Lesson 7 Beginner

Lesson 7 – Ga je mee?

This lesson teaches you how to invite someone to go out and how to respond to an invitation. Furthermore, you’ll be introduced to the past and perfect tense (both regular and irregular) and to seperable verbs.


If you feel like going out and you like to invite someone to come along, there are a few phrases you could use:

Text 7.1 – Zullen we …
  • Zullen we naar de bioscoop gaan?
  • Ga je mee naar het theater?
  • Ga je mee iets drinken?
  • Heb je zin om naar een concert te gaan?
  • Laten we vanavond uitgaan.

You can translate Zullen we bij ‘Shall we…’ and Laten we… by ‘Let’s…’, but the other phrases are a bit more difficult.

Ga je mee translated word by word would be ‘Go you along’. If it’s combined with an activity in the form of a verb, the verb is simply the infinitive and you do not need a preposition. This results in a type of phrase you hear a lot in Dutch, for the Dutch make verbs out of a lot of activities. This often surprises English speakers. For example, inviting someone to go and play tennis, have lunch or enjoy a picknick would be:

  • Ga je mee tennissen?
  • Ga je mee lunchen?
  • Ga je mee picknicken?


If someone invites you like this and you can’t accept, you could simply say ik kan niet (‘I can’t’) or Nee, sorry, ik moet… (‘No, sorry, I have to …’) and pick whatever you need:

  • … mijn haar wassen
  • … naar de Nederlandse les
  • … babysitten
  • … huiswerk maken
  • … vroeg naar bed
  • … naar de verjaardag van mijn tante


Of course, you can also accept an invitation, for example with an enthousiastic ‘Ja, leuk!’, ‘Graag’ or ‘Doen we!’.

Here’s a complete conversation on this theme:

Text 7.2 – Naar de film
  • Heb je zin om naar de film te gaan?
  • Welke film?
  • Die nieuwe film van Paul Verhoeven.
  • Ja, leuk! Wanneer?
  • Morgenavond?
  • Nee, sorry, morgenavond kan ik niet.
  • Zaterdagavond dan misschien?
  • Even kijken … ja, dan kan ik wel.
  • Goed! Hoe laat spreken we af?
  • Om 8 uur?
  • Prima. Waar? Bij café Helmers?
  • Goed. Afgesproken.
  • Zal ik kaartjes reserveren?
  • Ja, doe jij dat maar.


The word Afgesproken (‘agreed’) is the past participle of an irregularand seperable verb. This looks like a lot of grammar, but it still fits in one chapter: below here, all this is going to be explained.

On ‘talking about the past’: you can do this in Dutch like you can do it in English: by using the past tense and by using the perfect tense. And the verbs you use for this can be regular or irregular.

First the regular ones. For finding the right form for these, you use the first person singular in present (mostly the infinitive form without -en). So for fietsen, you take fiets and for rennen you take ren (see the previous chapter for remarks on double vocals or consonants and on what happens to -v- and -z-).

And this is what happens to these verbs in the past (yellow) and perfect (blue) tense:

Text 7.3 – Past and perfect
– regular verbs
infinitive fietsen rennen
ik fietste rende
jij fietste rende
u fietste rende
hij/zij/het fietste rende
wij fietsten renden
jullie fietsten renden
zij fietsten renden
ik heb / ben gefietst
ik heb / ben gerend

So, the verb fietsen gets -te(n) for the past and ge- plus -t for the perfect tense, while rennen gets -de(n) for the past and ge- plus -d for the perfect tense. The thing that happens to fietsen happens to all the regular verbs that end on -t, -k, -f, -s, -ch and -p when the -en is taken of the infinitive (to remember these, the Dutch use the word t kofschip and what happens to rennen, happens to the rest of the verbs.

The form of the verb used in the perfect tense is called the past participle. This form – used together with hebben, zijn or worden (‘to be’, ‘to become’) – usually starts wit ge-, but not always: if a verb (already) starts with non-seperable prefixes like ge-, her-, be-, ver-, ont- or mis-, it does not get (an additional) ge-.

Unfortunately the verbs that are used most, are irregular (same as in English…), and you have to learn those one by one from the list at the grammar pages.

On the other hand, because they’re used that much, most students develop a kind of intuition on irregular verbs even before they learned the whole list. This probably has to do with the fact that there are still some regularities:

  • verbs with the same vowels often have the same conjugation (blijven, bleef, gebleven – krijgen, kreeg, gekregen – kijken, keek, gekeken),
  • most past participles get -en.


A lot of regular and irregular verbs get prefixes in Dutch and mostly those prefixes are to be seperated (and put at the end of the phrase) in simple present and past. These prefixes often change the meaning of a verb quite drastic, but they don’t change the conjugation.

A few examples: nakijken (‘to check’), doorgaan (‘to continue’) andopstaan (‘to stand up, to get up, to rise’).

Text 7.4 – Seperable verbs
infinitive nakijken
present ik kijk de tekst na
past ik keek de tekst na
perfect ik heb de tekst nagekeken
infinitive doorgaan
present wij gaan niet door
past wij gingen niet door
perfect wij zijn niet doorgegaan
infinitive opstaan
present hij staat om 7 uur op
past hij stond om 7 uur op
perfect hij is om 7 uur opgestaan

So: if seperated from the verb, the prefix usually comes at the end of the sentence and when reunited with the verb in the past participle (usually the form starting with ge-), the two are written as one again.

By the way, the prefix always get an emphasis in the verb (doorgaan) or in the sentence (Hij gaat niet door). Only non-seperable prefixes do not get any emphasis.



afspreken to agree
babysitten to babysit
het bed the bed
de bioscoop the cinema
het café the pub
het concert the concert
dan than, then
de film the movie
gaan to go
het haar the hair
het huiswerk the homework
het kaartje the ticket, the card
de les the lesson
leuk nice, cute
lopen to walk
lunchen to have lunch
maken to make
mee/met with, along
misschien maybe, perhaps
naar to, at
nieuw new
picknicken to have a picknick
rennen to run
reserveren to book
spelen to play
tennissen to play tennis
het theater the theater
uitgaan to go out
vroeg early
wassen to wash
de zin the desire, the sentence


More …

  • Before you move on to the next chapter you should study
  • You could exercise inviting someone by finding another student and inviting him/her to the theater, movies, etcetera. You could agree that the invited person turns down the invitation with a reasonable excuse.
  • Try to exercise past and perfect tenses by changing present tense sentences you hear into past and perfect.

Try to complete the test about this lesson!

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