We cannot place just any component before the left side. The table below lists all elements in the order they were presented in this chapter.
Recall that if a sentence does not start with the subject, the subject and finite verb switch places (see also finite formation). This is the case when we place something before the left side.
|Yesterday, we gave her a book.
Reduced indirect object
|Yesterday, we gave her a book (we did not give it to someone else).
- Placing the time element before the left side:
|Yesterday (not today or tomorrow), we gave her a book.
|The book (is what) we gave her yesterday.
The observant reader may have spotted that I now used a specific direct object (het boek) instead of an non-specific direct object (een boek). Technically, it is possible to place a non-specific direct object before the left side but this is very uncommon.
|I just ran into him in the supermarket.
- Placing the place element before the left side:
|In the supermarket, I just ran into him.
Reduced direct object
|I just ran into him (not someone else) in the supermarket.
If the reduced indirect object is the pronoun het, we cannot place it before the left side. Instead of het, we have to use a demonstrative pronoun (dit or dat).
|I have bought it at the shop.
- Placing het (dit or dat) before the left side:
|This I have bought at the shop.
EHD (er, hier, daar)
|They have put subtitles under it.
Just like you cannot place the pronoun het before the left side, we can also not place er (which replaces het) before the left side.
Note that there are other types of er that can or must be placed here.
Instead of er, we use hier (replacing dit/deze) or daar (dat/die). See also EHD-pronoun.
- Placing EHD before the left side:
|They have put subtitles under that.
We can also say: "Hier hebben ze ondertiteling onder gezet", but not: "Er hebben ze ondertiteling onder gezet".
|We cannot make it more fun.
|We cannot make it more fun (but we can make the job easier).
From the slogan of the Dutch Tax Office: "Leuker kunnen we het niet maken, wel makkelijker" ("We cannot make it more fun but we can make it easier").
It is very common to place the prepositional phrase outside the core sentence. This is in accordance with the general guideline that we should place lengthy components before or after the core sentence. Prepositional phrases always consist of several words.
The most common place for the prepositional phrase is after the right side but we can also find it before the left side.
|You first have to subtract the discount of the total amount.
|Of the total amount, you first have to subtract the discount.