Dutch versus English past tense

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Regular verbs, irregular verbs, auxiliary verbs, compound verbs... When do we use which tense? What about those strange constructions the Dutch use to make a continuous? "Staat" my book on the shelf or "ligt" it? Ask all about Dutch verbs here.
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awa5114
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Dutch versus English past tense

Post by awa5114 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:37 pm

I'm a bit confused about two forms of the past tense in Dutch. For example for the verb wonen (to live)

Ik woonde in Amsterdam
ik heb in Amsterdam gewoond


What is the difference between the two? My gut feeling is that the first is "I lived in Amsterdam" while the second is "I have lived in Amsterdam". However both of the above statements in Dutch are translated by Google as "I lived in Amsterdam". Is Google wrong in this case? Or are the past tenses in Dutch really less restrictive than in English? i.e the first two statements are identical and equivalent for every context?

awood63
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Re: Dutch versus English past tense

Post by awood63 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 3:24 pm

They are not exactly the same but the difference in usage is hard to explain. Try this
http://www.dutchgrammar.com/en/?n=Verbs.Re11

ngonyama
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Re: Dutch versus English past tense

Post by ngonyama » Sun Oct 15, 2017 1:57 am

awa5114 wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:37 pm
I'm a bit confused about two forms of the past tense in Dutch. For example for the verb wonen (to live)

Ik woonde in Amsterdam I was living in Amsterdam [when that happened]
ik heb in Amsterdam gewoond I used to live in A'dam, but now I live somewhere else


What is the difference between the two? My gut feeling is that the first is "I lived in Amsterdam" while the second is "I have lived in Amsterdam". However both of the above statements in Dutch are translated by Google as "I lived in Amsterdam". Is Google wrong in this case? Or are the past tenses in Dutch really less restrictive than in English? i.e the first two statements are identical and equivalent for every context?

It is better to think of the first being imperfect and the second perfect, as in: over and done with. In fact the phrase with Ik heb in Amserdam geleefd is not a past at all. It is a statement of fact about the present. Something that made you the person you are today.

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