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  5. "Zij zijn altijd aan het lope…

"Zij zijn altijd aan het lopen."

Translation:They are always walking.

November 7, 2014



I am wondering what would be the context of this sentence. From the previous continuous tense lessons, the "aan+het+infintive" would mean they are doing the action at the moment. So would this sentence imply that they are somewhat "restless", causing them to walk around non-stop at the moment? Thanks in advance! :)


It means that they are always walking, so at any moment they are walking. Though you don't have to take this literally it can be used when someone does something a lot.


Why not "They are walking all the time"?


All the time = de hele tijd


Waarom niet "They are always running."?


In the Netherlands, "lopen" only means 'to walk'


If that is the case, can you explain to me why a marathon is referred to as a "loop"?


Not true, "lopen" means to run or to walk ! My husband's family speaks Dutch.


Maybe they are speaking flemish dutch where as here we are learning standard dutch


One can not hear the "het", I am wondering if in the normal conversations this sound effect does always happen..?


Hi Emilia,

That's because the 'h' is dropped when preceded by a consonant, and because the 'e' is pronounced as a schwa (as the 'e' in 'the' or in 'differ').

Hope this helps.


Would it be possible to rephrase this also: Altijd zijn zij aan het lopen?


Though I wouldn't be surprised to read this in poetry, I wouldn't advice you to say it like that.


I don't get it. What's the difference between this and "Zij zijn altijd lopen"?


"Zij zijn altijd lopen" is not a correct sentence in Dutch. It's either "Zij lopen altijd" or "Zij zijn altijd aan het lopen".


Damn. I thought I probably got that wrong. So what's the difference between "Zij zijn altijd aan het lopen" and "Zij lopen altijd"?


Not a lot more than just a stylish difference.


This sentence really has me confused. Can someone please explain what 'present continuous' actually means. When is it used in English? (I am not a linguist, all this jargon really has me stumped.)


In English Present continuous means the action in progress at the moment. Imagine, someone comes up to you and asks: what are you doing? Usually, time indicators are: now and at the moment. These are the main uses of pres. cont. tense. There are some more, to indicate the planned action or time schedules. BUT!!! In this particular sentence i am confused about "always" this is time indicator of present simple. Like of the repeated action. Why then we are forced to use continuous??!! Any ideas? Would appreciate any help.


Well, in English if you combine the continuous with always it's as if you're complaining, as if whatever you're saying... You are annoyed by it.

Like, for example:

He's always losing his keys!

They're always talking!

Our kids are always bickering!



Does using adverbs of frequency with present perfect in dutch - the same as in english - mean that the speaker is annoyed by the behavior?


Instead of "walking", could it mean "on the walk", or "on the run", in a figurative sense?


Yes, I guess you could, But if you translate it that way I doubt it''ll be accepted.


I don't understand what aan het signals. It seems hard to translate to English. Is it a phrase put in simply to signal continuous action?


Hi Jane582434,

yes, indeed, aan het + (bare infinitive verb) is a construction that is used to signal constructions actions. There are other ways of signalling the continuous aspect, but you'll learn them further along the tree.

Note: well, more than an infinitive verb it's a gerund, since it has nominal value given the fact that it's preceded by a preposition+definite determiner. But you don't need all this grammar-nerdery stuff. I just wanted to say it for the sake of precision.

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