Usage of toch, maar, eens

[modale partikels]
The Dutch use words like 'nou', 'toch', 'hoor', 'maar', 'wel', 'eens', or 'even' to modify the tone of a sentence. Their only function is to reflect the mood or attitude of the speaker. In spoken Dutch, there is hardly a phrase that does not contain one of these hard-to-explain words.
oddett
Nieuwkomer
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2005 10:18 am
Country of residence: Bulgaria
Location: Bulgaria
Contact:

Usage of toch, maar, eens

Post by oddett » Sun Nov 06, 2005 7:37 pm

I don`t know why but I have found the usage of toch, maar and eens very difficult. Perhaps that is because I can`t find analogue in English. I really confuse about their usage.

For example:
Loop eens door!
Komt u maar binnen!

I`ll appreciate every help.Thank you in advance!

Wim
Native speaker & moderator
Posts: 622
Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2005 7:39 am
Country of residence: Netherlands
Mother tongue: Dutch (Netherlands)
Second language: English (Great Britain)
Third language: French
Fourth language: German
Fifth, sixth, seventh, ..., languages: Quite a lot.
Gender: Male
Location: The Hague, Holland

Re: Usage of toch, maar, eens

Post by Wim » Mon Nov 07, 2005 10:43 am

oddett wrote:I don't know why but I have found the usage of toch, maar and eens very difficult. Perhaps that is because I can`t find analogue in English. I really confuse about their usage.

For example:
Loop eens door!
Komt u maar binnen!

I`ll appreciate every help.Thank you in advance!
Hallo Odett,

The so called modal particles (toch, nog, maar, eens, even - in different combinations but usually in this sequence) are hard to master. I don't even know if they've ever been investigated properly. The Dutch like them very much and use them a lot to make a sentence sound more friendly or to give an extra emphasis to certain aspects. In English these concepts are expressed in a different way (or maybe not at all).

I could give you some examples and try to explain their use:

Doe de deur dicht! - Shut the door! [a strict order]
Doe de deur eens dicht - I want you to shut the door [e.g. said by a parent to a child].
Doe de deur even dicht - Please shut the door.
Doe de deur eens even dicht - Please shut the door [for I'm going to tell you something in private...].
Doe de deur maar dicht - You have my permission to shut the door.
Doe de deur toch dicht - Please do shut the door [else the cold will come in].
Doe de deur toch maar dicht - Shut the door anyway [even if you don't think it's necessary].
Doe de deur toch maar even dicht - Shut the door anyway [even if you don't think it's necessary, but I want to speak to you in private].
Doe de deur [toch] maar eens even dicht - Shut the door anyway [even if you don't think it's necessary, but I want to speak to you in private and I think you're not gonna like it...].

As you can see, the differences are subtile and possibly hard to learn. If you want to really master these particles, you shoud read a lot of Dutch novels or listen a lot to spoken everyday Dutch. I'm afraid such things won't be easy if you don't live in the Netherlands... :) On the other hand there are more important things in learning Dutch. Well, maybe not if you're a professional translator of literary works... :lol: But are you?

Kind regards,
Wim

Sue
Superlid
Posts: 146
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2005 1:31 pm
Location: Overijssel

Wim

Post by Sue » Mon Nov 07, 2005 11:19 am

Excellent explanation. I have wondered the difference myself - now I know!

Thanks

Sue :D
The only difference between a rut and a grave... is in their dimensions.

oddett
Nieuwkomer
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2005 10:18 am
Country of residence: Bulgaria
Location: Bulgaria
Contact:

Post by oddett » Wed Nov 09, 2005 6:59 am

Thank you very much Wim :D
I was sure that a native speaker could give the best explanation.
In fact my problem was that I find the sentances with modal particles difficult for translation (may be like every beginner. :roll: ). I`m afraid I`m not so ambitious to become a translator :lol:
Thank you again :D

Wim
Native speaker & moderator
Posts: 622
Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2005 7:39 am
Country of residence: Netherlands
Mother tongue: Dutch (Netherlands)
Second language: English (Great Britain)
Third language: French
Fourth language: German
Fifth, sixth, seventh, ..., languages: Quite a lot.
Gender: Male
Location: The Hague, Holland

Post by Wim » Wed Nov 09, 2005 4:19 pm

Graag gedaan!
You're welcome!

