"Als er genoeg tijd was, zou ik je helpen."

Translation:If there were enough time, I would help you.

May 11, 2015

This discussion is locked.


This translation is not correct English. It should be "If there was enough time, I would help you." "Time" is singular, as in "there was time.


You're talking about simple past, but this is an instance of past subjunctive.


I understand the subjunctive in English but the truth is we have pretty much stopped using it to the point where "if there were enough time" sounds weird and "was" sounds natrual.


I don't think that can be said for all regions where English is spoken. In NE US, I still use it and hear it often, except I don't hear it too often from the younger generations.

The younger generations also say "I have went" and "I have did." That doesn't make it correct


I don't understand why sometimes "zou zijn" is used instead of "was".


So no subjunctive in Dutch?


There once was, but is is now almost extinct. I quote from the Wikipedia page on the Subjunctive in Dutch:

If the subjunctive is used in accordance with the rules mentioned in this article, it is still considered grammatically correct, but often sounds archaic or formal. In contemporary Dutch, the subjunctive is no longer actively used, save for a few exceptions and a large range of set phrases. Instead the function of the subjunctive has been replaced by a range of auxiliary verbs, the most important of which is "zullen" (will), especially its past tense: "zouden" (would).


Thanks. It seems the Dutch (and Flemish?) are constantly and rapidly simplifying their language. They might as well go further and eliminate gender and declensions, such that "een klein man", "de groot vrouw" and "de wit huis" be (subjunctive there!) considered correct. Am I foretelling things here or what?


You make it sound like simplification is a conscious decision or if there's an institution that can determine that kind of thing, which clearly isn't the case. We'll see what direction it's going, but I can't imagine you or I will be there to witness the end of gender usage in Dutch (except for the difference between masculine and feminine nouns maybe).


I know it's not deliberate. I just see Dutch as less rigid than German and still more rigid than English, but moving that way. Thanks for responding to my fishing exercise anyway.


All languages simplify with time. Look at Latin, Ancient Greek, Old Norse, Gothic, Old Church Slavonic, how complicated they all are. It's a normal process. English doesn't have genders and changing adjectives and cases and so much more of what it used to have before. All languages change and you shouldn't be surprised about it.


To my unschooled mind the real question is not why languages are becoming simpler but why the ancient languages were so darn complicated. How did the jump from point and grunt to Latin and Ancient Greek happen?


Yes, we'll end up with Afrikaans if that trend continues.


Why is it sometime zou ik rather than ik zou?


sorry but i am unable to distinguish between ZAL en ZOU when it is spoken unclearly


Since time is singular, there were is wrong. It should be "If there was enough time, I would help you."


No, "were" is actually correct in an if-clause.

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