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Past participle turning into an infinitive
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Tradott mill-Ingliz minn ...

In Dutch, a past participle cannot serve as an auxiliary verb:

when the past participle itself serves as an auxiliary verb,
it turns into an infinitive

In the examples below, the auxiliary verbs are in italics, the independent verbs in bold. The verbs that undergo a transformation from participle to infinitive are underlined.

Note, how the independent participle turns into an infinitive when it serves as an auxiliary verb to support another (independent) verb.

Annelies had een ijsje gewild. Annelies had wanted an ice-cream.
Thijmen had een ijsje willen eten
(not: gewild eten).
Thijmen had wanted to have an ice-cream.

The independent participle gewild turns into the infinitive willen when it has to support eten.

Sanne is naar Amsterdam gekomen. Sanne has come to Amsterdam.
Liesbeth is komen lopen
(not: gekomen lopen).
Liesbeth has come walking (lit).

The past participle gekomen becomes the infinitive komen.

We hebben een uur staan wachten
(not: gestaan wachten).
We have been waiting for an hour.
Ik had beter moeten weten
(not: gemoeten weten).
I should have known better.

The above only applies to the situation where the past participle serves as an auxiliary verb. Consider the following example:

Amir zou zijn gekomen. Amir would have come.

Here, the past participle is the independent verb and hence does not turn into an infinitive.


As you will read later, there are auxiliary verbs that only occur in combination with the little word te (see te + infinitive?).

I suggest you first learn about these verbs before you finish reading this page.

So you have read about the auxiliary verbs that require 'te' before the verb they support. Then you know that there are "te + infinitive" constructions that involve a separate (short) subclause. I will not get into the why here, just remember that past participles that precede short subclauses (which contain "te + infinitive") do not turn into infinitives.

Okay, a bit of why then: because "te + infinitive" is situated in a separate clause, the past participle does not serve as an auxiliary verb. You will read more about clauses in the word order section (under types of clauses?).

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L-ahhar aggornament May 03, 2007 ::