Predicat – gezegde

The (nominal / verbal ) predicate

Every sentence contains a verbal (“werkwoordelijk”) or nominal (“naamwoordelijk”) predicate.

  1. The verbal predicate contains nothing but verbs:
  • A finite form: Hij maakt de opgave (He does the exercise).
  • A finite form and one or more other verbs: Hij zou de opgave gemaakt hebben. (Hewould have done the exercise.)

Please note:

– When dealing with a split verb, both parts of the verb belong to the predicate:

Houd direct op met dat stomme gelach!

(Stop the stupid laughing immediately!)

Sometimes a verb is a reflexive verb. The Dutch verb ‘Vergissen’ for example (to mistake) cannot be used without a pronoun: Ik vergis me, wij vergissen ons etc. The pronoun is then a part of the predicate.
Sometimes the reflexive pronoun can be replaced by another word – the pronoun is then a part of the object: Hij wast zich (He washes himself). Hij wast haar (He washes her). (zich/haar = direct object.)

– ‘te’ (‘to’) in the infinitive form is always a part of the predicate

He is trying to whistle.
trying to whistle = verbal predicate.

Exercise verbal predicate

2.The nominal predicate consists out of a verbal part and a nominal part.


The nominal predicate always contains a coppula. In Dutch, the coppulas are: zijn, worden, heten, blijven, schijnen, lijken, blijken, dunken en voorkomen.

The verbal part consists out of:

  • A coppula
  • A coppula and one or more other verbs

The nominal part is the part that is linked to the subject by the coppula. Therefor, it’ll always tell you something about the subject.

De wedstrijd werd een mislukking.
(The match became a disaster.)

werd een mislukking / became a disaster is the nominal predicate; werd = verbal part and coppula;
een mislukking = nominal part and tells something about the subject: the match was a disaster.

Many copullas may also be used as a normal verb in the verbal part of the predicate


1a. De man schijnt eerlijk.
(The man seems to be fair)

schijnt eerlijk = nominal predicate
schijnt =  verbal part
eerlijk = nominal part

1b. De man schijnt met een schijnwerper.
(The man is shining with a spotlight.)
In this sentence ’schijnen’ has a different meaning than in 1a: it no longer means ‘to seem’ but now means ‘to shine’, and is no longer a coppula.
schijnt = verbal predicate
’met een schijnwerper’ doesn’t say a thing about the subject (the man)

2a. Mijn vader is vijftig jaar.
(My father is fifty years of age)

is vijftig jaar  = nominal predicate
is  = verbal part
vijftig jaar = nominal part

2b. Mijn vader is in de badkamer.
(My father’s in the bathroom.)

is = verbal predicate
’in de badkamer’ has nothing to do with what kind of father the father is.

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