1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Dutch
  4. >
  5. "Neem je melk of sap?"

"Neem je melk of sap?"

Translation:Are you taking milk or juice?

March 23, 2015



I know it's technically correct but it sounds odd in English. You'd be more likely to ask if the other is having milk or juice rather than taking (unless it's a conversation between a pair of shoplifters). And if offering someone a choice you'd more likely say 'Will you have...' or 'would you prefer...'.


I agree. This isn't something we would usually say in British English. 'Do you take milk or sugar?' would be correct because it's in relation to tea or coffee. You take it with something. You can't "take" juice and if you "take" milk it has to be with something e.g. tea or coffee. It doesn't work on its own without sounding very odd.


Agreed as a Canadian English speaker as well.


Agreed as an American English speaker.


Agreed. The Dutch construct is the same as German and French, using 'to take' (nemen/nehmen/prendre). In English, this literal translation doesn’t work. Depending on context and how polite you're being, you'd either say "do you want..." or "would you like..."


I agree. My first thought was that I hate that duo uses such iffy sentences.

Uncommon is fine, weird is even better (though people complain about both). Because they make you think instead of assume/blindly repeat

But a lot of sentences are in the grey areas of both dutch and english where you start to get unsure if it is something that is actually correct to use.

My first thought was about the Dutch sentence, huh nemen... But ok I thought up a scenario. But then the english is even odder. With the Dutch sentence you are expecting 2 people reading a menu about to order.

So the translation that goes with that is. Will you be having milk or juice. (Yes it seems the wrong tense, but the neem is sort of vocative but as a question, sorry if thats a wrong term/description but neem je... means/implies ga je nemen. )

So having instead of taking would be better here.


This is quite an odd sentence for me; I'm not sure if I've ever heard anyone ask "Do you take..." in the context of asking what someone wants to drink. I think most people would just ask "What would you like to drink--milk or juice?" (I'm speaking as an American who's lived in California, the Midwest, and New England.)

Of course if it's a common phrase in Dutch then it's certainly worth learning.


That encapsulates my thought exactly. I take milk with (or in) tea, but I don't "take milk" full stop.That's not the idiom. But, of course, if the Dutch do, then so be it.


It is asking what someone would like to drink. It is not taking an order or even going to get a drink for you friend. It is discussing the menu. What are you gonna order.

Basicly what are you gonna choose.

If you forget the english idiomatic and how people order things. Look at this difference.

Are you gonna take the blue or the red bumpercar? (To a friend)
Which bumper car would you like (asked by the owner/employer if you get assigned cars and not a help yourself place)

Are you taking the northern or southern route? (to a friend)
Which route would you like me to take (asked by the cab driver).
Would you like me to use the northern or southern route.

So in most cases nemen is take, not would you like.

Or a much simpler example (why didn't I think of this before!).

A young brother and sister are looking at the fruitbowl. And one of them asks.

Are you gonna take the apple or the banana?

Or a mother inquiring what they kids would like in their lunchbox.

Would you like an apple or a banana.

The mother would not use take here.

I think the last one is the best example. But will leave the other two.


No one says "take" like this in English from my experience as a native speaker, so I really don't like the literal translation that is required here.


I agree. The realistic,idiomatic translation of this question is: "Are you having milk or juice?"


I wrote that and it was correct.


Do you take sugar? or I don't take sugar, thank you are very common (usual) in SE England, where I live. If you are asking for sugar, the verb changes, so: Can/may/could I have (some) sugar, please? The American construction Can I get some sugar? is not often heard in the UK, and in some quarters would be greeted with either a fixed grin and gritted teeth (though it is innocuous enough) or with incomprehension. The more querulous "Can I get some sugar here!" is just regarded as plain rude, bordering on Trumpery....


I think the more usual American constructions would be (in the same order):
Do you want sugar?/Would you like (some) sugar?
No, I don't want sugar, thank you. (When directly responding to a question, just "No, thank you.")
The request would be the same as in the UK: "Can/could I have (some) sugar, please?" ("May" would come across as quite formal/deferential.)

I would not expect to hear "Can I get some sugar?" outside of New Jersey, and would consider it rude.


I agree - the present continuous seems contrived here with take. Are you taking milk or juice? I don't think so. Are you HAVING milk or juice? works better for a question implying "on this occasion". Even better would be the simple present: Do you take milk or juice? implying "usually, as a general rule".


The only way I've heard take being used on this type of context is are you taking milk with your tea.


Agreed, never hear take it this way


There should be more explanation for sentences like this. The literal translation could be used, e.g: -I'm going on a trip -Are you taking milk or juice? -Neither, I'm taking water.

But by translating it literally I'm given no other context. Do Dutch people say this at a restaurant where an American would say "would you like milk or juice?". Above, a MOD says that the literal translation for that phrase is different but why can't duo tell us if this phrase is commonly used when ordering things even if it's not literal. It does this all the time, it's annoying.


That's a good scenario!!

