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Ik ben/heb gehad? (Perfect tense conjugation) When conjugating verbs into perfect tense (e.g. Ik ben gekomen, Ik heb gedaan, Ik heb gewild etc.), how do I know whether or not to use the "to have" set of verbs or the "to be" set of verbs? Is there a specific rule or a pattern, or is it plain memorization? Also random question, but is there also the rule in Dutch where "Ik" has to be capitalized just like the english "I"?
Nov 20, 2016 8:41 AM
Answers · 4
Hello Kitty (no pun intended) The verb 'ben' comes from the verb 'zijn', which means to be, and is most commonly used as an auxiliary verb. The verb 'heb' comes from the verb 'hebben' which means to have, and is also mostly used as an auxiliary verb. In Dutch we use the verb 'ben' almost in the same way as we would 'am' or 'be' in English. It is an active verb, describing action. Ik ben hier I am here Ik weet niet of ik op tijd ben. I don't know if I am on time. Ik weet niet waar ik ben. I don't know where I am. We would use 'heb' in a sentence that has to do with possession(s). It is a passive verb which describes situations. Ik heb een auto. I have a car. Heb ik genoeg geld bij me? Do I have enough money with me? Ik heb de tijd. I have got time. In the case of gehad, it would be the same as in English 'I have had'. Gehad is the past perfect tense of hebben. It is having or possessing something, so we use heb. You wouldn't say in English 'I am had' because that would change the meaning of what you are trying to say. When you have forgotten information (phone number, name, appointment) you can only use 'ik ben vergeten' Example: Ik ben vergeten hoe hij heet I forgot how he is called (i forgot his name) Ik kende die mop wel, maar ik ben hem vergeten. I knew that joke, but i forgot it. When you have forgotten something (as in your wallet, watch, keys etc.), we can use both 'heb' and 'ben vergeten' Examples: Ik ben mijn paspoort vergeten. Ik heb mijn paspoort vergeten. I forgot (have forgotten) my passport. Ik denk dat ik mijn portomonee vergeten ben. Ik denk dat ik mijn portomonee vergeten heb. I think i forgot (have forgotten) my wallet. If the full sentence of something would be 'Ik ben vergeten.' this would mean 'i am forgotten' not 'they have forgotten me'. This would be extremely rare though, because 'ik ben vergeten' is usually followed by something. I hope this helps. Aleks
November 20, 2016
I don't think there is a strict rule, but as a rule of thumb you could check whether the meaning of the verb is active or passive. Active -> heb. Ik heb gelopen. Ik heb gedaan. Ik heb vergeten (I forgot) Passive -> ben. Ik ben bedrogen. Ik ben vergeten (They forgot me) There are exceptions (which quite frankly I can't come up with right now), and unclear verbs. Like 'hebben'. Is this something you do or something that happens to you? Dutch chooses active, so "ik heb gehad". "ik" is only with a capital if it's at the start of the language. No special treatment like in English.
November 20, 2016
Language Skills
Chinese (Cantonese), Dutch, English, French, Spanish
Learning Language