ELECTRIC SHOCK challenge – Dutch language students: DE or HET?

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DE or HET. That’s one of those things that Dutch learners experience as an endless struggle.

In this video we asked the students which is the correct article with a noun: DE or HET?

The punishment? An electric shock!

The goal of this electricity challenge video is to combine language learning with fun. And of course we don’t use electric shocks during the BLC Dutch summer school, but we do like to have fun during our classes!

My advice for using DE and HET

Firstly, my advice is: don’t try to focus too much on this when you are learning the basic grammar of Dutch.

Because you know what? Dutch people have problems with this as well. In most cases you just have to learn them by heart. Here are some tips which don’t really make sense, but can help you!

Tips for using DE / HET

There are some basic rules with DE that are easy to remember. The first one of my list is one of those.

2 tips for words with DE

  1. Plural words are always with DE

Plural nouns always come with DE.

 De video – De video’s (the video – the videos)

  • Het boek – De boeken (the book – the books) 
  1. Most foreign words are with DE
  • De computer
  • De etage

3 tips for words with HET   

As I said at the beginning of the list with the de-words, there are some basic rules that are easy to remember. Let’s start with those.

  1. Diminutives are always with HET

The diminutive always comes with het.

  • De lamp – Het lampje (the lamp, the little lamp)

But don’t forget! Diminutive and plural, is always DE.

  • De lamp- het lampje – de lampjes (the lamp, the little lamp, the little lamps)

Other words with HET are

  1. Words ending with – asme, – isme and – ment are always with HET
  • Enthousiasme (enthusiasm)
  • Organisme (organization)
  • Entertainment (entertainment)
  1. Language names are always with HET
  • Het Duits
  • Het Nederlands

Learn more about DE and HET here in this blog.

How do you learn at the BLC Dutch Summer and Winter School?

In the video you see students getting electric shocks. We obviously don’t use this in the classes of the summer and winter school. But it shows something that is really important.

That is to have fun when studying Dutch.

We use our own textbook ‘Het Lesboek’ and the classes are based on three elements.

  1. Practice

Although you can learn the theory on your own, you need others to practise what you’ve learned. During the BLC Summer school you will focus on speaking most of the time.

  1. Self-study

As a self-taught person, I know it is possible to learn a lot by yourself as long as the materials are well structured. If the materials are presented in a fun way, then there is not even that much discipline needed.

  1. A teacher

I believe that interactive classes with a good teacher, contribute to a better understanding, better speaking and listening skills, a faster learning process, and it prevents learning things incorrectly.

Bart de Pau
online Dutch teacher & founder of the Dutch Summer School & Dutch Winter School