteria, but I am looking forward to more precise information.


Bedankt voor je snelle, lange antwoord!

So, what I am understanding is, use een in a stand alone statement (Ik ben een vegetariër. En jij?) and no een when you are going to add something to it (Zij is vegetariër, dus zij eet geen vlees, geen kaas, en geen melk. Zij zegt het is niet moeilijk)?

Yes I'd very much appreciate if someone could give more information (especially because I think I got the distinction wrong!)


Well, that's not quite what I meant, though your rule might be even better than mine. What I meant is that when you add something like momenteel (at the moment) or sinds kort (of late), then you are probably not considering being a vegetarian a defining feature, so you are less likely to use the indefinite article for that reason. On the other hand, if you add something like op-en-top (through and through), then it's probably a defining feature and following my rule you would be more likely to use it. But I think you may be right and such additional specifications sort of replace the indefinite article. At least that seems to be the case in German.


While I essentially agree with your first post, I am not sure whether AdamPalte's rule is better than what you said at first. In my opinion (i.e., how I think it works in German), the version without "ein" seems to me more what I would understand a "defining feature" (but maybe I don't understand it the way you mean it). E.g., I would be inclined to say:

  • Ich bin groß.
  • Ich bin Arzt.
  • Ich bin Vegetarier.

That is, if that is something which describes me, or what I am. It is a "defining feature". However, if I wanted to say that I belong to a group, then I would say:

  • Ich bin eine große Person.
  • Ich bin ein Arzt / ein Vegetarier.

The same goes if I want to describe more closely who I am with more than just one characteristic, or with additional specifications:

  • Ich bin ein großer Arzt.
  • Ich bin ein Vegetarier, der gerne joggt.

In my opinion, without "ein" this would at least sound very strange here (it could probably even be wrong, although I don't know the rule for it at the moment).

I should also add that this is my view of the situation in German, so others might see it differently and Dutch can work differently, too. I am also not sure whether the distinction between being (described by) something and belonging to a group can so easily be made as I suggested above, since the statements with and without the indefinite article seem to be logically equivalent at first glance - maybe something else is going on. In any case, it seems to me that additional specifications can rather make an indefinite article necessary, instead of replacing it.


Good point. On reflection, I think this depends critically on the kind of additional specification (adverbial or adjectival) and where it is placed. I was thinking of sentences following the pattern "Ich bin seit kurzem Vegetarier" or "Ich bin schon immer Vegetarier gewesen", i.e. we specify the mode of being a vegetarian. Your examples follow the pattern "Ich bin ein strikter Vegetarier", i.e. we specify the kind of Vegetarian. To see that placement is critical, consider "Ich bin durch und durch Vegetarier" vs. "Ich bin ein Vegetarier durch und durch".


@johaquila "Good point. On reflection":

Yes, I agree that the distinction is critical. I also think that those two types of "specifications" (as you say, adverbial or adjectival) what I would are (grammatically) more or less completely independent of each other. E.g. you could also say "Ich bin seit kurzem ein Vegetarier, der auch joggt.". I am not sure about your last two examples. To me, "Ich bin durch und durch ein Vegetarier (, der joggt)." and "Ich bin Vegetarier(,) durch und durch." seem grammatical. In the second sentence, I would understand "durch und durch" as an afterthought either way. In the first sentence, the indefinite article might seem a bit awkward, but I think this is just semantic: In my opinion, "Ich bin seit kurzem ein Vegetarier." doesn't sound unnatural, especially when accompanied by further specifications.

The indefinite article still makes a difference (when it isn't necessary), and I think my previous distinction of "defining characteristic" versus "belonging to a group" was at least inaccurate. I found an excerpt from a textbook which states:

German does not use the indefinite article before nouns of occupation, nationality, or other markers that show mempership in a general class (religious affiliations, military rank, marital status, etc.). [...] But when the emphasis is on the specific individual rather than the group to which the individual belongs, the indefinite article can be used, especially before adjectives.

So both usages, with and without the indefinite article, describe membership in a group, but when it is used, then one wants to say something about the individual which apparently goes beyond belonging to this group, like said "additional specifications". This seems to be how you interpreted or explained your sentences in your first post as well.

