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  5. "De dieren zouden geen honger…

"De dieren zouden geen honger hebben als ze eten zouden hebben."

Translation:The animals would not be hungry if they had food.

November 5, 2014



In this sentence, could we use "hadden" instead of "zouden hebben"?

i.e. "De dieren zouden geen honger hebben als ze eten hadden"? (intended to mean "the animals would not be hungry if they had food"


Yes, that would be fine in general and is what you would normally say. The version with "zouden hebben" (als ze eten zouden hebben) sounds a bit unwieldy.

I like to think of "zouden + hebben" as a hypothetical future and "hadden" as a hypothetical past (or perhaps alternative present). So to me there is a slight difference (I'm a native).

I wonder if the "zouden + infinitive" form is used more in Belgium though...


It's the same in English, right?

  1. The animals would not be hungry if they would have food.
  2. The animals would not be hungry if they had food.

Both are gramatically correct. #1 implies to me that something is preventing the animals from having food, that their lack of food is not a natural circumstance. ("But for this barrier, they would have food.") #2 sounds to me like not having food is the natural state of the animals.


No, you can't say #1 in English. I was also wondering about this Dutch construction with a "double conditional", and I think Menno1986 is right mentioning Belgium because I currently live in Flanders and a lot of people there make the mistake when speaking English: "If I would..." - which would be the direct translation of "Als ik zou..."


Looks good to me.


If you read "eten" as a verb, then it could potentially be, "the animals would not be hungry if they would have eaten" right?


No, in that case "eaten" is a past participle, so in Dutch it would have to be "gegeten".


Thanks. Would that sentence look like this: "de dieren zouden geen honger hebben, als ze zouden gegeten hebben" ? To my English ear, this is the equivalent of "...if they would have eaten". Is that the same as "if they had eaten"?


I know I have this wrong but why can't it be "The animals wouldn't be hungry if they could eat." ?


The sentence in Dutch says that they are hungry because they have no food. Your sentence says that they are hungry because they are not able to eat. If you don't have food, you cannot eat, but if you have all the food in the world and your mouth is glued shut you also cannot eat.


Is it me, or are all of the sentences in this lesson really long?


I think it's par for the course when you're dealing with sentences with 3-4 verbs, which is necessary in the subjunctive.


Just for clarification, there is no subjunctive in Dutch outside of ossified archaic language.


This is the conditional not the subjunctive.


Doesn't it translate to "the animals would not have hunger if they would have food"


no, because that is not proper English.

1) in English you cannot "have hunger/thirst", you "are hungry/thirsty" (it's a feeling, like sad, tired, etc)

2) The sentence you are proposing doesn't fit the structure of the Conditional type 2 (which is the one that the Dutch sentence translates to).

Because of these reasons, the sentence you proposed is ungrammatical and I guess then that is the reason why it was not accepted.


I keep getting this sentence (and others like it) wrong on the stupidest thing - what is the difference between ze and zij?


Ze is she, and zij also, but zij can also be they (single person and more persons). If you have she, you use ze or zij, but if you say she did it, its zij deed het.


So in this case, where it's 'they', it could be either ze or zij?


Ze and Zij can both be she and they. It depends on the conjugation of the verb.

  • Ze/Zij zouden - plural - They
  • Ze/Zij zou - singular - She

More info on the difference between ze and zij: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/3734337

Note that while in most cases both ze and zij are accepted, for type what you hear exercises only one is accepted due to the difference in pronunciation


And that's what I'm struggling with - I rarely get them right first time as I struggle to hear the distinction. I'm sure I'm not the only one.


You're not and it will take some time and practice. Using the slow audio often helps.


Shouldn't the translation be: The animals wouldn't be hungry if they would have had food?


No, you can't use would in the conditional (if) part of the sentence. Plus you're mixing tenses that don't go together. The animals wouldn't be hungry if they had food. The animals wouldn't have been hungry if they had had food. (Yes, 2 hads)

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