Most native speakers aren't linguists, so they may get stumped when non-native speakers ask them grammar questions. So what types of resources can a native speaker of Dutch use to teach Dutch grammar to non-native speakers? (A few examples would be nice.)

  • Is there reason to believe the answer to this would be different for Dutch than for any other language?
    – Flimzy
    May 21, 2018 at 17:54
  • @Flimzy The types would be the same but the examples obviously wouldn't.
    – Tsundoku
    May 21, 2018 at 17:57

2 Answers 2


The main Dutch grammars that learners use are the following:


So what types of resources can a native speaker of Dutch use to teach Dutch grammar to non-native speakers? (A few examples would be nice.)

Since you talk about a native speaker and a language learner, I'm assuming they have a shared language to communicate in. That's not that big of an assumption, many people know English, either as a native language or as an ESL student. Both are fine for my proposed type of learning.

The idea is, that you start with very basic examples in the shared language. Let's say the shared language is English, then you'd start with basic examples in English, for example the present simple. Now, since many people learn English, you'll easily find many resources on this. One of the most important are example sentences, either filled in or with a gap. For example, I found some here. I'll quote a few (the source also gives three choices of words to fill in):

  1. My sister ………………… in Malaysia.

  2. She …………………. with her left hand.

  3. I ………………… what she wants.

  4. He ……………….. parties all the time.

For someone with a basic understanding of English, this shouldn't be too hard. But when you look beyond that, you see simple words, some vocabulary (which will get harder when dealing with more difficult tenses) and present simple tenses (i.e. simple grammar).

Because it's not English but Dutch that we're interested in, it's not all simple to translate the words individually.

Now the easy way to proceed is for the learner to attempt to translate into Dutch and for the teacher to listen.

In the first sentence should be easy by just translating all the words directly, so this gives the learner some confirmation of their abilities (knowing you did something good helps in the learning process too).

In the second one, there's already a difficulty, how do you translate left? In English you can often use an adjective in front of a noun, but in Dutch you'll likely have to modify it so it fits with the noun. That's not something a non-teacher will think off out of nowhere, and when asked it's hard to explain the exact rules, but this example gave you the trigger to look into this more.

In the third example, we need to fill in a negation. In this case, multiple options remain open, after translating the words we could fill in weet niet (don't know) / heb geen idee (have no idea). This is an introduction for teaching different options that are in common use. This will obviously require some active thinking on the teacher's part, but this example, too, can be a learning moment.

In the fourth example, some form of the word to hold is suggested. Now, the interesting thing is that Ik houd vaak feestjes may be understood, but it's not idiomatic. So this can also be a learning moment, examples: Ik geef vaak feestjes (I throw parties often) or Ik organiseer vaak feestjes (I organise parties often). It also provides the opportunity to discuss the English all the time. You could translate that to heel de tijd, but that's not very idiomatic and it might be easier (especially for a language learner) to fall back to simpler words like vaak (often) / regelmatig / geregeld (frequently).

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