I'm still learning a lot but here's what I think. "er is" tends to just be "there is" but when it is paired with a past participle (in this case "gezocht") it becomes "there has been". Just takes a little while to get used to some aspects of another language. Besides, Dutch is a different language to English. Not everything will be translated perfectly because in some cases there are no direct translation.
There might be a misconception about 'er is'. It is not a fixed group of words. 'Er' doesn't need 'is'. 'Er' is just an independent word with a meaning very similar to the English 'there'. 'Er' is like the indefinite form of 'there'.
In this case 'is' is just an auxiliary verb.
It also means there is lol... This is a really inconsistent and completely confusing section. It should have been separated and broken up better.
German passive makes more sense than this, and it should be way harder... "Hier wird nicht geparkt" doesn't even exist in English but it makes perfect sense after learning it -- but "There has been laughing going on" is something that would never be said in English and it's written weirdly.
I believe that's because Dutch doesn't have the same distinction between tenses as English. Different languages are different, accept it :) For example, as a native speaker of Russian I just don't see the difference between 'was' and 'has been', it's all about past after all.
Having been incredibly frustrated by this section, I've noticed a pattern, and therefore been able to understand it (I think), rather than just memorising correct answers. In that sense, I guess it has been a successful lesson.
But to be honest, the description for this section is extremely lacking, and there has been little to point me in the right direction.
Just a couple of lines explaining the difference between "er wordt" and "er is" would have gone a VERY long way to helping me understand.
I wanted to avoid explicitly saying it, because I'm also learning, and there's every chance I've misunderstood, or my explanation will be incomplete. So bear that in mind...
But, I believe that "er wordt ... ge*" translates in this context as "there is", and "er is ... ge*" translates as "there has been".
it's good to share, Simon - as long as you don't mind being corrected by a Dutchie - in this way all the viewers (as well as the posters) can learn. I don't think I've come across a bully or anyone who is condescending on this site - we're all here because we like learning and want to learn! Something I found helpful was in a grammar book that explained the verb "worden" takes the auxiliary "zijn" so "I have been seen" is technically "ik ben gezien (geworden)" but you drop the 'geworden'. Hope that's clear/correct and I trust a Dutchie will correct me if not!
I think you should not think of 'er' as a word that must always be in combination with 'zijn' or 'worden' because it is simply an independent word that needs neither of those verbs. Think of 'er' as an indefinite form of the English 'there'.
"Er is geschoten!" - "There has been shot!" We don't know where that 'there' is. We just know WHAT happened. Shots are fired. "Er is oorlog in Syrië" - There is war in Syria" See? Just like 'there'
Though in some cases the meaning is more vague: "Ik vind er helemaal niks van" - "I don't think anything of it"
'Worden' is a verb that is used for implying that something is going on, something is happening, something is in a continuous process.
"Er wordt gezocht" - There is being searched (sought?). "Ik wordt geslagen" - I am being punched/hit.
"Wij hebben/Zij hebben/Ik heb gezocht naar de sleutels" is the translation back to Dutch again, which makes this very contentious. "Er is gezocht" does not indicate how many persons or whom has searched for the keys, so you are providing information you do not even have on the original.
I do agree, that if an English person would want to say something with the same intent, then they would most likely use "They've looked for the keys", but Duolingo does not have a synonym or thesaurus option (yet?).
I didn't have time before but i meant to add, you can't really say this sentence without saying who was doing the searching in English, AndrewsSuzy pointed out that it would sound unnecessarily formal or archaic without it.
I'm not suggesting that it's not fine in Dutch, I just don't think it's possible to say this without adding the identity of the searcher without sounding like my granddad.
The Dutch sentence, however, is more about the search than about the keys.
'we zijn de sleutels kwijt' (we have lost the keys) 'heb je ernaar gezocht?' (did you look for them?) 'ja, er is naar de sleutels gezocht, maar we konden ze niet vinden' (Yes, there has been a search for the keys, but we couldn't find them)
If you use the desktop version, you'll be able to access the grammar tips and notes. Otherwise you can go to duome and add your username at the end of the url, that way you'll be able to get all the grammar tips and notes.
You should also check the link someone posted above (to dutchgrammar), that is a very good website, with very detailed explanations.
No. It sounds 'foreign' to my British English ear. Perhaps it's the word "it"; better is "There was a search for"; or more normally, we'd use the active: "we searched for" or "they searched for" etc. Perhaps it's because a preposition is used that it sounds clumsy in the passive. Sorry can't be more precise.