https://www.duolingo.com/plasma991

Difference between "zo'n", "zulk" and "zoiets"

I had a bit difficult time with the zo'n/zulk/zoiets lesson in the Demonstratives section - it seemed like they all translated to "such" with no rhyme or reason when to use which.

Turns out, there is a rhyme and reason to them! This post is for all the people who were confused in that lesson.

First off, here is an external link that is a bit helpful in explaining the difference. http://dutchgrammar.com/en/?n=Pronouns.De09

And now some advice I got from a Dutch friend:

"zo'n" is an abbreviation for "zo een", so "such an". "zulk/zulke" mean such, and the difference lies in the noun you are going to use afterwards, just like with any other adjective(?) like, klein/kleine (usually if the noun has no gender (its article is "het") you use the standard form, if it has a gender (its article is "de") you use the standard+e form. "Zoiets" means more like "something like that"

You can use "zo'n"/"zulke/zulke" interchangeably sometimes, while "zoiets" has its own uses. "zo'n" is more used to emphasize something ("zo'n slecht weer / SUCH bad weather") whereas "zulk/zulke" is used when you point to something (like with "that", you point to something and say "that book", similar with when someone asks you "welke boeken vind jij leuk?", you answer "zulke boeken" while pointing to fiction books)

"zulk/zulke" is the correct/official way, whereas "zo'n" was more used as slang and crept into the language and now has its own niche use.

3 years ago

8 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Nylre536

Just to add to the zulke part I never ever use it ( I am a dutch native speaker). The post caught my attention because I thought zulke was a weird word to learn if you are learning dutch. You usually use zo'n and just change the anwser slightly. So to the question welke boeken vind jij leuk? It would be more natural for me to say ik vind zo'n boek leuk/ ik vind deze boeken leuk / dit soort boeken vind ik leuk. Hope it helps

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AndrewsSuzy
AndrewsSuzy
  • 23
  • 21
  • 18
  • 14
  • 14
  • 14
  • 8
  • 5
  • 5

thanks - it's really helpful to get input from a native Dutch speaker regarding the 'naturalness' of the phrases used here. (I often find the English expressions unnatural or at least not British English which is my mother tongue). So thanks again!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SJBlood
SJBlood
  • 11
  • 6
  • 4
  • 3

I guess you don't use "such" so much in English either, if you think about it ...

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AndrewsSuzy
AndrewsSuzy
  • 23
  • 21
  • 18
  • 14
  • 14
  • 14
  • 8
  • 5
  • 5

It's quite common for me - "I wouldn't trust such a bloke"; "we've never had such awful weather"; "such fun!", "it's SUCH a beautiful sunset" etc etc

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Objectivist
Objectivist
  • 16
  • 14
  • 13
  • 12
  • 11
  • 9
  • 1855

Your friend is not completely correct. You cannot use "zo'n" with uncountable nouns such as "weer". "Zo'n slecht weer" is therefore wrong. It should be: "Zulk slecht weer."

"Zulk" is used for uncountable nouns ("zulk helder water", "zulk schone lucht") and "zulke" is used for plural countable nouns ("zulke boeken").

"Zo'n" is only used for singular countable nouns ("zo'n boek") and abstract nouns ("zo'n situatie").

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/plasma991

I asked my friend for clarification. Though formally zo'n cannot be used with weer, it is used informally (slang has a tendency to ignore grammar rules, no?), and he has heard it being used in that way. But yes, if you want to be grammatically correct, it should be "zulk sleckt weer."

Also,

Apparently I was totally wrong about the difference between zulk and zulke. I was saying gender and genderless words, but it indeed should be single and plural. Gender and genderless words come from German, I was confused there.

So you are right with the countable and uncountable. Thank you for the clarification :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JaneEmily

Great explanation, I'll follow this thread for reference as I have always found those three difficult to get to grips with :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/WordFitlySpoken
WordFitlySpoken
  • 16
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 6
  • 6
  • 4
  • 2

Ahhhhh, tell your friend thanks, please! Makes so much more sense now!

3 years ago
Learn Dutch in just 5 minutes a day. For free.