How to use ‘Er’? (INFOGRAPHIC)

One of the most flexible yet confusing elements of the Dutch language: ‘er’. You hear it everywhere, yet you do not hesitate to avoid it. But how to use er in Dutch? Generally it’s used like the English ‘there’:

There is a man standing outside, he must be waiting for you!

Er staat een man buiten, hij moet op jou aan het wachten zijn!

BUT ‘Er’ is also used to refer to places, things or even people..

Hoeveel kinderen heeft Jochem?

Hij heeft er vier!

How many kids does Jochem have?

He has four (of those)!

Heb jij een fiets?

Ja, ik heb er zelfs twee!

Do you have a bike?

Yes, I even have two (of those)!

Woont Susan in Utrecht?

Ja, zij woont er al bijna zeven jaar!

Does Susan live in Utrecht?

Yes, she almost lives there for seven years already!

Er is context-bound

You should also note that ‘er’ is extremely context-bound; you need additional information to use and understand ‘er’. Practice: try to come up with five examples of your own, incorporating all of the above ways of using ‘er’. Succes ermee! Yes, you can also combine ‘er’ with prepositions! Incredible, isn’t it? Use the following infographic to master ‘er’ quickly!

Learn how to use ER now in the LearnDutchOnline.nl Blog!
Do you understand all of these Dutch sentences with er? Try to make some of your own for extra practice, too! Need extra help? Some accountability? Sign up for a LDO course here then!

Want to learn more Dutch grammar for free? Check out the How to Dutch Clips here!


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