ervan

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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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kota_solo
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ervan

Post by kota_solo » Fri Feb 21, 2014 10:26 am

What is ervan in

Er zijn maar weinig dingen die een advocaat van een groot kantoor ervan kunnen weerhouden declarabele uren te maken

Can't I just delete it and say instead

Er zijn maar weinig dingen die een advocaat van een groot kantoor kunnen weerhouden declarabele uren te maken.

And what is declarabele anyway?

Thanks
Billie Jean is niet mijn liefde. Hee.

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Joke
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Re: ervan

Post by Joke » Fri Feb 21, 2014 2:11 pm

Hmm, that's a difficult one.

First the easy question: declarabele uren are hours for which the lawyer can ask money.

Then ervan. Bad new first; no, you can't leave it out.

The 'van' part is the preposition that goes with weerhouden:
Iemand weerhouden van iets = to stop/deter/prevent somebody from (doing) something
That 'something' should be a noun or a verb that's used as a noun.
De politie probeert jongeren te weerhouden van crimineel gedrag (noun).
Zullen foto's van vieze longen op pakjes sigaretten mensen weerhouden van roken? (verb used as noun)


The 'something' that the lawyer in your sentence can't being stopped from doing is 'declarabele uren te maken'.

You can write this sentence in a different way, putting van directly after weerhouden and using the noun-form of the verb maken:
Er zijn maar weinig dingen die een advocaat van een groot kantoor kunnen weerhouden van het maken van declarabele uren.
However, this results in a rather clumsy sentence, with two times van at the end, so there is a different way of phrasing it.
You bring van a bit forward and combine it with er. Er is than a temporary, 'dummy' object for the van-phrase. Then you can end your sentence with the original van-phrase in a short subclause form using te + infinitive (te maken).

You can do the same thing with my second sample sentence about stopping people from smoking:
Zullen foto's van vieze longen op pakjes sigaretten mensen ervan weerhouden te roken?

I hope this explanation didn't confuse you even more...
Joke

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Re: ervan

Post by kota_solo » Sun Feb 23, 2014 12:24 pm

What do you call such thing as 'iemand weerhouden van iets'? An idiom perhaps? And how could I notice such 'idiom'?
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Re: ervan

Post by kota_solo » Sun Feb 23, 2014 12:28 pm

And what do you call such thing as 'iemand weerhouden van iets'? An idiom perhaps? And how could I notice such 'idiom'? Or do you have links that list such construction? Thanks
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Re: ervan

Post by Joke » Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:44 am

I'm afraid there is no easy way to learn these kind of idioms.
Here is a list of some of the most common verbs with fixed prepositions. Weerhouden van, however, is not in this list and I'm sure there are many more. A good dictionary should give you these combinations. For example, if you look up weerhouden in the online dictionary Van Dale (http://www.vandale.nl), it gives you this: "(+ van) tegenhouden, afhouden van"

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