The usage of "maar" and its meanings.

[bijwoorden en bijvoeglijk naamwoorden]
An adjective says something about a noun or person: E.g. "the beautiful story" or "She is happy".
An adverb says something about a verb, an adjective, another adverb, a phrase, or a clause: "You did that well", "That is really nice."
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London_Calling
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The usage of "maar" and its meanings.

Post by London_Calling » Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:22 pm

Hi everybody,

I wonder if someone can help. I am having issues with understanding how to use the word "maar" when it has other meanings other than "but". The examples I came across are:

In a restaurant, a guest is ordering food and says: "Geeft u mij maar een stukje appelgebak..."
The same guest, when he is paying a 7.75 euro bill, he says, "Doet u maar acht."

I was told that if "maar" is omitted, the sentence would sound incorrect or rude and I am afraid I don't know when I need to use it. Is there any rule of thumb?

ngonyama
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Re: The usage of "maar" and its meanings.

Post by ngonyama » Fri Apr 12, 2013 4:28 am

London_Calling wrote:Hi everybody,

I wonder if someone can help. I am having issues with understanding how to use the word "maar" when it has other meanings other than "but". The examples I came across are:

In a restaurant, a guest is ordering food and says: "Geeft u mij maar een stukje appelgebak..."
The same guest, when he is paying a 7.75 euro bill, he says, "Doet u maar acht."

I was told that if "maar" is omitted, the sentence would sound incorrect or rude and I am afraid I don't know when I need to use it. Is there any rule of thumb?
Yes, this is hard.. Little modal adverbs like "maar" "wel" "eens" etc. don't really have a clear semantic 'meaning'. They are words that 'flavor' a sentence. In these examples "maar" conveys a kind of "we are buddies, aren't we?" flavor. It says: I mean this in a friendly and respectful way. Without it the sentence sounds pretty haughty, more like a command "I am your superior, you are to do this".

Sometimes "maar" can also mean: "for lack of better". I ben maar naar huis gegaan: I just went home, (I didn't know what else to do, can you blame me?)

Rules for usage. Hmm, let's see. In general: Be careful with naked imperatives. Without either things like alstublieft, dankuwel or "mag ik ..?" or "Kunt u mij ... geven" "meneer", "mevrouw" or something like 'maar' a naked imperative can well be taken as rude. "Alstublieft, meneer" makes it pretty formal, alsjeblieft a bit less and something like "maar" puts you on pretty even, friendly, casual footing.


Unless there is a danger or something, like Pas op! or so.

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