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"Het kind eet alleen maar poedersuiker."

Translation:The child only eats powdered sugar.

September 14, 2014



Would the sentence be correct and mean the same if "alleen maar" were replaced with?:

  • alleen
  • maar
  • enkel

I asked a friend a while ago about how to say "only", and these were the choices he offered. Does the combination "alleen maar" offer a different emphasis?


You can replace alleen maar by enkel, which is fine, but used less common. I think it's used more in Belgium. You can also stick to alleen (leave out maar) this sounds a bit less 'nice' to my native ears, also I think it has less emphasis on the only part.

You cannot use maar in this sentence, it would change the meaning, because this either means only in the meaning of but, e.g. Ik vind eieren lekker, maar hij niet (I like eggs, only he doesn't). It also can mean only in the meaning of just, e.g. Zij is het maar (It's just her/It's only her), Het kind eet maar poedersuiker = The child eats only powdered sugar (meaning she doesn't eat 'proper' sugar)


Ok, now, although I'm going too much offtopic, "Zij is het maar" took me a long time and I'm still not sure I understand it. Would "het" have the value of "it", or of an article? Could this be worded in any different order, or just the one you mentioned?


Het has the meaning of it here. You could also change it to: Het is haar maar, but that switches object and subject (so zij turns into haar). There are not many options to change the word order, because when you start with maar this has the meaning of but, also if you change it to: het is maar haar normally (always?) means it is only hair.


Interestingly, in English but can also have the meaning of only, albeit in a somewhat antiquated language: "It was but a dream", "I am but a simple man", etc.


Isn't "powdered sugar" quite a niche thing to learn at this stage in the course? Aren't there more foodstuffs it might be more useful to learn?


I don't think the end goal is to teach your powdered sugar, so much as teach you powdered, and how it can be used. From this (and I could be wrong) I would assume there is:





eiwit poeder

etc etc

(if any of these are wrong feel free to let me know :)


poederaardappel and poedersoep don't exist as far I know, if you meant mashed potatoes it'd be "aardappelpuree", powdered soup is "cupasoup" (it's a brand name) and it's "koffiepoeder"


Is there a general rule to understand how to apply maar in this kind of situation?


Is poedersuiker the same as icing sugar?


Yep! Powdered is how they refer to it in the US, and icing is UK. (Unsure about other Englishes, I've only got the two ;)


Thank goodness! I hadn't a clue what "powdered sugar" was, but "icing sugar" is what we call it in Australia too.


Yes - in South Africa the terms 'icing sugar' and 'caster sugar' are commonly used, where 'caster' relates to 'sprinkling' and hence the Afrikaans term 'strooisuiker' which in turn has Dutch origins


wouldn't sherbet be an ok translation of poedersuiker?


Hmm, what the UK calls sherbet is more than just icing sugar, it's flavoured and a bit fizzy usually, isn't it? But perhaps a Nederlands speaker can advise, it's possible poedersuiker can mean that stuff as well.


sherbet in Canada is a type of ice-cream


Is there a reason the present continuous cannot be used in English here? "The child is just eating powdered sugar" was rejected.

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