Words like, "ter," "der," ect.

Would you like to learn Dutch in exchange for teaching your native language? Are you a native Dutch speaker and are you looking for someone who can help you with studying English? Or Russian? Japanese? Post it here!
Post Reply
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2015 2:28 pm
Country of residence: United States
Mother tongue: English (United States)
Second language: Dutch (Netherlands)
Third language: German
Fourth language: Afrikaans
Fifth, sixth, seventh, ..., languages: French
Gender: Female

Words like, "ter," "der," ect.

Post by meisie » Thu Jun 18, 2015 2:36 pm

I would like some clarification on these kinds of words. I understand that they mean "of the," but I would like to know how to use them correctly and if there are more varieties thereof.


Posts: 1334
Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2009 12:15 am
Country of residence: United States
Mother tongue: Dutch (Netherlands)
Second language: English
Third language: German
Fourth language: French
Fifth, sixth, seventh, ..., languages: Russisch, Xhosa

Re: Words like, "ter," "der," ect.

Post by ngonyama » Thu Jun 18, 2015 3:32 pm

Der is the genitive form of de for the feminine singular and for the plural

De schoonheid der vrouw

De bekendheid der liederen.

Des is the genitive form of de for the masculine and neuter singular.

Des mans onverschrokkenheid.
Uit de overvloed des harten

Notice that the genitive masc./neuter of the noun also gets an ending: there are strong nouns that get -s and weak nouns that get -en.

Pretty much all of that is obsolete, except maybe the plural genitive that is old-fashioned but not completely gone yet. But there are many idioms in which you will see the endings. I think the best thing is to learn those idioms one by one.

Ten and ter are contractions of the preposition te with the dative of the article. For masc/neuter that is te+den => ten, for feminine it is te+der => ter. I don't think that it occurs with plurals.

Ten is still used for certain, mostly neuter words like

Het eerste => ten eerste

For the rest it is mostly idiomatic

Ten huize van ...
Ten bedrage van ...

Notice that the dative of a masc/neuter noun often gets an -e

Ter is probably the most productive of the whole bunch, ironically, because most speakers do not remember which words are feminine. (In the South they do)

It is commonly used with nouns ending on -ing, -heid, -teit, -atie, -te and a few others. Many of these are verbal nouns, nouns of action

Ter gelegenheid
Ter bestudering
Ter hoogte


You could very well have a neologism like wikifiëring of wikificatie and say:

Ter wikifiëring
Ter wikificatie

If you want to practice idioms perhaps these wiktionary categories might help
https://nl.wiktionary.org/wiki/Categori ... Nederlands
https://nl.wiktionary.org/wiki/Categori ... Nederlands

You might notice that the usage is often pretty corrupt

https://nl.wiktionary.org/wiki/ter_harte_nemen is good example. Hart is a neuter word, but in this idiom it is treated as feminine...

The same goes for the word tijd. In Dutch it is masculine and there are expressions like:

ten tijde van.

But is German it is feminine and so we also have:

te gelegener tijd

with a feminine dative -r ending. Interestingly this germanism has survived the purism wave that hit the language after 1945 in which any germanism was fair game. Probably because people did not remember what the original Dutch gender was anyway and so it did not strike them as particularly German...

I wrote a lesson about case endings at wikibooks https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Dutch/Lesson_15

Post Reply