is + V-en

Shiori Akaba

Senior Member
Japanese, Finnish
Hi. In a paper, its author said that [is + V-en] form can be used in spoken standard Dutch, as shown below.

1. Moedar is werken.
‘Mother is (not here) working.’

2. Vader is vissen.
‘Father went fishing.’

According to her, this form has a very specific meaning: ‘someone doing something not in the vicinity of the speaker’ or ‘giving information on the whereabouts of an absent person.’

But, she also said that this form is not used by native speakers of Dutch very often, and that the zijn verb in this form cannot occur with verbs having an object or a clear endpoint.

Are these facts true?

Thank you.
  • Yes, this is all true. I think many Flemish people would add "gaan".

    Moeder is gaan werken.
    Vader is gaan vissen.
    This construction is called the absentive in Dutch. It is not used very much.

    Moeder is werken.

    Moeder is aan het werk.

    These sentences don't have the same meaning, so I disagree with Pedro.
    The absentive is mostly used as answer to the question: Where is mother?
    The second sentence is possible as answer to the question: What is mother doing?