"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!
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
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
"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'.
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!!