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  5. "Wat is er gebeurd?"

"Wat is er gebeurd?"

Translation:What has happened?

November 29, 2014



Why not 'What has happened here'?


Because the question could be about an event in a distant location.


Why is the er necessary here? I keep wondering


same here or why can't you explicitly mention there


if it were important that it was there it would have been daar, if it were important that it was here it would have been hier.


Why is "What happened there" wrong?


This is how I explained the er to myself.

er is neither "here" (hier) nor "there" (daar), but it is not "somewhere" or "anywhere" either.

It is a general location, the "er" that is part of every little word that indicates a place even in English (a Germanic language as well), e.g.

here, there, where,

the archaic ones - thither, whither,

and even near (from Middle English nere, ner) and far (Proto-Germanic ferro).

Now, because everything has to happen somewhere and everything is somewhere, the Dutch still use this "basic er" often, whenever the specific location is not important or not known.

The English seem to have decided to drop this "root er", and to make mentions of locations only if they are specific or important to the meaning they are conveying.

it happened somewhere - i do not know where

it could happen anywhere - i do not care where

here - where i am

there - where I can see from where I am

everywhere - all over

However - it happened somewhere but i do not know where nor do i care where and it obviously didn't happen here or there or everywhere - English does not have "a general er" to cover all that. Dutch does - er.


Thank you so much for your detailed explanation!


Well, i have never thought about " er" so deep, but somehow I knew that it sounds just like you explaied.


I also figure it's that "there" that hangs around in English that doesn't mean a place, like in such sentences as, "There are 4 seasons in a year," "There are 12 months in a year," "There are 15 minutes left," etc.




Thanks, it is the best explanation!


Would it be wrong by omitting the "er" on this sentence?


Exactly what I was wondering.

It has been explained (above) that if it had "happened over there" it would be "daar" for "there". But that still doesn't explain why you can't drop the "er".

"What has happened?"or "What's happened" is quite a general term in English and doesn't always mean somewhere else. For example you might walk into a room and ask someone this question.


Yes. You need the "er" for a good sentence.




When it ends in a -d like this is it always pronounced like a t?

That creates confusion with wat is er gebeurt xD


Yes, at the end of a word, you cannot tell the difference between the pronunciation of a -d and a -t.

Among Dutch native speakers, this is actually by far the most common spelling mistake. However, from the grammar rules you can (almost) always tell which one it should be. See here for more info.

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