I was gonna say, duo either needs to remove this sentence or have a staff member come here and explain what on earth they meant with this sentence. Because the English and the Dutch sentence do not match up.

But you actually came up with a valid scenario.

It is a shame though that sentences like these cause such confusion and actually have the opposite of learning.

I'm a native dutch speaker and I'm pretty good in English. Not flawless, but a deep enough knowledge to understand idioms and feel when something is off. And even I struggled with this one.

Usually in other sentences (that aren't helpfull either) I manage to think if that extremely obscure scenarios when theoretically you could use the sentence, but failed this time. (In my defense, still reading the comments, didn't sit down to think about it yet ;) )

Like if an alien was friends with a monkey and got a call while the monkey was doing a handstand an a crocodile floated past. Past the alien in space that is..


It is a good scenario, but actually the Dutch would need "mee" because you are taking it with you.

Neem jij melk of sap mee?

Wat neem jij? Is a usual thing to ask the person you're with. What are you gonna have.

But neem jij dit of dat sounds odd to me. Maybe because you are sort of talking about the future (Wat neem jij sort of means wat ga jij nemen). Or perhaps it is the comparison.

It think it most likely will be said as. Wat neem jij? Koffie of thee?
So, not integrated.

If you want to talk about what the waiter says to you. It would be
Wilt u melk of sap. Or
Zou u melk of sap willen.

Nemen is not something the waiter would say. Only the customer. (More often to their friend than the waiter. To the waiter they would reply. Ik wil graag... Ik zou graag ... willen. Or voor mij graag ...)

Hope this helps someone :)

Ps I have seen no mod (reading the comments from oldest to newest).
Edit nvm. .. apparently I forgot to hit oldest to newest this time...


UK English does make a distinction between the general sense, "Do you (generally, usually) take milk/sugar?", a question you might ask of someone if you do not know what they usually have in their coffee, and "Would you like milk/sugar?" meaning now, on this occasion. I am guessing that the first, more general, meaning is intended in the question Neem je melk of sap?. If so, I would not translate it using the present continuous, "Are you taking..." but would use "Do you take" in preference. If the question is asking Do you want milk/juice on this occasion, i would say that neem is the wrong verb for English. You could try, "Are you having milk or juice?" (for example, "this morning") if you want a present continuous; or change to the conditional and ask "Would you like milk or juice (today)?" The use of the American "get" is still relatively rare in the UK, though you do now hear, "Can I get a coffee?" meaning "Can/may I have a coffee?) with increasing frequency.


So is the Dutch "neem" similar to the Spanish "toma," as in that it can mean to take AND to drink? Or is it entirely different in Dutch?

  • 2081

La traducción exacta es: ¿Tomas (quieres) leche o jugo? Tomar (beber) es drinken.


Is "Do" an essential part of the translation ?


English requires the use of a modal verb such as "do" or "have" when forming questions, unless the main verb is "to be".

  • Is he happy?
  • Does he like juice?
  • Has he eaten already?
  • Must he sit there?
  • Where will he go?


It is grammatically correct, in english at least, to have it in questions where 'take you' (or similar inversions) do not make sense.


Sentence sounds like: Neem je melk ofs ap?


Does this have the same idiomatic meaning as in English?


Edit: Correction, it can have either the literal meaning or the same idiomatic one. When someone you are visiting or someone buying you a drink asks this question, it will have the idiomatic meaning.


‘What do you take with your lunch, milk or juice?’. Or even more commonly: ‘What do you take with your coffee, milk or sugar?’. If you want it in the progressive aspect: ‘Yesterday you took milk with your coffee, but the day before you took sugar; what are you taking today?’.


I don't understand, what's the idiomatic meaning? I just read some choice between milk or juice and milk or sugar, no figurative meaning.


It's not very idiomatic, but you're not actually taking anything, it's just being put in there for you. I would normally use the word ‘get’ in that case, and ‘take’ gives a refined high-tea kind of quality to it. (That may have something to do with my being American.) And actually, in this question, I wouldn't even say ‘get’ but would probably say something like ‘want’.

If I were to translate these words ‘take’ and ‘get’ into German, they'd be ‘nehmen’ and ‘bekommen’ (but not ‘holen’). I don't know what the equivalent of ‘get’ is in Dutch, and for all I know Dutch doesn't distinguish these meanings as finely.

There's also an issue with tenses; this question is asked before you get anything, and so it shouldn't be in the present tense in English, yet it is. That may not be an issue in Dutch (it wouldn't be in German).


Ah got it, I didn't realise I do know the idiomatic meaning. :)

So a correction to my first remark: yes it can have either the literal or the same idiomatic meaning. (When one is visiting people it will usually be the idiomatic one.) Although I think doe je melk of suiker in je koffie? (similar idiomatic meaning) or especially wil je melk of suiker? are used more often, so similar to using want in English. Which form is used more often in Dutch probably also depends on the region.

