zijn

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Dutch[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle Dutch sijn, from Old Dutch sīn. The infinitive zijn along with the words is and zij (present indicative and subjunctive) derive ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *h₁es- (to be), which had no separate infinitive in Germanic. The modern infinitive was probably back-formed in late Old Dutch from the first-person plural subjunctive sīn (we be), since this form had become identical to the infinitive in other verbs during the late Old Dutch period. Compare also German sein, Low German sien.

The original infinitive survives in wezen, from Middle Dutch wesen, from Old Dutch wesan, from Proto-Germanic *wesaną, from *h₂wes- (to reside). All the forms with initial w- (imperative and past tense) derive from this root.

Finally, the forms ben and bent derive from Proto-Germanic *beuną (to be, to become), from *bʰuH- (to become), which survives only as relic forms in the West Germanic languages and not at all in the others. Its infinitive and non-singular forms are only attested in (Old) English.

Verb[edit]

zijn (past singular was, past participle geweest)

  1. (intransitive) To be, to exist.
    Zijn of niet zijn, dat is de vraag.
    To be or not to be, that is the question.
    Was je er afgelopen zaterdag ook?
    Were you there too last Saturday?
  2. (transitive, copulative) Used to connect a noun to an adjective that describes it.
    De bal is rond.
    The ball is round.
  3. (transitive, auxiliary) Used to form the perfect tense of the active voice of some verbs, together with a past participle.
    Note: The perfect tense of most other verbs is formed using hebben.
    Hij is hier geweest.
    He has been here.
  4. (transitive, auxiliary) Used to form the perfect tense of the passive voice, together with a past participle.
    Note: The imperfect tense passive is formed using worden.
    Ze waren gered.
    They had been saved.
    De muur is geschilderd.
    The wall has been painted.
    De muur zal zijn geschilderd.
    The wall will have been painted.
  5. (transitive, auxiliary) Used to form the continuous forms of various tenses, together with aan het.
    De man was aan het lopen.
    The man was walking.
  6. (intransitive) To go, to go on a trip and return.
    Ik ben even naar de dokter.
    I am going to the doctor for a while.
    Ik ben vandaag naar het strand geweest.
    I've been to the beach today.
  7. (intransitive, impersonal) Used to indicate weather, temperature or some other general condition.
    Het is erg warm vandaag.
    It is very warm today.
  8. (transitive, copulative, mathematics) To equal; used to indicate that the values on either side of an equation are the same.
    Drie keer vijf is vijftien.
    Three times five equals fifteen.
  9. (intransitive) To have the next turn in a game.
    Jij bent nu.
    It is your turn now.
Conjugation[edit]
Synonyms[edit]
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Old Dutch sīn (originally a reflexive form), from Proto-Germanic *sīnaz, from Proto-Indo-European *seyno-. Cognate with German sein, Swedish sin. Ultimately a form of the Proto-Indo-European reflexive pronoun *swe, related to Russian себя (sebja), Latin suus, Ancient Greek ἑός (heos) etc.

Determiner[edit]

zijn (dependent possessive, independent possessive zijne, contracted form z'n)

  1. Third-person singular, masculine and neuter possessive pronoun: his, its.
    Een man en zijn hond.
    A man and his dog.
    Een man en z'n hoed.
    A man and his hat.
    Een boek en zijn kaft.
    A book and its cover.
Declension[edit]