Hij ziet er best gespierd uit.


Senior Member
Hello everyone,

I started with my dutch lessons a few weeks ago in Babbel.com, and although I think I have learned a lot so far, I'm still having troubbles with the usage of "er".

For example in this sentence:

Hij ziet er best gespierd uit.

I don't understand which role does er play withing this context. Thanks a lot in advantage for your help, and sorry, but i'm not still able to write in dutch.
  • Peterdg

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    The little word "er" is one of the most mysterious words in Dutch and it is often unclear why and under which conditions it is used. There are some uses that are well documented but there are still a number of uses of which the ANS (Algemene Nederlandse Spraakkunst) says that they also don't understand the exact mechanics.

    Anyway, in your case, it is a fixed expression: "er goed uitzien". I don't know what function "er" performs in that expression; it's just something you have to know.


    Senior Member
    I don't understand which role does er play withing this context.

    Role... Are you asking for the function or for the meaning?
    I've seen some four or five functions ascribed to 'ER'
    A fairly comprehensive explanation with examples here
    There it says that In the case that it doesn't have a function you can omit it, or, alternatively, when you can't omit it, it's better to say it another way.

    In <Hij ziet er best gespierd uit> it's part of the (compound) verb eruitzien, the parts of which can be separated.

    Kijk eens hoe gespierd ze eruitziet. Ze ziet er best gespierd uit.
    As for the meaning of er, it can have a few meanings, such as PLACE = there. Or 'of them' <Ik heb er vijf van>. but in many cases, it has asolutely no own meaning at all.....<Er wordt gebeld, doe jij even open?` >
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    Senior Member
    Belgium, Dutch
    It is a pronoun, used in four ways, I think.As for "er wordt ...", I am fairly sure that it is a former locative pronoun, as in "Er was eens", the famous phrase at the beginning of fairy-tales: once situates in some unknown period of time, er in some unknown place.

    But of course the origin of idiomatic phrases is often hard to find or to explain... (Like "hartstikke": it is supposed to refer to sticking a dagger or sword into the heart...) In most cases students need to prectise the use of those phrases, just like "Hij ziet er ... uit". (This "er" is the typical pre-prepositional pronoun as in "erin", "erover", etc., I think)

    I am attaching a document. I don't know whether you think it useful, but I look forward to constructive (though critical) feedback via pm or ... I have loads of those...


    • nt2 tc - moeilijk en gemakkelijk.pdf
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