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"Some" in Dutch

I saw in one of the skills how many different words there are in Dutch for "some", each one having a meaning a little bit different from the others (i.e. sommige, einige, enkel, etc.). Can anyone please explain the subtle differences between all of these?

Examples from other languages are welcome! Thanks for helping me out!

August 28, 2014



Good question jgierbo2! Even as a native speaker, it's not so easy to answer.

The words 'enige' and enkele' are used in the same way, 'enkele' is used more frequently.

Ik heb enkele appels gekocht

Ik heb enige appels gekocht

More informal:

Ik heb een paar appels gekocht

Ik heb wat appels gekocht

This all means the exact same "I've bought some apples". The version with 'enige' is not often used.

Now 'sommige' is a little bit different. It implies the 'some' are part of a larger group and there is some kind of contrast with others. When you use 'sommige', you need to be able to say (hypothetically) 'while others.../but others."

Sommige appels zijn rood (terwijl andere groen zijn)

  • Some apples are red ( while others are green)

Ik heb sommige appels gekocht

  • I've bought some of the apples

Sommige mensen houden niet van appels

  • Some people don't like apples


thanks for the reply and all the examples. Dank u!


This was my question too, thanks! What about "iets"? And the difference between "elk" and "ieder"? Thanks!


"Iets" can often be translated with "something".

In some cases however , 'iets' (or the diminuitive form 'ietsje') means 'a little/a bit'

With a comparitive: 'De lucht wordt iets blauwer'

  • 'The sky becomes a bit more blue'

With 'te'+ adjective: 'Je rijd ietsje te hard'

  • 'You drive a little bit too fast'

You can replace 'iets' with the word 'wat' except when it's;

  • the first word in the sentence/subclause

  • combined with 'niet'

  • followed by a relative clause

  • used after a preposition

As for your second question; there is basically no difference between 'elk' and 'ieder', both mean 'every/each'.


Thank you! This makes sense!


Thank you! I'd like to ask you about enige VS enig. I've read that enige = of each there is no second/only one (inflected form), and enig = some/any (uninflected form)


It's true that enig has different meanings, but inflection follows the normal rules and is not dependent on meaning.

So in most cases you use enige, but not when it's followed by a indefinite neutral singular noun, or when its the main predicate

Often the meaning depends on context and on whether a noun is definite or indefinite:

Ik heb enige boeken over geschiedenis (I have some books about history)

Ik heb de enige boeken over geschiedenis (I have the only books about history)

Ik heb het enige boek over geschiedenis (I have the only book about history)

Enig zelfinzicht is gewenst (Some self-knowledge is desired)

And to make things a bit more complex; enig is also an adjective meaning delightful, lovely. This makes all of the above sentences ambiguous, but the meaning is clear from context

Dit boek is enig (This book is delightful)

Ik heb een enig boek over geschiedenis (I have a delightful book about history)


Hey, sorry to bother with this again, but the Duolingo lesson is very confusing regarding the words "Elk, Enig, Enkel, Ieder & En paar".

To clarify, "Enkel & Enig" are synonyms, both meaning "some", right? But Duolingo translates "Enig" as "any", such as in the sentence "Spreekt hij enig Engels?" (Does he speak any English?". Does "Enig" means "some" AND "any", depending on context? And can "Enkel" also mean "any"? I know Duolingo also translates "Enkel" as "a few", such as in the sentence "Hoor je enkele koeien?" (Do you hear a few cows?). As I understand, "En paar" also means "a few", but when to use "Enkel/Enkele" or "En paar"?

Regarding the others, "Elk" and "Ieder" both mean "each/every" as synonyms? Are there no separate words for "each" and for "every" in Dutch?

Also, I'd like to know when to add the -e ending (Elke, Enige, Enkele & Iedere).

PS: Sorry for so many questions!!


I agree, I think this lesson either needs more explanation or substantially more examples.

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