T-rules

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The T(ea)-rules (T(hee)-regels), are a set of conjugation rules used in the Dutch language to determine whether the second person singular/plural and the first and third person singular of a verb end in -t or not. These rules are related to the 't kofschip-rule, which is used to determine the verb end for past tenses and participles. The combined sets of rules are also known as the d/t-rules.

  • Ik drink nooit t(hee) (I (ik) never drink t(ea))
  • Jij drinkt alleen t(hee) (als 'je' tegenwoordig is en voorafgaat aan 'drinkt') (You (jij) only drink t(ea) (if 'you' is present and goes before drinks (drinkt)) (informal)
  • Gij drinkt altijd t(hee) (You (gij) always drink t(ea)) (archaic/informal in Belgium)
  • U drinkt enkel t(hee) (als 'u' tegenwoordig is) (You (U/u) only drink t(ea)) (if 'you' is present) (formal)
  • Hij drinkt enkel t(hee) (als 'hij' tegenwoordig is) (He (hij) only drinks t(ea)) (if 'he' is present)

However the actual rules for Dutch conjugation are more complex.

Second person pronouns[edit]

Jij/je (2nd singular) The pronoun jij/je only makes the verb end in -t if it precedes the verb, and if the verb is in the present simple or present perfect indicative. Modal verbs and the future/conditional auxiliary zullen allow forms with and without -t (but the subject pronoun must still precede the verb for the -t form to appear). This pronoun is informal and can be used in written language.

  • Jij gaat naar school. ("You go to school", simple present indicative, jij precedes verb)
  • Ga jij naar school? ("Do you go to school?", jij does not precede verb)
  • Je zou naar school gaan. ("You would go to school", conditional auxiliary)
  • Jij ging naar school. ("You went to school", past tense)
  • Je kan naar school gaan. ("You can go to school", modal form without t)
  • Je kunt naar school gaan. ("You can go to school", modal t-form, je precedes verb)
  • Kun je naar school gaan? ("Can you go to school?", modal, je does not precede verb)
  • Je zal naar school gaan. ("You will go to school", future auxiliary without t)
  • Je zult naar school gaan. ("You will go to school", future auxiliary t-form, je precedes verb)
  • Zul je naar school gegaan zijn? ("Will you have gone to school?", future auxiliary, je does not precede verb)

If the radical of the verb end in -t, the jij form always ends in -t:

  • Jij rust. ("You rest", je precedes verb)
  • Rust jij? ("Do you rest?", je does not precede verb)

With the verbs houden, rijden and verbs derived from them, the -d of the radical can be dropped if it is not followed by -t. In a formal context, usually the d is not dropped.

  • Hou jij van bloemen ("Do you like flowers?")
  • Houd jij van bloemen ("Do you like flowers?", formal)
  • Jij houdt van bloemen ("You like flowers", jij precedes verb)

Jullie (2nd plural)[edit]

The pronoun jullie always makes the verb end in -en. The ending -t is also possible, but this form is archaic (although it does survive in Brabantian dialect).

  • Jullie gaan naar school. ("You go to school")
  • Jullie gaat naar school. ("You go to school", archaic)

Gij/ge (2nd sing./plur.)[edit]

The pronoun gij/ge makes the verb end in -t, whether the pronoun precede or follow the verb. Modal and auxiliary forms also end in -t. This pronoun is used informally in spoken language in North Brabant and Flanders only. Its written form only appears in archaic texts where it compares to English thou.

  • Gij gaat naar school. ("You go to school", present indicative, gij precedes)
  • Gaat gij naar school. ("Do you go to school?", gij follows)
  • Ge zoudt naar school gaan. ("You would go to school", conditional)
  • Gij gingt naar school. ("You went to school", past)
  • Ge kunt naar school gaan. ("You can go to school", modal)

No extra -t is added if the verb stem already end in -t. The ending -t is added after -d:

  • Gij rust. ("You rest")
  • Houdt gij van bloemen ("Do you like flowers?")
  • Gij houdt van bloemen ("You like flowers")

In the subjunctive and in the regular past, the -t survives only as an archaic form:

  • Gij neme(t) een lepel suiker. (You take a spoon of sugar, present subjunctive)
  • Werkte(t) ge hard? (Did you work hard, regular past)

In informal speech (only in Flanders/Brabant), the verb ends in -de or -te, if gij follows the verb. In very informal speech (only in Flanders/Brabant), the subject is dropped altogether.

  • Zijde gij blind! Ziede dat nu niet? ("Are you blind! Didn't (you) see that?", informal)

Third person singular and u/U[edit]

The rules for third person singular subjects and the pronoun u/U (2nd person sing./plur.) are the same: the verb takes -t in the simple present and present perfect tense of the indicative. Modal verbs and zullen (will) have forms without -t. This pronoun is formal and is used in both written and spoken language. The capital notation U is very formal and is used for royalty or deities.

  • Hij gaat naar school. ("He goes to school", present indicative)
  • Gaat u naar school. ("Do you go to school", present indicative)
  • Hij zou naar school gaan. ("He would go to school", conditional)
  • U ging naar school. ("You went to school", past)
  • Zij kan naar school gaan. ("She can go to school", modal)

The first person singular for non-modal verb is identical to the radical. The form can end in a vowel or in a consonant (including t). For the verbs houden, rijden and their derivatives, the -d of the radical can be dropped in spoken language. In a formal context, the d is not dropped.

  • Ik ga naar school ("I go to school")
  • Ik rust ("I rest", radical ends in t)
  • Ik hou van bloemen ("I love flowers", form without -d)
  • Ik houd van bloemen ("I love flowers", form with -d, formal)

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]