Meanings of "er"

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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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KPHolland
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Meanings of "er"

Post by KPHolland » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:37 pm

Hi,
If in a sentence like "er is een ei," er means "there," what does er mean in "wie draagt er een hoed?" What is the difference between this last sentence and "wie draagt de hoed?" I guess it's something like "who has a hat" vs "who has the hat," but I'm still not sure what exactly "er" means in the former sentence.

Thanks a lot and sorry if the question is too easy. I have just started learning :)

ngonyama
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Re: Meanings of "er"

Post by ngonyama » Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:09 am

KPHolland wrote:
Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:37 pm
Hi,
If in a sentence like "er is een ei," er means "there," what does er mean in "wie draagt er een hoed?" What is the difference between this last sentence and "wie draagt de hoed?" I guess it's something like "who has a hat" vs "who has the hat," but I'm still not sure what exactly "er" means in the former sentence.

Thanks a lot and sorry if the question is too easy. I have just started learning :)

Nope that is not easy at all. That pesky little word "er" has many uses in Dutch and often they do not translate directly to other languages. I know zero Albanian, so I certainly cannot tell you if there is anything similar there. (Maybe you can?)

In a sentence like "Wie draagt er een hoed" the word "er" emphasizes the indefinite of impersonal nature of the utterance. It becomes even stronger with the modal particle "nou": "Wie draagt er nou een hoed?" means something like: Who on earth would put on a hat these days?"

This impersonal character also appears in sentences with impersonal passive voice like "Er wordt gebeld" Litterally it would be "There is being rung!" which makes little sense in English. You'd have to make it active as in: "Somebody is ringing!"

hope this helps.


KPHolland
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Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:27 pm
Country of residence: Albania
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Re: Meanings of "er"

Post by KPHolland » Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:39 am

It helps a lot. Thank you!

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