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Do you recognize playing the lottery and you actually cannot believe you will ever win? Compared to other lotteries the DE/HET lottery is not bad at all; have a steady 50% chance of winning. Nevertheless it can be rather frustrating to gamble every day with these two little killers.


Good news: there are rules! Warning: Don’t ask someone Dutch! He or she will probably gaze into the sky and stumble to this question ‘No, ehhh, I don’t think so, do you? Ik denk het niet, nooit van gehoord…….misschien? Generally, we seem pretty unaware of language rules we apply automatically to our speech every day.


A simple first rule; all persons are DE, so not only your family, friend and neighbor but every professional too. De man, de vrouw, de vader, de moeder, de vriend, de buurjongen, de prinses, de bakker, de verkoper, de chauffeur etc. When there is a rule, there is an exception: HET kind. Okay, but wait a minute, how about HET meisje?


HET meisje is a diminutive from DE meid, the girl. This brings us to rule number two, all diminutives are HET; het mannetje, het vrouwtje, het vadertje, het moedertje, het kindje, het vriendje, het buurjongetje, het prinsesje, het bakkertje op de hoek etc.


Now up to rule 3, all plural is DE; de mannen, de moedertjes, de vrienden, de prinsesjes, de buurjongetjes, de bakkertjes etc.


Only use diminutives or plural forms when you speak Dutch to avoid any problem? It is good to know that 80% of nouns have the article DE. Just learn the rules for HET? You can find 7 rules for both articles in our InDutch book ‘Expat on the go’ on page 25. Warning 2; these rules don’t cover all nouns. In ‘Klare Taal, uitgebreide basisgrammatica’ you can find a list of frequently used HET-words and most dictionaries can help you out.


Download your E-book ‘Flowently, Dutch on the go’, take a look at page 25 and select a rule to focus on in your next session with your tutor. You can create your personal relevant DE / HET vocab list and – very important – don’t take it too serious.

Succes (het succes) en tot de volgende keer,

Would you like to learn Dutch or improve your grammer? Book a session!

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