1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Dutch
  4. >
  5. "He knows her even though she…

"He knows her even though she does not know him."

Translation:Hij kent haar, hoewel zij hem niet kent.

October 9, 2014



"Hij kent haar hoewel zij hem kent niet" is not accepted. What is important about the order of the words here?


Normally it is "zij kent hem niet" but the word "hoewel" inverts the order of the sentence.

Grammar: Dutch Word Order


These clauses are making me feel borderline insane -- sometimes they're inverted in the subordinate, sometimes in the independent. Is there a hard-and-fast rule anyone knows about this? Thanks in advance.


Hi Matt179844,

Yes, there's a hard-and-fast rule, fortunately:

1) main/independent clauses always follow the V2 pattern - i.e., the verb has to be the second element of the clause. Notice how I emphasised element: the first element can be a word, or a whole bunch of them, even another clause).

2) when a main/independent clause starts with anything other than the Subject (i.e. who or what we're talking about, the doer/senser/experiencer of the action denoted by the verb), then we have Subject-verb inversion. Why? So the verb can remain on the second 'spot' - following the V2 pattern.

3) in subordinate clauses all verbs must be at its end (notice how I didn't say 'at the end of the sentence' - they have to go at the end of the clause). Be careful, because a lot of people call this inversion, but it is not inversion - that's why people get confused, because they're using the wrong terminology.

It's also important to remember that, as I mentioned before, the 'first slot' can be occupied by pretty much anything, be it an adverb, an adverbial phrase, even a subordinate clause. If that's the case, then you need to use inversion on the main clause. Keep in mind that subordinate clauses always follow the same word order (all the verbs at the end).

Hope this helps, should you have any more doubts, please feel free to ask :)

And don't despair! Four years ago I was in your shoes :) I promise, it gets better, hang in there!


Why is it not "kent zij him niet?" I get why it has to be inverted, but I guess I'm a little confused about how it works since you have "niet" thrown in there too.


This is not inversion though. It's verb goes to the end, because it is a subordinate clause. Inversion is when the verb and subject switch places in a main clause.


It's been confusing me too but I've been starting to get it. When we invert it we have to keep the verb at the end, right? In this case it is "kent". So because we need the verb at the end we bump "niet" up.

I think.


I wrote (because it seems so logical to me as a native German) "zij kent hem niet" in the end.. again and again and again.. I am going to answer that question a 8th time now. Wish me luck.


I learned German for many years, and while I am not at all fluent, it still influences how I approach Dutch, which makes things very confusing.


It's the same word order as in German. Er kennt sie, obwohl sie ihn nicht kennt.


That's not called inversion though.


someone please tell me what a subordinate clause is/does/means/yadda yadda


A sentence is a complete thought. Sometimes more is added to a complete thought to state additional information but the added information is not a complete thought and so is not an entire sentence. To add information to the main complete sentence a "conjunction" word (however, because) join the two parts of the sentence. The additional part of the sentence is the dependent clause (found in the beginning or the end of the sentence introduced by the conjunctive word) and it is the dependent part of the sentence. It is dependent on the complete part of the sentence (which is the independent clause). I hope I explained this correctly.


How would the meaning of this sentence change if "weten" was used instead of "kennen"?


If I understand it correctly, I think that "kennen" has to do with knowing or being aware of a person. "weten" I think means to know a piece of information.

As a native English speaker, it feels weird to me that there are multiple words for different kinds of "knowing," but I think this is common in other languages.

edit: I found this thread: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/6162310/Weten-vs-Kennen the first comment is very helpful and even has examples.


Kent vs Weet issue; any help please!


Hi AndrewRoy970746,

kennen is being acquainted with something, while weten refers to having knowledge of something.

If you speak French or Spanish:

kennen= connaître / conocer

weten= savoir / saber

Hope this helps. Cheers!


Thank you, yes it works well.


What is a good way to determine the order of the words in the subordinate clause (besides the verb). For example, why is "hem niet" correct and "niet hem" not?


niet needs to stay next to kent because that's what it's negating.


Had niet "ofschoon" moeten worden geaccepteerd?


Zeker, 'hoewel' en 'ofschoon' zijn in het Nederlands volkomen verwisselbaar.


cant i use - weet in this sentence?


Hi Natalia189634,

sorry, that's not possible. weten means 'know' in the sense of 'having knowledge of something, knowing a piece of information', while kennen means 'know' along the lines of 'being aware of the existence of, being familiar with someone or something'

That's why you can't use weten here.

Hope this helps.


The way I choose between "w"eten and "kennen" : "w"isdom is deeper knowledge than familarity/recognition knowledge. So "wisdom" = weten.


Mnemonics - nice! ;)


I find this lesson maddening. It's not taught well enough.


Can someone explain why zij should bw used rather than ze?


I am not a native speaker but I am under the impression both are correct


Hi TheKatman22,

I assume it's because you were doing a listening exercise. See, in listening exercises you need to type exactly what the voice said, and the vowels in zij and ze (and wij/we, jij/je as well) are pronounced differently:

  • The ij sounds a bit like the ay in the English word May

  • The e sounds like the e in differ.

If you weren't doing a listening exercise, both should be fine. So if that was the case and you're answer was rejected, probably there was some other mistake you didn't notice.

Hope this helps.


I'm finding this module really confusing!! What's wrong with 'hoewel zij kent hem niet'? The way illustrated even though she him not knows, it's all backwards. It's different to the previous lessons with no reasoning. My head hurts


As the 6 years of comments above explain, because 'hoevel'(/'omdat'/'zodat'/'terwijl') is a subordinating conjunction, so the verb goes to the end. See subordinate clause.


Many thanks, Stephen. I've never heard of a subordinating conjunction/clause before. It was never something that came up in English lessons, so I'm unfamiliar with what it means. Also, I'm not used to swapping sentence structure around like this. Something else I will need to practice!


You can write the sentence in the google translator and get the answer and it is still wrong. Something probably wrong with there code.

Learn Dutch in just 5 minutes a day. For free.