hebben or zijn

kanadaaa

Senior Member
Japanese (Tokai)
Hi all, I'm a beginner of Dutch, and I have a question about the use of heeft and zijn used in past-tense sentences.
I learned that some verbs are compatible with one of them but not with the other. For example:

(1) Jan { :tick: heeft / :cross: is} gewandeld. [John has walked.]
(2) Jan { :cross: heeft / :tick: is} gearriveerd. [John has arrived.]

But I hear there are contexts in which both patterns are allowed, that is, when directional prepositional adverbials are used with such verbs as those used in (1) and (2).

(3) Jan {:tick: heeft / :tick: is} naar Engeland gewandeld [Jan has walked to England.]

Then, how do you say "John slept in the room" in Dutch?
Is it possible to use zijn, or hebben must be used?
Thanks in advance!

(Because I don't speak Dutch, I'd appreciate it if you included English translations if you would like to give me some example sentences in the language. Thank you.)
 
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  • eno2

    Senior Member
    Dutch-Flemish
    You asked:
    Then, how do you say "John slept in the room" in Dutch?
    The translation of that is : John sliep in de kamer. John heeft in de kamer geslapen.
    Zijn kan hier niet gebruikt worden. You can't use 'zijn' here .
    John has slept in the room= John heeft in de kamer geslapen.= John sliep in de kamer.
     
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    eno2

    Senior Member
    Dutch-Flemish
    This is the answer to the question: Where did John sleep?

    The answer to the question 'who slept in that room/ who has slept in that room' would be:

    John has slept in that room/ John has been sleeping in that room/ John has slept in that room = John sliep in die kamer= John heeft in die kamer geslapen

    ---
    Your general question about hebben zijn has a complete answer here https://taaladvies.net/taal/advies/tekst/33/vorming_van_voltooide_tijden_met_hebben_zijn_algemeen/
    but as you don't understand Dutch perhaps somebody kan give a more useful English link
     
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    Red Arrow

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    That link might be hard to read. Here is a translation:

    2. WHEN TO USE "zijn"?

    2a. verbs that can't have a direct object + express a change of condition/place/time of the subject
    for instance: groeien, schrikken, vluchten, weggaan, vertrekken, worden, aankomen, komen, ontsnappen, rijzen, sterven, stijgen, vallen, verdwijnen, vergrijzen, verschijnen, voortkomen, wegsmelten
    (Compare this category with 3c)

    2b. the following 9 verbs: blijken, blijven, gebeuren, geschieden, (ge)lukken, mislukken, slagen, voorvallen en zijn

    2c. the passive voice only uses the auxilary verbs "worden" and "zijn", never "hebben"

    3. WHEN TO USE "hebben"?

    3a. almost all verbs that need a direct object
    for instance: arresteren, stelen, lezen, hebben, maken, wassen
    the most common exceptions: beginnen, kwijtraken, naderen, tegenkomen

    3b. reflexive verbs (they all need "zich")
    for instance: zich vergissen, zich herinneren

    3c. verbs that can't have a direct object + do NOT express a change of condition/place/time of the subject
    for instance: staan, hangen, slapen, schijnen,

    3d. verbs that always get "het" as subject
    for instance: Het heeft gebliksemd, gedooid, geijzeld, gemiezerd, gemist, geonweerd, geplensd, geregend, gesneeuwd, gestormd, gevroren

    4. SOME VERBS CAN HAVE EITHER "zijn" OR "hebben" DEPENDING ON THE MEANING

    4a. some verbs have two meanings, and one can't have a direct object, while the other does need one
    (see examples in link)

    4b. the verbs of movement
    for instance: fietsen, rijden, kruipen, lopen, reizen, vliegen
    If the sentence focuses on the action itself, use "hebben". For instance: We have biked in the Ooijpolder.
    If the sentence focuses on the direction and/or end destination, use "zijn". For instance: We have biked from Nijmegen to the Ooijpolder.
     

    eno2

    Senior Member
    Dutch-Flemish
    Great work.

    4b. the verbs of movement
    for instance: fietsen, rijden, kruipen, lopen, reizen, vliegen
    If the sentence focuses on the action itself, use "hebben". For instance: We have biked in the Ooijpolder.
    If the sentence focuses on the direction and/or end destination, use "zijn". For instance: We have biked from Nijmegen to the Ooijpolder.
    I would say the reverse.
    Ben je gevlogen of gereden? Did you fly or drive? Dat is toch vragen naar de actie. That's action related.
    Heb je al eens gevlogen? Did you ever fly (have you ever flown yet?) Dat vraagt toch niet naar de bestemming? That doesn't refer to destination.

    For me the difference is hard to tell sometimes....If there is one.
    Ben je gevlogen of heb je gereden? Heb je gevlogen of ben je gereden? It's all good.
     
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