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Subject pronouns

Subject pronouns

There are two types of pronouns in Dutch, subject pronouns and object pronouns, each type with its own function in the sentence. First, let’s look at subject pronouns. These are the words you’ll use as the subject of a sentence, corresponding to the English I, you, he, she, etc.

Ik I
jij/je you (infml. sg.)
u you (fml.)
hij, zij/ze, het he, she, it
wij/we we
jullie you (infml. pl.)
zij/ze they

Take note of the three pronouns for you. As you saw in the culture note, the singular jij/je and the plural jullie are informal, used with friends, family, and people who are generally of the same rank. The pronoun u is formal. It’s singular, but you can also use it when you are talking to more than one person.

Hoe gaat het met je, Martijn? How are you, Martijn?
Hoe gaat het met jullie, kinderen? How are you, kids?
Hoe maakt u het, mevrouw? How do you do, ma’am?
Heren, bent u klaar? Gentlemen, are you ready?

Also note that there are two varieties of a few different pronouns. Jij (you), zij (she, they), and wij (we) are stressed, and their unstressed forms are je, ze and we. Stressed pronouns are usually used in conversation only to show emphasis. Otherwise, the unstressed forms are used.

Ze komt uit Amsterdam. She’s from Amsterdam.
Nee, zij komt uit Utrecht, en hij komt uit Amsterdam. No, she’s from Utrecht, and he’s from Amsterdam.