Dutch Grammar e-book
The grammar reference on this website is now also available as an e-book (PDF, 355 pages). Click here to learn more.
Approximately 23 million people in Belgium and the Netherlands have Dutch as their mother tongue, which makes Dutch the seventh language in the European Union. The variety of Dutch spoken in Flanders (northern Belgium) is sometimes referred to as Flemish, although the extent to which Flemish and Dutch differ is a much-debated issue. Dutch is also the official language of Surinam.
Dutch is a Germanic language, which means it has a lot in common with languages like German, English, Danish, and Swedish.
Dutch spelling is quite easy compared to many other languages because it is based on a bunch of basic principles. The same goes for the conjugation of Dutch regular verbs. Once you know the conjugation rules, you can conjugate any Dutch verb. Irregular verbs, however, must be learned by heart.
There are three articles to learn: the indefinite article 'een' (a) and the definite articles 'de' and 'het' (the). Those who have studied German, Russian, or Latin will be delighted to learn that the Dutch language does not have a case system. This means that you do not need to use different articles or adjectives for subjects and objects. Adjectives are only inflected according to the type of noun they precede (de or het noun).
The hardest part of Dutch grammar is the word order. There are general guidelines for producing a sound Dutch sentence but the easiest way to master it is to read a lot of Dutch.
Another hurdle for Dutch learners is the pronunciation. Just how difficult you find it depends on where you come from. The guttural g is easier for Spanish or Arabic speakers than for English or Japanese speakers. But Dutch learners almost unanimously agree that
eu are by far the most difficult sounds to master. You can listen to their sounds on this website but the key to getting familiar with the Dutch sounds is exposure. Mix with Dutch speakers or immerse yourself in Dutch audio books, internet radio, and Dutch videos.
Using this website
You can navigate through the grammar chapters by using the menu on the left side of this screen. If you cannot find what you are looking for, do not hesitate to post your question on the Dutch Grammar Forum.
All mp3 files on this page: