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  5. "Ik weet het niet."

"Ik weet het niet."

Translation:I do not know.

May 19, 2015



What's the difference between weet and ken? Are they interchangeable or are they used for different subjects? Perhaps like one for information and another for people and places?

  • 39

'Weten' and 'kennen' indeed both mean 'to know', but they are not interchangeable. 'Weten' is used for facts, and 'kennen' is used when you actually know someone or a place, because you've been there, or you've talked with that said person.

  • Ik weet waar hij woont. - I know where he lives
  • Ik ken hem - I know him
  • Wij weten niet wanneer we klaar zijn. - We don't know when we're done.
  • Zij kennen de band. - They know (about) the band.

Note, in some sentences (not in these above) 'kennen' and 'weten' are interchangeable, but the meaning will be different.

  • Ik weet het niet - I don't know
  • Ik ken het niet - I don't know about it (never hear of it, etc.)


Dankjewel. Very helpful!


What about "Ik ken Nederlands" vs "Ik weet Nederlands" ?

  • 39

Neither of them are correct. If you want to say that you know how to speak Dutch you can say

  • Ik kan Nederlands (spreken) - I can speak Dutch (Most will say 'Ik kan Nederlands')
  • Ik spreek Nederlands - I speak Dutch
  • Ik ken de Nederlandse taal - I know the Dutch language


So if I just want to say "I don't know" in Dutch, then this is it?

Ik weet het niet.

This might be useful. :)


Would it be possible to simply say „Ik weet niet" or is the „het" always necessary?


het is necessary, afaik.


From the comments in these posts, I can see that het is required. Is there a reason for this? Does weten always take an object (in this case the pronoun het)?


I think that weten is a transitive verb, which means that it requires an object.


Can't this also be "I know it not"?


If you lived in the 17th century, definitely. Or were an actor in one of Shakespeare's plays... But normally nobody speaks that way these days, sorry.


Chances are he would use the cognate, "wit," rather than "know."

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