Wim

User avatar
Marco
Superlid
Posts: 439
Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2005 10:41 am
Country of residence: Netherlands
Mother tongue: Dutch (Netherlands)
Second language: English (Great Britain)
Third language: Turkish
Fourth language: French
Fifth, sixth, seventh, ..., languages: German, Italian, Spanish.
Gender: Male
Location: Tolkamer, NL

Post by Marco » Fri Nov 11, 2005 9:01 pm

What I also like:

eventjes instead of even:

Doe de deur eens eventjes dicht

User avatar
Tom
Retired moderator
Posts: 505
Joined: Fri Aug 12, 2005 10:41 pm
Country of residence: United States
Mother tongue: English
Second language: Dutch (Flanders)
Gender: Male
Location: New Jersey, USA

Post by Tom » Sat Nov 12, 2005 7:30 am

Eventjes klinkt wel een beetje zachter.
"Eventjes" sounds a little softer.

Tom

User avatar
Marco
Superlid
Posts: 439
Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2005 10:41 am
Country of residence: Netherlands
Mother tongue: Dutch (Netherlands)
Second language: English (Great Britain)
Third language: Turkish
Fourth language: French
Fifth, sixth, seventh, ..., languages: German, Italian, Spanish.
Gender: Male
Location: Tolkamer, NL

Post by Marco » Wed Nov 16, 2005 7:01 pm

Wat bedoel je met 'zachter'? Vriendelijker?
What do you mean with 'softer'? Friendlier?

BigBadBill
Waardevol lid
Posts: 37
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2005 5:31 pm
Country of residence: Netherlands
Mother tongue: English
Location: Noord-Holland

Post by BigBadBill » Wed Nov 16, 2005 7:53 pm

uitstekend, weet ik nu precies hoe ik kan zelf uit te drukken.
excellent now i know how to express myself.

meestal klinkt mijn nederlands als een bevelen.
my dutch mostly sounds like an order.

BBB
Langzaam A.U.B

User avatar
Tom
Retired moderator
Posts: 505
Joined: Fri Aug 12, 2005 10:41 pm
Country of residence: United States
Mother tongue: English
Second language: Dutch (Flanders)
Gender: Male
Location: New Jersey, USA

even versus eventjes

Post by Tom » Wed Nov 16, 2005 10:46 pm

Ja, dat beddoel ik.
Yes, that is what I mean.

Doe de deur dicht. --- (basically is an order or command)
Shut the door.

Doe de deur even dicht. --- (command is “softened” making it more of a kind or friendly request)
Please shut the door.

Doe de deur eventjes dicht. --- (“softened” or made just a bit more friendly [a touch more informal] yet)
Please shut the door. (Notice that I didn’t change the translation, since I think the softening using eventjes is slight.)
In my opintion, if I said:
“Pretty please, could you shut the door.”, I would be introducing more of a softening of the request than the change from “even” to “eventjes” really introduces. I have not read this anywhere. It is just how it sounds to me and so it is just my opinion / interpretation.

Tom

User avatar
Tom
Retired moderator
Posts: 505
Joined: Fri Aug 12, 2005 10:41 pm
Country of residence: United States
Mother tongue: English
Second language: Dutch (Flanders)
Gender: Male
Location: New Jersey, USA

nu toch, nog, maar, eens, even/eventjes, niet/well/geen

Post by Tom » Wed Nov 16, 2005 11:05 pm

Wim wrote:
The so called modal particles (toch, nog, maar, eens, even - in different combinations but usually in this sequence) are hard to master. I don't even know if they've ever been investigated properly. The Dutch like them very much and use them a lot to make a sentence sound more friendly or to give an extra emphasis to certain aspects. In English these concepts are expressed in a different way (or maybe not at all).
This agrees with what one of my Dutch teachers taught us, with the following additions:

The additional word "nu" comes before "toch"

so one more word (nu) was added to the list order and is given the first priority in position.

The other thing we were told was that if we wanted to figure out where in the sentence to put these word or words, we should first figure out where the word "niet", "wel" or "geen" should go. That is where we should put these words (nu, toch, nog maar, eens, even).

Lastly, if the "niet", or "wel" or "geen" word is in the sentence, then they always have the last priority.

thus the order or level is

nu
toch
nog
maar
eens
even or eventjes
niet or wel or geen


Notice that the last two sets actually have two or more words
placed at the same level of priority.

Thus, some examples of these packets are:

toch wel
toch niet
maar niet
nu nog
nu nog niet


Does this help?
Is what I wrote generally true?

