Verbs present

Verbs – present

Let’s take a very common Dutch word: fietsen – which means ‘to ride a bicycle’. For the different persons it shows the following forms:

      singular                  plural
1 - ik fiets                  wij fietsen
2 - jij fietst - fiets jij    jullie fietsen    u fietst 
3 - hij/zij fietst            zij fietsen


So the form for ik is the verb without the -en part (this we call ‘de stam’). And:

  • If it should end on a ‘long’ vowel it has to become a double one: for nemen (to take) it will be ik neem and for lopen (to walk)it should be ‘ik loop‘. There are a few exceptions, though – for komen(to come), for example it should be ik kom.
  • Dutch words never end on double consonants, so for the ik-form you also take half of a double consonant away.  For rennen (to run) it would thus be ik ren and not ik renn.
  • Dutch words also never end on a v or a z.They become f and s. So forblazen (to blow) it will be ik blaas and for beloven (to promise) it will be ik beloof.


You take this form and add a t for the second and third person singular, but you take it off again when the subject jij or je comes after the verb instead of before. For plural you simply always take the infinitive form. The only exception is when you use u: this form for ‘you’,used when it has to be polite, can be used for singular and plural, but keeps the singular form. The few irregular verbs in the present tense are only irregular for singular forms – plural forms always get the infinitive form:

hebben(to have):
ik heb, jij hebt, u hebt/heeft, hij/zij heeft

kunnen(to can, to be able to):
ik kan, jij kan/kunt, u kan/kunt, hij/zij kan
mogen(to may, to be allowed to):
ik mag, zij mag, hij/zij mag
willen (to want): 
ik wil, jij wil/wilt, u wil/wilt, hij/zij wil

zijn (to be):
ik ben, jij bent, u bent, hij/zij is
zullen (to shall, to will):
ik zal, jij zal/zult, u zal/zult, hij/zij zal

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