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  5. "Zij is schrijfster."

"Zij is schrijfster."

Translation:She is a writer.

August 24, 2014



What is the difference between "schrijver" and "schrijfster"?


This -ster suffix was used in Middle English to denote the feminine form of an occupation. Its use died out except for one instance, that I can think of: spinster. Except now, we typically don't use "spinster" to refer to a woman who spins yarn (its original meaning and as opposed to a male "spinner"): we use it (somewhat derogatorily and now outdated) to describe an unmarried woman past the traditional marrying age. One theory is that spinning was lower-status work for women than, say, weaving, which required more expensive treatment, so spinning was more suitable and available to single women.


"schrijver" is used for male writers and "schrijfster" is used for female writers.


Is this still used, or is it closer to the English "authoress" or "poetess", rather Victorian Era words (I even saw yesterday, I kid you not, executrix in a book). Is there any move like in German to get rid of these feminine forms?


it's pretty much always when someone is female


Yeap got it. From beginning, I thought in Dutch we did not make distinguish between male and female (like in French). That is why I did not think in this way. But perhaps it applies for a little nouns: like student (male) and studente (female).


Why exactly is there no article with this noun? .. and why the same with 'studente'?

"Saskia is studente"


In Dutch, you don't use an indefinite article when indicating someone's profession/occupation.

  • Hij is schrijver. - He is a writer.
  • Zij is studente. - She is a student.
  • Ik ben secretaris. - I am a secretary.


Awesome. Thanks for the clear answer!


I just realise this thread. In this case, does this mean that the profession here works as an adverb instead of a noun in Dutch, just like in French?


No, it's a noun. One person can only be one job, eg I can't be two students, I am one student. So in Dutch and German we don't need to use the article because obviously the person is just one writer, impossible for the same person to be two writers. Hope this makes sense!


Well one cant be two men either. Yet you have to say "een in a sentence like "ik ben een man"


In case I want to reply to the question- "Who among them is a writer?" or "Is there a writer in the office?", can I use the article 'een'?


why not '' zij is een schrijfster'' ?


you don't need een in front of people's occupation/job


In case I want to answer the question- "Who among them is a writer?", or "Is there a writer in the office?", can I use the article 'een'?


In Dutch, how would one differentiate between an "author" (someone who has published a book) and a "writer" (someone who may not have necessarily published their work)?


We have two words as well (auteur (author) and schrijver/schrijfster (writer)), but we don't make such a distinction as far as I know.

Even though anyone could be a 'schrijver' (someone who writes), we normally only use it for people who also publish their work.

And "auteur" actually is more than someone who writes. It's someone who is the owner of a creative piece (the person who originally created the piece in their mind, not necessarily on paper or film for example). So technically, even though we have different terms for the professions, a composer or a film director can be "auteurs" as well.


Thank you for the explanation! I really appreciate it.


Er is geen 'een' in de vraag


It doesn’t need it


That's correct why you give wrong point


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