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  5. "Waarom ben je altijd te laat…

"Waarom ben je altijd te laat?"

Translation:Why are you always late?

April 5, 2015



When does 'te laat' mean 'too late' versus just 'late'?


Technically speaking in this case "laat" = "late" - "te laat" = "too late". However, in a lot of these cases, just as in English, it does not change the meaning of the sentence if you leave "te"/"too" out, but including it can put more emphasis on the being late.

So this sentence could also have been "Waarom ben je altijd laat?"

It also can depend on the verb and context, but again that is fairly similar in English. For example:

"He arrives late at the airport" - "Hij arriveert laat op het vliegveld", only gives an indication that he arrives late.

"He arrives too late at the airport" - "Hij arriveert te laat op het vliegveld", indicates that he arrives too late for something.


I don't agree, the way I perceive it in Dutch is very clear: laat is later than expected/desireable, but not too late/passed the dealine. Te laat is too late/passed the dealine. In English this distinction is not so clear, since too is sometimes left out without changing the meaning, I think leaving out te in Dutch always changes the meaning.


But you are hardly going to ask someone "Waarom ben je altijd laat?" when he/she is still on time.


I don't think it's that uncommon, it's how people who hate last minute rushes complain about to 'just in time' people.

Edit: but that's just my 2 cents, let's agree to disagree. :)


In English I would only say "too late" if you could no longer do the thing you showed up to do. Is this more like that or just about being late in general?


@michisjourdi: it's different in Dutch, te laat is after the start of an event, but (depending on the event) this can still be in time to take part in part of the event.


Dank je wel, Susande. I get it now! I appreciate your explanation. ^_^


That is interesting, in Indonesian (my native language), the word for late is 'telat' or 'terlambat'. But the word 'telat' is often used in informal situations. A coincidence ? Lol


This happens when we let the Dutch live in our land for too long. XD


Because they "visited" us and didn't want to leave until we force them to leave haha


Wouldn't "Why are you always so late?" be an acceptable answer?


So late would be zo laat.


Could "altijd" be after "te laat" in this sentence?


No, that doesn't work.

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