Get in the meaning of receiving is krijgen (= bekommen), this is never used in these kind of sentences. FYI nehmen = nemen, holen = halen. I'm pretty sure usage of these 3 words is (almost?) identical in Dutch and German.

And indeed using the present tense before you get anything is not an issue in Dutch, in sentences like neem je melk of suiker?, it's even odd NOT to use simple present.


Most people in the UK would not use Can I get some coffee? although they would understand it. You would be more likely to come across Can I have some coffee? Does he take sugar? was used in a disability advertising campaign in which the waiter addressed the carer rather than the wheelchair user, who sat with a resigned expression on her face.


This translation has more idiomatic similarities to British English in the same way you might say, "Do you take sugar with your tea?" Less frequently used these days in American English, but used more in some parts of the country.


I'm English and would say ' Would you like milk or juice?'


That has a different translation. Wilt u melk of sap./zou u melk of sap willen.

But I agree this lesson needs to be altered. The English is weird the Dutch is unusal and the translation doesn't work.


Is "would you like milk or juice?" incorrect?


Yes, that would be 'Wil je melk of sap?'.


Only "incorrect" inasfar as the literal translation of "nemen" is "take". In real life, however ""Neem je melk of sap?" is most likely to be said in the context of offering someone a choice, and that situation the idiomatic English expression is "Would you like milk or juice?" or, just conceivably, "Will you have milk or juice?". To "take" (tea, wine, etc.), rather than "have" it, is very old-fashioned.


ok, this is the second time they asked me to translate this sentence. First time they corrected me saying that it was " are you talking milk or juice?" and now I try it and it doesn't work. Why?

  • 2081

"Are you taking milk or juice" would have been accepted.


Oh!! I read it as talking not taking. Thanks

  • 2081

I really liked your sentece. Two new languages for Duolingo! ☺


lol took me a few seconds to get that XD. I guess you were talking milk.


Again i felt in the trap "je" = "I" :p


I do the same, and I note that you also have a French flag after your name.


To anyone saying this should be

Would you like milk or juice.
(Or even do you want)

You could never use that for this sentence. Because a waiter will never use nemen. (neither will a friend that is going to get a drink for you)

Nemen is something you say to your friend when discussing the menu. What are you gonna order? What are you planning to drink? Which item on the menu will you pick?

I agree though the english is odd. Besides the milk/sugar in coffe/tea comments, it almost sounds like they are asking if you are using the illegal substances milk and juice haha.

I'm personally not even sure the Dutch sentence is correct. But if it is, it means you are asking your friend what they will be ordering.

Hope this creates atleast some order in the confusion.


I thought of someone in a cafeteria, at the end were cartons of milk or juice on a table past the cashier who would ask, Are you taking milk or juice?


do you want milk or juice shiuld work


I keep using "jij" and "je" wrong. They sound the same to me on Duo. Are there rules to when which is used? I know they mean the same thing, and that one is more casual speech.


I'm not sure, but I think you can always use both, and the reason Duolingo says you're wrong is because you had to type what you heard, and it said "je" and not "jij". Same thing happened for me.


I think "Will you have milk or juice" should work. Or "Would you like..." It means the same thing. So picky. :-)


How do you start a Are you/Do you sentence?


It is the same for French as for Dutch. Qu'est ce que tu va prendre. The verbe prendre stands for taking


In England we might say: "do you take milk with your tea?" or dO you take your coffee black" . I was born in The 40's. so maybe my English is a bit archaic!


The English is not idiomatic


Surely in English it should be are you 'having' milk or juice?


I wrote the correct answer but still it is wrong?? It is not correct from your side


It is always a good idea to copy and paste what you typed. That way, we have at least a possibility of discerning why it might not have been accepted. Your second sentence suggests that you are under the impression that you were addressing the creators of the course, but in fact these discussion forums are where users of the course are able to discuss matters with each other.


I can't go further with my lessons ..please solve this problem . The fault lies by you. I adked a friend, he is a professor in Dutch. My answer is good he just said.


What did he say about the Dutch sentence. Because it is looking odder and odder to me. You do use something similar. But exactly like this doesn't feel right somehow

Wat neem jij? ✅
Wat ga jij nemen? ✅
Wat neem jij? Sap of melk ✅
Neem jij sap of melk? 🤔

You are actually saying Wat ga je nemen, What will you order/what are you going to have. In the last sentence the present and future tense feels like they are clashing. Could be just me though. Maybe duo shortcircuited my radar and even my own language is starting to feel odd. (Perhaps it feels like Ben jij sap of melk aan het nemen)

Btw is he an actual professor or just a teacher. Because I've seen teachers make plenty of mistakes. (Does he work at a university or just a highschool)


I try to do this lesson he doesn't want to be good


Who doesn't want to be good?


Are any American English answers accepted here? I didn't want to lose more hearts finding out, so switched to (presumed) British.


American English is the default with Duolingo because it is based in the US, although British, and sometimes Australian and other versions of English are accepted.


This is not idiomatic English. The closest equivalent is "have"

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