1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Dutch
  4. >
  5. "I do not remember his name."

"I do not remember his name."

Translation:Ik herinner me zijn naam niet.

December 3, 2014



I'm having a problem with word order. Sometimes I put "niet" at the end of a sentence, and then in this case I put it before the object and get it wrong. What is the rule for word order? I don't feel like it's always very clear.


Here is a rule of thumb that may help you.

In a sentence with a direct object, the object can be either definite or indefinite. In a Dutch sentence, the negative comes after a definite direct object but before an indefinite direct object.

A definite direct object is one that is preceded by het, de, deze, dit, dat or a possessive or personal pronoun.


Hij heeft het boek niet gelezen (definite object)
Hij heeft niet een boek gelezen (indefinite object)

Note: The rule of thumb I have just described is for sentences that include a direct object.

[deactivated user]

    Why not: ik herinner me niet zijn naam. ? Why must "niet" come at the end?


    why isn't "mij" accepted instead of "me"?


    The Dutch "me" here is the reflexive pronoun. For the reflexive promoun "mij" cannot besubsituted.


    Why is " ik herinner zijn naam niet" not acceptable?


    Because it's a reflexive verb.


    Why do you have to use both ik and me in the same sentence?

    [deactivated user]

      You need the "me" because "to remember" is reflexive in Dutch.


      what is the purpose of me in this sentence


      It's part of the verb zich herinneren. 'Me' would be the reflexive pronoun.


      thanks just made more sense as ai kept practicing ! Thanks for the comment :)


      How do you know when a verb is going to be reflexive? I left the 'me' out and it made perfect sense. "I run to him" is that a case where 'run' would reflexive? "I run myself to him"?


      Bob, in English "I remember" is not reflexive. But its translation into Dutch, "Ik erinnere me" is reflexive.

      Because you are an English speaker, it seems "natural" to you to leave out the word "me" in the Dutch. But that is a mistake, no matter how "right" if feels to you.

      How do you know which non-reflexive English verbs get translated into a Dutch reflexive verb? You just have to learn them as you go.

      As a rule of thumb, if a construction is reflexive in English, it will probably also be reflexive in Dutch. But Dutch also has quite a few reflexive constructions whose English counterparts are NOT reflexive.

      Another rule of thumb: Both in English and Dutch, only transitive verbs can be used in reflexive contructions. So, for example, the English verb "hurt" can be transitive -- that is, it can take an object. So you can say "I hurt my friend" or "I hurt myself".

      As for "I run to him", that is not reflexive either in English or Dutch. In fact, that English sentence bears no resemblance to a typical reflexive construction (such as "I hurt myself"). I'm not sure what you were thinking on that one!


      Why can't I use stressed form, mezelf, here?

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