In order to conjugate a Dutch verb, you need to know how to get the verb stem.
We obtain the stem from the infinitive. The latter is the verb in its 'unconjugated' form, the way you find it in a dictionary: to work, to see, to know, etc.
The general rule for deriving the stem:
stem = infinitive minus '-en'
We call this the crude stem, because a stem often needs one or two additional adjustments.
A few rules regarding the stem:
- Long vowel infinitives require long vowel stems
- A stem never ends in two identical consonants
- A stem never ends in v or z
- The stem of an '-iën verb' ends in ie
If you have already familiarized yourself with the general Dutch spelling rules, the stem rules will not come as a surprise.
On the following pages, we will discuss each of the above rules.