Tom

Wim
Native speaker & moderator
Posts: 622
Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2005 7:39 am
Country of residence: Netherlands
Mother tongue: Dutch (Netherlands)
Second language: English (Great Britain)
Third language: French
Fourth language: German
Fifth, sixth, seventh, ..., languages: Quite a lot.
Gender: Male
Location: The Hague, Holland

Modal particles

Post by Wim » Thu Nov 17, 2005 9:49 am

Hallo Tom,

Yes, what you wrote is generally true. There are (at least) two more modal particles: soms and ook. Sometimes it's hard to decide whether a word is a 'normal' adverb or a modal particle.

Ga je soms/toevallig naar de stad? - Are you going down town (by accident)? / Do you happen to be going down town? The word soms may express a certain feeling of distrust:
Ben je soms weer aan het gokken? - Are you on the gamble again?

Verkoopt u ook frisdrank? - Do you (happen to) sell any soft drinks?
Kunt u me ook zeggen hoe laat het is? - Could you tell me the time, please?

I hope I can dig a bit deeper into this stuff and come up with an good (and useful) explanation. I know these little words are difficult for foreigners. At school they're usually ignored, which doesn't cause much trouble, I should add. Their importance is mostly in spoken language.

Met vriendelijke groeten,
Wim

Leeuwin
Superlid
Posts: 130
Joined: Fri Sep 08, 2006 4:09 am
Country of residence: Belgium
Mother tongue: English
Gender: Female
Location: Leuven, Belgie

Post by Leeuwin » Mon Sep 18, 2006 3:37 am

Dag,

I'm trying myself to master these little words:

nu
toch
nog
maar
eens
even/eventjes
niet or wel or geen
soms
ook

Are the following sentences corret? If there are any mistakes, please let me know.
Dank u wel.

Ik ben nu in de bibliotheek.
I am now in the library.

Nu nog ik ben thuis.
Yet now I'm home.

Mijn buurman rijdt het fiets goed toch zijn.
My nieghbour rides his bike quite well.

Ik ben nu nog niet naar het stad gaan.
I am not going yet to the city.

Ik zag mijn broer te maar doet de venster open.
I said to my brother to open the window.

Mijn zustje zag mee te eens de waas doen.
My sister told me to do the wash.

Mijn moeder zag dat, de waas was doen niet.
My mother said that, the wash was not done.

Dag, Leeuwin :lol:

User avatar
Bieneke
Site Administrator
Posts: 1966
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 10:18 pm
Country of residence: Netherlands
Mother tongue: Dutch (Netherlands)
Second language: English
Gender: Female
Location: Maastricht

Post by Bieneke » Mon Sep 18, 2006 1:38 pm

Leeuwin wrote:Ik ben nu in de bibliotheek.
I am now in the library.
Correct
Leeuwin wrote:Nu nog ik ben ben ik nog thuis.
Yet now I'm home.
Nu ben ik nog thuis means:
However, now that I am home..."
"Now, however, I am at home..."
"...But now (phew!), I am home".
[Thanks Marc! viewtopic.php?p=4864#4864]
Leeuwin wrote:Mijn buurman rijdt het fiets goed toch zijn.
My nieghbour rides his bike quite well.
Mijn buurman fietst vrij goed.

To ride the bike = fietsen
quite well = vrij goed
Leeuwin wrote:Ik ben ga nu nog niet naar het de stad gaan.
I am not going yet to the city.

Ik zag mijn broer te maar doet de venster open.
I said to my brother just to open the window.
Ik zei mijn broer het venster maar te openen.
Ik zei mijn broer: "Doe het venster maar open.

Leeuwin wrote:Mijn zustje zag mee te eens de waas doen.
My sister told me to do the wash.
Mijn zusje zei me de was (eens) te doen.
Leeuwin wrote:Mijn moeder zag dat, de waas was doen niet.
My mother said that, the wash was not done.
Mijn moeder zei dat de was nog niet gedaan was.

Dit was wel een moeilijke oefening, Leeuwin!
Last edited by Bieneke on Tue Oct 10, 2006 7:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Bieneke

Leeuwin
Superlid
Posts: 130
Joined: Fri Sep 08, 2006 4:09 am
Country of residence: Belgium
Mother tongue: English
Gender: Female
Location: Leuven, Belgie

Post by Leeuwin » Mon Sep 18, 2006 2:17 pm

Dag Bieneke, :lol:

It looks like I still have a few adjustments to do with my sentence structure. I just need to practice a bit more. Thank you for correcting my mistakes, it really does help.

Tot ziens, Leeuwin

Post Reply