Now I would still like to know whether Dutch functions in the same way here; hopefully some native speaker will be able to comment on this.


I dont' think the distinction you describe exists in Dutch (anymore?). I think it depends more on personal preference than on anything else. The only distinction I feel still exists somewhat is what jjd1123 describes below: whether it's a "defining feature" (without article) or "part of a group" (with article). However I guess most Dutch speakers aren't aware of this or don't care about this distinction, e.g. to me ik ben bakker vs ik ben een bakker and ik ben vegetariër vs ik ben een vegetarië don't have any different connotation. So more personal preference than anything else.


I've answered with Ik ben vegetariër, dus ik eet niet vlees and still got it correct. Wasn't it supposed to be wrong?


In German it would definitely be wrong, and I am pretty sure it's wrong in Dutch as well. I guess a user reported it as a variant, and it was erroneously accepted.


you're right, it should've been marked wrong


What is wrong with: "Ik ben vegetarisch, zodat ik eet geen vlees"?


Zodat is one of many such words that has the so-called (by the Michel Thomas Dutch course) "omdat effect": A subordinate clause that is introduced by such a word has what is essentially the ancient Germanic word order, in which the verb comes last. Dus doesn't have the omdat effect, i.e. the subordinate clause introduced by it behaves like a main clause.

  • Ik ben vegetariër, dus ik eet geen vlees.
  • Ik ben vegetariër, zodat ik geen vlees eet.


when I lived in the Netherlands, everybody said I was 'vegetarisch' what's the difference?


Vegetarisch is an adjective, while vegetariër is a noun.


Anyone can enlighten me why zo was marked wrong and changed to dus?


Why cant is be dus ik geen eten vlees?


Let's start by analysing the major parts of speech in the second of the two main clauses that are connected by so / dus:

  • I = ik is the subject (S).
  • eat = eet is the verb (V).
  • meat = vlees is the object (O).

The first complication is already implicit in the above: The infinitive (and plural) of the Dutch verb for to eat is eten, but the first person singular form is ik eet.

The second complication is a quirk of English - the obligatory do support, which in Dutch and German only exists as a non-obligatory, informal or dialectal feature. So we had better transform "I do not eat meat" to (bad) Shakespeare English: "I eat not meat."

The third complication is that Dutch and German speakers really like to negate the object of a verb instead of the verb itself, even when this makes relatively little sense. I think the same applied to Shakespeare. So we should transform the sentence to good Shakespeare English: "I eat no meat."

Now we see that the object isn't just meat = vlees, it is in fact no meat = geen vlees.

Dutch word order for main clauses is V2. V2 can become rather complicated because it rips the verb group apart as soon as it consists of more than one word. But fortunately that's not the case here, so V2 boils down to just SVO - the same word order that English uses for everything. So the remainder of the translation work is trivial:

  • I / eat / no meat. = Ik / eet / geen vlees.

There is another complication, though, which may have contributed to your confusion. The reason V2 (and therefore SVO) was correct was that dus is a coordinating conjunction, i.e. it connects two main clauses that are formally on equal terms. But there are also subordinating conjunctions such as zodat, which has basically exactly the same meaning as dus. When you use zodat, the second clause becomes a subordinate clause, not a main clause. And subordinate clauses in Dutch and German still have the traditional Germanic SOV word order. This would have resulted in "... zodat ik geen vlees eet."

Yet another potential source of confusion is that the Dutch infinitive eten = to eat doubles as the progressive and gerund (corresponding to English eating) and consequently as a noun meaning meal. If, coming back to this sentence after you first got it wrong, you only half remember that you are supposed to use geen here instead of niet, this might mislead you into thinking that you need a gerund or something instead of the conjugated verb eet. Maybe this is what ultimately led you astray. To prevent this from happening it's really important to remember that very often the object is negated instead of the verb.


This is possibly the most in depth yet succinct response I've had. Your comparison to Shakespeare brings me so much clarity, I doff my cap to you Sir, this has been of untold help. Many thanks!


Would i be correct in associating "dus" with "thus"? The sentence seems to translate well like that


whats the difference between " geen" and "niet"

  • niet = not; ik eet niet = I don't eat
  • geen = not a / no; geen vlees = no meat
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