Question formation

As in many other languages, questions in Dutch can be formed by using question words (who?, why?, where?) or by turning a declarative sentence into an interrogative (i.e. a yes/no question).

The most commonly used question words in Dutch are: wie (who), wat (what), waarom (why), waar (where), wanneer (when), welk (which) and hoe (how). Note that the verb immediately follows the question word, and that the subject follows the verb. In the example below, the question word is in
red, and the finite verb is underlined. For examples of this grammatical item in use, have a look at luisterteksten 3

Waar kom jij vandaan?
Where are you from?

In yes/no questions the verb is placed in the first position and the subject follows the verb (inversion). In the example below, the verb is in red and the subject is underlined.

Ik kan je helpen.
Kan ik je helpen?
I can help you. Can I help you?

If you want to know more about forming questions, please follow this link to the Lagelands Beginners’ Grammar website. Exercises on question formation can also be found on this page.