Pronouns & Determiners


Dutch pronouns consist of personal subject and object pronouns. They refer to people, animals or substances, without mentioning them in particular.

Subject pronounObject pronoun
1st person singularikmij
2nd person singular (informal)jijjou
2nd person singular (formal)uu
3rd person singular hij / zij / hethem / haar / het
1st person pluralwijons
2nd person pluraljulliejullie
2nd person plural (formal)uu
3rd person plural (person)zijhun, hen
3rd person plural (object)zijhun, hen

The pronouns in Dutch are used very similarly to those in English, with an exception for the use of the T-V distinction, which means that there is use of formal and informal pronouns.

When referring to somebody politely, u is used; jij is used in less formal situations. The third person singular hij is equivalent to ‘’he’’, zij to ‘’she’’ and het to ‘’it’’. The second person plural pronoun jullie is equivalent to ‘’you’’, u is the formal form to make references to plural ‘’you’’. The plural u refers to two or more persons but should be conjugated as a singular pronoun:

Gaat u gezellig naar het park

Each subject and object pronoun also has a reduced form mostly used in the spoken language but that can also be essential for writing. They are used in order not to emphasize the meaning of the pronoun within a sentence and are pronounced unstressed with a schwa:

ik → ‘kmij → me
jij → jejou → je
hij → iehem → ‘m
zij → zehaar → ‘r / d’r
het → ‘thet → ‘t
wij → weons → no reduced form
jullie → jejullie → je
zij (person) → zehun, hen → ze
zij (object) → zedie → ze

Possessive determiners

1st person singularmijnmijne
2nd person singular (informal)jouwjouwe
2nd person singular (formal)uwuwe
3rd person singular zijn / haarzijne / hare
1st person pluralonsonze
2nd person pluraljullie-
2nd person plural (formal)uwuwe
3rd person pluralhunhunne

Possessive determiners used before nouns in the attributive form remain uninflected with an exception for ons (our) when they make a reference to a plural noun:

De jongens zijn mijn broers
Dit is jouw bord
Dat zijn jullie cijfers
Dit zijn onze auto’s

Predicative possessive determiners have an addition of -e:

Die pen is de mijne
Dit is jouwe
De sleutel is uwe

The second person plural jullie has no predicative possessive determiner, instead van (of) is added:

Deze stoel is van jullie (this chair is yours)

Reflexive pronouns

Object pronounReflexive pronoun
1st person singularmijme / mij / mezelf / mijzelf
2nd person singular (informal)jouje / zich / jezelf / zichzelf
2nd person singular (formal)uu / zich / zichzelf / uzelf
3rd person singular (masculine)hemzich / zichzelf
3rd person singular (feminine)haarzich / zichzelf
3rd person singular (object)hetzich / zichzelf
1st person pluralonsons / onszelf
2nd person pluraljulliezich / zichzelf
2nd person plural (formal)uzich / zichzelf
3rd person plural (person)hun, henzich / zichzelf
3rd person plural (object)diezich / zichzelf

To refer back to the subject or clause, reflexive pronouns are used:

Hij moet uitkijken want hij kan zichzelf bezeren (He should watch out because he can hurt himself)
Ik kan mijzelf wel kussen (I could kiss myself)
De balonnen kunnen uit zichzelf ontploffen (the balloons can explode by themselves)

In most cases both a shorter form as a suffixed (+zelf) can be used. In some cases only the suffixed form of reflexive pronouns can be used where the pronoun is the emphasized part in the sentences:

Ze zullen zichzelf wel redden (they will make it themselves)

In other cases where the pronoun is not emphasized, the shorter form is more convenient:

Ik kan het me niet voorstellen (I couldn’t imagine it myself)

Reciprocal pronouns are used when two or more persons from the sentence are being referred back to. They consist of elkaar (each other / one another), mekaar (each other) and elkander (each other), the possessive form is elkaars:

Peter en ik kennen elkaar al heel lang (Peter and I know each other for a long time)
Wij zijn elkaars teamleden (we are each other’s teammates)

Demonstrative determiners

There are determiners in Dutch that describe something close and also determiners that describe something distant. They may change depending on gender and number.

Masculine and feminine nouns that describe something close are used with the determiner deze and neuter nouns with dit in singular:

Deze slager
Deze opleiding
Dit monument

When they are plural, deze is used for masculine, feminine and neuter:

Deze slagers
Deze opleidingen
Deze monumenten

Masculine and feminine nouns that describe something distant are used with the determiner die and neuter nouns with dat in singular:

Die slager
Die opleiding
Dat monument

When they are plural, die is used for masculine, feminine and neuter:

Die slagers
Die opleidingen
Die monumenten

Pronominal adverbs

In Dutch, the use of pronominal adverbs is very common. Pronominal adverbs are a combination of an adverb and a prepositional adverb, they are formed with a preposition followed by a pronoun in a reversed order:

Mee + daar; daarmee - Wat moeten we daarmee? (what should we do with that?)
Op + er; erop - De mannen staan erop (the men stand on it)
Mee + overal; overal mee - Daar kun je overal mee op stap (you can go anywhere with that)

Interrogative determiners

In Dutch welk, welke, wiens and wat voor are used as interrogative determiners. Determiners welk and welke stand for English ‘’which’’ as well as ‘’what’’ in some cases; welk is used when the following noun is neuter:

Het huisWelk huis?

The inflected welke is used when the following noun is masculine or feminine:

De garageWelke garage?

The interrogative determiner wiens is equivalent to the English ‘’whose’’, sometimes wier is used for feminine nouns. In many cases wie z’n that makes references to masculine and neuter nouns and wie d’r making references to feminine and definite nouns are used instead of wiens which are actually informal but very usual. Wat voor is equivalent to ‘’what’’:

Wat voor muziek luister je naar? (what music are you listening to?)

Quantificational determiners

In Dutch, quantificational determiners make references to quantities, they consist of definite and indefinite quantificational determiners. The most common definite determiners are een, twee, drie, eerste, tweede, derde, eenmaal, tweemaal, driemaal, etc.:

Twee spinnen lopen over het raam
De derde kat voelde zich meteen thuis

Most used indefinite determiners are: veel, weinig, meerdere, enkele, zoveelste, tigste, sommige, etc.:

Veel spinnen liepen over het raam
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