aan het

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Alternative forms[edit]



aan het

  1. Forms the continuous aspect, together with the gerund (which in Dutch matches the infinitive in most cases) and with zijn as auxiliary verb.
    Ik ben aan het eten.
    I am eating. (lit. I am on the eat. / I am at eating.)
    Ik was aan het eten.
    I was eating. (lit. I was on the eat. / I was at eating.)
    Wat ben je aan het doen?
    What are you doing? (lit. What are you on the do? / What are you at doing?)
    Ik ben de afwas aan het doen.
    I am washing up. (lit. I am the wash-up on the do. / I am at washing up.)

Usage notes[edit]

  • Aan het construction has no direct or literal equivalent in modern English, but similar constructions have existed since Early Modern English. Literal translation of the construction would be "be on/at the (gerund)" where the gerund expresses the continuous action. In modern English, similar constructions exist but they are generally uncommon due to being unnecessarily verbose and as such they are only marginally more frequent only in certain dialects; e.g. "I am doing the washing" or "I am doing some reading." as opposed to "I am washing up." or "I am reading."