"Wat" as a pronoun

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A pronoun replaces a noun or another pronoun. E.g. 'he', 'which', or 'her'. There are different types of pronouns: personal, possessive, indefinite, relative... You can post your questions about Dutch pronouns here.
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matteo.gsp
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"Wat" as a pronoun

Post by matteo.gsp » Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:43 pm

Hello everyone.
Can someone please tell me when to use “wat” as a pronoun? Like in the sentence:

Chocolade" komt van het Azteekse woord " Xocolatl", wat "bitter water" betekent.

Can I say "die" instead of "wat"?

ngonyama
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Re: "Wat" as a pronoun

Post by ngonyama » Mon Jan 27, 2014 5:08 am

matteo.gsp wrote:Hello everyone.
Can someone please tell me when to use “wat” as a pronoun? Like in the sentence:

Chocolade" komt van het Azteekse woord " Xocolatl", wat "bitter water" betekent.

Can I say "die" instead of "wat"?
No, the correct pronoun is "dat" in this case because water is a neuter (het water). The pronoun "wat" is simply incorrect in this case.

It can be used as a relative, but then refers back to the entire phrase before it, e.g.:

De oorlog werd verloren, wat vreselijke gevolgen had.

"Wat" refers back to the fact that the war was lost, not to e.g. the war itself. Then the relative would be "die" (because oorlog is a de-word):
Hij sneuvelde in de oorlog die verloren werd.

There are a few special words after which "wat" is regularly found, like "iets":
Dat is iets wat ik niet begrijp.

And yes there are a lot of people who do this wrong.

matteo.gsp
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Re: "Wat" as a pronoun

Post by matteo.gsp » Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:37 pm

Thank you ngoyama for your message, I think I have no more doubts abouth this.

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Re: "Wat" as a pronoun

Post by Vilmos » Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:55 pm

And after "alles" (everything): alles wat heb ik heb gezien...

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Re: "Wat" as a pronoun

Post by eti » Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:48 pm

'wat' instead of 'dat' is used, indeed, when it refers to a complete sentence, and also when it refers to any indetermined pronoun (iets wat, alles wat, niets wat... 'iets dat' can be seen as well, though) or to an adjective (het leuke wat, het mooiste wat, etc). And I believe in the example above it is also correct, because 'xocolatl' is between quotation marks. 'Wat' refers to a concept, not to a word. 'Dat' is used to refer to neuter nouns. "Xocolatl" is not a Dutch noun, certainly not a neuter one.

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