When to use een and when not?

[zelfstandig naamwoorden en lidwoorden]
Here you can ask anything about Dutch articles ('de', 'het', 'een'), how to make plural nouns, how to make nouns small (diminutives), compound nouns, and everything else related to nouns and articles.
Post Reply
Miguell
Nieuwkomer
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jun 02, 2013 6:11 pm
Country of residence: Brazil
Mother tongue: Portuguese (Brazil)
Second language: English
Third language: Spanish
Gender: Male
Contact:

When to use een and when not?

Post by Miguell » Sun Jun 02, 2013 6:56 pm

Hello, my first post here, I guess.
I was learning athttp://www.livemocha.com/ and I saw this:
Ik ben kok. (I'm a cook)
Ik ben een student. (I'm a student)
I'd like to know why the first sentence does not have the article "een" and why the second one has it.
Thank you all,
Miguel

User avatar
Quetzal
Retired moderator
Posts: 2173
Joined: Sat Nov 04, 2006 11:51 pm
Country of residence: Belgium
Mother tongue: Dutch (Flanders)
Location: Belgium

Re: When to use een and when not?

Post by Quetzal » Sun Jun 02, 2013 7:23 pm

I wouldn't worry too much about it. It's possible to say, for instance, "ik ben student aan de universiteit van ...", without the "een", while on the other hand there's also nothing wrong with saying "ik ben een kok".

So basically, you can just remember that with professions it may be possible to drop the "een", but it's not absolutely required.

ngonyama
Superlid
Posts: 1317
Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2009 12:15 am
Country of residence: United States
Mother tongue: Dutch (Netherlands)
Second language: English
Third language: German
Fourth language: French
Fifth, sixth, seventh, ..., languages: Russisch, Xhosa

Re: When to use een and when not?

Post by ngonyama » Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:19 am

I agree with Quetzal: either will do and you should not worry.

Is there any difference?

Maybe there is a slight difference in the way the speaker is looking at the answer.

Ik ben student= what I do in life at the moment is studying. Other students do not enter in this picture, only the activity.

Ik ben een student= I am a student (one of many). This looks more at a certain group you belong to than the activity.

Are people aware of this nuance when they say it? I doubt it.

Miguell
Nieuwkomer
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jun 02, 2013 6:11 pm
Country of residence: Brazil
Mother tongue: Portuguese (Brazil)
Second language: English
Third language: Spanish
Gender: Male
Contact:

Re: When to use een and when not?

Post by Miguell » Wed Jun 05, 2013 11:08 pm

Thank you two, Quetzal an ngonyama. I asked it here because I saw that in the website, but I also saw, in http://www.dutchgrammar.com/en/?n=NounsAndArticles.07, that we should not add "een" when talking about professions, so, in doubt, I asked it here.
Miguel

Post Reply