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"Wat hebben jullie gisteren geleerd?"

Translation:What did you learn yesterday?

September 9, 2014



So can the present perfect in Dutch be used to express the English compound past? Because in English words like yesterday and markers for the past aren't used with the present perfect.


I am Dutch and for me the Dutch sentence sounds correct. Out of curiosity I looked it up.

In Dutch we use the simple past and the present perfect for past actions or events. In Dutch the distinction between the two is unclear, there are no strict rules and we often mix them up. I don't know if it is allowed to mention a website, but I found very useful information about this topic on dutchgrammar.com.

And now that I think about it, I had difficulties with this when I was studying English in high school. In English there is a bigger difference than in Dutch :).


By "simple past" in Dutch, do you mean the imperfect tense? In various grammar sources that I have on Dutch, they only mention the present perfect and imperfect as the tenses used to indicate the past.

Edit: Never mind. I see it called both "imperfect" and "simple past" in one grammar book.


Why is the correct solution is simple past when the course is titled Pres.Per.?..... I see a reference in the correspondence to not very strict rules on the usage of either. Is that only why? Or is there a more sensible explanation? Many thanks!


The lesson is on Pres.Per. in Dutch, which does not always correspond to the present perfect in English.


According to my other Dutch study materials, the Dutch present perfect is the tense to use when talking about things that you have done or did. It can be translated into the English simple past or present perfect (depending on the context, of course).

The Dutch also use the imperfect tense, which I'm assuming Duolingo will teach us later.


I am trying to get over this, but I can't. I don't really care if the grammatical rules of English call for the simple perfect when an exact unit of time is employed. For me, I read this and translate to myself, in English, in the same tense. It doesn't really matter to me if I'm using that exact measurement of time or not. I'm routing the Dutch present perfect with the English one.

Also, this English Grammar Rule seems obscure to me. I can make sense of a sentence in the present perfect with a unit of time. I think of professionals: "I have spoken to the doctor this morning, and..." "I have sat in on the meeting yesterday, and..."

I'm upset that in this lesson on the Dutch Language, I'm having to think critically about the English Language. If it's really necessary to route the Dutch Past Simple AND Present Perfect Tense to the English Past Simple only, because of the usage of exact units of time, then I guess this refusal to accept my literal translations will help me later on with my Dutch. But it seems silly, I'd think I should route the corresponding tenses to their counterparts.

I have, today, at exactly 6:06 in the evening, reached a difficult conclusion regarding the translation of the Dutch Present Perfect Lesson on Duolingo. Some of my supporters have noticed this two years ago. Another has written three years ago about his disgust with the obscure rule. Given the amount of liberties in punctuation and other grammatical rules on Duolingo already, I have decided, at this time, to continue marking my complaints as "should be accepted." However, with a desire to advance throughout the course, I have also recently decided to try to remember Duolingo's scrupulous insistence on this particular rule. Only when I have, by route memorization, translated Present Perfect to Present Perfect will I send complaints.


Duo, at least in theory, requires that the sentence be grammatically correct in each of the languages; that it carry the same meaning; and that, within the constraints of item #1 and item #2, it be a close translation.

I'm not sure why you're complaining that you're not allowed to use a sentence that's not correct in English. If English is your mother tongue, there are people who will find you less-promotable (or not as good a choice for spokesperson, or not someone who can be trusted to write copy for a product, or not someone they're going to nominate for an award) if your grammar is sloppy. "I have sat in on the meeting yesterday"? Really? This is both incorrect and more complicated than the correct, "I sat in on the meeting yesterday." Ditto, "Some of my supporters have noticed this two years ago" should be, "Some of my supporters noticed this two years ago."


If one wants to stick to the target language structues alone since the basics and hates translations and compared grammar, just maybe Duolingo is not the best option...


It's more an argument that my answer should be accepted as well. And I do admit it was a bit much.

But by the way, that last paragraph is all Present Perfect tense with units of time. To prove a point...

To me it still sounds ok, and I think my answer should still be accepted. It seems like keeping the translations in the same tense between the two languages is going to help me to not be confused, and it's not going to change the meaning of the two sentences.

"What did you learn yesterday" = "What have you learned yesterday"

They both sound fine, and to focus on some obscure English grammar rule in a Dutch Language lesson is ridiculous.


what have you learned yesterday? I am not a native English speaker, but why only did works?


The English grammar rule is that you don't use time-words (yesterday, last month, this morning etc.) with the present perfect. They don't have that rule in Dutch, so the tenses don't quite match here.


This is OK to me, a native English speaker - although a bit uncommon. We are more likely to say 'what have you learnt'. I suspect this is simply because they sound so similar, and when the written word got fixed it was in the simpler form.


Yesterday is a keyword/signal word that indicates it happened in the past. With one of these keywords English grammar dictates that the simple past has to be used.



Can anyone explain why, "Wat hebben jullie GISTER geleerd" (without the EN suffix) is incorrect? ("gister" direct translation is "yesterday"). Thanks!


Dutchie here! I thought that both 'gister' and 'gisteren' were correct, but since I can't find much on google on it, and we mostly use it in informal situations I guess that's the solution: 'gister' is informal, and 'gisteren' is the correct form.

Just letting my mind go here, I think the reason why we use 'gister' as well, is because in composite words like 'gisteravond' 'gistermiddag' or 'gisterochtend' there is no -en. In informal speech we just take that 'gister' part, because it sounds okay, as it exists in those composite words, while really only 'gisteren' is correct.


According to Onze Taal you can use both, but 'gisteren' is more common. I'm thinking really hard about it, but I don't know for sure if I use 'gisteren' or 'gister' when I speak. I guess I use both and I agree with SrMarien that 'gister' sounds more informal. When I write I always use 'gisteren'.

In composite words you can also use both, for example 'gisteravond' or 'gisterenavond'. The first one is commonly used in The Netherlands, while the second one is commonly used in Belgium.

Sources: https://twitter.com/onzetaal/status/390789889941602304 http://taaladvies.net/taal/advies/vraag/345


"What did you learn. yesterday?" is a simple past tense. Why not "What have you learned yesterday" I believed they are meant the same but the second i present perfect as the topic. And what wrong with this answer? What have you learned yesterday?


You'll find the answer to that by looking at the previous comments.

  1. English does not use the equivalent tense for the equivalent purpose. In fact, English doesn't use that tense as much, in general.

  2. "what have you learned" is only for something that has not yet reached a defined end point (grammatically speaking). You can always imagine there being an implicit "as of now" or a "so far" or a "from X" attached to the end of the sentence in english. What have you learned from watching joe throw the ball? What have you learned from the book you read? The actions you learned from may indeed be in the past...but the learning itself has no defined end point.

  3. With a defined end point or time span to the event: don't use the present perfect. The correct tense will vary: "What did you learn yesterday?" "What had you learned before the school closed down?" What were you learning when your classmate got upset and passed out?" etc.



Question: Why is it "learn" instead of "learned"?


"Did" is followed by the uninflected form of the verb. "Have you gone? but "Did you go?"


Regarding this subject, is "WAT LEERDEN JULLIE GISTEREN?" also correct? If so, what would be the difference between the sentencen with "simple past" or "present perfect"? Whether I use simple past or present perfect, does it depend on the context? Kind regards, NBL


Why is "What did you teach yesterday" not a correct answer?


Leren only means to teach when there is an object in the sentence that is being taught.


Unlike English, where "I learned him not to disrespect me" is deeply dialectical and non-standard (though ancient!),

Dutch has both the intransitive learn = learn,

and the transitive learn [someone] = teach someone.


Is "What have you learned yesterday" acceptable as an answer?

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