Inti qieghed hawn: Grammar > Word order > Components before the left side

Components before the left side
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We cannot place just any component before the left side. The table below lists all elements in the order they were presented in this chapter.

Component Allowed before the left side?
Finite formation? NO (default beginning of the left side)
Reflexive pronoun? NO
Reduced indirect object? YES
Reduced direct object? YES
Hier and daar? YES
Time? YES
Manner? YES
Place? YES
Direct object? YES
The other verbs? NO
Prefix of a separable verb? NO
EHD-postposition? NO
Indirect object? YES
Complement? YES
Prepositional phrase? YES

Recall that if a sentence does not start with the subject, the subject and finite verb switch places (see also finite formation?. This is the case when we place something before the left side.

Examples

  • Neuter word order:
Left Middle Right
FF? INDOB'? TIME? DIROB? OV?
We hebben haar gisteren een boek gegeven
Yesterday, we gave her a book.

Reduced indirect object

. Left Middle Right
INDOB'? FF? TIME? DIROB? OV?
Haar hebben we gisteren een boek gegeven
Yesterday, we gave her a book (we did not give it to someone else).

Time

  • Placing the time? element before the left side:
. Left Middle Right
TIME? FF? INDOB'? DIROB? OV?
Gisteren hebben we haar een boek gegeven
Yesterday (not today or tomorrow), we gave her a book.

Direct object

. Left Middle Right
DIROB? FF? INDOB'? TIME? OV?
Het boek hebben we haar gisteren gegeven
The book (is what) we gave her yesterday.

The observant reader may have spotted that I now used a specific direct object? (het boek) instead of an non-specific direct object (een boek). Technically, it is possible to place a non-specific direct object before the left side but this is very uncommon.

  • Neuter word order:
Left Middle Right
FF? DIROB'? TIME? PLACE? OV?
Ik ben hem net in de supermarkt tegengekomen
I just ran into him in the supermarket.

Place

  • Placing the place? element before the left side:
. Left Middle Right
PLACE? FF? DIROB'? TIME? OV?
In de supermarkt ben ik hem net tegengekomen
I just ran into him (not someone else) in the supermarket.

Reduced direct object

. Left Middle Right
DIROB'? FF? TIME? PLACE? OV?
Hem ben ik net in de supermarkt tegengekomen
I just ran into him (not someone else) in the supermarket.

If the reduced indirect object is the pronoun het, we cannot place it before the left side. Instead of het, we have to use a demonstrative pronoun? (dit or dat).

  • Neuter word order:
Left Middle Right
FF? DIROB'? PLACE? OV?
Ik heb het in de winkel gekocht
I have bought it at the shop.
  • Placing het (dit or dat) before the left side:
. Left Middle Right
DIROB'? FF? PLACE? OV?
Dit heb ik in de winkel gekocht
This I have bought at the shop.

EHD (er, hier, daar)

  • Neuter word order:
Left Middle Right
FF? EHD? DIROB? EHD-postposition? OV?
Ze hebben er ondertiteling onder gezet
They have put subtitles under it.

Just like you cannot place the pronoun het before the left side, we can also not place er (which replaces het) before the left side.

Note that there are other types of er? that can or must be placed here.

Instead of er, we use hier (replacing dit/deze) or daar (that/those). See also EHD-pronoun?.

  • Placing EHD? before the left side:
. Left Middle Right
EHD? FF? DIROB? EHD-postposition? OV?
Daar hebben ze ondertiteling onder gezet
They have put subtitles under that.

We can also say: "Hier hebben ze ondertiteling onder gezet", but not: "Er hebben ze ondertiteling onder gezet".

Complement

  • Neuter word order:
Left Middle Right
FF? DIROB'? - LINK? OV?
We kunnen het niet leuker maken
We cannot make it more fun.
. Left Middle Right
LINK? FF? DIROB'? - OV?
Leuker kunnen we het niet maken
We cannot make it more fun (but we can make the job easier).

From the slogan of the Dutch Tax Office: "Leuker kunnen we het niet maken, wel makkelijker" ("We cannot make it more fun but we can make it easier").

Prepositional phrase

It is very common to place the prepositional phrase? outside the core sentence. This is in accordance with the general guideline that we should place lengthy components before or after the core sentence. Prepositional phrases always consist of several words.

The most common place for the prepositional phrase is after the right side but we can also find it before the left side.

Left Middle Right
FF? TIME? DIROB? prep? OV?
Je moet eerst de korting van het totaalbedrag aftrekken
You first have to subtract the discount of the total amount.
. Left Middle Right
prep? FF? TIME? DIROB? OV?
Van het totaalbedrag moet je eerst de korting aftrekken
Of the total amount, you first have to subtract the discount.

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